Cannabis cultivators go to great lengths to produce plants that customers actually want. Right now, the big thing is increasing the potency of a particular plant in order to come up with the next hard-hitting high. The competition is so fierce that cultivators and processors alike are not afraid to market their products as ‘high potency cannabis’.
So what is high potency cannabis, exactly? That depends on the type of product you are talking about. You can have high potency plants as well as high potency vaping liquids and edibles. In every case, it boils down to THC content.
CBD and THC Levels
The first thing to note are the differences between CBD and THC. Both are cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD mainly comes from industrial hemp while THC comes from marijuana. Also note that CBD is legal under federal law; THC is not.
Why explain all of this? Because industrial hemp growers can do what they do without federal intervention, as long as the THC content of their plants is less than 0.3%. Likewise for CBD manufacturers. They don’t need any special approval to sell CBD oils, tinctures, etc. as long as their THC content remains under the federal threshold.
This means, as far as federal law is concerned, that any cannabis product – be it a plant, vaping liquid, or gummy – is a THC product if it contains more than 0.3% by volume. Something that registers at 0.4% would technically be a THC product but it’s potency would be quite low.
High Potency Cannabis Products
As for high potency products, there is no hard and fast rule. On average, marijuana flower and manufactured products derived from THC are in the 20% range. The industry considers anything at 30% or more as high potency. However, there is room for differing opinions.
If you are used to consuming a product with 20% THC, wouldn’t a new product with 28% THC feel a lot stronger to you? Of course it would. You may consider 28% high potency while the dispensary you bought it from doesn’t.
Unfortunately, having no standards for defining high potency cannabis products means that the definition is up for grabs. That makes it hard for regulators to decide what’s allowed and what is not. It also makes it difficult for medical users to decide on treatment strategies.
Chasing a Bigger and Better High
Cannabis has become a highly competitive business. It is especially competitive in states where recreational use is allowed. Growers in those states are constantly fiddling with genetics in order to create cultivars with even higher THC content. How high can they go? No one really knows.
There have been some suggestions that the cannabis plant cannot go any higher than the mid-thirties. A small number of growers have claimed THC levels in excess of 40%, but subsequent testing has concluded that their claims were false. But make no mistake about it, a cannabis plant with 40% THC would definitely be high potency.
On the retail side of things, high potency cannabis products can encourage users to chase THC. In other words, they keep looking for the next big high as aggressively as growers are looking to cultivate it. Chasing THC is probably not a good idea for medical users, as explained by a recent blog post on the Pure Utah website. Pure Utah is a medical cannabis pharmacy located in Payson, UT.
As cannabis use increases around the country, growers are doing their best to cultivate ever more potent cannabis plants. The higher the potency goes, the more profound the affects a plant offers.