THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Known to give users that 'high' feeling, researchers have found that products with high levels of THC do not necessarily produce a stronger 'high' than those with lower levels.
Their study included 121 people who either use cannabis flowers or cannabis concentrates, a concentrated form of cannabis' most potent parts. In total, 55 of the participants were 'flower users' while 66 used concentrates. They were aged between 21 and 70 and had used cannabis four times within the month before the study.
The researchers instructed those using flowers to purchase 3 grams of either a 16% THC strain or a 24% THC strain. Meanwhile, those who use concentrates were asked to buy a gram of either 70% or 90% THC concentrate.
After five days for each candidate to familiarize themselves with their new cannabis, each person used the cannabis at home with their preferred method of consumption. The researchers then used a mobile lab to check the short-term effects of their usage of the plant while they were under its effects.
In the end, those using concentrates reported 'more frequent current concentrate use' and higher THC levels in their blood than those using flowers. However, according to the researchers, they did not display greater short-term subjective, cognitive, or balance impairment, meaning they were not necessarily 'higher' than their flower-consuming counterparts.
Due to the limited amount of existing literature on how THC affects the brain, the researchers were hoping to assess the potential adverse effects of the substance. Although their research has shown that higher THC concentrations in the bloodstream do not tamper with cognitive abilities any more than lower levels, they say that high THC exposure may still be a reason for concern. They thus hope to delve into the longer-term clinical and neurobehavioral impacts of the substance in the future.
Sources: The Cannigma, JAMA Network