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Higher THC Levels Does Not Mean You Get ‘More Stoned’ Says New Study


higher thc more stoned

If you’ve been shelling out lots of money to buy weed with higher THC levels with the intention of getting higher, then the news might shock you.


New research from the University of Colorado Boulder revealed that just because you’re smoking higher potency cannabis doesn’t mean you will be getting more stoned. It does mean that it will increase THC concentrations in the blood, though. It’s the first study of its kind to measure how cannabis affects real cannabis consumers, using legal products that are found in the market.


For the study, they analyzed 121 consumers of cannabis flower as well as concentrates. The samples were legally acquired from the state. The concentrates they used varied from 70 to 90% THC, and the flower potencies varied from 16 to 24% THC. They found that the participants who consumed concentrates reflected higher THC levels within their blood before, right after, and an hour after consumption. They had around 1,016 micrograms per milliliter of blood. Meanwhile, those who consumed flower had around 455 micrograms per milliliter.


What surprised them was that when the consumers’ self-reports for intoxication, cognitive impairment, and balance were “remarkably similar.”


According to Cinnamon Bidwell, the study’s lead author as well as an assistant professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science, they found that “potency did not track with intoxication levels,” though they “saw striking differences in blood levels between the two groups, they were similarly impaired.”


“It raises a lot of questions about how quickly the body builds up tolerance to cannabis and whether people might be able to achieve desired results at lower doses,” she said in a statement.


Kent Hutchinson, professor of psychology and neuroscience at University of Colorado Boulder explained that if they were looking at alcohol and increased alcohol levels in the blood, “it would have been a different story.”


“People in the high concentration group were much less compromised than we thought they were going to be,” he said.


Additionally, they found that the participants’ balance was around 11% worse after they got stoned. It also impaired their memory but these effects were gone in around an hour.


What the findings reveal is that people who consume cannabis concentrates regularly will develop a tolerance eventually. There could also be biological and genetic factors at play, causing some people to metabolize THC quicker than others. Additionally, when cannabinoids react to receptors in the brain which causes intoxication, adding more cannabinoids will not have a greater effect.


This news could be striking when you think about how much cash you shelled out for potent or high THC cannabis, especially if you are a regular user.


Managing Your THC Tolerance


With these findings, unless you’ve already discovered it yourself if you’re a seasoned cannabis consumer, you now know that just because a dispensary charges more for strains or concentrates with higher THC levels doesn’t mean you’re going to get even higher.


You can probably remember how, when you first started smoking weed, all you needed was a hit or three to feel really stoned. Fast-forward a few years later, and now you need to smoke an entire joint in order to feel the same way. These rules also apply to other methods of cannabis consumption, including edibles and concentrates.


It’s inevitable that anyone who consumes cannabis regularly will develop a tolerance to it. The same is true for alcohol and just about any other drug in the world. It’s just how our bodies are wired. The human body is naturally self-regulating, which means that it will automatically impose limits to the THC you consume when you smoke it frequently or for long periods of time. Eventually, the brain will desensitize the CB1 receptors to which the THC attaches, studies find. As a result, the experience is less intense because you have developed a tolerance.


You could be surprised by how the body builds a tolerance to THC, and how flexible the body is. That’s why concentrate users will usually say that after some time, smoking cannabis flower just doesn’t do anything for them anymore. Meanwhile, if you’re a cannabis flower consumer, it could take a while to build up that tolerance.

Understanding your own body’s tolerance and limits is the best way to determine just how much weed you need to be just the right amount of stoned. Listening to your body could be key in actually saving yourself some money, and always being sure how much you need to feel the hit you desire. There’s no reason you should be spending so much money on high THC products if you don’t need it.


There are reasons why cannabis users go on tolerance breaks occasionally in order to reset it. Sometimes, all you need is just one night’s sleep, though if you are a regular and frequent user, it can take up to 4 weeks for a full reset back to your baseline sensitivity.


After a tolerance break, whether you do it for a night, 48 hours, or 21 days, it’s always wise to be cautious of how much you smoke once you start consuming again. Remember that any reset will reduce your tolerance so a smaller amount of THC can get you pretty high when you jump right back in. You might want to start slow and gradually with a smaller amount of THC than what you are used to until you find the perfect balance. 






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