In the age of super-potent pot with THC percentages in the 20s, and concentrated hash oil with THC percentages in the 80s, many smokers would scoff at the notion of creating a less powerful product. Nonetheless, there are currently efforts to do just that.
This is primarily due to an emerging market – the casual consumer who’d like to smoke high quality pot without getting super stoned.
Slate.com reports that some pot smokers and patients are asking for a middle ground strain – somewhere between the highly potent cannabis readily available at dispensaries and "dirt weed," which possesses the lower THC content desired, yet has a taste that's usually a turnoff.
The trick is developing a high quality, great tasting strain that has a lower percentage of THC for those seeking a mellow buzz – analogous to “a glass of wine at the end of the day.” This request is particularly popular among the baby-boomer set that grew up with the less mind-blowing pot of the 70s and 80s.
Northwest Botanical Analysis, a lab testing company that examines medical marijuana for potency, pesticides, and mold, among other qualities, says it takes approximately five months to a year to develop a new strain. But creating great-tasting-but-less-stony pot will likely take longer as the demand for super-potent weed still guides the industry.
However, according to an analyst at Northwest Botanical, a market for middle ground marijuana does exist. “People don't want to take one micro-puff of a tiny little doobie and say, 'We're done’ … they want to share in the social aspect [of smoking a joint].”
The key to concocting such new strains may be in the manipulation of terpenes. These are chemical compounds that affect the taste and odor of cannabis as well as the high. Analysts at Northwest Botanical believe finding the right balance could result in a rich, complex strain that can be enjoyed by (and marketed to) the casual consumer.