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New data published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal revealed that almost eight in ten cannabis consumers prefer flower to infused concentrates, despite the popularity of concentrates in recent years. This is surprising data to some, as concentrates are typically stronger than flower. 

The study’s authors stated: “Findings showing that marijuana produces greater positive effects than concentrates are consistent with cannabis administration studies documenting that moderate THC doses are preferred to high doses. … The present study suggests that, contrary to concerns, ultra-high THC cannabis, such as concentrates, might not produce greater positive, reinforcing effects relative to lower-THC cannabis, such as marijuana (flower).

The main difference in the subjective effects of marijuana and concentrates is in terms of their positive effects, with marijuana producing greater positive effects than concentrates,” the study continued. “Negative effects of marijuana and concentrates were small, suggesting that extreme negative effects are unlikely for regular cannabis users.”

Flower Versus Concentrates

The study was conducted by Arizona State University and looked at 574 subjects from throughout the U.S. and their habits when it comes to consuming herbal cannabis and concentrates, as well as how those habits compare. In total, 78 percent of those polled said they choose herbal cannabis over concentrates. Many respondents also claimed that concentrates can cause unwanted effects including paranoia, forgetfulness, and cannabis hangovers, among others. They found flower a better solution for pain relief, and a better monetary value over concentrates. 

In order to gather this data, those who claimed they have used cannabis in past years were recruited online to take a survey about their usage history. If folks reported that they used both cannabis flower and concentrates, they were then asked questions about the effects of both. Questions related to cognitive function, psychotic-like experiences, physiological effects, and reduced consciousness. 

Those polled claimed they use flower between five and six times per week and concentrates just a little over once per month. Results also showed that cannabis was associated with producing overall positive effects, including better cognitive functions.

“Cannabis concentrates have much higher concentrations of THC than marijuana (flower) and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States,” the study explained. “One hypothesis is that use of higher-THC cannabis (concentrates) might result in greater intoxication and more severe acute negative effects than lower-THC cannabis (marijuana), but few studies have compared the subjective effects of concentrates and marijuana.”

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano added his two cents about the findings, stating, “The conclusion that most marijuana consumers prefer low-to-moderate potency options over high potency options is hardly surprising. Just as the majority of those who consume alcohol prefer relatively low potency beer or wine over hard liquor, most adult-use cannabis consumers gravitate toward herbal cannabis preparations and away from the comparatively stronger alternatives.”

Alternative cannabis options like concentrates and edibles are extremely helpful for some people who aren’t able to smoke or use flower, but this survey shows that there will always be room for the classics in the cannabis community, including the most basic way to consume.

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