THC – 6/18/16

THC – 6/18/16

Market Reports

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This report focuses on strains being sold under the Canadian MMPR with high quantities of THC and low quantities of CBD.

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.

We wanted to preface this report 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.

Research is continually building on the subject of terpenes and our understanding of their relationship with THC and the endo-cannabinoid is growing. Information on terpenes and cannabis in generally is becoming available in wider forms from individual reviews to traditional clinical research. Here is a link http://www.marijuanalibrary.org/brain1.html to a Jon Gettman article gives a good foundational knowledge on THC and how it interacts with the brain. This article is continued at this link http://www.marijuanalibrary.org/brain2.html where subjects like potency, dosage and tolerance are discussed.

Back to cannabis available under the Canadian MMPR, it is difficult to qualify the medicinal properties of cannabis on the basis of THC alone. Also important to note, we’re looking at THC through window associated with several margins of error. On the first layer, methodology for potency testing varies wildly and allowable margins of error are large http://www.canorml.org/RingTestOShaughnessys_Aut11.pdf. On the second layer, CannStandard currently logs cannabis data from the public side of licensed producer websites; some LP data is not publicly available and data accuracy is expected to vary with the testing company used by each LP. Adding a 3rd layer of inaccuracy is terpene composition, LP information about terpene content is sporadic, often un-quanitified and not comparatively valuable at this point.

We eat our own cooking. These reports were born out of questions we had as MMPR patients and we are continually thinking of new ways of looking at cannabis and tracking the market. The industry and science surrounding cannabis is evolving rapidly. Because the history of modern cannabis use is rooted in prohibition, a large amount of disinformation is present amongst verifiable and unverifiable scientific information. We want to be cognizant about contributing to verifiable information and not to disinformation. All information in this report is publicly available and can be verified by readers of this report. The purpose of this report is to provide comparative information about current strains in the MMPR with respect to price and CBD/THC. It is important that the information presented here remains in the context of quantitative analysis through the window we described above.

Under the MMPR patients purchase cannabis by phone or over the internet, looking through an unclear window, unable to use natural senses to evaluate the strains. However, there are several resources out there that we can use to gain some insight on currently available medical cannabis. The reviews on Lift are, by far, the best resource for primary information about each of the strains available in the MMPR https://liftcannabis.ca/strains. While this report highlights market trends and quantitative outliers; valuable, qualitative information is housed on Lift for each strain, with pictures of most strains. Frankly, if there is a strain of interest discovered while reading this report, you would be wise to research the strain further on Lift and on the LP website. Strain information is also available on Leafly and dispensary websites but in our experience this information is less relevant to the MMPR.

Lastly, as we are discussing terpene composition as a function of THC composition, we would like to present this  information about trichomes to the readers of this report http://www.hightimes.com/read/anatomy-trichome and hypothesize that THC% and hypothesize that the magnitude of terpene production are positively correlated as they are both metabolized in secretory cells by similar enzymes and stored in similar areas of the trichome http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12872998. We will speak about this further in an upcoming infographic. For now, while THC composition alone doesn’t tell the complete story about medicinal value, we feel that cannabis achieving higher THC levels is worth investigating for terpene content.

With the above in mind, let’s move into the report for this week. There are just over 10% more strains being sold under the MMPR this week than last week. In terms of THC oriented strains, there were 16 more than last week totalling 128. When we look at the top 11, we’re really talking about the top 9% of strains in the MMPR so keep in mind we’re skipping by a lot of good strains. To put it into context, 40% of strains this week have a minimum of 20% THC; that makes over 50 strains currently available that are worth talking about that we don’t mention during the course of this report. Keep in mind we choose to refer to strains using their true name (where available), we see value in using the existing nomenclature to trace the genetic lineage of each strain.

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Below we’re looking at strains listed in alphabetical order and include THC% and CBD%. For this report, we look at strains that are THC oriented. Meaning, we remove strains with higher levels of CBD (>3.5%) and the ratio strains that have even or comparable levels of CBD and THC. From here, we’re going to look at the strains with the most THC.

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Aurora has a second offering of their ’91 K-OG Chemdawg that is of notable THC levels this week. Chemdawg is known for its diesel type undertones and is known to propel a more energetic experience. This particular OG Kush clone has infamous genetic lineage within the cannabis community and is known to be incredibly potent. Week to week, Aurora has continually occupied this position although there has been some notable comparable releases from producers like MedReleaf and Cannafarms.

A new notable sativa strain this week is Broken Coast’s attractive looking Super Lemon Haze at 28% THC. This strain is typically popular for energy and focus due to the large composition of limonene.

Pink Kush by Cannafarms is also on the list for the second week in a row. Pink Kush is known to be more representative of the indica end of the spectrum and is known to be high in linalool and other terpenes that can be calming.

Also new this week, Cannafarms is carrying a low cost strain ($4.00 per gram) they’re referring to as Bottoms that boasts over 25% THC. We’re not sure of the exact composition of the strain but it offers a high level of THC for a low pice. We’ll see it again when we look at price with respect to mg of THC.

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Let’s step back and look at the range in THC% for all 128 strains, last week average THC% was 18%. Average THC is up this week a half point to 18.5% with a change in a minimum THC% (down 1% over last week).

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Let’s look at per gram price of THC strains now. Last week, THC strains averaged $8.63 per gram. Average prices are down 2.3% this week, bringing the average price of one gram to $8.52. The minimum of the market also decreased this week from $3.50/gram to $2.50/gram. Per gram, the lowest cost strain this week is MedReleaf’s Trimmings product with 9.5% THC.

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Now we’ll change the scope to look at pricing for all strains in the context of 75mg of THC. Below, we’ve shown the 11 strains with the lowest prices for 75mg of THC. All strains on this list are priced 39% – 53% below the MMPR average (with respect to THC content). Per gram pricing is also shown on the right side, notice there is not one strain on this list priced higher than $8.00 per gram.

Whole flower on this list gets special note. UK Cheese by MedReleaf is a phenomenal deal at $5.00 and has many high quality reviews on Lift. At 23.5% THC, it will be quite strong. Cheese is known to be a good mix of indica and sativa traits that is both energetic and cerebrally comfortable.

Bedrocan’s strains always make this list as they sell strains ~20% THC for $5 a gram. Their whole flower Bedrocan strain is a derivation of Jack Herer. In our minds, it sets the benchmark for appropriately priced cannabis in the MMPR. They also have two other whole flower strains on this list by the way.

We saw Aurora’s ’91 K-OG strain when we looked at the strains with the highest THC percentages. We see it again here on this list below.

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To put these 11 strain in the context of price per 75 mg of THC from all 128 strains.

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We’ve seen that the average $ per 75 mg of THC right now is $3.61. Of the 128 strains in this summary, 72 are below this average. The range in THC content for these 72 strains of below average price is 9.5% to 28.6%. Meaning that strains with lower THC% aren’t necessarily strains with lower value with respect to per mg THC prices. Per gram price really matters. Of these 72 strains, average per gram price is actually $7.01 and the maximum is $12.00. Average price per 75mg of THC beings to increase slightly after the $9.50/gram mark and then in much larger magnitudes in the $12.50 – $15.00 ranges.

Moving along, let’s try to get an indication on value and look at the number of THC portion obtained from each of the 128 strains. There is a correlation between the amount of THC portions obtained and price per gram. On the graph below, we’ve shown the number of THC portions against per gram price for each strain. Notice the gradual increase in per gram price as the number of THC portions decrease. The strains making up the right side of the graph still likely offer medical value; but at a higher costs than other choices available in the market.

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If you read a bit of the Jon Gettman article at the beginning of this report, you know it’s better to choose from a wider variety of strains and a wider variety of terpenes. We summarized 128 strains in this report, in the graph below we’ve shown how many come from each LP.

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