Nearly eight in ten cannabis consumers say that they prefer herbal cannabis over marijuana-infused concentrates, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Concentrates typically possess significantly higher cannabinoid levels, in particular THC, than do herbal cannabis products.

Researchers with Arizona State University surveyed 574 subjects from throughout the United States with a history of consuming both herbal cannabis and marijuana concentrates. Seventy-eight percent of respondents selected herbal cannabis over concentrates as their “preferred type of cannabis.” Respondents said that the consumption of concentrates was more likely to result in unwanted effects, such as paranoia, memory disruption, and hangovers. Respondents also said that herbal cannabis was more effective at providing pain relief and that it was a better value for their money than concentrates.

The study’s authors concluded: “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).”

Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “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.”

Separate analyses of retail sales data, such as those here and here, report that consumers in legal states are far more likely to purchase herbal cannabis than any other type of marijuana product.

An abstract of the of the study, “A within-person comparison of the subjective effects of higher vs. lower-potency cannabis,” appears here.