“Hey, let’s get really baked!”
“OK, great. What have you got?”
“I just got a quarter.”
“Cool, but what is it?”
“It’s pot, man. Hand me that lighter already.”
To some smokers, it’s “any port in a storm.” (Maybe that should be “any pot in a storm.”) Or in regular language, “any weed is good weed.”
Experienced smokers know that’s not really true. If you want to get blasted out of your mind, you’re not going to do it on Harlequin. Godfather OG or Amnesia Haze? Now we’re talking.
Strains matter. Buying a specific strain of cannabis doesn’t guarantee a certain percentage of THC or overall potency, just as a steak-and-cheese Hotpocket may not be as satisfying as a sandwich from Pat’s or Geno’s in Philadelphia (the city’s two famous steak-and-cheese joints).
But choosing a strain known for high THC content is the best starting point.
Here’s how to do it.
Pot and THC Content
There are several plants other than cannabis that contain cannabinoids, including coneflower, strawflower, and liverwort. But only one contains the cannabinoid Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, which we all know and love as THC.
(In truth, not even cannabis contains THC; it actually produces a cannabinoid acid known as THCA, which is a precursor to the real thing. It’s only turned into actual THC when it’s activated by heat (burning when smoked, heated when vaped, or “decarbed” in the oven before being used for other purposes. The same applies to the cannabinoid CBD and a number of others in the pot plant.)
There are actually more than 100 different cannabinoids or precursors (at last count) in the marijuana plant, but THC is the only one that’s known to be psychoactive. Many other cannabinoids do affect how THC affects the user, though. So do some of the terpenes that determine the plant’s aroma and taste, and contribute to its health benefits. That’s why one strain with 25% THC content may produce a stronger high than another with 27%.
Is Weed Stronger Than It Used To Be?
It certainly is. The THC content of weed has increased substantially over the years. Back in your parents’ day (or your grandparents’ day, or maybe even your own day if you’re a boomer), the average THC content in pot was less than 1%. Today, most strains sold commercially have at least 10-15% THC, and strains twice as strong are commonplace.
There are several reasons for that. Growers now look for strains that contain as much THC as possible; they’re usually unfertilized, female sinsemilla plants that aren’t allowed to produce seeds. There’s also been an enormous increase in the creation of hybrid plants, bred specifically from two THC-high strains to create another with even higher THC content.
Why Choose a High THC Percentage Strain?
We probably don’t have to mention the obvious: the more THC, the more wasted you can get. Of course, all highs are not the same, so some high-THC bud will induce euphoric or calming effects, while other strains can be more intoxicating or even trippy.
There are other reasons people choose a strain with high THC content. Some of THC’s proven health effects are to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, to ease nerve pain brought on by diseases ranging from diabetes to HIV, and to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. Many other benefits have not yet been scientifically confirmed, but anecdotal evidence is strong that THC is effective against glaucoma, insulin sensitivity, and nausea.
More benefits will undoubtedly be found in the coming years – but that’s not really why you’re here, is it? Here are the strains with enough THC to provide the mind-blowing high you’re after.
Highest THC Strains
One note before we start: some strains bred to have monster THC levels can only be purchased in certain states or from certain growers. Examples are The Toad, sold by Tyson Ranch and tested at 37% THC, and Brownie Scout, developed by an Illinois cultivator and tested at 37.5%.
For that reason, we’re only listing strains that are more widely available. Enjoy!
There are several different varieties of Godfather OG on the market. There’s the old standby that’s a hybrid of Alpha OG and XXX OG, others that are crosses of two or three other high-THC strains, plus some that are – shall we say – less than reputable. Be sure you know who you’re buying from if you want to ensure getting the good stuff. The different varieties mean there can be different THC levels in this strain, but they’ll all be at least 25% and some have tested as high as 34%.
This is a hybrid that leans about 60/40 indica, so the high is both mind- and body-blowing. It starts with a euphoric feeling that immediately whisks away all stress, and which quickly expands to blast your body as well. Don’t be surprised to get a wicked case of couch-lock, but you’ll enjoy it immensely.
This Sativa-dominant strain goes by a lot of names, including Gorilla Glue #4, Gorilla Glue and Original Glue (after a lawsuit, the cultivators had to officially stop calling it Gorilla Glue). Like Godfather OG, it’s won Cannabis Cup awards, it hits hard and it hits fast. Save it for the evening since in addition to its full-blast and immediately uplifting high, it normally causes body lock even though it’s not an indica. THC levels have regularly tested between 25 to 30%.
Many medical marijuana patients choose GG4 to treat depression since it reduces anxiety and produces a pleasant, chill feeling. It’s also effective against migraines and body pain. As with almost all high-THC strains, it’s not recommended for those suffering from anxiety, because it can make that condition worse, not better.
Here’s an indica which can lay you out flat in no time – although that may be exactly what you’re after. Bubba Kush produces a dreamy and powerful euphoria that eliminates stress while making muscles heavy before you may need to hit the couch. Not all users react the same way to this strain, though; experienced indica smokers often say they can maintain focus (and conversations) during this high. Either way, you’ll probably have a major case of the munchies.
Some samples from dealers may only hit about 22-23% THC, but if you get you weed at quality dispensaries you’ll find that it’s more like 27-28%. Bubba Kush is a good choice to treat depression, ADHD and chronic pain. It has a sweet taste, too, although you should be aware that it’s pretty pungent.
Bruce Banner #3
Some variants of Bruce Banner (like #1 and #5) regularly come in with around 25% THC content, but this favored iteration comes closer to 30%. It’s a 60/40 Sativa-dominant strain which doesn’t lock your body up like some of the choices we’ve already listed; you’ll be able to (almost) fully function while enjoying the intense, creative and euphoric head high and overall mellow relaxation.
Medical applications for Bruce Banner #3 include treating stress and depression, chronic pain and insomnia, although its low CBD content means there may be better choices for serious medical conditions. We avoided including Incredible Hulk jokes or puns in this review, so feel free to insert your own here.
A slow-developing, relaxing and powerful high that tastes amazing? Yes, please. This is yet another multiple Cannabis Cup winner which has tested in the 27% THC content range, and some specimens have tested as high as 31%. At first, the Strawberry Banana experience is relaxing and cerebral, but it eventually gives way to a more sedating effect that may end up with couch-lock due to the strain’s indica leanings.
The sense of focus initially produced has proven effective for temporary treatment of conditions like ADHD, and the overall relaxation works well for those dealing with depression or stress. There are some decent pain relief effects felt by Strawberry Banana users as well. And it really is delicious.