Apr 28 2017 . 9 min read
By Popular Demand The highs and lows of patient desire for THC-dominant strains
By Popular Demand The highs and lows of patient desire for THC-dominant strains
By Justin Alexander
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the euphoric or psychoactive effects in cannabis, is currently very much in demand by Nevada’s medical marijuana patients. For some, it’s because THC gives relief to the severe effects resulting from PTSD and chemotherapy, nausea, neuropathic pain, and HIV/Aids.
Other, less educated, cannabis users seek out high THC strains because of the assumption that the more THC there is, the more bang they are getting for their buck. Or, perhaps, consumers have only heard of THC and so aren’t familiar enough with cannabis’ other compounds to ask about the healing effects of cannabidiol (CBD) or terpenes.
While THC may be what first attracts patients to cannabis use in newer markets such as Nevada’s, industry experts hope that the other cannabis properties and their benefits will eventually be better understood and considered more carefully by patients. “Hopefully, as Nevada evolves and cannabis users become more educated, they will find increased value in terpenes and other cannabinoids (such as CBD),” says Jeremy Francisco, analytical chemist at Nevada Organic Remedies.
Virtue Las Vegas’ lead cultivator David Holmes agrees, very succinctly summing up the nuances of understanding cannabis wholly with the following comparison, “A 30-percent THC strain is about as interesting to a cannabis connoisseur as Everclear is to a seasoned small-batch single-malt Scotch aficionado.”
The+Source’s Kush Master Distillate
THC: 82.8 percent
A vape cartridge for patients who want a high dose of medicine, Kush Master Distillate undergoes a process called fractional distillation in an effort to make its hue more appealing. “During the development of the Kush Master distillate, the underlying goal was to remove the dark color present in the strain,” Francisco says. “As with most indica-dominant strains, the CO2 extracted oil tends to have a chocolaty brown appearance. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding concentrated oil is that a darker color indicates inferior quality, which is not the case. Nonetheless, we decided to use fractional distillation to remove the naturally occurring darker pigment of the strain by filtering out plant matter at a molecular level. As a result, what remains is a highly-concentrated THC value and a beautiful translucent yellow color.”
After using the Kush Master, it will be tough to fight off the zzzs, as it produces an almost immediate heavy, drowsy effect with just one puff. A guaranteed good night’s sleep, it also provides management of deep and extreme pain and is recommended daily for experienced users who can withstand a high that is fast-acting and potent.
Casual users only need to consume a fraction of distillate compared to flower to achieve the same results. “When using distillate for the first time, users should begin with small inhalations and space them appropriately in order to accurately gauge the product’s effect before consuming more,” Francisco advises.
In order to prevent paranoia and anxiety, some strains are now being bred with varying ratios of terpenes and cannabinoids to modulate high THC. “Linalool, a very floral smelling terpene, is known to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties and Kush Master counteracts the effects of anxiety and paranoia because of its considerable linalool and diverse cannabinoid content,” reports Francisco.
Kabunky’s Gorilla Glue
THC: 24.14 percent
An indica-dominant hybrid with a high THC level that glues you into whatever you need to do, Gorilla Glue, with buds that are thick and pillowy resembling clouds of moss with an earthy smell to match, helps with loss of appetite and shreds through pain and insomnia. It is a super relaxing high with strong body effects and is a great companion for binge-watching a favorite television program. Expect to drift in and out. One of the new classics, Gorilla Glue’s earthy flavor is a must-try for those who love Diesel strains.
“There are a variety of benefits from high THC products, I believe one of the best values, however, is the fact that you do not need nearly as much medication to receive those benefits,” says Kabunky’s Chris DeGraff.
Polaris Wellness Center’s Head Cheese
THC ranges from 27 to 33 percent
Master Grower Peter Ishak spent seven years focused on creating the perfect hybrid with super intensity. The product of that passion is Head Cheese. This high-THC strain offers functional daytime pain relief and conversely, in the evening, acts as a sleep aide, submerging you into a deep REM sleep due to its high levels of myrcene. Ishak has seen both cancer patients and veterans seeking high pain relief receive tremendous benefits from this strain. “We can manipulate any cannabis plant to deliver either indica-hybrid or sativa effects,” he says. “It really depends on the patient’s physiology and how they receive [it].” As for THC-dominant products, Ishak says, “The strains in high demand have the highest THC—premium strains that patients [that are] functional and use as a sleeping aide if required. I know of only two strains in the Nevada market that patients are able to manage and control [their state as they see fit]and Head Cheese is one of them.”
Pineapple Express Bakked Pure CO2 Distillate
THC: 89.44 percent
To meet the demand of Nevada's patients for high THC products, OrganaBrands responded by developing a distillate—one of the newest and most exciting forms of concentrates on the market—with superb taste and effect. “The great thing about distillates is they are not only high in THC, but should also have a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes that contribute to the overall medicinal value,” says Margaux Hansberry of Bakked. “You need less of a distillate to reach the desired effect and they are extremely versatile. You will truly feel the genetic potential of each strain in its highest concentrated form.”
The new “cannaisseur,” Hansberry notes, is someone who is educated and understands “what cannabinoid and terpene profile works best for what they are trying to treat. Some enjoy the presence of a terpene called caryophyllene to buffer the nervous head-high associated with high THC products. Sometimes, a nice puff of CBD will help curb those anxious or paranoid thoughts. Other people tend to stick to indica-dominant strains, staying away from terpenes like pinene and limonene which may cause anxious feelings. We've really honed in on hitting high myrcene levels which is most effective for pain relief and helps increase the maximum saturation level of the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors.”
A sativa, Pineapple Express offers a knockout combination of both flavor and potency with terpene and cannabinoid profiles creating a surprising complexity that relaxes you in the best way possible.
Medizin’s Banana OG
THC: 29.8 percent
With the distinct buttery aroma of banana nut, Medizin’s Banana OG minimizes stress from the very moment the jar is cracked open. Muscles melt and hunger begins, all while fighting off sleep, and, in some cases, a bit of dry mouth. After a hit of the indica-dominant strain, find yourself slipping into a relaxed, happy, and hungry state. But all of these effects aren’t just because of a high quantity of THC.
“More THC=better could not be further from the truth,” says Chris Wren, Medizin vice president and cultivator. “As the market matures, the consumer base will begin to realize that it’s not just about that total potential THC number, and more about the overall quality of the cannabis. The magic of the plant is the combination of all cannabinoids, terpenes and non-terpene biomolecules. Yes, of course, a 99 percent pure THC distillate will be potent, but it may not alleviate your insomnia as well as a 20-percent THC flower with two-percent myrcene.”
He points out a common THC misconception about paranoia. “High THC does not necessarily equate to paranoia,” Wren says. “This misconception is derived from the clinical trials where pure THC was compared to THC+ other cannabinoids and terpenes. It is the THC by itself, isolated and alone, that was causing the paranoia. It is all about the total milligram intake of THC and entourage effect.”
Kynd Pure Critical Kush
THC level: 78.3 percent
As pure as its name suggests, Critical Kush isn’t mixed or cut with any other ingredients. It’s pure CO2 oil with a full-bodied terpene profile from pure plant extract. When using Kynd Pure expect a relaxed, deep euphoria and an uplifted happiness. It definitely perks up the day and doesn’t let you languish in the gray zone. Recommended for experienced cannabis users, the high THC does amplify the effects, helping guard against depression, insomnia, stress, pain and nausea.
“There is evidence to suggest that products high in THC can help with conditions such as asthma, seizures, and tics associated with Tourette syndrome,” according to Dr. Sean Devlin, who works with Kynd, and notes other benefits include treating and minimizing nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, pain and insomnia, as well as stimulating appetite.
Cannabiotix WiFi OG
THC: 32 to 34 percent, Delta-9-THC: 32 percent, THC-A: 35.9 percent
When developing WiFi OG, also known as White Fire, Cannabiotix was aiming for a winner in both strength and quality. “Our underlying goal is to produce one of the strongest most knockout, gassy, spewy indicas possible,” relays Head Cultivator Cory Calcagno. “Seen as a traditionally finicky and more sensitive strain, we pay extra careful attention to our OG in the vegetative and flowering cycle to make sure we can get those polished off, diamond golf ball looking gems upon
Look for the WiFi to pack a major couch melt sensation. Definitely great for those suffering from insomnia or chronic pain, WiFi is a potent strain, packed with THC to counteract severe ailments.
Virtue OG by Virtue Las Vegas
THC: 26.37 percent
Full of OG-rich terpenes, experienced users will delight in Virtue OG as it can be described as inducing full relaxation mode. “OG varieties in general are very fast acting and good for many ailments specifically insomnia,” says David Holmes, Virtue Las Vegas’ lead cultivator. But, he notes, effects really vary between individuals. “Every user has a unique but related endocannabinoid system that reacts to cannabinoids and terpenes differently.”
Holmes also emphasizes the importance of production and breeding to maximize terpenes as well as the entourage effect of the whole plant, something that Nevada consumers will come to understand as their palates and knowledge develops. Holmes draws an important comparison to liquor distillation, concluding with an apt analogy, “A 30-percent THC strain is about as interesting to a cannabis connoisseur as Everclear is to a seasoned small-batch single-malt Scotch aficionado.”