If you are in the cannabis industry chances are you know what the letters THC stand for. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. THC is specifically listed under Schedule I by US federal law under the Controlled Substances Act for having “no accepted medical use” and a “lack of accepted safety.” According to Gallup’s most recent poll, 66% of American voters and everyone in the cannabis industry in the United States or worldwide, will tell you they strongly disagree with this classification of THC and the reasoning behind it. In order to change the United States government’s view on THC and other countries, it is important to understand this component of cannabis.
One way to begin to have a better understanding of THC is to figure out how much of it is in cannabis? That is exactly what research from UBC’s Okanagan campus set out to do and was able to come to a conclusion. The research from the Canadian university determined that many strains of cannabis have virtually identical levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), despite various claims and names given in the unregulated and regulated markets.
“It is estimated that there are several hundred or perhaps thousands of strains of cannabis currently being cultivated,” says Professor Susan Murch, who teaches chemistry at UBC Okanagan. “We wanted to know how different they truly are, given the variety of unique and exotic names.”
Cannabis breeders have historically selected strains to produce THC, CBD or both, she explains. But the growers have had limited access to different types of plants and there are few records of the parentage of different strains.
“People have had informal breeding programs for a long time,” Murch says. “In a structured program we would keep track of the lineage, such as where the parent plants came from and their characteristics. With unstructured breeding, which is the current norm, particular plants were picked for some characteristic and then given a new name.”
The research shows that most strains, regardless of their origin or name, had the same amount of THC and CBD. They further discovered that breeding highly potent strains of cannabis impacts the genetic diversity within the crop, but not THC or CBD levels.
“A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn’t necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains,” says Mudge. “Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community.”
Cannabis has been around a long time, but many scientists and cannabis enthusiasts believe there is a great deal we still don’t know about the plant. An understanding of the amount of THC in various strains is not only interesting but can help states and countries make more sensible laws when it comes to regulation. This information can help cannabis testing labs establish more accurate baseline amounts of THC when testing cannabis for various reasons. At S2S Insurance Specialists we not only provide risk management strategies for cannabis companies, we are advocates for the legalization and safe use of cannabis. Contact Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance today for assistance with your cannabis business risk management strategy.