Assessing potency gets even more complicated with cultivation methods and lab-testing nuances, which have yet to become standardized. So bear in mind that this isn’t necessarily a list of strains with the highest reported THC percentages (though we’ll include those), or the richest terpene profiles. It’s not even a list of the best-selling buds, but sales were something we considered.
As we mentioned at the beginning, this isn’t a complete list. Cultivators constantly improve their grow game, and new, stronger plants are appearing on dispensary shelves every day. And again, “best” and “strongest” strains are two entirely different beasts. High THC content doesn’t necessarily mean superior flower. For reference, the top-winning flower at The Emerald Cup rarely tests above 23% THC.
Not every weed strain gets its own song by the heady heroes Cheech and Chong, but, as they once sang, “Acapulco Gold is – badass weeeeed!”
Unlike The Godfather of the cinematic mafia series, Godfather OG won’t make you sleep with the fishes, but it could put you to sleep — as in, in a bed. Or if you’re the graveyard-shift gamer type, it might lock you to the couch harder than the deflated kids in those infamous anti-weed PSAs.
GSC used to be known as “Girl Scout Cookies” until a certain outdoorsy youth organization claimed trademark infringement. Born from a marriage of OG Kush and Durban Poison (which makes the aforementioned Chemdog part of its powerhouse lineage, as well), GSC has swept up awards from major cannabis competitions due to its candied flavors, chillaxed highs, and firey potencies of 25 to 28 percent THC.
Many of the uber-dank strains mentioned below made the final cut — above all others — because of their prominence in pop culture. For instance, Chemdog got its start in the parking lot of Grateful Dead concert back in the 1990s, and today, the band’s former drummer, Mickey Hart, exclusively sells Chemdog pre-rolls through his new celeb weed company. Or in the case of Green Crack — which supposedly got its moniker from Uncle Snoop himself — rose to fame because its speedy, mind-racing effects were branded right into its name.
According to recent lab tests, Brownie Scout may be the weed with the most THC content ever grown, with a peak at 37.5 percent THC. Its breeders claim it consistently produces over 30 percent THC. But since these values come only from a Green Thumb Industries (GTI) dispensary in Illinois, to get a shiny Brownie Scout badge, devoted tokers will need to relocate to the Prairie State. GTI currently markets Brownie Scout for “anxiety, pain, and insomnia,” so expect its smoke to be a knock-out.
As its name implies, Brownie Scout has roots in GSC (formerly called “Girl Scout Cookies”), specifically the Platinum GSC strain, which was bred from OG Kush, Durban Poison, and a third strain. And given Brownie Scout’s genetics, this makes it yet another strongest-strain-of-all-time that descended from Chemdog.
Hailing from South Africa (which recently legalized!) and introduced to the US by the illustrious breeder Ed Rosenthal, this strain was a top-seller in Colorado in 2017, becoming one of the first plants to knock Blue Dream from its previously reigning spot.
Potency always varies based on how the cannabis is grown, but generally speaking, certain plants have proven stronger than others throughout weed history.