by Greg Green
Cannabis plants produce psychoactive ingredients called cannabinoids. The main ingredient of the cannabinoids that gives the high effect is called – delta 9 THC. All strains vary in THC levels that come in different percentages. Some plants may contain 100% THC but the “levels” of THC may be low. Other plants have only 60% THC, but the “levels” of THC may be very high. A good potent plant will have both levels and quantities very high. Plants produce something called – delta 8 THC. This ingredient is in low levels but does contribute to the high. When we mention THC levels, we are talking about both delta 8 and 9.
There are also other ingredients that add to the high such as CBD, CBN, THCV, CBDV, CDC and CBL, but are only very minor compared to THC.
The difference between THC levels and THC quantities is that THC levels are genetic. They are not under the influence of the grower. THC quantities on the other hand are. This is to do with bud mass and how much resin can be generated in that bud mass. Some bud may only contain 20% THC, with a THC level of 5. The same plant grown under better conditions and light will produce 70% THC, with a THC level of 5. The ‘5’ is genetic. The quantities of 20% and 70% are under the grower’s control.
When examining a strain in a seed-bank catalogue one is guided to check for the THC levels of that plant to understand how potent the plant is. Many seed sellers and breeders measure their plants THC levels and give accounts on how much THC their plants have. Of course many breeders like to exaggerate on how much THC their plants produce, but some do not. If you wish to know more about THC levels it is best to consult your seed-bank or breeder for details.
No complete study of cannabinoids has been made public since this book’s publication. This is because cross breeding produces so many different results that it is hard to keep track on what is happening. Some ‘old timer’ strains are still around and have been tested. This information can be obtained from the larger seed production companies in Holland. THC testing is also an expensive process that requires heavy amounts of research. The other interesting factor is that some plants do not produce any THC at all. These plants have been genetically engineered (GM) to produce very low levels of THC and are mainly used by farmers in some countries who have permission to grow cannabis for hemp production ONLY. It is best to keep away from these seeds and strains. They will not get you high. There is project called the PMP (potency monitoring project) that is carried out by some government-funded agencies, but the results are questionable.