Imagine you’d like a nice alcoholic beverage or two to help you wind down after a stressful week, or just to have fun with friends. Do you set out to purchase the drink with the highest alcohol content because you will get the most bang for your buck?
Probably not. People typically make alcohol buying decisions based on flavor profile, presentation, quality of the beverage, and what they happen to be in the mood for at that moment. Precise alcohol content measurements rarely come into play in the purchasing decisions.
Paradoxically, this is exactly what happens in cannabis dispensaries every day. Absent much information about the dizzying array of strains and products available in a dispensary, many consumers tend to just buy the cannabis with the highest THC number. And as a result,high THC numbers fetch more money.
Choosing flower based on THC alone is not helpful for the consumer, and frankly, is bad for the industry.
Here’s some reasons to look beyond the THC value when making purchasing decisions:
Since consumers have little else to go on, they are putting their money in the high THC strains. Some dispensaries are catching on to this and keep test results behind the counter so consumers don’t immediately gravitate towards this number. However, it still happens.
As a result, high THC strains fetch a higher price in the market. And that causes unintended consequences including causing growers to “shop around” for labs that will provide the highest results, which in turn provides incentive for labs to compromise their scientific integrity to find ways of inflating THC numbers in the hopes of keeping their client’s business.
While legitimate labs will not fudge results, they do come under pressure, often indirectly, but sometimes directly with threats of non-payment and certainly lost business if a low test result is reported. It is possible that a nefarious lab employee could cheat the system behind the scenes. Regulators in Oregon and other states have put controls and routine auditing in place to minimize this practice, however it still could happen – particularly in states that do not yet have testing regulations in place, such as in California.
So the next time you visit your favorite dispensary, consider avoiding buying cannabis on THC content alone, and instead find the products that have the flavors, aromas, and other features you enjoy. You might just find in your experience that a 14% flower may come off as feeling stronger than that 30% flower that would have cost more money. And if the 14% flower doesn’t seem strong enough with two hits, take a third, and enjoy.