The Potency Paradox – Edibles and Vape

How Strong Is That Weed?

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Higher THC isn’t always better

It’s a question as old as time. Everyone remembers talking to their guy and asking what the strongest weed they had was. There might have been a little science in the answer if your guy was on point. More often than not the answer was “this one will send you into outer space”. That was good enough and out the door we went. Things have changed a bit but the question still remains, how strong is it and how high will I get?

Cannabis has evolved. More science is being put into each grow. Strains are combined to get specific effects. THC content is documented. The list goes on. So how do you know what to get? We asked resident cannabis science guy Rob, to give us a little knowledge on what he refers to as the Potency Paradox.

The Great Potency Question

When a large percent of cannabis consumers are shopping, they have very similar questions before they make their final decision. What is the cheapest product I can get with the highest THC content? What is the strongest cartridge? Which edibles hit the hardest? This isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Let me explain.

There are so many variables when it comes to potency that it’s basically impossible to predict how something will effect you. What we can provide are key pieces of information to aid you in finding the product that’s right for you.  Let’s run it down and get a little education flowing.

Edibles On The Move

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District Edibles cannabis infused gummie

In the world of edibles, we’ve come a long way from dumping an oz of shake into some brownie batter and knocking your family out on thanksgiving. Almost all edibles used to be made from a full spectrum cannabis butter or oil. This led to the usual brownies, cookies and rice krispy treats, even at dispensaries. Most consumers complained that there was very little homogeneity or consistency between edibles and that doses were all over the place. Which they were. The general consensus was edibles were not going to effect you until they knocked you out. My favorite adage was, “the edibles don’t kick in until you start talking smack about them”.

There were brownies with 1000mg a pop, and cannabis syrup with 2500 mg in a tiny bottle. It was a glorious time. Alas, things change with regulation and these days the market has definitely changed a lot.

Edibles in California have to be 10mg max per dose, and 100mg max per package. The other big change in the market is the shift to distillate. With a pure 99% THC cannabis distillate you can very easily get a homogeneous product from batch to batch. You can also ensure that the edible will not have an overwhelming cannabis flavor unlike a full spectrum cannabis butter even at only 60% THC. Here’s where it gets funky.

That 99% cannabis distillate has a very narrow spectrum of cannabinoids, usually just delta 9 THC. That 60% THC butter has almost all the cannabinoids and terpenes that were found in the whole plant. CBG, CBD, THC-A. Not to mention the flavonoids, one of largest nutrient families known to science. As well as the lipids and fatty acids that your body needs. All these other compounds have a marked effect on the potency of a product. So for my money, a 100mg full spectrum edible is worth 2 of it’s distillate competitors. 

Vape Is Your Friend

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Lowell preroll marijuana stashed in a park

When I was a kid if I wanted to get high on the go, I had to hide rolling papers and one hitter pipes all over the city. I had to make sure I had my bag of weed on me and constantly make sure the lighter fairies hadn’t nabbed my ability to make fire. If all that was handled, I needed to find a nice place to hide and discreetly smoke my small amount of mid grade cannabis. These days you just pull your vape out of your pocket and take a deep breath. What a time to be alive.

It’s super easy to look at the packages on the wall and see what has the highest THC content these days. That’s not where the information ends dear reader. There are still more questions to know.

For Instance is it a cartridge with botanical terpenes or are they cannabis derived? Is it a CO2 cartridge or a distillate cartridge? Did you spend the extra money on a HTFSE cartridge? Is it worth it?

Much like edibles, the advent of distillate swept the market and changed what most producers use in their cartridges. It’s easy to get a cartridge that’s over 90% THC when you use the narrow spectrum distillate. However you will sacrifice flavor and a lot of the broad spectrum effect for the sake of a high test. Some brands like Finch & Sons use a blend of distillate and high terpene full spectrum extract to find a happy medium between the two. This provides more flavor while keeping costs down and potency up.

Other brands like Friendly Farms use only the HTFSE oil in their cartridges giving you a much more flavorful and broad spectrum effect. Generally these cost you much more for the treat and sometimes the oil will only test around 75%. Brands like Select choose to use distillate and large batch terpene blends to keep potency as high as possible and keep prices competitive. Our local favorites Outco use a small batch C02 oil with single source terpenes reintroduced for a very unique and flavorful cartridge experience that’s much more true to the cannabis flower it came from.

They all have their place and you’ll need to experiment to find what you like the best. Just keep in mind, it’s not all about that THC test result. It is a combination of factors. At Mankind we have an amazing staff that can guide you the right product when you stop in. It’s all about personal choice and what you are looking for. Knowing what to look for is where we come in. See you soon.

Rob Espinosa is Mankind Dispensary‚Äôs very own cannabis whiz. Rob handles product purchases and has a long history of love, and education, within the cannabis world. You can find out what new hotness Rob has found for Mankind customers by stopping in at 7128 Miramar Rd in San Diego. You can find him on IG @blue_ridge_rob. He smiles more there.

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