Is the potency of marijuana we have access to now stronger?

Published May 16, 2019 09:10 a.m. ET
Photo by Ndispensable on Unsplash

When did using marijuana become fashionable or used for medical use? It’s is too far back for us to remember, so for information prevalent today we will only look back to the 1970s.

The Potency Monitoring Program that was established in 1972 was the first official testing and recording of THC levels. This program was established by the police from confiscated samples. Levels of THC were testing around the 3-4% THC content.

Moving on to the 1980s the birth of hydroponic growing marijuana began, and testing may have proved higher THC levels, but due to the poor testing we do not know. However, when tested in 1995 the potency had increased to 5%, not much compared to today but defiantly the potency was increasing.

In 1996 potency of the bud began to increase quickly. Breeding of the plant was now a commodity for medicinal use in California. This alone was an encouragement for the cannabinoids in the strains to increase in potency. The compounds THC/CBD was the top cannabinoids that were measured. Moving forward by the year 2014 THC levels have reached 12% content.

Now let’s move forward to today. The THC content has been recorded at over 34% for some strains.

High Times Magazine reported that the strain Godfather OG has tested with “of the chart” THC levels of 34%. The thought was the same weed 20 years ago was lucky to be tested and recorded at 4% THC.

So, moving forward we now have precise methods of testing the levels of potency of the marijuana that we are using today. The THC levels have increased immensely since the 70’s that is definite, or so most people believe.

Licensed marijuana producers (AKA LPs)

Cannabis use for medical reasons has been legal in Canada since 2001.

A licensed producer possesses a federal license to grow, harvest, dry and package marijuana. Tests must be conducted on cannabis produced at the facilities of the LP. A portion of this testing requires that the potency of each strain be recorded.  Lp’s are mandated to conduct research on the THC percentage content of the marijuana strain being produced.


The potency of marijuana that is bred from LP’s has stringent rules for marijuana cannabis products that are not in bud form.

Cannabis products that are for oral administration, vaginal, rectal or topically are not permitted to exceed 10 milligrams of THC per serving. For dried flowers, there is no potency cap.

Potency is not the word that is used commonly when looking for good weed. Chronic, Dank, Kush and Haze are some of the more common terms used when describing good potent weed. Note that hybrids are usually more potent or are a higher THC percentage strain.

Here are some of the high potency THC strains available today. I think it’s only right to define what high potency levels are. Levels of over 18% THC in strains are an indication of the potency of the bud and its THC percentage.

Here are a few top-notch potent sativa strains:

Destroyer: about 20% on the THC scale
Kilimanjaro: upwards of 20% on the THC scale
Thai: THC levels around 22%
Ghost Train Haze: Has tested at containing 28% THC content

Indica strains are some of the most potent THC percentage strains, here are a few very potent strains:

Kosher Kush: consistently potent tested at 21%
Purple Kush: has tested as high as 27% THC percentage
Afghan Kush: averages around the 25% level on the THC percentage scale
Hindu Kush: this strain has tested at 23% in the THC percentage chart

The cannabis plant’s potency and the public’s perception have increased since the hippy days of the 70s. Is this due to perfecting growing methods over time? Or is it the testing that is far more advanced today? Speaking with the 70s smokers, all agree that they got a strong potent high back then on what we have been told now was low THC content buds.



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