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What Is Considered ‘High THC’?

chemical structure of THC inside a gradient green/purple circle

High levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) naturally result in more intoxicating and sometimes adverse effects like paranoia. In general, ‘high THC’ is when more than 15% concentration in a cannabis product. However, whether or not a particular variety or product is “high THC” is subjective and product-dependent, as some may consider 15% THC too low, whereas others may find it quite high.

High THC flower could include a variety that’s 30% THC. In contrast, this figure might be considered low for a concentrate, as THC levels can reach 60% THC or much higher, especially with cannabis extracts like butane hash oil (BHO).

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What Is Considered High THC?

Flower containing more than15% THC is considered high by some. However, for an experienced cannabis consumer, 20% THC may not produce many intoxicating effects, while just 10% THC could make a novice user extremely intoxicated. Therefore, high THC is relative to a person’s experience and tolerance levels with cannabis. There are also differences between flower and concentrate regarding “high THC.”

THC levels vary among strains and different types of cannabis products. Like Cherry Wine and Sour Space Candy, some low-THC strains contain barely 1% THC. High-THC strains, like Pineapple Express, reach THC concentrations of 20% or higher.

When shopping for cannabis products, you might notice terms like “strong,” “premium,” and “high-grade.” All of these tend to refer to high THC levels but do not necessarily refer to the quality of the cannabis product.

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THC Percentages

THC percentages vary widely depending on the cannabis product and strain. According to federal law, CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC, and other cannabis products with a full spectrum of cannabinoids may have as high as 25% or as low as 5% THC.

THC percentages have sharply risen since the 1970s and 1980s, when a specific cannabis product contained only about 4 to 5% of the intoxicating cannabinoid. This disparity has made cannabis products far more potent than they once were. Cannabis edibles, in particular, are known for their high potency and corresponding high levels of THC.

What Is the Highest THC Percentage in Cannabis?

Ghost OG measured at nearly 29 percent THC. Varietals like Bruce Banner, Grease Monkey, 99 Problems, and Chocolate OG have measured similar levels of THC or even higher. Other cannabis strains with extremely high THC concentrations include Wappa and OG Chem, both measuring about 26 percent.

Does More THC Equal a Bigger High?

It is generally thought that more THC will equal a bigger high for most people, except for those who are experienced with cannabis and have developed very high tolerance levels. At the same time, how intoxicated you become will also depend on your method of ingestion.

However, current research suggests that high potency, THC-rich concentrates aren’t necessarily more intoxicating than lower percentage cannabis flower. This is because “Cannabinoid receptors may become saturated with THC at higher levels, beyond which there is a diminishing effect of additional THC.” However, less experienced users may find that they are more sensitive to the effects of THC.

The route of administration also matters. For example, you can smoke cannabis or eat a marijuana baked good containing the same amount of THC. But you will likely feel more intoxicated from the baked good than the smokable due to how the body processes and metabolizes THC. Put simply, eating marijuana generally leads to more pronounced psychoactive effects than smoking it does.

Another factor in how “high” you feel from consuming high-THC cannabis is how much CBD and other cannabinoids are to counterbalance the effects. CBD:THC ratios play a pivotal role in your experience with cannabis, as the cannabinoids work in tandem and enhance each other’s anti-inflammatory effects through the entourage effect while at the same time diminishing some of the adverse effects of THC. For example, terpenes like pinene can help mitigate some of THC’s effects on short-term memory loss.

Risks and Side Effects of High THC

The risks and side effects of high THC mainly relate to the impact on the brain but may include physical symptoms. Consuming too much THC, especially in a short period, can lead to the following risks and side effects:

  • Confusion and slurred speech
  • Nervousness and accelerated heart rate
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Paranoid thoughts and/or hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting, sometimes accompanied by a migraine headache
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Panic attacks
  • Behavioral changes, in rare cases, self-harm or violence towards others

These potential side effects may be mild if they occur at all. But if you experience moderate to severe side effects or feel like you will harm yourself or others, seek help immediately.

The Bottom Line on High THC Cannabis Products

The three factors that influence high THC are the cannabis variety (some strains are bred for high THC), the type of cannabis product, and your level of experience using cannabis. Cannabis extracts and edibles are among the most potent types of marijuana products, while Ghost OG contains some of the highest known levels of THC. If you are new to cannabis, play it safe and ask for a doctor’s recommendation on THC dosages that are right for you and the symptoms you seek to manage.

Experience THC and other cannabinoids safely with a medical marijuana card. Apply online for your MMJ card with the help of Leafwell’s qualified medical professionals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered high-THC content?

A high-THC product exceeds the average 15% THC content of most cannabis consumables. More than 25% THC would be classified as very high THC, and extracts may contain 50% or even as high as 90% THC.

What's the highest level of THC in any strain of cannabis?

One of the highest levels of THC in any strain of cannabis is approximately 29% for Ghost OG. Also called Ghost OG Kush, this extraordinarily potent strain is a prize-winning hybrid in the cannabis world.

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