The 10 high-THC strains you should know about
Every year, weed gets higher … in THC, that is. Throughout our shared history with the cannabis plant, we’ve slowly bred the plant to produce more of its primary intoxicating and psychoactive cannabinoid, with THC percentages of some plants now reaching the mid-30s.
Though the cannabis plant contains myriad cannabinoids, with more than 100 cannabinoids identified in the plant to date, it’s still tetrahydrocannabinol that reigns supreme in both the public consciousness and the plant we’ve bred exhaustively throughout recent history.
As the plant has evolved to become more desirable to humans, thereby securing its own survival, a number of strains with particularly high ratios of THC content have emerged and garnered reputations as some of the most potent weed on the planet. For good reason.
THC isn’t the only cannabinoid or native cannabis compound that contributes to the cannabis high, but it is without a doubt the main player. When you hear weed described as intoxicating, euphoric, sedating, mind-altering, and socially enhancing, you’re hearing about effects for which THC may largely be responsible. Though its effects have traditionally been sought after for recreational use, THC has also been found to alleviate pain and inflammation, stimulate appetite, reduce nausea, and treat muscle spasticity. All of these factors usually end up as the shorthand of “strongest weed strain” when people talk about what they’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a high-THC experience from cannabis flower, an ever-growing variety of ultra-high-THC strains are available in most legal markets. To put you on the right track, here are some of the top 10 weed strains historically known to deliver the highest amounts of everyone’s favorite cannabinoid.
GG4, also known as Gorilla Glue, Original Glue, and Gorilla Glue #4, was the best phenotype of a strain bred by the founders of Nevada’s GG Strains, Josey Whales and Lone Watty.
Whales and Watty’s original strain was the result of an accidental cross of Sour Dubb and Chem Sister, a popular phenotype of notable high-THC strain Chemdog. When Whales’ friend and fellow breeder Mardogg cultivated four phenotypes, Whales decided on #4 as the winning Gorilla Glue strain.
GG4 has tested from 27% to 30% THC and certified by True-Breed and Phylos Bioscience, according to the GG Strains website. At the 2015 High Times Cannabis Cup, GG Strains released 125 GG4 cuttings to fellow growers, making the strain a prolific high-THC strain across several cultivators and brands.
Gorilla Glue is a trademarked brand of adhesive, and its makers settled a lawsuit with GG Strains, which can no longer market the weed under the original name.
A more recent addition to the high-THC strain canon, The Toad is an exclusive of Tyson Ranch, the cannabis brand and product line co-founded by Mike Tyson. A mostly Indica strain deriving from Chemdawg OG and GSC, The Toad offers a euphoric high pretty immediately, then settles into a body relaxation, according to Tyson Ranch.
The Toad has been tested at nearly 37% THC with a total of 43% cannabinoids. Kevin Bell, chief operating officer of cannabis and hemp operations at Tyson Ranch, told Weedmaps News that the company found the strain from another grower and offered to sell the flower if Tyson liked it. The Toad and other Tyson Ranch products are currently available in California and Nevada.
The “Don of all OGs” is a mysterious high-THC strain often thought to originate from Bubba Kush, L.A. Confidential, and Granddaddy Purps, and OG Kush,. The original Godfather OG, a popular strain among California medical circles, is reportedly a cross of XXX OG and Alpha OG.
Best Indica winner at the 2015 High Times Cannabis Cup has tested as high as 28% THC, Godfather OG is valued for its full body relaxation and strong sedation. Lab testing from Canna Safe Analytics shows the strain reaching as high as 34% THC. If you come across a Godfather OG, ask for a certificate of analysis, as it may be one of the “other” Godfather OGs with a different chemical profile than the original.
It’s only fitting that one of the most famous high-THC strains of all time would emerge from the ether of a Grateful Dead concert.
Often labeled “Chemdawg,” though the breeder (also known as Chemdog) has disputed this popular spelling, Chemdog is a phenotype of a strain called Dogbud, which Chemdog picked up from fellow breeders P-Bud and Joe Brand in the parking lot of a Dead show in the ’90s. The strain’s new name, Chemdog, was a combination of Dogbud and the nickname “Chem,” which Brand coined for the strain’s chemical flavor.
The Chemdog we know today, also known as Chem ’91, is a phenotype of the original Dogbud. Testing from MRC Labs puts Chemdog between 21% and 24% THC.
Originally known as Girl Scout Cookies before the scouting organization flagged the name as a trademark violation, GSC is one of the most popular THC-heavy strains in the world. It’s a flagship strain of the Cookie Family in Northern California, who pollinated an OG Kush cutting with pollen from the breeders’ own F1 Durban Poison to create this iconic flower.
Testing from Steep Hill labs typically places the strain’s THC content in a range of 17%-28%. GSC is another prolific high-THC strain with several High Times Cannabis Cup awards under its belt, as well as several popular phenotypes including Thin Mint and Platinum Cookies. For many California tokers, GSC is a practically unavoidable and typically welcome mode of THC delivery.
Strawberry Banana is a frosty combination of California and Amsterdam genetics, bred by DNA Genetics’ Reserva Privada subdivision. According to DNA, the strain’s high resin output makes it ideal for making tasty, potent concentrates.
Strawberry Banana was bred from a female Banana Kush and a male Bubble Gum, and the winner of multiple 1st place awards at cannabis cups. Lab test results from PSI Labs show that Strawberry Banana’s THC content ranges as high as 27%. DNA Genetics Reports that with proper care, Strawberry Banana massive yields of frosty, resin-ripe buds.
The cultivators at Illinois’s Green Thumb Industries (GIT) have made some waves in 2019 with Brownie Scout, a cross of Kosher Kush and Platinum Cookies which was reportedly tested by ACT laboratories at 37.5% THC.
Kate Denton, senior vice president of marketing at GTI, told High Times in May 2019 that testing of GTI’s last four Brownie Scout harvests revealed THC percentages ranging in the mid-to-high 30s.
Brownie Scout is the new kid on the block among strains breaking 30% THC, but has a home under GTI’s RYTHM cannabis brand, as well as in Dogwalkers prerolls. Medical cannabis patients in Illinois already report pain relief, relaxing effects, and alleviation of anxiety from the strain.
A creation of Colorado seed bank Rare Dankness from around 2010, Scott’s OG is a reliably potent bud. Rare Dankness founder Scott Reach bred the strain from his own Rare Dankness #1 and a Triangle Kush female from the Devil’s Harvest Krew. Reach told Weedmaps that the strain tests consistently above 25% THC, producing resinous buds and a strong lemon aroma with dank kush undertones. Among high-THC strains, Scott’s OG rests comfortably in the middle of the pack, and its potency has been passed onto several new strains for which it’s a parent.
White Fire OG (WiFi OG)
White Fire (commonly known as WiFi) OG is a Southern California strain bred by OG Raskal Seeds, taking the stability of a Fire OG female and boosting it with the aroma and potency of a male The White. Lab testing from PSI Labs reveals a THC content rage of 14%-29%. If you’re looking for a potent strain with sedative effects and a winning mix of fuel and pine aromas, WiFi OG is the high-THC strain for you.
This Soma Seeds creation boasts a complex lineage of ancient roots, crossing Southeast Asian, Afghani, and Hawaiian landrace varieties. Online sources place the THC range for Amnesia Haze between 20% and 25%, with 21% THC reported from the Office of Medical Cannabis (NCSM), an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS).
Not to be confused with Amnesia, a cross of Bubble Gum and Super Silver Haze, Amnesia Haze is reported to offer an interesting array of effects, both relaxing and uplifting, which won first place for sativa at the 2012 High Times Cannabis Cup.
Find thousands of strains on Weedmaps Strains.
Every year, weed gets higher … in THC, that is. Here are some weed strains known to deliver the highest amounts of everyone's favorite cannabinoid.
CBD May Be All The Rage, But Cannabis Terpenes Are About To Hit Big
Cannabis terpenes provide new flavor profiles for a variety of consumer products. photo credit: . [+] Getty
In a period of just five scant years, cannabis has gone from the frequently maligned status of stoner counterculture to a Kardashian-level social phenomenon. Popularity of the plant has eclipsed even the most avid marijuana supporters’ expectations. That success has had a lot to do with many decades of activists fighting for legalization state by state, combined with powerful political interests in America taking a can’t-beat-em-join-em approach to the popular substance. There are enormous profits to be made in weed and corporations are ready to do what they do best — acquire it, scale it, and mass distribute it into every CVS, Starbucks and Walmart on the planet.
The principal event that’s affected the greatest change to date in the American cannabis industry occurred last December with the federal legalization of hemp (the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana) passing with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. That bill effectively sounded the starting gun for legal, hemp-derived cannabis products to be sold across the country starting in January of this year. The trendy cannabis compound CBD (short for cannabidiol) has been the biggest hit so far of the cannabis renaissance, showing up seemingly everywhere at once. A recent estimate reckons the collective market for CBD sales in the U.S. should surpass $20 billion by 2024. That stratospheric number shouldn’t really come as a big surprise, as CBD is currently an ingredient in a variety of goods, including sleep aids, face creams, energy drinks and pet products.
Now another floral star is about to hit the scene hard: cannabis terpenes.
The essential oils present in the cannabis plant — and in fact in all plants — terpenes are like the hardworking herbal roadies to the cannabis flower rock-star. Laboring behind the scenes, terpenes give cannabis its distinctive aromatic and flavor qualities, as well as imparting a host of therapeutic effects. Cannabis terpenes like linalool (also present in lavender) and pinene (in conifers) have been used to promote sleep and fight inflammation. Studies by the National Institutes of Health have also shown the terpene duo can produce an antidepressant-like effect.
A Mass-Market Appeal
For years, devoted cannabis consumers have been aware of cannabis’s therapeutic benefit, but it’s only recently that the idea of these hidden properties has truly penetrated popular American culture. One high-profile example this year was Kim Kardashian West’s baby shower. The company True Terpenes — creators of terpene products including lotions, make-up, chocolates and candles — was hired to provide guests with terpene-infused teas for the “CBD and Meditation”-themed celebration.
“It’s fun to see a family like the Kardashian’s with such a large audience helping to educate the world about CBD and terpenes,” True Terpenes COO David Mclean told Yahoo Finance.
Recently, at a bar called the Sidecar in San Luis Obispo, cocktails were being shaken up with cannabis terpenes provided by Golden Apple Cannabis Co. Sidecar’s creations have included new cocktails using myrcene and limonene — compounds also found naturally in citrus, basil, and hops — inventing mixtures from the wide spectrum of tastes available in cannabis terpenes.
“It’s a tool that a lot of bartenders have never had at their disposal,” says Sidecar owner Josh Christensen. “You’re messing with things at a molecular level. It’s kind of fun. It creates a situation where we have kind of unlimited possibilities.”
Then there’s the company Floraplex Terpenes that’s creating terpene mixtures that mimic the properties and flavors of cannabis without using any marijuana at all. “Our strain profiles are developed without using any ingredients derived from cannabis,” CEO Alec Riffle told Leafly. “Instead, we work with non-cannabis botanically derived terpene isolates, essential oils, and flavorings to recreate a strain’s terpene profile from scratch.”
A rainbow of terpene flavors.
Courtesy of Floraplex
Varietals, which are also referred to as “strains,” include all the old standbys that cannabis enthusiasts have enjoyed for years — OG Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Pineapple Express — and selling for $59 a half-ounce. Part of the appeal — and what makes it all so well-suited for the introduction of cannabis to the mass market — is that terpenes in and of themselves are not high-inducing. They are simply essential oils.
New Terpene Tech
And then, of course, there’s the psychoactive market, which is a mammoth industry also looking to optimize the enjoyment of terpenes. Products are coming online that specifically cater to consumers looking to make the most of marijuana’s psychoactive lift, taste and terpene effect. A new product that’s just debuting this week is the Pulsar Rök, a portable, electronic water pipe that is a technological leap forward for concentrate lovers. The Rök allows consumers to more efficiently capture the wide spectrum of terpene flavors available in cannabis. Its coil-less quartz cup atomizer offers precise temperature control, preventing contact with an actual heating element, and ensures peak vaporization and optimized flavor.
The new Pulsar Rök electronic water pipe is an oil rig that enhances the flavor profiles in . [+] cannabis.
Courtesy of Pulsar Rök /AFG Distribution.
“The Rök opens up the ability to experience premium innovation and taste the finer properties of your exquisite concentrates and open up their full flavor profile,” says Marketing Manager Bennett Dickert from AFG Distribution, makers of Pulsar products.
The Rök is a creation of AFG’s close attention to consumer input, utilizing valuable feedback from a variety of sources — influencers, smoke shop owners, forums and social media — to create the unique electronic oil rig. The result is a new device delivering top terpene enjoyment to an ever-expanding cannabis concentrate consumer base.
“We listened to the people and we created a product for the people,” says Dickert.
New cannabis tech is creating a market for the enjoyment of terpenes.