Do you know what’s really getting you high? You can rest assured it’s a lot more than just THC content. THC may draw an outline, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Discerning chronnoisseurs already know – THC is just one color in a rainbow of factors at play.
Choosing a strain based solely on high THC is like watching a movie only for the car chase. It may pack a momentary punch, but it will be infinitely more interesting if there’s a solid plot, thought-provoking dialogue and intriguing characters. Strains that are loaded with an entourage of terpenes and other cannabinoids round out your high in much the same way.
So, what should you take into consideration when you’re shopping for the perfect strain? Most importantly, consider what kind of high you want to experience. This goes well beyond just whether you prefer indicas or sativas. Perhaps you like to feel the kind of energetic high that makes you fall in love with cleaning your house but stops short of making you paranoid that your landlord is an undercover agent. Or maybe you want a high that melts your anxiety and allows you to fully engage in social situations without the short-term memory loss.
These are the nuances THC alone can’t provide. And this is the reason that terpenes (and the occasional rare, exotic cannabinoid) may be the unsung heroes behind your favorite highs.
Say your boo spends the night and you want to keep the party going with a little wake-and-bake, but don’t want to wreck your productivity for the entire day. Not just any sativa will do. You’ll want to find one with prominent limonene terpenes to create a caffeinated buzz that keeps you lifted without getting you – or your day – completely wasted. A solid sativa with a predominant citrus flavor, like Lemon G or Jack Herer, will get you there.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, preferring a deep body high that tends toward couch-lock levels of sedation, myrcene, the most common terpene in cannabis, acts as a sedative and muscle relaxant irrespective of THC content. Look for indicas that have that dank, pungent and earthy smell, like skunks and kushes.
If you’re heading out for an evening with friends, you probably want to get lit but still rock a lively convo. Pinene, especially when found in a sativa, is a terpene that will keep you alert and engaged all while minimizing THC-related memory loss, so you’re not repeatedly asking what you were just talking about. (Even though it’s pretty cute when you do.) It’s less common than other terpenes but a prominent feature of Dutch Treat and Big Smooth.
Besides terpenes to modulate your high, there is a particular cannabinoid that offers one unique and very desirable experience THC can’t provide. If you love to get baked but also love your waistline, this one’s for you. A strain high in THC-V will save you from a late-night munchie attack because this rare cannabinoid, found mostly in exotic landrace sativa strains, suppresses the appetite. Not to mention the fact it gives amazing head highs. (Durban Poison, anyone?) You can find THC-V in strains like Girl Scout Cookies and Cherry Pie, as well, but Durban Venom just might be the heaviest hitter, featuring a stunning 3:1 ratio of THC to THC-V.
There is so much more to a good high than THC. Some of the happiest highs have THC levels in the low teens, or low THC with exceptionally high terpene content. Besides, strains super high in THC might make you more self-conscious than sociable, so when you’re lighting up with friends, it might be more desirable to have a strain you can sesh, taking hits off multiple rounds as opposed to a one-hit wonder that leaves you useless in the first five minutes.
A low-THC strain even on its own provides a functional high that allows you to keep puff-puff-passing without passing out. But terpenes and other cannabinoids are what create the subtle nuances that differentiate a good high from that vibe you want to come back to.