Times are a-changing, and the times are pretty high because we’re not smoking reggie weed anymore. In fact, reggie has not been the dominant type of weed for a few decades now. Instead, fragrant and more potent new strains with beautiful and resinous flowers have taken over. When you walk into a dispensary, you see a wide selection of marijuana strains with high CBD and THC levels just waiting to be sampled.
Experienced weed users, with time, develop a taste for dank weed. And every dank weed has a high THC percentage. In the last decade or so, some strains have earned the title of “classics” or “all-rounders,” – but every year, new players are added to the game to make it more interesting.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll talk about how the potency of weed has changed over the years and we’ll give you an overview of the highest THC strains that can currently be found on the market.
What Makes a High-THC Strain Today?
You may think it’s an exaggeration, but the cannabis plant used to have a pretty low cannabinoid content compared to today. Sure, people still got high and it was used medically, but it was nowhere near as refined as today.
To prove our point – in 1976, the measured average THC content of weed was 0.76%, while in 2003 it came at 6.4%. In comparison, in 2018 it was measured at over 15%, and today, some strains even have over 20% THC.
One big reason that has led to such a development is the perfecting of the methods of production. Today, growers focus on producing seedless buds (sinsemilla) which enable the female plants to focus their energy on producing more cannabinoids rather than seeds.
The overall production process has also been refined. There are now many methods used to grow healthy cannabis plants with high THC content. Growers make sure to provide their crops with the optimal growing conditions so they can get the best of the plant’s genetics.
Finally, many new hybrid weed strains are constantly being created and perfected, some of which are deliberately bred out of two high-THC strains to produce an even more potent strain. In fact, today’s strongest strains are hybrids.
The Real Test of High Potency
High THC strains have always been valued and sought after, but things really started to move when it became a competition.
The now very well-known Cannabis Cup started off as a small and independent competition in Amsterdam back in 1988 and was the host every year in November until 2014. By that time, the legalization of cannabis across the states had already started changing, which has greatly influenced the production of cannabis.
Then, in 2010, the Cannabis Cup was held in the United States for the first time, rebranded into the High Times Cannabis Cup. Since then, the US has gradually become the sole host of the High Times Cannabis Cup, with the last event held in Amsterdam in 2014. Since 2015, the Cannabis Cup has been held in various states across the US where recreational and medical marijuana is legal.
Every year, participants bring the best and most potent weed strains they have been working hard on producing. The submitted cannabis products get tested on their CBD and THC levels, with both an expert team of judges and the attendees voting for the best products across different categories.
Many strains that you’ve probably heard of have won numerous awards at the High Times Cannabis Cup and have become staples ever since, such as Tangerine Dream, Kosher Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, and many others.
Cannabis Strains With the Highest THC Content
Let’s look at some cannabis strains that are currently known to have the highest THC content. Mind you, some of them aren’t newly created, but have been around for a while, their potency being the thing that has kept them in the spotlight. Others are OG classics that have only been improved with time, and the rest are, of course, new (but powerful players nonetheless).
High THC Sativas and Sativa Dominant Hybrids – For When You Need Some Uplifting
Sativas are known for their cerebral and uplifting effects, so let’s check them out.
Strawberry Cough is one of the most popular pure Sativas out there. It’s a fragrant flower with a sweet and fruity flavor and an earthy aftertaste. With a 24 to 26 percent THC, it’s sure to give you an energetic and euphoric high. Its effects are predominately cerebral but you will feel it slightly in your body too.
Another pure Sativa, Durban Poison is a well-known South African landrace strain. This strain is perfect for when you want to be mentally and physically active. It will give you extra energy that you can spend working out or get some work done. It has a citrusy and earthy aroma with a hint of sweetness and its THC levels measure at 23%.
Thai is a classic Sativa strain with THC of up to 22%. Its strong and citrusy notes and earthy flavor will definitely uplift your mood and will keep you energized and alert, especially when you have mental tasks to perform. The high you get from this strain will be great, but intense, so moderation is key.
This Sativa-dominant hybrid will make you smile, indeed. With up to 23% THC, it’s not the strongest weed out there, but its relaxing and energetic high will surely put you in a jolly and talkative mood. It has a recognizable aroma and it tastes citrusy and spicy.
Ghost Train Haze
Ghost Train Haze has often been named as one of the strongest strains in the world due to its impressive 28% THC content. It has been one of the most popular Sativa-dominant hybrids for a while now. Ghost Train Haze offers an energetic psychoactive experience, bordering on the psychedelic. Its citrusy floral aroma is refreshing and its giggle-inducing properties will surely keep you interested.
High THC Indicas and Indica Dominant Strains – Euphoria and Body-Melting High
Indica strains are naturally higher in THC compared to Sativas. Their effects are also different – Indicas offer a relaxing and euphoric high predominately felt in the body. Let’s check them out.
Kosher Kush is a well-known strain that originates from California. Its pungent lemony and piney aroma may sound refreshing, but its effects are on the sedative side, making it the perfect nighttime strain. With a THC content between 20 and 25%, the body-melting high will make you feel like a jelly.
Godfather OG is often reported as the most potent cannabis strain there is. This Indica-dominant hybrid has a whopping 34% THC that attests to its quality, and it’s the highest THC percentage flower on our list. But it’s definitely not for beginners. The high starts off with cerebral effects that soon turn into a happy and calm couch-lock sensation. Its aroma is citrusy and earthy, with hints of fruitiness.
Another Indica-dominant hybrid whose phenotypes can reach 31% THC. However, the average THC percentage of Strawberry Banana is usually between 26 and 28%. Its taste and aroma are just like its name – sweet, fruity, and fragrant. At first, you’ll feel the cerebral effects, but soon after you’ll feel uplifted and relaxed, with a calmness washing over you.
Critical Kush has large and resinous nugs that boast up to 25% THC. This strain is the typical Indica – body-relaxing, sedative, and eye-drooping. With its piney-lemon aroma, this classic Indica is often used for anxiety and chronic stress relief, as well as pain relief.
OG Kush is one of the most famous Indicas and it’s used to make many other potent hybrids. With THC levels between 19 and 27%, it produces an uplifting and cheerful cerebral high with powerful body-melting effects. It has a characteristic skunky aroma with spicy and diesel notes that may not be to everyone’s taste, but the effects may change your mind.
Granddaddy Purple is a very popular Indica-dominant strain with a candy-like flavor and berry aromas that lure you in. Its THC content is about 21% and it’s perfect for evening use. It offers deep mind and body relaxation that starts slow and uplifting and ends with a feeling of bliss and couch-lock.
High THC Balanced Hybrids – The Best of Both Worlds With a Side of Intensity
Hybrids offer a balance and the best of both worlds and are generally a great way to experience some very specific blendings of certain effects from both Indicas and Sativas. The following hybrids are more or less balanced between the two.
Original Glue or Gorilla Glue #4
We can’t not mention Gorilla Glue #4 as it’s such an iconic hybrid. The potent gorilla glue buds once reached 30% THC on the scale, but their average THC levels are usually between 24 and 28%. It’s a potent strain that produces a relaxing body high and an intense euphoria. It has a pungent and recognizable sour, lemony aroma.
Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies is another highly popular hybrid strain with a recognizable taste of cookie dough. Its THC levels can go up to 28%, making it a very potent strain. At moderate doses, it produces uplifting cerebral effects coupled with intense relaxation felt throughout the body. However, at larger doses, its strain can cause intense sedation.
The White is an unusual hybrid strain because it has no distinct flavor or aroma. It has frosty buds with THC levels of about 25%. It’s usually described as producing a perfect balance of cerebral and bodily sensations. It’s a wonderful mood buster, perfect for users who don’t enjoy pungent strains.
Aptly named after the Hulk, this potent hybrid has five phenotypes that can boast THC levels of up to 30%. Bruce Banner starts off with an uplifting cerebral high that later turns into an intense full-body Indica-style relaxation. Its flavor profile is interesting too – it has sour lime and diesel notes.
Ghost OG is quite powerful, with THC levels that can easily go to 30%. It’s a great strain to unwind with and relax. Its citrusy-lime aroma will lift up your mood and at the same time give you a nice mellow body high.
Highest THC Ever Recorded
As the overall quality and THC percentage of cannabis keep increasing, many growers try to bring out the absolute maximum THC concentration in the strains they cultivate. Over the years, you may have heard all kinds of crazy rumors about a certain strain reaching as much as over 40% THC, which is pretty unrealistic (at least, so far).
The highest THC percentage flower recorded so far has always been around 30-35% maximum – at least those strains sold at dispensaries. Strains that go over 35% are rarely found. Some strains are naturally more capable of producing high THC concentrations than others. Notable examples include Godfather OG, Future #1, Gorilla Glue, Bruce Banner, God’s Gift, OG Kush, The Toad, and Chemdawg, among others.
Final Thoughts – There Are Many MVPs Today
Compared to yesterday’s reggie weed, today’s strains are much more refined, and it shows. Their cannabinoid and terpene profiles make for an experience that’s unique to each strain. Fortunately, for those who quickly get bored with the same old, same old, there are many potent high-THC strains to choose from whenever you’re in the mood to try something new. If you’re a beginner, start with the classics and move up from there.