Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Sunday, October 21, 2018

New Study Shows Identical Amounts of THC in Different Marijuana Strains

A new study shows that many different strains of marijuana have the same tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations, despite their unique street names. The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia at Okanagan, raises questions about how marijuana is marketed Ubco-yellow-logoto consumers and how informed consumers actually are.

The study, published in Nature’s Scientific Report, examined 33 strains from 5 licensed providers in Canada. The research shows that most strains, regardless of their origin or name, had the same amount of THC and CBD. However, the study found differences in a number of previously unknown cannabinoids in low quantities.

"It is estimated that there are several hundred or perhaps thousands of strains of cannabis currently being cultivated," one of the study’s co-authors, Professor Susan Murch, who teaches chemistry at UBC Okanagan, told ScienMag Science Magazine. She continued, "we wanted to know how different they truly are, given the variety of unique and exotic names."

This study comes at an important time with the legalization of marijuana in Canada and is especially important to consumers who want to be informed when deciding what marijuana strains to purchase. Elizabeth Mudge, co-author of the study and a doctoral student working with Professor Murch explained to ScienMag:

A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn't necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains. Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community.

Although the study showed similar amounts of TCH and CBD in various marijuana strains, the different medicinal effects are still touted by producers and sellers. Currently licensed producers are only required to report THC and CBD values, however, Professor Murch believes her new research highlights that the important distinguishing chemicals in cannabis strains are not necessarily being analyzed and may not be fully identified, especially to consumers. 


--Colin Heinrich

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