Pot's THC Levels: Relatively the Same, No Matter the Strain

Scientists: Levels of tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD don't vary much among different pot strains
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2018 8:37 AM CDT
In this April 21, 2018, photo, a bud tender displays the Blueberry Muffin strain of cannabis at a dispensary in San Bernardino, Calif.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

(Newser) – For those who spend time at the dispensary agonizing over whether to go with the Acapulco Gold, Granddaddy Purple, or Chemdawg, know this: Their THC levels are likely pretty much the same, no matter which strain you pick, researchers out of UBC Okanagan say. "It is estimated that there are several hundred or perhaps thousands of strains of cannabis currently being cultivated," chemistry instructor Susan Murch says in a release. "We wanted to know how different they truly are, given the variety of unique and exotic names." Turns out, not very, per Murch's study published in Scientific Reports. She and her team looked at 33 cannabis strains from five different Canadian producers to analyze their cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that include tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, aka CBD.

Researchers found the THC and CBD levels in the varying strains didn't differ all that much, leading them to philosophize about what "strain" really means. That doesn't mean the scientists didn't detect any distinctions at all: There were variations among the strains in the levels of low-quantity cannabinoids the researchers hadn't previously known about, which could still have an effect on those who consume them. "A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn't necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains," study co-author Elizabeth Mudge says. "Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community." (So yeah, it might not matter which strain you use while you Netflix and chill.)

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