24 April 2022 |

The Paradox Of Potency

By Matthew O'Brien

Breaking down the hidden reason why the demand for high THC products is rising…

Eye opening would be an understatement.

That’s how I would describe my experiences with cannabis over the last number of weeks as I sought to answer a billion dollar question.

The key question: Why has THC remained the single source of truth when it comes to measuring the value of cannabis products in 2022?

Background Information

Normally, I would argue THC will not remain the most popular method to measure the value of cannabis products long term — in today’s edition of The Green Paper, I will be taking the opposite side of the argument.

Before this, it’s important to understand both sides of this argument.

The best argument as to why THC won’t remain the single source of truth when it comes to measuring the value of cannabis products is that THC is all but one molecule that determines how cannabis products effect consumers.

As such, given enough time — consumers will collectively choose the products that consistently produce their desired experience, as opposed to the highest THC cannabis products.

The Pros & Cons

While this argument has much merit, it also forecasts a future that’s inconsistent with the present approach consumers have adopted when purchasing cannabis.

Granted, the only constant is change in cannabis, however, such a change is contingent upon consumers changing how they consume & purchase cannabis.

I don’t see this happening for a number of reasons.

A Growing Industry

In the absence of education — misinformation will happily take its place.

Today, the cannabis industry is plagued with misinformation that unfortunately makes perfect sense given the absence of any major emphasis on education inside the cannabis industry.

One such area we have discussed is how the terms Indica, and Sativa & Hybrids are presented to consumers as being clear indications of how products will effect them — even though we know cannabis effects everyone differently?

(Ruderalis is a close cousin of cannabis plants)

Besides misrepresenting the meaning of terms Indica, Sativa & Hybrid in the cannabis industry, there are also other areas the cannabis industry currently overlooks when it comes to educating consumers.

Room For Improvement

Educating consumers on all of the complexity of cannabis is difficult.

Personally, I have not once in my 4 years working in the cannabis industry had someone in a cannabis retail store explain how I would develop a tolerance to THC due to the downregulation of my CB1 receptors.

The down regulation of our CB1 receptors occurs when someone is consuming  cannabinoids at a frequency that doesn’t allow these receptors to recharge:

“Downregulation becomes cumulative when cannabis use is repeated before CB1 receptors have fully upregulated after the last exposure to THC.

Laboratory animals given a daily dose of THC for two weeks have 20-60% fewer CB1 receptors depending on what area of the brain is being measured.” — Timmen L. Cermak MD

It’s my perspective that this factor is having a much greater impact on the rising demand for high THC products than many of us would estimate.

This became very apparent to me in the last 6 weeks, as I was consistently having to increase the quantity of cannabinoids I was consuming in order to achieve the same desired outcome I was seeking.

The Implications

For consumers who choose to incorporate cannabinoids into their life on a daily basis, they will have little choice but to gradually increase the quantity of cannabinoids they are consuming over time.

As less CB1 receptors remain available, consumers increase the quantity of cannabinoids they are consuming to compensate which accounts for the rising & persistent demand for high THC products.

It’s my perspective that this factor is having a immense impact on the products regular cannabis consumers are purchasing today, as consumers naturally gravitate towards higher potency products over an extended period of time.

This is an important consideration as it changes the demand for high THC products from being somewhat irrational behavior to a logical decision by consumers.

Closing Comments

The cannabis industry is less than 5 years away in some estimations from being able to access any & all of the 120 known cannabinoids.

Looking at the value people obtain from consuming CBN & CBD, I suspect there will be other cannabinoids that become very popular.

While there is the possibility that consumers may prefer a different combination of cannabinoids vs THC alone — I suspect the demand for THC products will continue to grow as more & more nations loosen their laws when it comes to cannabis.