What's in a Name? Three-Quarters of Marijuana Strains Tested in New Study Had the Same Amount of THC and CBD

Knowing how much THC is in a given strain might not actually indicate how high you'll get.

A group of researchers from the University of British Columbia recently published a study comparing the chemical makeup of 33 different cannabis strains. Specifically, they focused on how much THC (the primary psychoactive compound) and CBD (a non-psycho active compound that is popular as medication) was found in each strain. Turns out, the levels detected were pretty well the same in three quarters of the strains tested, according to researchers.

"The main THC and CBD composition was not different among 24 of the 33 strains we tested," Susan Murch - one of the study's authors - told Motherboard. "However all of the strains have different names from different producers, so for 73 percent of strains, the name does not really mean that they are different based only on the THC and CBD."

As each of the strains evaluated were purported to contain "quite different" levels of CBD and THC, it makes it difficult for consumers to know what they're getting based on those figures alone.

But while most strains have comparable levels of THC and CBD, that doesn't mean they'll affect the consumer in the exact same way. Researchers noted that those affects may actually come down the various other cannabinoids (the name given to the chemicals found in cannabis) that are present in a strain.

So, different strains probably will affect you differently—even if they all have the same level of THC.


I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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