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How To Use Test Results to Inform Your Cannabis Experience

When you walk into a dispensary, you’ll encounter an array of products sourced from different strains. While you might think all cannabis is the same, there’s significant difference between the strains you see on the shelf. How, then, do you choose the best one for the experience you want to have? Turn to the product’s test results, which spell out exactly what’s contained in your cannabis product. Here, we’ll show you what to look for and how to use that information to bring home and try out the best fit.

Why is testing important?

Cannabis products must be tested before they go to market. These strict protocols are assembled by regulatory authorities in each state where cannabis has been legalized for medical or recreational adult use. While the testing requirements vary from state to state, they are generally designed to ensure safety, compliance, and transparency, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you bring a package home from the dispensary.

What’s included in test results?

Flip over the package or read the documentation that comes with your product, and you’ll see several numbers and percentages. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Basic information: Test results will cover basic information about the product, such as the strain name and the amount of product in the package. This information also includes the date the product was packaged, an expiration date, and a batch number identifying the product, among other baseline information.

  • Cannabinoid content: Test results will list the cannabinoids found in your product. Top of line will be THC and CBD, but the results will also include minor cannabinoids such as Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), and THCV. These figures will be displayed as percentages, which is based on a 1,000 milligram amount of product. Therefore, a cannabis product with 10% THC and 1% CBD contains 100 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of CBD. This percentage informs the ratio of THC to CBD that might be listed on the product label; in this example, the cannabinoid ratio would be expressed as 10:1 THC.

  • Terpenes: Terpenes are the flavorful and aromatic compounds found in cannabis. Test results should show which terpenes are present and in what quantities. For example, a cannabis product might contain the terpenes myrcene, linalool, and beta-Caryophyllene. The quantities of each would generally be denoted by a percentage; like cannabinoids, this percentage is based on a 1,000 milligram amount of the product. Terpenes are volatile compounds that degrade more easily than cannabinoids, and thus tend to be present in smaller volumes. 

Depending on the product or brand, you might receive additional information in the test results. For example, you may see a pass/fail grade regarding the product’s screening for contaminants like pesticides, mold and mildew, and heavy metals. 

How test results can inform your cannabis experience

Taking both the cannabinoid profile and terpene profile into account, and you can more accurately predict how a certain strain or product might make you feel. Coupled with how you take it and how much you consume, the cannabinoid and terpene profile of your chosen product drives the type of experience you want to have. 

The cannabinoid profile can help you accurately predict how the product might make you feel. For example, a product with significantly more THC to CBD will feel more intoxicating and relaxing, while a strain with equal amounts of THC to CBD will feel more balanced.

Understanding which terpenes are present in which quantities can shed additional light on how a product might affect your experience. For example, a strain high in myrcene and linalool is more relaxing, while one high in limonene and pinene can support an energy boost.

Test results can be your guide

Being an educated consumer is key to a positive cannabis experience. Lab test results help you make a more informed decision about how this product supports your reasons for consuming cannabis, whether that’s for relaxation, to relieve pain, or to inspire creativity. Furthermore, those lab tests ensure the product’s safety and quality, so you know what you’re bringing home truly contains what it says on the label. Education and information are critical to a positive experience with cannabis, which is why we at Ethos are here to help you decipher these lab test results and point you in the right direction when it comes time to make a purchase.



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