Every year, weed gets higher — in THC, that is. Throughout our shared history with the cannabis plant, we've slowly bred it to produce more of its primary intoxicating and psychoactive cannabinoid, with THC percentages of some plants reaching the mid-30s.
Though cannabis contains myriad cannabinoids, with more than 100 cannabinoids identified in the plant to date, it's still tetrahydrocannabinol that reigns supreme. And 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 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."
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 GG4 strain.
GG4 has tested from 27% to 30% THC and is 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, 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.
The 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 CannaSafe 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 cut 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 a typically welcome mode of THC delivery.
Strawberry Banana is a frosty combination of Californian 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 first-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 produces massive yields of frosty, resin-ripe buds.
The cultivators at Illinois's Green Thumb Industries (GIT) made 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 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 OG — aka 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 range 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.
Feature image by Gina Coleman