Comparison and Meaning of THC vs. TAC


  • Cannabis Product Labels
  • What is TAC?
  • TAC vs. THC
  • Looking Beyond TAC
  • Know Your Marijuana

Say you decided to buy Super Skunk auto seeds and grow weed at home. Reading the dispensary label, you run into some abbreviations you know and some that appear completely foreign. Few people understand TAC vs. THC and what both can tell you about a strain.

TAC is not a new cannabinoid, but rather a description of your herb’s overall chemical composition. It gives you an insight into the expected effect profile and lets you customize your smoking sessions.

Keep reading to learn about the meaning of these two acronyms and what they say about your strain.

Cannabis Product Labels

What is the difference between TAC and THC? These two abbreviations denote different concepts. Their main similarity is that you’ll find both on marijuana product labels.

Cannabis legalization is still a state matter, so there’s no one-size-fits-all label template. The basics overlap with most manufacturers, though. Expect to find the following on your pack of edibles, oils, or buds:

  • Strain name
  • Manufacturer name
  • Testing location and date
  • Class of indica/sativa
  • Important legal information

Besides these facts, most dispensaries note CBD and THC amounts. Nowadays, many manufacturers also include the TAC percentage.

What is TAC?

TAC is short for “total active cannabinoids.” It shows the total amount of THC and other cannabinoids that can be found in your marijuana. You’ll find it listed on products that require heating before consumption, like buds and vape oils.

Note: Some manufacturers use this acronym for “total aerobic counts,” a measure of the grower’s sanitary practices. Aerobic counts are color-coded, while cannabinoid counts come in percentages.

To understand TAC’s meaning in weed, you need to know what cannabinoids are. Scientists believe this category includes chemicals interacting with each other and our endocannabinoid receptors. Their activity leads to various physical and psychological effects.

There are currently over 100 known cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, but many are too scarce to show up on tests. In practical terms, TAC might include the following:

  • THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid
  • CBD, the feel-good medical cannabinoid
  • CBC, the pain-relieving cannabinoid
  • CBG, the anti-inflammatory cannabinoid
  • THCV, the anxiety-busting cannabinoid

These chemicals could make up over 40% of your buds, but TAC is usually smaller. That’s because it only displays how many cannabinoids are active during testing.

Before comparing THC vs. TAC, we need to introduce active cannabinoids.

Marijuana compounds are acids before they are processed. When you heat the bud or concentrate, you “activate” them and make them available for consumption. You can only measure the actual potency and gauge the expected psychoactive punch after this happens.

Some labels include “total cannabinoid” (TC) percentages to describe potency. On the other hand, the TAC shows the ratio of different cannabinoids, not necessarily the strength of your weed.


Now that you know what TAC in weed is, let’s compare this figure to the superstar cannabinoid.

The total amount of active cannabinoids, like THC, CBD, and other small compounds, is called the TCA. The THC percentage is the total amount of this psychoactive chemical in a heated product.

For instance, you might find a 4% TAC and 15% THC strain label. Looking at TAC vs. THC, this only tells you that less than 4% of THC is active at the testing time. The feel-good cannabinoid will become available when you light up.

Why should you care about TAC, then?

Experienced tokers are aware of the benefits of a full-spectrum product. When combined with other cannabinoids, THC feels much better for your body and mind. We call this phenomenon ‘the entourage effect.’

This term describes the synergy between cannabinoids. Together, these compounds change the way THC makes you feel high, making the high stronger and clearer.

Comparing total cannabinoids with total THC, which matters more while browsing cultivars?

The THC contents describe the psychoactive punch you can expect from your blunt. Medicinal users can benefit from knowing the TAC because it tells them about effects other than the high. Strains with diverse TAC contents often deliver more therapeutic properties, too.

Looking Beyond TAC

You now know what TAC stands for in weed. You might wonder about the rest of its makeup, though. If TAC describes the active compounds, what else is there?

For one, TAC only represents the active compounds before heating the weed. Total cannabinoids are usually a higher number; THC alone can surpass 30% in certain strains!

Additionally, marijuana contains over 400 flavonoids, terpenes, and other chemicals. They’re responsible for the fragrance, flavor, and even weed leaf appearance. Their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and mood-altering effects may bring therapeutic benefits and tailor the high.

These extras provide valuable information if you’re looking for something specific, like no-munchie weed or a strawberry-tasting strain.

Know Your Marijuana

Learning about TAC in marijuana is the first step toward understanding labels and selecting the perfect product. It protects you from nasty surprises and undesired effects.

As weed gets more regulated worldwide, we expect more information to become available on every product. So get in the habit of reading the labels and always knowing what you’re smoking.

You now have the information, so why not buy seeds and start growing? Pick the perfect cultivar and produce a big batch of buds with the right chemicals.

Kyle Kushman

activist,Kyle Kushman is an American writer, educator, activist and award-winning cannabis cultivator and breeder specializing in veganic cultivation. He is a representative of the Homegrown Cannabis CO company, has been a contributor for over 20 years, and has taught courses in advanced horticulture at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California, and across the United States. Kushman also hosts a cannabis podcast called “The Grow Show with Kyle Kushman.”