Quality vs. Quantity - Sometimes Less is More

Lack of Education is Preventing Cannabis Users From Purchasing Their Best Bud

In my opinion there is one glaring issue holding the cannabis industry back from gaining new market share, and that is lack of proper education. Personally, I’ve heard the phrase “cannabis gives me anxiety” countless times. While it is true that cannabis isn’t for everyone, I truly believe that many people are turned off cannabis because they have a poor experience with it due to lack of education. most customers enter a store with limited or no knowledge about cannabis, armed only with the information THC = good. New users walk up to the budtender, get hit with a wall of jargon that they don’t understand, and inevitably choose the strain with the highest THC for the lowest price. This is unfortunately often a terrible idea; I can’t recall the last time I walked into a liquor store and bought a bottle of everclear because it was the best bang for your buck. Not to mention that the effects of cannabis are vastly more dynamic than alcohol.

Cannabis is made up of hundreds of different phytochemicals and terpenes, all of which are interacting to produce your desired high. This concept of a whole flower approach is relatively new to the field and is best described by the entourage effect. A basic summary of the entourage effect is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Research on exactly which cannabinoid and terpene interactions produce what desired effect has suffered from almost a century of prohibition but the scientific consensus is that you can get synergistic medical and recreational benefits from combining multiple cannabinoids and terpenes, making it more effective than isolates.

An unfortunate side effect of our one-track minds focusing purely on THC is that selective breeding has narrowed cannabinoid and terpene profiles. The race to satisfy customer thirst for high THC content has unfortunately led to fewer producers entering the lower THC market, this is basic supply and demand. I postulate that the customer at this point in a new emerging market doesn’t necessarily know what is best for them. First time consumers that try a high THC product may reject cannabis as a viable option if they don’t receive the education they require. Customers are purchasing these high THC strains without realizing that the higher quality, lower THC strains will still get you high while also more accurately targeting the effects you desire.  

It is the responsibility of the industry as a whole to shift the paradigm in order to expand market share and increase customer satisfaction.


The most well studied cannabinoid interaction is between THC and CBD. THC is the principal psychoactive component of cannabis, which at first glance may seem like a good indicator of cannabis quality; however, THC is also responsible for much of the stoned anxiety that smokers encounter. CBD on the other hand does not have the same psychoactivity as THC but exhibits a whole host of medical benefits including decreasing anxiety, which could benefit a user struggling with anxiety that still wants to enjoy cannabis. Additionally, while CBD has been shown to not exhibit the same psychoactive properties as THC it can modify the effects of THC on the body.

THC and Terpenes

Terpenes are responsible for the aroma of cannabis. Whether it’s a lemony pepper, fruity, earthy musk, that’s all in the terpenes. Terpenes are what you smell, and the nose knows best. The practice of aromatherapy is heavily influenced by terpenes. Smell heavily influences our taste so by the transitive properties of terpene smell science that means that terpenes are also responsible for much of the flavour of your favorite buds.

Terpenes promote relaxation, stress relief, anti-anxiety, focus, pain relief, and honestly too many other great things to list them all. In addition to the direct physiological and mental benefits of terpenes, they may also increase the impacts of cannabinoids. Myrcene, for example, is found in many relaxing cannabis strains and not only promotes relaxation but also allows cannabinoids to pass through the blood-brain barrier more readily; thereby increasing the effects of those cannabinoids.

A 2010 study published in the British journal of Pharmacology found synergistic medical benefits in phytocannabinoids based treatment programs when combined with terpenes. This same study went on to conclude selective breeding of cannabis strains to broaden both terpene and cannabinoid profiles was the next rational target when approaching cannabis-catered treatment plans for disorders such as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and drug dependency. You need the whole salad and not just the lettuce.

How Important are Budtenders in the Process?

Our great budtenders are the first line of defence for new cannabis users. This is a new industry and in my opinion they do as much as they can to help users pick appropriate strains. It just comes down to rewiring the way we perceive cannabis. A good product should be judged by function and desired effect, not just on if it gets you high. This means that we need to examine cannabis on a whole plant level rather than an individual cannabinoid level. Picking a lower THC strain that has CBD and a bouquet of accompanying terpenes will not only still get you high, it will more accurately target those exact effects that you are looking for.

Second Chances

If you are one of the many people out there that had an unfortunate experience with cannabis - perhaps anxiety played a role - I urge you to do more research on the plant and if you feel comfortable try a low THC strain. I’ve been smoking a CBD peach puree that I love and have let multiple friends try who were previously turned off cannabis, the results were overwhelmingly positive from everyone. The cannabis industry needs an overhaul in how it ranks products for users but until that occurs educate yourself, enjoy yourself, and stay lifted.

Stay Lifted,

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