- A cannabis plant’s THC content is expressed as a percentage of mg/g. This is often referred to as “potency.”
- THC can produce a variety of intended effects, but consuming too much or choosing a product with a high potency can produce negative effects.
- THC content is indicated on the packaging of any cannabis product sold on OCS.ca.
Of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one principally responsible for the psychoactive and intoxicating effects of cannabis consumption.
Live cannabis plants contain Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), the non-active version of this compound. When cannabis is decarboxylated (heated to a high temperature), dried or cured, the acid molecule (the A in THC-A) drops off and the THC is activated. This results in producing the effects we associate with consuming THC. This also means that cannabis in its fresh form is not yet active with THC.
How THC Works
THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Studies suggest that this system plays a role in regulating stress recovery, protecting our nervous system, activating our immune system response and regulating our homeostatic balance (our overall state of optimal health function and stability).
Put simply, your ECS is made up of two things:
- cannabinoid receptors in nearly every region of your central nervous system and brain, as well as many other areas of the body, including your immune system; and
- cannabinoids you naturally produce (called endocannabinoids).
Your natural endocannabinoids fit into your ECS receptors like a key in a lock, and help carry messages from cell to cell. THC works the same way, replacing your own endocannabinoids temporarily, but with different effects. These may include:
- the release of dopamine resulting in feelings of relaxation
- a physical response such as an increase in hunger
- effects on various regions of the brain, including the hippocampus (memory), the frontal cortex (thinking and decision-making) and the cerebellum (physical movement and coordination)
Potency refers to the amount of THC in a cannabis product. THC content is expressed as a percentage of milligrams per gram of cannabis. For example, if a product is labelled 15% THC, this means it has 150 milligrams of THC per gram of cannabis. It is important to know that 33% is the highest potency currently available, and it is impossible to have dried flower with 100% THC.
By law, THC content is indicated on the packaging of every cannabis product sold on OCS.ca. Additionally, products with THC ranges over 17% and 20% are labelled as “strong” and “very strong,” respectively, to guide customers in product selection.
Choosing Products based on THC Potency
The effects of THC will be different for everyone. When choosing a product, consider not only the THC content, but also the method and amount of consumption. Other personal factors such as your age, your gender, your health history, and previous experience with cannabis may also affect your own body’s response to THC. Consult with your physician if you have any questions.
- Consuming small amounts of THC may produce intended effects such as relaxation, heightened happiness, arousal and creativity, more sociability and energy, and an increased appetite.
- However, consuming large amounts of THC may produce overwhelming, unpleasant, or harmful effects.
Consider products with low THC potency and/or products with at least a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD to help reduce the likelihood of unintended effects. Remember to consume slowly and in small amounts.
Click here to learn more about choosing the right cannabis product for you. Consult our THC chart to find appropriate products for you.