Have you recently started using cannabis products? Do you still struggle with understanding the THC percentage chart? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
We understand how frustrating learning new things can be and want to lighten your load.
That’s why today’s article provides a deep dive into all things THC percentages.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the compounds present in weed. Unlike other well-known compounds like terpenes and cannabidiol (CBD) that affect flavor, it makes you high. It’s the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis plants.
Like many other drugs, THC makes you high by stimulating your brain’s reward system to release dopamine; a feel-good hormone. That’s why THC dosage is directly linked to the potency of a cannabis product.
Keep in mind though; different cannabis strains have different THC concentrations.
What is the THC percentage?
This is the amount of THC present in a cannabis product expressed as a percentage. Mathematically, it is the milligrams of THC present in a product divided by the total milligrams (mg) of the product multiplied by 100.
So if you have 50 mg of THC in a gram of flower, the %THC becomes:
Keep in mind that 1 gram is equal to 1000 mg and THC content is commonly referred to using the units mg/g (mg of THC per gram of product).
THC percentage chart
To give you a rough idea of the %THC in different forms of marijuana, here is a chart:
|Form of weed||THC content|
|Cannabis flowers (joint)||10% to 30%|
|Distillate||85% to 90%|
|Live Resin||65% to 95%|
|Edibles||5 to 10 mg THC per serving|
For a breakdown of how %THC varies in different popular cannabis strains, see the table below:
|Cannabis strain||Average %THC|
|Chemdog||19% to 20%|
|Amnesia Haze||20% to 25%|
|Girl Scout Cookies||17% to 28%|
|Death Star||19% to 21%|
|White Tahoe Cookies||23% to 30%|
If you check out the two tables above keenly, you’ll notice that the percentages in the strain table are significantly lower than those in the marijuana forms table. This is because cannabis strains don’t naturally contain high THC levels.
Most strains contain at most 30% THC. Ultimately, high levels of THC are usually the product of processing. As such, you’ll notice that concentrates will have a %THC of 65% to 95%, with distillates leading the pack.
This is because distillates are made by stripping cannabis extracts of terpenes and other cannabinoids to make them as THC-concentrated as possible.
On the other hand, live resins are extracted in a way that maintains the elements of the cannabis plant.
Are THC percentage charts accurate representations of effect?
While %THC is directly proportional to potency, the relationship isn’t as straightforward as we’d all like to believe. For instance, taking a 30% THC cannabis product doesn’t make you twice as high as taking a 15% THC product.
Other factors affect the effectiveness of these products, some environmental and others genetic. Also, the %THC indicated on any product you buy is merely an approximation.
This is because the amount of THC in a cannabis product changes as time passes, even under perfect handling and storage conditions. After all, THC, CBD, CBC, and other compounds in weed don’t appear in the plant until later on in the cultivation process.
Originally, the plant has a chemical called Cannabigerolic acid (CBDGa). This then breaks down to form Cannabichromenic acid (CBCa), Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), and Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa).
In time these three transform into CBC, THC, and CBD respectively; this tends to happen during the decarboxylation process. As time passes by, THC can even further degrade to Cannabinol (CBN).
What factors affect THC content?
The optimum temperature for cannabis storage is a maximum of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures higher than this promote the growth of mold and bacteria. Beyond that, extended exposure to such temperatures can make cannabinoids decarboxylate.
So the THCa in the cannabis can quickly turn to THC and finally become CBN. On the flip side, prolonged exposure to low temperatures can pull water to the surface of the plant and damage trichomes.
2. Oxygen and lights
Interestingly, exposure to UV radiation and oxygen degrades cannabis faster than even temperature. It makes THC transform into THC faster. As such, it’s important to always store cannabis away from both light and oxygen.
The optimum humidity for cannabis storage is 59% to 63%. Keeping your cannabis plant at higher or lower humidity levels leads to deterioration. Lower humidity levels dry out the plant and make it brittle.
On the other hand, higher humidity levels can lead to mold growth. When airflow is restricted, your cannabis can even end up tasting like ammonia.
How do labs accurately calculate %THC?
There are 3 main formulas that laboratories use to determine the %THC of a product. These not only consider the active THC present but also the dormant forms, particularly THCa. the formulas are:
1. The simplified formula
While this formula is simple, it has one major flaw; it doesn’t account for the molecular weights of THC and THCa. Also, it doesn’t consider that not all THCa converts into THC when consumed. As such, this formula is largely incorrect.
2. The Canada formula
This formula takes the difference between the molecular weights of the components into account. As such, it is more accurate than the first one. That’s why it’s widely used in Canada.
3. The most accurate formula
This is the only formula that considers both the conversion rate of THCa and the difference in molecular weight between it and THC. Remember, only 75% of THCa usually ends up converting to THC.
As such, while this formula is the most accurate, it always yields a lower figure than any of the other two. This is another example of why it’s never a good idea to pick a cannabis product purely because it has a high %THC.
What else should you consider when choosing cannabis?
While it’s logical to look at %THC when choosing which cannabis product to buy, there are also other things to consider. After all, getting a product with the highest %THC will just give you a quick high that doesn’t last.
Ultimately, THC is supposed to work with other compounds like terpenes to give you an all-rounded experience. This is what is known as the entourage effect. That’s why it’s best to also look at %CBD and other details when choosing cannabis.
Does the mode of consumption affect how much THC reaches your bloodstream?
Even if you choose a cannabis product with a high THC content, it won’t all be delivered into your bloodstream. The amount of THC that will get there depends on your consumption method as detailed below:
Like vaping, smoking gets THC into your bloodstream quickly through the lungs. However, smoking delivers a lower amount of THC than vaping. What’s more? Using a bong delivers more THC than using a joint.
If you smoke cannabis with 32 mg of THC, you’re likely to end up with only 12 mg when you use a joint and 13 mg when you use a bong. The rest is lost in the heating process.
If you vape a product with 32 mg of THC, you’re likely to end up with only 17 mg of it delivered to your bloodstream. Ultimately, consuming THC through inhalation delivers only 30% to 50% of it to your bloodstream.
Taking edibles gets THC into your system slower than inhalation. The former requires your liver to metabolize the THC; a process that can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
But while this means it takes some time for you to get high, the high lasts longer than with inhalation. Keep in mind though; it’s easier to predict the effects of store-bought cannabis edibles than those baked at home.
This is because people who bake these edibles at home are usually less consistent with things like the amount of weed and cooking temperatures they use.
How does tolerance affect how THC affects you?
The longer you consume cannabis products, the more tolerant you become of them. If you keep this up, you will need higher doses to get high. This will cause you health problems down the line. Fortunately, this state can easily be reversed by taking a T-break.
It’s normal to struggle with THC percentage charts. After all, they can have confusing formulas. But we have some steps that can help you out:
- Check the product label for %THC and %THca
- Use the most accurate formula we stated above to calculate the Total THC, even when the label indicates otherwise
- Choose the best %THC for you depending on your needs and chosen delivery method
Do you have any more tips to help someone understand THC percentages and charts? Don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We’re always happy to hear from you.