Which consumption method gets you the highest?
The more you find yourself rolling or packing your favorite bud, the more you begin to ask yourself: are you smoking this the best way?
Everyone has their claim for the “best,” what they enjoy, and what they think gives them the best high. Each company claims to have the next best product you just have to have to enjoy your weed.
We don’t think it needs to be so difficult.
Understanding how much THC you’re actually receiving will help you better understand if you should upgrade your bud or your smoking method. More importantly, understanding how much THC you enjoy will allow you to open the door to new products, such as concentrates and edibles, and you can then begin using weed in a variety of creative and fun ways.
Now we all know extracts pack the biggest kick — how can you overlook the potential of a wax or oil with 80%+ THC? So instead, we want to focus on smoking some good weed, and how to get the most out of every hit.
What is THC Percentage?
To understand how strong weed can be, you first have to understand how it’s measured. Sometimes you’ll see measurements of percentage, but other times you’ll see measurements in milligrams. To make matters more confusing, different forms of using may affect you differently, too.
A percentage tells you how much THC is within a bud, but once a bud is broken down into its various forms such as extracts or concentrates, you need a manner of measuring to understand how strong it is.
Milligrams is a form of measuring strength with a focus on weight. This allows you the option of adding ingredients to edibles, with a deeper understanding of just how high you’re going to get.
There are 1000 milligrams in 1 gram, meaning if you use your THC percentage within a gram of weed multiplied by 1000 milligrams, you can understand the potency of pure THC.
Let’s say you have 7 grams of weed at around 20% THC, which is then extracted to 1 gram of 80% THC rosin. 1000 milligrams multiplied by .80 (or 80%) THC means you have a potency of 800 milligrams. If this 800 milligram was mixed into a cookie batter and made into 32 even cookies, eating 1 cooking would be the equivalent of smoking a joint by yourself in one hit, or 25 milligrams.
Of course, you have to consider how much you’re eating or drinking at one time to understand how hard it will hit you. Puting the same 25 milligrams from the cookie into a gummy would be like smoking an eighth in one pull. Put into a drink and then sipped on would allow for a longer, more mellow high.
This math becomes vital in professional production, when numbers need to be closely monitored to create consistent products.
To properly compare each bowl, look at the percentage of loss, not the ending THC, since each option comes with a different bowl size or amount used.
For some smokers, the nostalgic feel of grinding a bud and packing their favorite bowl or rolling a couple joints to pass around with the buddies is still the go-to option.
But you’re missing out when smoking a blunt.
A study found that when smoking a joint, you only receive 20-37% of the flower’s THC, with 23-30% loss to pyrolytic destruction (i.e. the bud getting too hot and destroying the THC), and another 40-50% loss to sidestream smoke, or the smoke you see when no one’s actively taking a pull.
This means if you have a gram of Blue Dream containing 19% THC, with the average joint holding .5 grams… let’s do some math.
An ounce of weed has 3.5 grams.
1000 milligrams * .19 THC = 190 milligrams THC per gram.
190 milligrams * .5 (grams in the joint) = 95 milligrams
You have the potential for 95 milligrams of THC, then we consider the actual intake for a joint of 20-37% (we’ll use 30% for this example to average it out).
95 milligrams * .30 = 28.5 milligrams if you smoke the whole joint by yourself.
If you shared with one other person and split it evenly, you’d get 14.25 milligrams of THC. You can expect similar outcomes from a blunt or other rolled bud.
Packing A Bowl
When smoking a bowl, at first glance you may think you’ll have less loss since the weed is tucked away, but unfortunately that’s not exactly true.
A bowl typically holds around .25 grams, and if we get some bud of Lemon Larry OG at 19% THC, we can figure out how much THC we are packing in our bowl.
1000 Milligrams * .19 (19%) = 190 milligrams of THC
190 milligrams * .25 grams (how much fits in a bowl) = 47.5 milligrams per bowl
When smoking a bowl, it’s said that overheating alone has a loss of 60% of your THC, only receiving 40% of the THC since you’re holding an open flame or torch directly to the bud the entire time. The idea is that you would smoke all, or nearly all the buds in one or two immediate pulls and avoid letting it sit hot. If you were to take a bowl and allow the weed to sit hot, you can expect another 5-10% to sidestream depending how long you wait.
Assuming you hit it all one one pull, 47.5 milligrams * .40 = 19 milligrams per bowl. Taking 7% sidestream into the equation since most smokers can’t smoke a bowl completely in one pull, 19 milligrams * .93 = 17.67 milligrams per bowl if you smoke it by yourself.
Sharing a bowl will leave you with around 7.3 milligrams of THC.
It’s important to remember that this is starting with about half the weed, and you’re smoking a larger amount per bowl.
A Bowl of Hash
When thinking of Hash, consider processed and pressed kief. The same math could be used for smoking a bowl of hash as well, since hash is made of the pressed and dried trichomes of the flower. These trichomes hold a mass of the THC in the plant, and create a product 2x as potent as standard bud in most cases.
Since hash is also smoked from a bowl with open flame, you can expect the same 67% loss due to open flame and sidestream. This means a hash containing 45% THC would give you around 37 milligrams of THC per bowl. This is also considered a style of concentrate, so the added THC intake will be seen by an added cost, since it takes more harvested bud to create 1 gram.
You get nearly the same loss with a bong, due to the heating source. Bongs are known for giving you a cooler, smoother smoke on your end, but the loss through pyrolytic destruction occurs as you’re lighting the bud. THC is released around 390 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures above this begin to release and damage the THC, such as the 3,590-degree flame of a standard lighter.
Vaporizers, different from your typical oil vapes, are considered the most precise form of smoking weed. They utilize a highly controlled heating source to bring your weed to the exact temperature that releases optimal THC without causing too much loss. You will still inevitably have some loss, simply due to the time your bud starts to be heated till it’s to optimal temp, with a bit of waste at the end when the bud begins to dry and burn.
Typically vaporizers will have a total loss of 30-45% THC. We’ll use 40% loss as an example, meaning you receive 60% of the THC.
If you had a strain like Point Break with 20% THC, you can figure out how much THC you would receive from a typical bowl.
1000 milligrams * .20 (20%) = 200 milligrams of THC
The average vaporizer bowl is .3 grams.
200 milligrams * 0.3 grams = 60 milligrams per bowl
60 milligrams * .60 (60%) = a whopping 36 milligrams of THC
With the precise control of temperature, this remains the best source of preserving your THC.
So, What’s Best?
While a vaporizer will get the most THC out of a specific bud, you have to ask yourself, is it about the THC or how you’re experiencing a session? Vaporizers are precise, pricey machines, while bongs, joints, blunts, and bowls are cost effective and great for passing around a group.
No matter which route you choose to smoke your weed, none of it matters without choosing a high-quality bud in the first place. Finding a distributor you can trust with your cannabis needs is like choosing a new best friend — they have to be there for you when you need them. So consider Emjay your new best friend. We have the products you want (and then some), delivered straight to your door, and we always have a few tips to share and knowledge to drop, too.