What's in a Number?

Usually, a number tells quite a bit. In context, they typically provide more answers than questions. In the case of THC, however, the numbers tend to create more confusion. For many, hunting for those items where THC levels reach exceptionally high points can be exhilarating because the belief is that the higher the potency, the more effective the product will be. Some have even been able to convince themselves that products below a perceived percentage level won’t have any effect on them.

So what does THC percentage describe?

Put plainly: it’s the percentage by makeup of any product, whether that’s flower or concentrated product like wax, shatter, resin, or rosin, that is comprised of THC. Much like the percentage of alcohol in an alcoholic beverage, however, it doesn’t indicate more of a benefit the higher the number gets.

How are these percentages found?

The sample being tested is picked out by staff of each facility having the tests done. While in theory they should be picking both across and throughout a given batch of flower, this process often falls short. Samples may accidentally or intentionally misrepresent the overall average because only the most potent, resinous buds are selected.

The number that’s found after a test is also up for debate. The number could be what you’re seeing on the label, however, the acceptable variance in Colorado for any tested product is plus or minus 15%. That means that it’s perfectly acceptable for the true percentage of THC to fall either 15% lower or 15% higher than the final number that gets recorded on packaged product.

The bottom line is that the process for testing these products can be extremely flawed. So jumping to a purchase decision based on something not fully understood, and potentially flawed, might not result in the best overall experience. Next time, we’ll look at the most recent belief that because many of the products available today are much stronger than ever before, then they must be more dangerous.


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