Top 7 Strongest Cannabis Strains in 2020

Where's Weed

Published on May 27, 2020

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Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Like most other industries over the last five decades or so, the legal cannabis industry has changed and evolved dramatically to adapt to technological advances, consumer tastes, and market forces that have emerged. After all, with legal cannabis being projected as a $43 billion industry by 2025 and a laundry list of states set to legalize either medically or recreationally, the industry is showing no signs of stalling out and slowing down as a result.

With that advancement in money-making potential, cannabis industry professionals have been making leaps and bounds when it comes to advancing cannabis tech. As a result of that advancement, we've seen a massive slew of new and innovative cannabis strains and products hit the market recently. Gone are the days when weak Mexican brick weed dominated the bowls and joints of U.S. consumers. Those days have been left behind due to a surge of scientific advancement in growth techniques, cultivation, product analyses, and consumption. The result is a thriving industry with options aplenty when it comes to production and consumption. It has also resulted in cannabis with very high levels of THC.

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When it comes to cannabis, there really is no better time than the present. Research suggests that, although it is difficult to be 100 percent certain, today's cannabis is the strongest that it's literally ever been. Most researchers agree that in the 1970s the average THC content in the vast majority of marijuana consumed in the United States was around 1 - 3 percent. That level of THC crept up to around 4 percent in the early nineties and ballooned to around 13 percent in 2013. In 2017, the most popular strains of cannabis being purchased legally in Colorado averaged between 17 percent and 28 percent THC content.

So why is the market dictating that the strongest weed is also the most popular? How are they making such potent cannabis? In this article, we'll go in-depth on some of the strongest strains of weed out there in dispensaries today, exploring the advancements that have been made in the industry and some of our favorite high-power strains. So without further ado, let's get right into it!

"Bigger is Better" Mentality

Before we tackle which strains have the highest THC content and hit users the hardest, let's first break down exactly why the "bigger is better" mentality might not be the best idea.

Similar to the rise in popularity of high alcohol beers, strong red wines, or insanely oaked chardonnay, consumers tend to think that the item with the most of something will be the best. After all, you don't need to look any further than the craft beer industry to see this "bigger is better" mentality in action in a niche industry. In the relatively new world of legal recreational cannabis, many consumers aren't aware of the many nuances associated with the legal cannabis industry such as CBD percentage or the entourage effect that might make a particular strain a better fit than one with a ton of THC. After all, why purchase a strain with only 14 percent THC when you can get one with 28 percent THC? This mentality, however, is firmly outdated and wrong. Modern-day cannabis aficionados know that stuff like terpene and cannabinoid profiles are far more important than just the levels of THC and CBD found in cannabis flower. 

Pricing

Building off of that "bigger is better" mentality, cannabis brands know that the average consumer is willing to pay top-dollar for the strains with the highest THC content. So why not charge their prices to match at the dispensary? The highest THC strains have a better price point for growers and retailers. The strongest types of weed can sell for much more than those with only slightly lower THC levels. Think about how much commission a realtor will make on a house that sells for $100,000 vs. one that sells for $1,000,000. Which one would they prefer to sell?

Supply & Demand

The market regulates itself and keeps the most potent weed as the most popular. It's basic economics. As long as someone is willing to pay the higher price, the higher those prices will go. There are fewer low-THC seeds available because those strains are simply not as popular. Therefore, there are simply fewer low-THC strain clones available in dispensaries all over the country. As a result, it simply becomes more difficult to grow those types of strains due to the costs associated with it, which means it is not as profitable to produce strains with less THC.

Medical Benefits

Some medical marijuana patients need high THC/CBD levels for relief of certain types of pain, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, nausea, insomnia, etc. Understanding where to buy these strains is particularly important, although this can easily be solved with a little research and a few calls around to local MMJ dispensaries.

How Cannabis is Grown to Yield High THC Levels

With strains containing high THC levels are all the rage at dispensaries across the country, growers are working extra hard to keep up with the ever-growing demand for high THC strains. Those growers looking to produce the strongest weed strains possible need to know how the genetics of their plants actually work to get the best out of them. Genetics determine how much THC the plant will be able to produce. Once a grower selects a strain with a high THC content, they can then breed it with different high THC strain to produce a plant with an average higher THC level than both parent plants. The result of this crossbreeding will be a hybrid that exhibits the traits from its two mother plants (look, taste, smell) but also an increased percentage of THC content.

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That content is most commonly determined by sending a sample to an accredited third-party lab that uses high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This process involves dissolving the sample in a solvent, diluting it, and then heating it so it can pass through separation columns and then on to a detector. Of course, different labs have different equipment and specific practices so there can be minor discrepancies between labs. Samples can also vary in THC level based on physical aspects like the location where the sample was procured, soil pH levels, weather, etc.

Highest THC Strains

So with all of that information laid out and out of the way, let's get into the nitty-gritty details of which strains actually have that massively high THC content. So what's the strongest strain of weed, you ask? Well, that's pretty much impossible to say since there are so many strains in the world. Having said that, here are seven strains that regularly show up in the discussion around which stains are the most potent on the dispensary shelf and - perhaps more importantly - would also grace a list of the best kinds of weed. These top marijuana strains are strong, but they also have plenty of terpenes that make them smell great, taste delicious and provide a well-rounded cannabis experience. Sometimes the strongest pot in the world is not th

For a much larger list of cannabis strains, check out our comprehensive strain guide!

Ice Cream Cake

A sugary flavor topped with notes of vanilla dominates this tasty hybrid of Wedding Cake and Gelato #33. THC levels consistently clock in around 27 percent - 29 percent and provide users with a sedative high that is pure bliss.

Chiquita Banana

A sugary flavor topped with notes of vanilla dominates this tasty hybrid of Wedding Cake and Gelato #33. THC levels consistently clock in around 27 percent - 29 percent and provide users with a sedative high that is pure bliss.

White Tahoe Cookies

The result of a hybridization of The White, Tahoe OG and Girl Scout Cookies, this Indica-dominant strain hovers around 27 percent THC. Its effects move quickly from a mellow buzz to an even and mellow ride. It's a beautiful strain with sharp green buds covered in a haze of white trichomes.

Godfather OG

This whopper of a strain is popular in the medical community for its soothing high and pain relief properties. A cross between XXX OG x Alpha OG, Grandfather OG reeks of pungent pine with a hint of grape. This top marijuana strain finished first in the Indica category at the2013 Cannabis Cup in California and in 2016 it broke the previous Cannabis Cup record of 32.13 percent THC with the test revealing a staggering 34.04 percent THC content.

Ghost Train Haze

Ghost Train Haze is a Sativa-dominant strain developed by crossing Neville's Wreck with Ghost OG. It routinely tests with levels above 27 percent THC and is ideal for a creative prompt or an energetic boost. Citrus and pine dominate Ghost Train Haze's flavor profile.

Bruce Banner #3

The Hulk is another Sativa-dominant plant that is widely loved for its uplifting effects and fruity flavor. The result of a marriage between OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel, THC levels tend to hover in the 26 percent - 29 percent range.

Emperor Cookie Dough

Cannabis consumers in search of medical relief flock to this intense yet balanced hybrid created in Canada by combining Girls Scout Cookies and Emperor OG. THC levels can be astronomical; if this isn't the highest THC strain it is certainly in elite company with levels around 35 percent not uncommon. Bonus? It tastes delicious.

Have you tried any other super-potent strains? What were some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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