fascinating turn of events has been occurring in the local cannabis conversation

By Michelle Rizzio

Over the last nearly two years of recreational cannabis in California, consumers would come into shops looking for product by zeroing in on its THC potency. Many cannabis connoisseurs, growers, budtenders, and medicinal users alike have been plenty aware that high THC is not a precursor to effective cannabis. As a nearly lifetime user of the plant myself and industry professional, I can attest to the true fact that THC is not everything and usually is a money grab. Higher THC? Higher price point per 8th. As I know, and hopefully you know after reading my weekly articles in CV Weekly, the cannabis plant offers a myriad of benefits beyond simply its THC percentage. I’ll also reveal another little known fact, THC percentage is determined by ONE random bud of an entire harvest sampled and sent to a lab for testing. ONE! That means that 32% THC 8th you just bought for too much money most definitely has differing a THC percentage in the entire jar. Why? Because cannabis is not homogeneous in its nature, meaning the amount of each compound and chemical in the cannabis plant is not uniform within the plant, and especially throughout the entire batch and harvest. Excitingly enough, this trend of seeking high THC is ending.

Anecdotally, I have been seeing it in our local market and this past week The Motley Fool posted an article expressing the desire in the market for lower THC percentages. Why is this? I believe first and foremost cannabis users are beginning to question their experiences with the luxury brands and their impact on their body. I believe this leads the consumer to seek information and education on how to use cannabis for their unique need, and oftentimes the answer is NOT high THC. For a first time consumer, or consumer re-entering the cannabis space, high THC can be downright dangerous and could cause the consumer to have a bad experience and not want to explore further. High THC can cause paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, red eyes, and has been known to impair memory for a short time. On the flip, high THC offers pain management, reduces inflammation, can literally reduce the size of tumors, and assist with controlling seizures. I want to make it clear that I am NOT against high THC, but rather believe that education is so necessary vs ignorance when it comes to purchasing patterns. While a cannabis consumer can raise their tolerance through concentrates and find a need for high THC strains and products, it’s not a blanket norm. Pro tip: if after reading this you still want to purchase a high THC product and it’s not your usual purchase or you are new to cannabis, please microdose to tune into how your body interacts with the compound and then dose accordingly.

Cannabis brands are beginning to launch tiers specifically focused on this demographic of consumers requiring more of a light, microdosed high with a percentage between 8%-20%. This range can offer a more enjoyable and easy high that does not deliver unexpected side effects like I mentioned above. When you enter the cannabis dispensary to purchase your flower this week, try following your nose instead of the percentages offered and see how that flower suits your needs. It may just change your entire experience, and keep your pocketbook happy.