The secret to knowing the weed that will make you giggly and the weed that will blow your mind is understanding the THC level.
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinod and the amount in each strain determines the potency. Depending on things like growth cycles, the same strain might vary in THC levels, but as a rule of thumb this is the number to look for.
When I say marijuana here, I’m generally referring to the “bud,” the green sticky icky leaves that you crumble up and put in your pipe or joint. Other types of cannabis – such as hash oil – might have a far higher THC content, but you want the green high right?
Just to give context, marijuana strains tend to have 10-20% THC, and anything above that is considered pretty strong. THC stimulates receptors in the brain that are related to memory, time perception, pleasure and releases dopamine. The stronger the THC level in the weed, the more likely you’ll hallucinate, or “mong out.”
What else should you know? Understanding the difference between indica and sativa is key. Both are types of marijuana, but the effects they provide tend to fall into two distinct camps: Think of indica as a nightcap and sativa as a morning coffee.
Both indica and sativa are plants that marijuana is harvested from, but the plants are different. Indica plants are short and wide, and sativa plants are tall and slim. Indica plants are what most homegrown versions would be as they are suitable for indoors while sativa plants – which can grow up to 25 feet.
The properties of the weed are as follows: indica produces a “body high”, the kind that will make your eyeballs burn and your body feel heavy. Sativa is more uplifting and euphoric
ONE: Australian Marijuana
The current winner of all the strains is an undisclosed variant from Australia. Wait – don’t protest too much, here, the said strain is estimated to be at 40% potency, that’s basically twice the average weed strength,and significantly higher than anything you can buy ANYWHERE in the USA. Why so high? Well, answers are conflicting, but basically the Australian climate is thought to be conducive to cultivating marijuana strains that are very potent, and a recent study on some of the weed seized backs this up.
“The first comprehensive Australian data on street-level cannabis potency, through analysis of cannabis seizures obtained from New South Wales,” wrote science journal PLos One, and this study showed a number of marijuana strains with an unnaturally high THC level. I guess the Ozzies have other exports to go with coal, uranium and sexy surfer dudes now…
TWO: Pitbull Marijuana
Forget about “Timber,” think about the aggressive – and by this we mean chronic strong – properties. Pitbull is a strain created by Stoney Girl Gardens (yes, best name ever). Created in 2003, it’s a blend of two seeds strains , the adorably named Sugar Plum and P91. Described as a “fruity and earthy mix” it clocks in at around 36% THC.
So what do you need to know about this? Well Pitbull is strong to smoke AND easy to grow, which is an ideal situation. Good for rainy climates it flowers quickly with lots of crystals – crystals on plants indicate potency- and can grow to 16 foot tall. “Usually one hit is all your guest should be allowed to have. Any more and you might as well plan a full evening,” the creators wrote on their website.
That’s a good accolade- when the creators needs to warn you about the strength!
THREE: White Russian
Most weed smokers are familiar with White Widow weed. It refers to a strain of weed that was very popular in the early 2000’s. Back then it was considered one of the strongest available, but nowadays more modern engineered strains have overtaken it in terms of potency- thought the buzz is still known as being a euphoric and energetic high, ideal for creative conversations with your friends.
But now we have White Russian marijuana. Yes, it’s the same name as the delicious cocktail and Big Lebowski favorite but far, far stronger.
Leafly – a web service often described as the Cannabis Yelp as it combines user reviews with dispensary information – described White Russian as having energetic, euphoric, creative, happy and uplifted effects (and yes, those are all considered separate side effects).
White Russian was created as a cross-strain (where two blends are mixed and grow together) of White Widow and AK-47. THC levels have been measured as around 22-24% and though there are higher THC strains, this particular bud is well loved for creating an alert high, rather than sending you to sleep.
FOUR: Ice Marijuana
The term “Ice” has a bad rep nowadays, with far too many associations of methamphetamine and people who go loopy on it. But it’s not something to avoid when it comes to cannabis. Ice is one of those strains that belongs to the old school; available since the 90’s, and has history of performing well, winning the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1998. Cannabis Search described it as “a crossing of the finest red skunk strains with resinous white strains, both of which have been very popular amongst Dutch growers since the middle of the nineties.” The strain is a hybrid of other, popular strong strains which include Northern Light, Afghan, Skunk and Shiva.
When this strain is ready to harvest, the plant becomes covered in what look like little icicles and the sheer abundance of them has given this strain its name. The THC content tends to be below 20%, but numbers aren’t the only factor here, as users consistently report that this will get you F**ked up with a capital F.
FIVE OG Head Cheese
We were unsure about sharing this extremely potent strain with you, as though it’s renowned for being eye-rollingly intense, it’s also rare, and we do hate to be a tease. Still, if you were to see this on a dispensary menu you’d be foolish to pass up on it. Originally created in the Santa Cruz mountains, the strain is derived from two potent mothers – the Headband strain and the Cheese strain.
The Sticky Guide says that, “Effects tend to be felt in the head first, generally around the eyes, then spread throughout the entire body, producing muscle relaxation and even some tingly numbness.” THC wise, it sits around the 25% mark and has an odd cheesy aroma (hence the name). Iread Culture said that, “the buds strike just the right balance of density and moisture, translating to even-burning joints and bowls you don’t have to wrestle with to keep lit. The flavor is like a good Swiss variety of cheese—savory without being too sharp.”
This list isn’t intended to cover every strong strain that exists, but hopes to give you a good guide to getting your smoke on… big time.