The "Natural" THC Percentage and THC/Terpene Ratio

TheEncore

Member
I want to preface this by saying I am certainly no expert.

I was looking for some studies on cannabis storage and came across this:

This study was published in 1999 and refers to analysis of samples from 1993/94. It doesn't explain how the seeds for the plants were obtained but it does say that
the plants analyzed were grown at a University lab. The THC percentages average under 5%. I know there is a lot of debate over how much THC your average plant had in the 60s, 90s,... but my purpose in posting this is to point out that regardless of what the actual % was, it seems very likely that the THC/terpene ratio was much lower. So, if you want to get high using a cannabis with 5% THC, you would need a much higher dose than with a modern product (which seem to average 25% now). That means you would likely consume about 500% more terpenes to consume the same amount of THC as you would with the 5% THC plant. Obviously vaping vs. smoking affects the % of THC, and other terpenes, extracted... that's another factor.

I have very low tolerance and use no more than about .2g, with half (.1g) being CBD flower. I thought I was getting something comparable to what you may have experienced from the "natural" plant before it was bred to produce the crazy high THC content that we see today. I suspect hemp was bred for hundreds of years to produce higher THC, but we've clearly been more successful as increasing THC since we identified it and developed the ability to test for it.

Maybe we need to but our weed to a 4 to 1 CBD flower to modern high % THC flower to get something resembling a "natural" high. Just throwing this out there for thought/comment.
 

invertedisdead

OG Baller
IDK, I talk to plenty of old schoolers who swear the older stuff was stronger.
I'm not really convinced the big number stuff of today is stronger than stuff I was vaping ten years ago.
I used to get more stoned on trim than I do from most gourmet exotics colas today.

As for that study, right off the bat two sentences in I'm seeing some issues.
"The plant material used in the study was grown at the University of Mississippi medicinal plant garden. Mature plants were harvested and dried in a drying barn. The temperature was set initially at 50o C and was then increased at 2.5o C per hour until 70o C was reached. Under those conditions, dryness was complete within 6-8 hours."

So they force-dried the whole crop in 6 hours, competent growers I know often stretch the period up to ~2 weeks. That's going to change the enzymatic activities of the process.

For a 4 year long analysis they really rushed it right from the beginning.

As for THC to terpene ratio, again, many old schoolers I converse with claim that older strains were much more pungent. Some say that terpenes were actually bred out over generations to allow for more discrete home grows.

I can't say for sure or not, but I haven't seen anything too skunky in quite a while honestly.
 

TheEncore

Member
Thanks for the reply. I'm just trying to get a conversation started here with this study, but yes, curing methods certainly have a significant effect on the outcome. Re: the comment about old timers, I think it's likely they are talking about completely different quantities. A full gram joint can't be compared to a .2g bowl. I wonder if the microdosing crowd is getting a far lower quantity of terpenes than they would to get the same high in decades past with lower THC weed. Maybe what they really want is a large bowl with only a fraction of it being 20+% THC flower. Maybe this can be approximated with 3-4 bowls of CBD flower followed by 1 of a modern strain.
 
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Siebter

Less soul, more mind
I can't say very much about older strains, but when I was starting to do cannabis stuff (somewhere in the 80s) at least here in Europe we almost didn't had any weed at all until about the mid 90s. We had hash, mostly from Morocco or Pakistan. I knew that in the US people were doing Joints with pure weed (= without tobacco), but I honestly didn't know much about strains until Super Skunk was introduced in the late 80s / early 90s I believe. Buds were considered to be raw material, not the actual stuff (again: in Europe). And the first US strain I experienced was New York Diesel, which was much much later, until then US strains were considered to be nowhere near any dutch strain.

However, I doubt the value of this study as well. Rapid drying buds to then store them for several years seems very odd.

I suppose (!) terpenes and THC are two separate topics when it comes to breeding.
 

darbarikanada

Well-Known Member
I suspect hemp was bred for hundreds of years to produce higher THC, but we've clearly been more successful as increasing THC since we identified it and developed the ability to test for it.
I think that selecting for more potent weed doesn't require awareness of THC (or CBD). as with all the plants that have been subjected to human selection, it was a trait of weed (more potent probably, although the quality of the high might've been a factor) that was selected for. think of tastier, juicier apples: you wouldn't need to know anything about chemistry to choose to grow the trees that make them that way.
I used to get more stoned on trim than I do from most gourmet exotics colas today.
sometimes dispensaries have trim and flower of the same strain and producer - and the THC measurements are near-identical. I take lab results with a grain of salt, but totally agree with you that non-flower can be plenty potent.
I thought I was getting something comparable to what you may have experienced from the "natural" plant before it was bred to produce the crazy high THC content that we see today.
I imagine people's tolerance was generally lower back then (with the possible exception of heavy users with access to great hash...). I can barely fathom the level of tolerance of people dabbing 80+% products 20+ times a day... I hung out with a guy once who dabbed every 10-15 min. - and seemed utterly unaffected.

just to make matters more complex, there's the psychological component. how else can you explain 'contact high' (and I don't mean breathing secondhand smoke): people getting a buzz from just being around high people? weed clearly isn't like alcohol of heroin: if you were totally baked and had to drive someone to the ER, don't you think you could sober up (at least some if not totally)? some would argue, but I think the scientific consensus is that you can't 'sober yourself up' when drunk or on heroin.

another possible manifestation of the psychological component is the phenomenon of people usually not getting a buzz the first time they use: it's almost like they have to learn how to (let themselves?) get high. we know the receptors are already there, so what's that about?

anyways, there's no doubt in my mind that the mind-set people brought to weed in the 60's ("let's alter our consciousness!") had an effect on the type of experience they ended up having.

my .02
 

TheEncore

Member
That's an interesting point re: the psychology of the user going into the experience and placebo and I suspect you're right that it's significant although I doubt it accounts for a majority of the effect for most of us.

I guess the question I'm trying to get at is whether you feel different having a particular dose of THC, let's call it X THC, and Y amount of terps as opposed to X THC and 4 times Y terps.
 
TheEncore,

darbarikanada

Well-Known Member
I guess the question I'm trying to get at is whether you feel different having a particular dose of THC, let's call it X THC, and Y amount of terps as opposed to X THC and 4 times Y terps.
I don't know how you'd test this; you'd have to have 2 batches of weed that are identical except for the quantity of terpenes.

I'm kind of a skeptic about whether terpenes have psychological effects (e.g. limonene = creativity), so if I were to speculate, I'd say there wouldn't be a difference between your 2 hypothetical batches of weed, but that's just me - I'm sure most FC posters would disagree.
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
I get higher adding a little hemp to my dispo flower. There are some interesting minors or something going on in hemp.
 
florduh,

darbarikanada

Well-Known Member
I get higher adding a little hemp to my dispo flower. There are some interesting minors or something going on in hemp.
interesting. 'they' say CBD (which hemp has lots of, right?) doesn't get you high, even counteracts THC, i.e. makes you less high. go figure.
 
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666Honeybadger

Well-Known Member
Indeed strange/questionable that this study was compromised before it even started: speed drying like that will easily ruin any quality of bud...
Dry in 6 -8 hours? Uhuh... Nice start!

Made me sceptical and might be why i read thru the rest of the text diagonal/'half-harted'.

But still made me wonder how accurate their conclusions (concerning the percentages of THC-degradation over time) really are...
And how that relates to curing weed.
I mean: are we losing that much THC thru curing/long term storage?
 

florduh

Well-Known Member
interesting. 'they' say CBD (which hemp has lots of, right?) doesn't get you high, even counteracts THC, i.e. makes you less high. go figure.

I mean, if you do like 50/50, it will counteract the THC. But just adding a little sends me to space. I even noticed straight hemp hitting me behind the eyes in a way most CBD concentrates do not.
 

666Honeybadger

Well-Known Member
weed in the freezer for years and this rings true; I recently vaped some 8 year old weed and it was still great.
Great to hear!
8 years is a lo-o-o-ong time :o
For years i have been "dreaming"/"planning" to start something like a "weed-cellar". Collecting favourite strains in small glass jars, for different reasons:
For future tastings/comparing,
for ultra smooth/complex tastes from extreme curing (like aged wines/spirits),
as future reference for a certain strain (So nostalgia can be verified/countered)
just to remember/preserve the smell,
...
Like a weed library!

Imagine talking bout old days and being able to dig out a sealed jar with some epic White Widow from 2006...
Or going to a "Bud-bar" where you can order 'a la carte': "i'll start with the greenhouse grown Ultrawhite Amnesia, 2017 harvest! Yes, that was a great sativa-summer"

Seeing those degradation numbers spoiled my dream, even tho i know deep down my dream might stay an illusion...
I think my max was 2 years until dry times came and i caved in...
Still: somebody should do it, for future generations!

Again: 8 years is pretty impressive! Like a little time capsule!
How was the taste?
Doesn't it get wet/moist when you take it out of the freezer? How do you pack it? Just in glass jars?

Edit: Read the link a bit better, guess i'll be making room in the freezer!
And that weed-cellar will have to be a weed-freezer i reckon...
 
666Honeybadger,

darbarikanada

Well-Known Member
8 years is pretty impressive! Like a little time capsule!
How was the taste?
Doesn't it get wet/moist when you take it out of the freezer? How do you pack it? Just in glass jars?
it does seem like the flavor might suffer a little bit, even be a tad less potent, but it still tastes good and works fine. (disclaimer: I love how you can really taste weed/hash while vaping, but I'm not as hard-core as a lot of the people on this site.) I have lots of strains that are years old; I think the oldest is 9 years. I keep everything in little plastic bags or pre-roll tubes in plastic food storage containers in the freezer, haven't had any moisture issues.
Imagine talking bout old days and being able to dig out a sealed jar with some epic White Widow from 2006...
Or going to a "Bud-bar" where you can order 'a la carte': "i'll start with the greenhouse grown Ultrawhite Amnesia, 2017 harvest! Yes, that was a great sativa-summer"
I keep track of how strains make me feel, so I can tailor the strain to the situation, e.g "I'm going to a classical music concert. a pure sativa would have me jumping out of the chair, but a heavy indica might make me nod out... better go with a hybrid", or even more specific: "I'm going to a dance club where I won't know anybody, so I want an energizing strain, but one that makes me feel cocky."

I call my stash my 'pharmacopeia'.
 
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shredder

Well-Known Member
I'd need another freezer (number 3) to store all my weed if I kept it there.

I do store my feco/rso and rosin in a freezer.

Dry sift hash and dried, ground into powder, decarbed buds I store in jars in a small refrigerator turned down to near freezing in my grow room.

If I have buds approaching a year old I generally make concentrates. I'm slowly accumulating variety specific feco with and without cbd.

When I have a freezer full of concentrates, I'm retiring, lol.
 

MilesHigh

Black Taoist
I can say the Afghan strains I was smoking in Afghanistan in 1980 smelled stronger, were sticky as a fly strip and were far stonier than any of the stuff available today from the top shelf of the local dispensaries. No scientific evidence I just know one joint would put several of us out for the count back then and that simply isn't the case today.
 
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