Why more THC does not always get you higher
Many cannabis users report that there is a law of diminishing returns on cannabis consumption. In other words, you can smoke/vape a lot of additional cannabis but it won't necessarily mean that you can continue getting higher and happier.
You may be familiar with this. The first vape or two of the evening may feel quite powerful. After that it may feel like your cannabis doesn't give quite the same punch.
Can you get more high if you intake more THC? For some people it’s simply more cost effective to save the buds for another day rather than continue to vape their precious buds with reduced effects.
But those that eat cannabis edibles may disagree, feeling that more edibles definitely will make them higher. So who’s correct? Do higher THC levels get you more high? Does weed with more THC make you more high? Is there a limit to how high you can get? First of all let's look at how THC does get you high.
How does THC get you high?
When vaped (or smoked) THC is absorbed through the lungs and blood stream. The THC interacts with the human endocannabinoid system, specifically, it binds with dedicated cells called CB1 receptors. As little as 1-2mg of THC can have an effect. However, when cannabis is eaten (e.g. cannabis oil capsules or THC rich edibles) a different method of absorption is used.
Prior to eating cannabis the THC needs to be activated. The process of heating converts non-psychoactive THCA to psychoactive THC. When digested, THC is broken down into 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver. This adapted THC molecule finds it easier to cross the barrier from the blood to the brain.
Consequently cannabis edibles can indeed produce a stronger effect compared to vaping/smoking. However the high from edibles can take longer to kick in, up to an hour or two.
|What’s a high amount of THC in cannabis?|
Studies show that more THC doesn’t mean a better high
This study from Colorado University 1 investigated 133 cannabis users. Roughly half used cannabis buds, the other half used 70-90% THC cannabis concentrates. The researchers found that both groups experienced roughly equal levels of intoxication. Thats despite the THC levels in blood plasma being twice as high in cannabis concentrate users.
Cannabis concentrate users had THC levels of 1016 μg/mL in their blood plasma. Those that vaped/smoked weed has levels of 455 μg/mL. That’s a remarkable finding.
Despite THC levels being twice as high in blood samples from cannabis concentrate users (dabbers etc) levels of impairment were roughly the same. Is it possible that the cannabis receptors were simply overloaded at a given point and unable to make you higher?
Perhaps these findings make more sense if you consider that some of the people in the study may have higher cannabis tolerances, possibly those using the concentrates.
This expanded study2 offers explanations for the results. "It raises a lot of questions about how quickly the body builds up tolerance to cannabis and whether people might be able to achieve desired results at lower doses” explained the study author, Prof Bidwell.
|What is a cannabis tolerance break?|
Entourage effects: there is more to the high than THC
Is there more to the high than THC? Many cannabis users believe there is. If you grow your own cannabis from high THC seeds you will know that there is more to a great vape/smoke experience than just THC. A well-rounded experience usually results from the entourage effect.
This is thought to be caused by the synergistic actions of many cannabinoids acting together, possibly amplifying their relative effects. The presence of a tasty terpene profile as well as a high broad-spectrum cannabinoid profile makes for a truly memorable experience.
|What are cannabis terpenes?|
Does mixing CBD and THC together get you higher?
Does smoking CBD with THC make you more or less high? According to some people, there is nothing quite as satisfying and relaxing as a strain which has both THC and CBD. But much depends on your personal endocannabinoid system.
What’s more important, high THC or CBD? More THC does not always mean a better high. For some people a medium THC level with the presence of some CBD is more enjoyable.
|What is the difference between CBD, CBG and THCV?|
Learn more about THC levels in cannabis
For some people, especially those with a higher cannabis tolerance, high THC strains are definitely preferred. One of the highest THC levels seen in an autoflower strain was 25%+ THC in Auto Cinderella Jack. It surprises most people to know that the average amount of THC in Dutch coffeeshop cannabis is around 16%. Premium strength varieties have around 18% THC. These numbers are produced by an annual Dutch Government health survey.
Too much THC can lead to feelings of anxiety for some people. Medium/low THC levels and perhaps some CBD may be more suitable. The Dutch Passion Seed Finder can recommend the best feminised seeds or autoflower seeds for you.
|How to find the best cannabis strains for you|
1. National Library of Medicine. Association of Naturalistic Administration of Cannabis Flower and Concentrates With Intoxication and Impairment.
2. Science Daily. Cannabis concentrates and higher blood plasma THC study