Everything You Need to Know About Low-THC Strains


Low THC is often regarded as less than desirable among people with higher weed tolerances. It’s true that someone who has been smoking cannabis daily for years isn’t going to feel the effects of a low THC strain in a meaningful way. However, these people are in the minority. 

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People who don’t use weed on a daily basis or people who are using weed strictly for medicinal purposes may love low THC strains specifically because their elevating effects aren’t as overwhelming. 

If you’re new to weed or if you don’t understand why people love it so much, a low THC strain might be a better fit for you.

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THC percentages in weed

In the olden days, weed used to have very little THC. The majority of strains were under 10% THC. 

If you feel like weed is stronger than it used to be, you’re right. Growers focus on boosting the potency of their plants, sometimes escalating them as high as 30% THC by dry weight, which equates to 30 mg of THC per gram. 

This would be considered a high THC percentage by any standard, simply because percentages cannot get much higher than that. It’s the upper end of what’s possible for growers to cultivate. 

What is a low THC percentage?

Most people have a subjective definition of what constitutes a low THC strain. Since the upper end is somewhere around 30%, weed in the 20% range would be considered lower. All things considered, weed in the 20% range still contains a whole lot of THC. 

The casual consumer would consider weed under 20% to be low THC weed. Some people would consider weed under 10% to be low THC. If you went to a medical cannabis dispensary and asked for a low THC strain, they would present you with strains that contain less than 1% THC. 

Many people who prefer low THC strains would consider any strain under 10% THC to be low in THC. A 10% strain will contain 100 mg of THC per gram, and this gives people options. It’s easy to smoke more or smoke less depending on personal preference or desired effects. 

What about high CBD strains?

High CBD strains are generally very low in THC. 

Strains like Harlequin, Critical Mass CBD, Ringo’s Gift, Cannatonic, and Sour Tsunami are revered specifically for their high CBD content. People who live with chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis tend to gravitate towards high CBD strains for the relief they provide. 

CBD prevents THC from binding to your brain’s cannabinoid receptors, throttling its ability to intoxicate you. High CBD low THC strains may not produce noteworthy intoxicating effects due to this interaction between the cannabinoids. 

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Who should use low THC strains?

Low THC strains are great for beginners or people who use cannabis infrequently. If you only smoke weed one weekend every month, a 25% THC strain can be overwhelming. It might make you feel paranoid or anxious. It might make you feel glued to the couch. The strong effects of the THC aren’t suited to your tolerance, and you’re more likely to have a bad experience. 

If you find that you’re sensitive to the negative side effects of THC, a low THC strain is probably the answer. You’ll chill out and enjoy yourself, and you’ll be able to participate in whatever social activity or creative endeavor is transpiring around the weed. 

Do you want to hang out and play guitar? Do you want to write a cool piece of fiction, do a watercolor painting, or spend an afternoon cleaning your house? A low THC strain will make these activities a little more fun. Low THC sativa strains might help to spark up some energy, creativity, or inspiration. 

If you want to spend a night pampering yourself, doing yoga, reading a book, or meditating, the gentle sedative effects of a low THC indica may help you achieve the perfect headspace for relaxation. 

Medical cannabis patients love low THC strains. These people might enjoy the elevating effects of THC from time to time, but these effects aren’t their primary reason for using cannabis. They want to experience benefits to their mental or physical wellness from the plant. Some medical cannabis patients have absolutely no interest in the recreational benefits of cannabis. They want to treat their symptoms and feel better so they can live their lives without interruption.

THC is the only intoxicating cannabinoid. It may have some effects that help with the management of pain, so choosing a strain that has a little bit of THC can be advantageous for some medical cannabis patients. CBD can promote relaxation, and the personal experiences of many medical cannabis patients seem to indicate that pain relief is more pronounced from high CBD strains. 

How to choose a low THC strain

Outside of the THC content, the differences between low THC strains are exactly the same as the differences between all other strains. Low THC strains can be indica dominant, sativa dominant, or hybrids. They each boast their own unique terpene profile that helps to produce the effects that users report when they use these strains. 

If you’re using cannabis for a targeted concern, it helps to read reviews of a strain to determine what’s going to work for you. Everyone is different, and your experience with a particular strain may not be the same as someone else’s experience with the same strain. 

The best way to tell if a low THC strain is going to agree with you would be to smell it. If the smell is pleasant to you, that usually indicates that the aromatic terpenes of the plant will work for you. 

If you can’t smell your weed before you buy it, it helps to know what kind of fragrances and flavors you enjoy and how they make you feel. Reading the terpene profile of a strain will give you a great idea of what that experience is going to be like for you.

Terpenes are very similar to aromatherapy. Terpenes like limonene are very lemony and zesty. They’re bright and uplifting. Terpenes like myrcene are a combination of spicy and sweet. They might make you feel relaxed. If lavender helps you sleep like a baby, look for strains with linalool. If the smell of pine trees soothes you, pinene is going to hit the spot. 

If you’re still in the experimental phase, pick up a very small quantity of a few strains to see how they work for you. When you find the winner, go ahead and stock up. If you keep it in an opaque airtight container in a cool dark place, it can stay fresh for months. 

Alternatives to low THC strains

If you’re having a difficult time tracking down a low THC strain, go for CBD flower. All CBD flowers are low THC by nature. Hemp flower is bred to be high in CBD and contains no meaningful amounts of THC. The THC in plants designated as hemp is so low that you’re not going to feel any of its effects. 

You also have the option of using a minimal amount of a medium THC strain. If you use a one-hitter pipe or pack just a small pinch of higher THC weed into a bowl, you’re going to be less impacted by the strain. If your strain is 20% THC, it’s 200 mg of THC per gram. Therefore, 0.25 grams will contain 50 mg of THC, the same as a whole gram of a 5% THC strain. This might take some dialing in, but once you find the perfect amount, you can stick to it all the time. 

You can also turn to different forms of cannabis with high CBD to low THC ratios. Cannabis wellness products like tinctures and tablets come in a variety of different ratios. You can use a 30:1 ratio tincture, where there is 30 mg of CBD for every 1 mg of THC. 

The takeaway

Low THC strains are something to be celebrated. They’re extremely helpful to medical cannabis patients and people who use cannabis as a wellness tool rather than a recreational tool. 

There’s nothing wrong with a THC-packed powerhouse if that’s what you’re into, but other people may not be on the same level. The beautiful thing about cannabis is that everyone can enjoy it in some form or another. It’s time to show more love to low THC strains.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, Emjay can deliver you cannabis wellness products or low THC strains in about half an hour. If you’re excited to give low THC strains a shot, you won’t have to wait very long. Choose something that looks appealing to you. We’ll be there soon. 


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