THC – 06/25/16Market Reports
This report focuses on strains being sold under the Canadian MMPR with high quantities of THC and low quantities of CBD. Some strains will have levels of CBD considered to be higher (>3.5%) but are still categorized as THC facing strains for their high levels of THC.
We track and analyze metrics for medical cannabis available under the Canadian Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. We primarily concentrate on collecting secondary quantitative information currently but look to expand our scope to other areas of analysis in the near future.
In our last report, we wanted to start by orienting ourselves with the logic behind selecting valuable cannabis, the metrics used to measure cannabis and their respective restrictions. This report looks at THC content and THC content with respect to price for all strains available in the MMPR. THC is one indicator of the value and potency for cannabis, however, it should be understood that cannabis potency as an function of THC% is greatly modified by the terpene composition of the strain, in a number of ways including tolerance, neurotransmitter activity and overall medicinal quality. For example, strain X with 20% THC and a large amount of terpene Z will behave very differently than strain B with 20% THC and a large about of terpene C. Moreover, strain X1 with 30%THC and low levels of terpene Z could have comparatively lower medicinal qualities than strain X2 with 20%THC and a large amount of terpene Z.
Another disclaimer to mention here is the scientific equipment and methodology used to determine these values can be associated with large degrees of error. Because the data being used in this report comes from 18 different sources, each with their own unknown degree of error; inaccuracy is very likely. Particularly when we are comparing strains with comparable content (~5-10%THC). So when we look at the ‘top 11 strains’, it’s better to look at them collectively, not comparatively. A 25% OG Kush, a 21% Jack Herer and a 19% Bubba Kush will all behave very differently and will need to be investigated exclusively by each individual.
Also, it’s important to mention that purveyors of fine cannabis do not select on the basis of numerical THC content alone. In actual fact, THC % rarely factors in to the decision making process. Key individuals in the cannabis community have noted this and have brought it to our attention and, as we have historically selected cannabis based on the growth mechanism and by using our sense of scent, sight and touch (in that order), we tend to agree.
As patients, we must procure medical cannabis for ourselves over the internet or telephone. We are given pictures and a short description with THC%, CBD% and (sometimes) the true name of the cannabis strain. Terpene information is steadily coming and branding/marketing will become a larger factor soon. Right now, I tend to select based on my past experience/knowledge of each strain and percent content of THC/CBD. Once I find a reliable strain, I tend to include it in the rotation with other reliable strains.
There are two main drivers of this behaviour: crude grams are limited per month and medical cannabis is expensive. To fully take advantage of my limit, my attempt is to use the least amount of crude cannabis material with the highest medical content, so I tend to gravitate to higher THC strains and those I know work for me. I also factor in per gram pricing with respect to THC content. This is an erroneous methodology suitable only for purchasing online. If I were buying in-person, I would ask how it was grown and smell it before asking about THC%.
So to put this all into context, let’s pretend we’re going to play darts. We’re going to throw the darts through some hula-hoops that may stray the dart’s path; but we don’t get to know if that has happened or not. Also, we don’t even get to see where the darts land; someone from a profit driven company is going to tell us. And, there’s nobody on the other side that really cares exactly what the company guys tell us about the darts’ position. Oh and we’re all going to play for some money and, for some people, your health.
We stick to quantifiable metrics within definable markets. Our attempt is to analyze and process information in an accurate and transparent manner while highlighting all degrees of inconsistencies. This industry can only benefit from further transparency and accountability. We thank those who have questioned and contributed to us along that basis.
Let’s get into the market this week:
Let’s look at all 127 strains graphed alphabetically:
Below, we’re looking at the strains and blends with THC content. First, let’s talk about the restrictions associated with this list:
First, scientific methodology used for testing can have large degrees of error http://www.canorml.org/RingTestOShaughnessys_Aut11.pdf ; sometimes as high as 15%.
Secondly, some LPs use ranges of THC and some use static values. For example, MedReleaf uses ranges for their Eran Almog which we average at 27.5%. The maximum end of this range is 29% and the minimum is 26% THC. In fact, ranges are likely more true to the nature of the cannabis plant as buds have THC and terpene contents relative to their position on the plant; buds near the apical meristem are likely to have higher contents.
Thirdly, these strains are not comparable. Querkle and Super Lemon Haze aren’t comparable strains; they both do different things. Furthermore, Querkle grown in two different environments by two different people will be similar at best. This is largely related to their terpene content but can also be related to growing medium, lighting and shipping method. If you believe in the depth of craft like we do, we’d also say the love and pride put into each plant shows in the end product. So it’s important to do your own qualitative research using other sources; we like Lift.
As mentioned above, all these strains are good. Actually there are 49 strains above 20% THC in the market right now and the majority are likely to have some facet that makes them unique and exceptional. If price is not a restriction for you, most strains above 20% THC are good bets from your respective provider.
Let’s look at the range in THC as a whole for all 127 strains and blends. Not a lot of movement has happened from this week over last week. The bookends of the market remain the same and the average has decreased 0.1% THC.
Although the number of strains remained relatively consistent over last week, the average price per gram increased $0.04 over last week. This increase is non-consequential (>1%).
We use the THC% for all strains and blends to calculate the price of 75 mg of THC from that particular strain. We like to look at THC in 75mg portions because it allows for rough price comparison and on average, this equates to ~300mg of dried cannabis material. This is relevant to vaporizing or smoking whole flower cannabis but not to edibles.
With a slight increase in per gram pricing and a similar decrease in price for 75mg THC, on average THC facing strains and blends in the market have slightly more THC for less price.
Let’s look at each licensed producer and average their offerings according to price for 75mg of THC. Minimum price is shown on the left and maximum price on the right with average values equidistant between the two.
Most LPs have economical options available under the $4 mark; just above the market average. Four LPs compete around the $1-2 range with their blends and less expensive strains. The bulk of the competitive market exists in the $2-3 range, just below market average.
Certain LPs such as Bedrocan, Aurora, Aphria and Peace Naturals have a relatively flat pricing structure with respect to THC content; their maximum and minimum prices do not deviate largely from their average prices. Other LPs like Cannafarms, MedReleaf and Maricann have large deviations from their pricing average, offering strains with both high and low prices (THC comparative). This trend is something to note but we’re not making any comparative assumption for the observation at this point nor do we feel it necessary to make one. Price for THC and actual medicinal value to the individual are very different so again, its important to do your own research from more than one source.
Next, we’ll look at price for THC for the eleven strains with the lowest price for 75mg of THC. Let’s remind ourselves that this data is still associated with the large degrees of error we talked about earlier.
Bottoms by Cannafarms was available at the time the data was taken. It has since become unavailable but we’ve learned it is expected back soon. Comparatively speaking, it offers the best price for THC in the MMPR.
Broken Coast is a popular LP that produces boutique cannabis. We’ve seen it in person; it’s marvellous. Read the reviews on Lift. Both their indica and sativa are a great price for the amount of THC you get. They have whole flower on this list as well, their potent Super Lemon Haze is also a great value.
Headband is a wonderful sativa strain with some decent genetics. Maricann has a offering of the smaller ‘popcorn’ sized buds available for a very economical price.
As always, Bedrocan has their offerings that are always amongst the top for value. We calculate these prices based on their $5/gram pricing, they also offer compassionate pricing at $3/gram.
Querkle by Aurora returns this week at just below 28% THC. This cross of Mendocino Purps and Space Queen produces a nice indica hybrid experience.
We think that access to a large distribution of terpene content is best; so we look at the number of offerings from each LP weekly as well.