What Is High THC, and Is It All You Need in Your Cannabis?

You’ve probably heard the saying (or said it yourself): “More is better.” Sounds good—but it’s not the best approach when you’re choosing medical or recreational cannabis products. You may be thinking all you need is something with “high THC,” but more THC or a higher high isn’t necessarily going to help you relax or reduce your pain. In fact, as we’ve seen at Aunt Mary’s, some strains do much better at giving you what you need most, even if they less THC.

Let’s take a closer look at THC and the other beneficial chemicals in cannabis, so you can locate superior cannabis products that relax you, provide medicinal benefits, and enhance your overall well-being.

What Exactly Is THC?

THC is a short-hand term for tetrahydrocannabinol, the technical name for what gives marijuana its ability to affect your body and mind. In other words, it’s what creates the high you feel. THC is similar to a set of chemicals that the human body already makes naturally, known as cannabinoids, which enhance memory, thinking, and our sense of time. 

Since we already have receptors for cannabinoids in our brains, THC can go right to those spots of our brain and go to work. It activates our brain’s pathways and influences our thoughts and feelings—creating the euphoric, mind-altering high marijuana is known for. 

But when you’re looking for a cannabis product to help you chill or reduce pain, THC isn’t all there is to consider. The picture is bigger than that. Different weed strains feature unique blends of many cannabinoids in addition to THC—giving you many benefits (and a few risks) you’ll want to keep in mind as you choose what’s right for you.

Why Using the Highest THC Strains Isn’t Always Best

If THC produces that well-known marijuana buzz, why isn’t it automatically a good idea to use a high THC strain when you’re shopping for cannabis?

First of all, it’s a matter of knowing what you’re getting. Just a few decades ago, the average amount of THC in marijuana was a mere 4%, but these days, it’s as much as 20-30% in many strains. That’s a huge difference! Concentrated forms of cannabis (such as dabs) can contain as much as 90%. This may sound good at first—but too much THC can create a lot of unpleasant, even dangerous side effects. 

Second, a lot of THC doesn’t always give you a stronger high—and the high may not actually help you relax or feel better. The risks of using high THC products are usually greater than it’s worth to use them.

Beware these common risks and side effects of high THC

Consuming too much THC can be a real letdown in many ways. It can cause a lot of problems and worrisome side effects, including:

  • Increased paranoia and anxiety — Many people want to enjoy cannabis in order to relax. High THC defeats that goal. Instead of a soothing effect, you may feel jittery and anxious. If you’re already prone to anxiety, this side effect is even worse.
  • Impairment of judgment and cognitive function — High levels of THC can wreak your ability to make good decisions. It also makes it harder to remember things and reduces your attention span. 
  • Physical health concerns — According to Live Science, too much THC can create physical health issues that you didn’t have before, including heart problems. It can also impair motor skills so that tasks such as driving become unsafe.
  • Worsening mental health — In people with mental wellness diagnoses such as schizophrenia, THC can trigger a relapse or make your symptoms worse.
  • Impacts on work and life — All these effects of high THC can end up making your everyday life a lot harder. If your work requires drug testing, for example, there are many lower-level cannabis strains and CBD products that will give you the therapeutic benefits you want, without putting your job at risk.

How Other Cannabis Components (Besides THC) Reduce Side Effects and Give Greater Benefits

Side effects are no fun, right? So, what lessens the risk of side effects when you’re using cannabis? According to a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the answer is found in the other compounds in marijuana—known as cannabinoids and terpenes, which are simply two types of chemicals found in weed. that help to lower the risk of side effects from things like THC and cannabis in general. If you want to enjoy positive results from cannabis, then the cannabinoids and terpenes are key. 

That’s why the right strain matters so much when you’re shopping for either medical or recreational weed! Pick the ideal blend of all these ingredients, and you get the best fit for your needs, with the least amount of side effects. So it’s important to understand what they do for you.


Cannabinoids are the compounds in cannabis that affect your brain and body’s performance. There are actually two types of cannabinoids that occur naturally—endocannabinoids, which our body’s endocrine system makes, and phytocannabinoids, which are found in plants such as hemp and marijuana. 

There are over 100 plant-based cannabinoids—THC is just one of them. Another well-known one is CBD, but there are plenty of others that relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and treat anxiety and depression, according to the Kinsey Lab at the University of Connecticut. All cannabinoids affect your body, but not all of them will make you high. That’s important if you’re looking to safely enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana.


Terpenes are aromatic oils that give a plant its unique fragrance. They’re found in all kinds of plants, including weed. So, terpenes give marijuana strains their specific scent. And since your cannabis product’s smell is a major part of the experience, you’ll also want to choose a strain that has a fragrance you like. 

In addition, these fragrant oils can have therapeutic value as well. Terpenes are the reason that lavender is considered calming, citrus is refreshing and antibacterial, and peppermint oil is soothing for tension headaches. Your cannabis strain can produce similar good feelings for you.

The Combined Effect Is What Gives You the Best Results

It’s the unique recipe of different terpenes and cannabinoids in a cannabis strain that gives you the results you’re looking for—the relaxation, the reduced pain, the pleasant feelings. This is known as the “entourage effect”—which is just another way of saying that everything that a strain of cannabis contains all works hand-in-hand to deliver the benefits you’re looking for. It’s the team of chemical compounds—all the many cannabinoids and terpines combined—that produce your results. THC can’t do the work alone—and you shouldn’t rely on it to do so. 

Remember, too, that different strains of cannabis different uses. Not all weed is alike, just as people aren’t! Look for a strain that fits your goals, one that treats your concerns so you can feel good, the way you want to. 

How to Choose the Best THC Level for You

As we learn more about how cannabis benefits the body and mind, it’s becoming clearer than ever that different strains with different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes—beyond THC—give people great therapeutic benefits.

So, how do you find the right strain, with the optimal level of THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes? 

First, do some research to learn about the specific cannabis strains that treat what you’re looking for. Then, look for plant varieties that offer a good balance of terpenes and cannabinoids. As you shop, keep an eye out for labels that say “full spectrum,” “live resin,” or “live rosin.” These terms mean the product has been made from whole cannabis extract, so it has a reliable blend of cannabinoids and terpenes to boost the benefits you get.

Affordable, High-Quality Cannabis Products from Your Local Experts 

As you shop for cannabis, look for places with well-trained staff. People who understand the differences between products will be better at helping you pinpoint the right strain for your situation. 

At Aunt Mary’s, our experienced customer representatives provide professional, discreet, reliable guidance on all our products so you can find a perfect fit to meet your needs. Check out our online shop to learn more—and let us know how we can help you!