Many media outlets and politicians say the ‘potency’ of today’s pot has increased dramatically in the last 30 years, claiming it contains anywhere from 10%-40% THC. Most are dubious claims, but there is still much debate on the issue of potency classification.
One thing is for sure; heavy trichome production does not necessarily mean higher potency, because the resins inside the trichome may or may not contain just high levels of THC, but other active ingredients like terpenes.Terpenes are what gives cannabis strains their distinctive flavours. They are the aromatic oils that the plant produces and that make a strain taste fruity or minty, give it an earthy or citrusy aroma or can make it smell like cheese or tangerines.
Some speculate that non-cannabinoid plant components such as terpenes serve as inhibitors to THC’s intoxicating effects, thereby increasing THC’s therapeutic index. The percentage levels refer to the amount of THC in the oils produced inside the resin glands,.but new studies show that cannabinoids and terpenes, not just THC also have distinctive effects on brain functions and cause correspondingly different effects on human cognition and psychiatric symptoms . This makes gauging the “potency” or “strength” of cannabis plants very difficult, as different cannabinoid and terpene combinations or ‘profiles’ will induce different types of effects.
We know that THC binds to our brain’s receptors causing the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Terpene’s can actively affect those brain receptors and the way they work. Terpenes have been found to influence how much THC enters the brain through the blood-brain barrier. Most importantly, science has shown how terpenes can directly influence the brain’s neurotransmitters in various ways.
It is noteworthy to mention that not all types of terpenes work the same, either. Some types may influence the brain in a way as to relax us while others have the opposite effect, lifting our mood and energy levels.
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