As more states legalize cannabis and the number of consumers continues to grow, cannabis companies are pushing the limits on how much THC is allowed in their cannabis products to set themselves apart in a crowded market. Some cannabis flower cultivars possess a THC content upwards of 30 percent, while concentrates and oils can be as high as 90 percent THC. However, a new study suggests that most cannabis consumers prefer cannabis flower and lower THC content.
Researchers from Arizona State University surveyed 574 cannabis consumers throughout the United States who have a history of using both cannabis flower and concentrates. The respondents reported using cannabis five to six times per week and concentrates at least once per month. Cannabis flower was selected as “producing the best high” by 61 percent of the respondents, with almost 78 percent saying it was their “preferred type” of cannabis product. Most of the people surveyed said they preferred cannabis products with moderate THC, somewhere between nine and 20 percent THC.
“Findings showing that marijuana produces greater positive effects than concentrates are consistent with cannabis administration studies documenting that moderate THC doses are preferred to high doses. The present study suggests that, contrary to concerns, ultra-high THC cannabis, such as concentrates, might not produce greater positive, reinforcing effects relative to lower-THC cannabis, such as marijuana (flower),” the study’s authors found.
The researchers uncovered that cannabis flower and low-THC products produced greater positive effects for consumers than cannabis concentrates, and any negative effects associated with cannabis were mostly from concentrates. Dabs and concentrates were more associated with side effects such as weed hangovers, paranoia, memory problems and blackouts, in addition to producing a less beneficial and less desirable high. Prior research suggests that higher potency cannabis does not necessarily produce a greater high.
Early this year states such as Florida and Iowa voted on bills that would have limited the amount of THC allowed in medical cannabis. Florida planned to cap the THC level at 10 percent, while legislators in Iowa wanted to pass a bill that would cap the THC level at three percent and allow for 4.5 grams every 90 days.