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Strongest Weed Strains in 2020

As cannabis cultivators continue to crossbreed various strains of marijuana, we’re introduced to the strongest weed strains we’ve ever seen. The highest THC strains of today seemed impossible just 20 years ago. Whether you’re looking for heightened effects or your tolerance is too high to benefit from average strains, you’ll benefit from knowing our picks for the most potent indica, sativa, and hybrid marijuana strains.

If you still have questions after reading this post, Green Health Docs can help. GHD offers medical marijuana card certification in numerous states, and their licensed physicians can answer all your questions and help you to get approved. Green Health Docs has clinics located in multiple states across the country, and GHD even offers telemedicine evaluations. Contact Green Health Docs today.

Strongest Indica Strain: Skywalker OG

A winner at the 2018 Karma Cup, Skywalker OG is generating tremendous interest for its powerful sedative effects. It was crossbred from two other highest THC strains, Skywalker and OG Kush, though its origins aren’t entirely known.

This is technically an indica-dominant hybrid, but since the indica often overpowers the sativa by as much as 90:10, it fits much more comfortably into the indica category. The THC content has been known to peak as high as 26%, making the psychotropic effect more powerful than that of any pure indica you’re likely to find. It has a spicy herbal aroma and flavor profile that’s familiar to Kush enthusiasts.

The hybrid profile and high THC provide both a mind-and-body high, relaxing the physical senses and contributing to excessive couchlock while also promoting a sense of giddy lightheadedness. It’s an excellent strain for when you want to relieve both your mental and physical stresses.

It may promote extreme lethargy and laziness that lasts for hours, so it’s recommended exclusively for nighttime use. Since Skywalker OG is truly one of the strongest weed strains, it may be useful for chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Avoid morning use, as some users have reported being virtually catatonic after just two hits.

Strongest Sativa Strain: Silver Haze

Silver Haze gets its name from the glistening silver layer of THC glands that coats its buds, and that should tell you everything you need to know. The strain averages 23% THC and is known for having powerful cerebral effects. An intense sense of euphoria grips the user almost immediately, which is why it is sometimes used for stress and anxiety. It’s also used for focus, as it provides energy without sacrificing clear-headedness.

Developed by the breeders at Sensi Seeds as a hybrid of Haze and Northern Lights #5 (more on that one below), this highly potent strain was a bronze winner at the 2005 High Times Cannabis Cup and remains one of the most potent sativas available. The effects are fast-acting and powerful because there’s almost no CBD to offset the psychoactive effects of the THC.

Do not confuse this strain with Super Silver Haze, a newer strain with less THC and less potent effects. The original Silver Haze remains one of (if not the) strongest weed strains of all the Haze varieties.

Strongest Hybrid Strain: Memory Loss

Arguably one of the strongest cannabis strains ever cultivated, the aptly named Memory Loss has been tested with THC levels as high as 31%. Created by the West Coast breeders at Archive Seed Bank, this strain is a 70:30 sativa-indica hybrid with only trace amounts of CBD to counterbalance the mind-numbing psychoactive effects. It was created by combining two other powerful indica and sativa strains, Amnesia Haze and Face Off OG.

The effects set in almost instantly. The initial reaction has been described as “an almost immediate onset that smashes into your brain, leaving you completely out of it and really unable to focus at all.” Because it’s known to make the mind race, the strain is not recommended for users prone to bouts of paranoia. This is recommended for experienced users only.

Memory Loss may be suitable for experienced users seeking increased focus and energy. While the initial effects can be powerful, the good news is that some users have reported an easy comedown without a major crash.

Strongest Indica Medical Strain: Northern Lights #5

An enormously popular indica for good reason, Northern Lights takes couchlock to another level. One of the purest indicas available, it features a high THC content (up to 18%) coupled with moderate CBD (up to 2%). It’s believed to have originated near Seattle in the 1970s before being propagated by famed breeder Neville Schoenmakers in the Netherlands.

This is an excellent option for chronic pain and anxiety, as it’s known for promoting physical and mental relaxation and also sleep. This variety is rich in myrcene, a terpene that works as a muscle-relaxant and anti-inflammatory agent. It also contains moderate amounts of caryophyllene, which may act as a natural digestive aid and pain reliever.

A descendant of indigenous Afghani and Thai strains, Northern Lights has won more cannabis awards than any other strain, and it’s widely available in dispensaries across North America. It has a sweet and spicy aroma, and the effects are long-lasting. Just be sure to reserve it for times when you’re able to relax, as its sedative effects are powerful.

If you’re looking for this one at your local dispensary, be sure to ask for Northern Lights #5. There are several breeding varieties of this popular strain, and #5 is the most potent and powerful.

Strongest Sativa Medical Strain: Lemon Meringue

Named for its invigorating citrus aroma, Lemon Meringue is a fan favorite in Colorado and California dispensaries. The THC content has been measured as high as 28%, and the intense cerebral effect resulting from the THC has made it a preferred strain among people seeking relief from ADHD symptoms.

A newer option to hit the market, Lemon Meringue is the child of Cookies & Cream and Lemon Skunk, two popular high-THC strains. Developed by the breeders at Exotic Genetix, it is described as delivering “an amazing high” and “a focused and long-lasting high that will have you feeling lifted for hours on end before fading away into a sleepy comedown.”

As a medical strain, Lemon Meringue is noted for having a much higher-than-average concentration of cannabigerol (CBG), the parent cannabinoid of THC and CBD. CBG is being studied for its ability to stimulate appetite, relieve inflammatory bowel disease, suppress bacterial infection, and even treat Huntington’s disease.

Strongest Hybrid Medical Strain: Trainwreck

This sativa-dominant hybrid was developed by cross-breeding three potent varieties of cannabis: Mexican sativa, Thai sativa, and Afghani indica. Though its origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery, it’s believed to have been created by two brothers in Northern California in the 1970s.

This herb has a pepper-like flavor and produces a mighty cerebral high. Thrillist warned that too much of this ultra-potent strain “can have you peeking out the windows and calling the cops on yourself.”

Because the strain favors sativa over indica by a 70:30 margin, you’re getting a lot of THC without a lot of CBD, and that means a powerful head high. Nevertheless, the indica effects are still present, so the experience can begin as a rush of energy that ultimately plateaus and ends with a lethargic stupor.

The high THC content (up to 19%) makes the strain a favorite for combating headaches, chronic pain, and inflammation. Like many medically preferred strains, Trainwreck is also rich in myrcene, a terpene studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. Terpinolene, another abundant terpene found in Trainwreck, is being studied for its anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.

Choosing the Strongest Cannabis Strains for Your Needs

If you’re a medical marijuana card holder, you might not need the highest-THC strain to get the desired result. However, if your current medicine isn’t having enough of an effect, your THC tolerance may be such that you need a higher concentration.

Before reaching for the strongest cannabis strains, though, remember that achieving a medicinal benefit is about more than just THC. You have to consider the full cannabinoid and terpene profile. THC may be useful for pain, muscle spasms, nausea, listlessness, glaucoma, lack of focus, and insomnia. CBD may be useful for seizures, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea.

Finally, be aware that the highest-THC strains may have greater side effects, including dry mouth, increased heart rate, memory loss, lack of coordination, and possible temporary psychosis.

If you’re still looking to achieve the maximum effect, consider the strongest cannabis strains listed above. If you’re just looking to achieve the best medical result without excess side effects, speak to your doctor about which strain might be best suited to your needs.

The Strongest Weed Strains on Earth

At the start of 2016, we examined the six HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cups from the previous year and the thousands of entries they tallied. The goal? To ascertain exactly which of the entries deserve to be called the strongest strains on planet Earth. There are many types of weed strains with varying levels of THC. Our goal was to determine the strongest weed strain.

In years past, we’ve built our “Strongest Strains on Earth” list simply in order of potency. We’ve reorganized the article to categorize these potent strains by their place of birth. (Readers enjoyed this format last year, so we’ll use it again.) These rankings represent only one data point: THC potency, as determined by lab testing. They do not include the judges’ scores or notations, or any other cannabinoids or terpenes (the latter can be read about in our new annual feature, “The Best-Tasting Buds on Earth”). However, this year we’ve included a short list of the strongest CBD strains from 2015 to complement our THC charts.

So if you’re looking for a strain with a knockout punch, one that will get you high when you’re feeling low—you’re in the right place!

Region: Southern California

1. Emperor Cookie Dough

Competitor: Greenwolf LA

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Hybrid Flowers (US)

% THC: 31.1

2. Karmasutra

Competitor: Cali Kush Farms with Karma Squad and Reeferman Genetics

2015 Cannabis Cup: World Cannabis Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 29.72

3. Strawberry Banana

Competitor: Green Country Rebellion with Cali Natural

2015 Cannabis Cup: LA Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 28.4

4. Veganic Strawberry Cough

Competitor: Private Stock for Buds & Roses of LA

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Sativa (US)

% THC: 28.31

5. Life Is Good OG (bx OG F6)

Competitor: Life Is Good

2015 Cannabis Cup: World Cannabis Cup

Category: Medical Indica

% THC: 27.2

The Emperor Cookie Dough, a cross between Emperor OG and Girl Scout Cookies, was entered into the Denver US Cannabis Cup by the Greenwolf LA crew and is one of only two strains ever to cross the 30% threshold for THC. The other strain to do so? Keep on reading….

Karmasutra , a collaboration project, is a hybrid of the Karma OG crossed with Rockstar . Rockstar has two known versions: The Canadian version is a Bubba Kush x Lemon OG , while the European version is Rockbud x Sensi Star.

Veganic Strawberry Cough has been included in our “Strongest Strains on Earth” compilation (hereafter, The List) for three out of the five years that HIGH TIMES has been running it. In 2012, the VSC maxed out at just over 20% THC. Meanwhile, veganically grown strains (using Kyle Kushman’s Vegamatrix line) have made The List seven times over the course of those five years.


1. Chem Dog

Competitor: Next Harvest

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Indica

% THC: 32.13

2. The Brotherhood

Competitor: Animas Herbal Wellness Center

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Indica

% THC: 27.65

3. Sour Kush 60/40

Competitor: Black Dog LED

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Hybrid (US)

% THC: 26.6

4. Lemon OG Haze

Competitor: Ethos Seed Company

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Sativa (US)

% THC: 26.14

5. Ghost Train Haze

Competitor: Greenman Cannabis

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: Sativa

% THC: 25.74

It’s no surprise that this year’s strongest strain—and the new record holder for the highest potency ever recorded at a High Times Cannabis Cup event—is none other than Chem Dog. Reaching 32.13% THC, the Chem has achieved what most of us thought was impossible and leaves us asking one basic question: Just how high can a flower go in terms of potency?

The Brotherhood was another organically grown entry that hit nearly 28% THC. Propagated from seed, her lineage stacks up like this: (Willie’s Wonder x Grape Krush ) x (Bubba ’91 x The White).

The Sour Kush was grown under a purple LED light, and she still went over 26% THC. Does this mean that limited-spectrum LED lamps are healthy for plants—or that the plant was stressed, producing more resin to attract pollen in order to ensure its survival? And if the latter, do you care? The debate continues ….

The Ghost Train Haze appeared in our very first “Strongest Strains on Earth” feature, taking the prize for the most potent strain of 2011 at 25.49% THC. In 2014, she was our THC champion again at nearly 27.46%. Entered last year by the fine grow team at Greenman Cannabis in Denver, the Rare Dankness–bred strain dipped slightly, but we suspect she’ll be back again next year looking for the top slot.

Northern California

1. Chiquita Banana

Competitor: Utopia Farms

2015 Cannabis Cup: World Cannabis Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 27.16

2. Strawberry Banana

Competitor: Crockett Family Farms

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 26.0

3. Gorilla Glue #4

Competitor: Green Acres

2015 Cannabis Cup: SF Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 25.8

4. Kosher Kush

Competitor: Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance

2015 Cannabis Cup: SF Cup

Category: Medical Indica

% THC: 25.6

5. Tahoe Chem

Competitor: C.R.A.F.T.

2015 Cannabis Cup: SF Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 25.5

Chiquita Banana, a relatively new name in the fruity strains, is likely a backcross of the Banana Kush (or Banana OG ) out of NorCal , with her potency derived from one of her parents, the epic Ghost OG cut.

Appearing twice on The List for 2015, the Strawberry Banana also was named one of “The Strongest Strains on Earth” in 2014, coming in at 22.51% THC. Additionally, she recently showed up in our “Best-Tasting Buds” feature (March ’16) boasting a very prolific terpene profile. A cross between Bubblegum and Banana Kush ( OG ), the SB goes nine weeks in flower.

Gorilla Glue #4 has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past few years, combining a unique flavor with a very potent high. A super-cross of Sour Dubb x ( Chem’s Sister x Chocolate Diesel), she’s a sativa-dominant hybrid that’s been making her way across the country, and has reportedly even been seen on a menu or two in Dutch coffeeshops .


1. Platinum OG

Competitor: Herbal Solutions—Ypsilanti

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Indica

% THC: 27.1

2. Sunny Days

Competitor: Jackson County Compassion Club

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Sativa

% THC: 26.7

3. Death Star

Competitor: IDK Farms & Great Lakes Water Only with Detroit Nutrient Co.

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 26.1

4. Sunshine #4 by Bhodi Seeds

Competitor: The Green Room Detroit

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Hybrid

% THC: 25.95

5. Purple OG

Competitor: Herbal Solutions

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: Medical Indica

% THC: 25.9

The Sunny Days doubtless gets her potency from her father, the Ghost Train Haze #1. This particular sativa-dominant hybrid is a GTH backcross whose lineage is represented as (Grape Stomper x GTH #1) bx GTH #1. This entry, hitting nearly 27% THC, was organically grown.

Death Star has been around for a while, but the Sour Diesel x Sensi Star cross has never quite lived up to initial expectations. This pheno , however, achieved new heights when grown in all-natural soil and organic nutrients from the Detroit Nutrient Company. See a trend?

Sunshine #4, an OG x Cherry Pie x Pink Panties cross, first made headlines in our “Best-Tasting Buds” feature this past March, boasting 2.2% total terps , with myrcene heading the roster. Combine that with nearly 26% THC, and you get a potent flower that took home first place in the Best Hybrid category.


1. Kevie Skunk

Competitor: St. Bess Ganja Growers—Kevin Samuels

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Indica Flowers (Outdoor)

% THC: 17.8

2. True OG

Competitor: Kingston Skinny

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Mixed Indoor Flowers

% THC: 17.4

3. Power Nap

Competitor: Sunspice/ Igadl Global Ja/ Louis Chase/ Maurice Ellis

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Mixed Indoor Flowers

% THC: 16.8

4. Gummy Berry 2

Competitor: Bongo Mannie

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Indica Flowers (Outdoor)

% THC: 16.6

5. Orange Hill Ebola

Competitor: Juna Johnson

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Indica Flowers (Outdoor)

% THC: 15.8

6. M.G. Express—G.O.E. Original

Competitor: St. Bess Ganja Growers—Glendon Elcis

2015 Cannabis Cup: Jamaica Cup

Category: Sativa Flowers (Outdoor)

% THC: 15.4

The Jamaican Cannabis Cup featured entries grown only in Jamaica, with the categories divided into Indoor, Outdoor Sativa and Outdoor Indica for flowers. The average indoor flower potency was 15.5% THC. Out of 53 total flower entries, the average outdoor potency was 10.1% THC for indicas and 10.4% THC for sativas . These averages represent the values for activated ( decarboxylated ) THC.

Each province or parish of Jamaica is represented by a primary ganja growers’ association, and many of the entries were supplied via these organizations. Rastafarians comprise a majority of these growers and have been cultivating some of these strains for many decades. They were central in organizing this Cup competition.

St. Bess Ganja Growers, which provided two of the most potent entries in the Jamaica Cup, as well as the St. Ann’s Botanical & Agro Processing Cooperative and the Orange Hill growers (of Westmoreland), were among the top associations of island cultivators.

The True OG was grown from seeds purchased from Elemental Seeds.

Eight of the 26 entries in the Best Indica category, or 31%, tested for high CBD levels (over 3%). The highest was 9.2% CBD , in a strain called Black Willy from the Accompong Maroons, Jamaica’s oldest indigenous people.

Strongest CBD Strains

As THC potency rises, so too come increasing CBD levels. We never thought we’d see the day when CBD actually catches up to THC, but that sentiment is now being challenged as we witness CBD strains crossing the 20th percentile for the first time ever.

In comparison with the results in the THC category, the CBD strains were tested by three different labs across four separate competitions, with values coming back between 15% and 21%. The top CBD strain, a Cannatonic phenotype that’s been circulating in the northern US for the past several years, also hit 19% CBD at the Michigan Cup in 2011.

CBD: The Highest Levels

1. Cannatonic

Competitor: IDK Farms & Great Lakes Water Only with Detroit Nutrient Co.

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 20.8

% THC: 0.8


Competitor: C.R.A.F.T.

2015 Cannabis Cup: World Cannabis Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 19.5

% THC: 9.01

3. Perkins Cut Cannatonic

Competitor: Mota Rebel Genetics

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 18.8

% THC: 0.7

4. CBDee’s #1B

Competitor: Pure West Compassion Club with Light Sky Farms

2015 Cannabis Cup: Michigan Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 18.6

% THC: 0.7

5. The Wife

Competitor: Green Grass Central City

2015 Cannabis Cup: Denver Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 16.57

% THC: 0.67

6. AC/DC

Competitor: Emerald Triangle Genetics

2015 Cannabis Cup: LA Cup

Category: CBD Flowers

% CBD: 15.4

% THC: 0.8

Mile High Has Record High

This feature has been running annually in our hallowed pages for five years now. The previous high mark for potency was 28.35% THC for the Bruce Banner #3, set in 2013 at the Denver Cannabis Cup. Since that time, we’ve discussed at length just how high a cannabis flower could go, physiologically speaking, in terms of THC. We’ve also discussed the various lab-testing methodologies used by labs in different states. We asked the experts if we would see an end to these skyrocketing values, or would cannabis simply continue to progress until we had buds testing at over 50% THC? The truth is, there has to be a ceiling at some point: After all, a flower can’t be 100% percent THC.

In 2015, we reached a new milestone in the Mile High City, crossing the 30% threshold for the first time ever at a High Times Cannabis Cup competition. Sure, we’ve heard rumors about strains climbing as high as 35%—we’ve even examined reports submitted by growers and prepared by no-name labs. But these reports won’t be considered valid until we can certify the lab and its testing protocols, as we do for each Cup competition we hold.

In Denver, we had not one but two flower entries break the barrier and cross into a new realm of cannabis potency. And while both were entered in the same Cup, they were grown in different states, by different growers, using different genetics and techniques. Still, it’s important to remember that while we validated the testing methods used, we had only one lab running samples at this Cup, as opposed to our normal protocol of two separate labs running the samples independently.

Greenwolf , a celebrated LA dispensary, brought to the Denver Cup their Emperor Cookie Dough, which tipped the scales at 31.1% THC—an impressive number, to say the least. And then we have our good friends at Next Harvest, a perennial contender from Denver, whose Chem Dog cut surpassed the 32% mark and set the bar with a new all-time high of 32.13% THC.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s ever smoked a pure Chem Dog, which just happened to originate from seeds found in a pound of cannabis grown in Denver in the 1990s (and known simply as “the Dog” back then). Today, we no longer question the results, but instead celebrate the unknown. And one day, sooner or later, our questions will finally be answered as to just how high this precious plant can take us.

We’d like to pause here and thank our partner labs for providing such excellent and thorough lab results for our Cannabis Cup competitions in 2015:

LA Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by CSA Labs, Los Angeles, using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Denver Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by Charas Scientific, Denver, using high-pressure liquid chromatography ( HPLC ).

San Francisco Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by Steep Hill Labs, Berkeley, using HPLC.

Michigan Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by Iron Labs, Walled Lake, using GC-MS, and by PSI Labs, Ann Arbor, using HPLC.

The World Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by CSA Labs, Los Angeles, using HPLC.

Jamaica Cannabis Cup: Lab-testing results by Steep Hill Labs, Berkeley, using a QuantaCann-2 (IR-referenced technology), and in conjunction with the University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica.

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