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How Many Strains of Weed are There & What is the Strongest Strain of Weed Ever?


How Many Strains of Weed Are There


Cannabis is booming, driving an expanding industry, growing state economies and creating interest in the new medical applications of cannabis. This marijuana movement is driving a treasure trove of cannabis products, and varieties of cannabis called strains.

How many strains of weed are there? What is the strongest weed strain? This post will explore the wide world of strains. There are three main subspecies of cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. From those three there are almost countless strains which feature a specific, and often unique, profile in their cannabinoid and terpene breakdown. With unique names and designed to cater to a specific need they are more than just a way to diversify the world of cannabis.

When you walk into a dispensary you can often smell each strain’s unique scent profile or ask about their chemical breakdown to find what is right for your goals or interest. New strains drive a lot of the usership of cannabis as cannabis enthusiasts search for the ideal strain of their choice.

These categories of cannabis provide equally countless applications for your healing journey and your high. This post will explain and explore the world of strains so you can find your favorite.


What Is A Weed Strain?

A weed strain is the subclassification for all of the different varieties of cannabis. Thanks to the legalization of medical marijuana patients can seek out cannabis strains based on their specific phytochemical breakdown.

Strains are also scientifically known as cultivars. A cultivar is a plant cultivated for desired traits and retains those traits when it gets further propagated. What are some of the characteristics driving the overgrowth of weed strains?

It’s not just the specific amount of THC or CBD that drives new strains being developed. There’s also the specific profile of terpenes which provide the unique scent profile and a suite of various health benefits. There are even flavonoids which can affect the color. Did you know there’s even purple weed?

So much of what drives the cannabis experience, both the high and health benefits, are the unique combination of all of these chemicals. Cannabis offers an entourage effect where the sum of these chemicals’ interactions provide one unique experience on your body’s endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN and CBG mirror similar compounds your body creates to dial up and down body functions ranging from hunger, relaxation and even body inflammation.

Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is subtly different which is why many patients elect to smell a strain before they choose it to see which smells the most appealing. Not to mention, the entourage effect for their body can vary slightly which is why many people sample different strains and products to find what works for them.

Weed strains are a bit like wine varietals which are broken down by the types of grapes they’re made of. The wine industry has moved so far beyond just red, white and blush to types of wine varieties, the location they’re made, and other subtle differences.

Similarly, there are many more strains than the standard sativa, indica, or ruderalis. Cannabis ruderalis does not have THC but strains of cannabis have been crossbred across all the three subspecies to seek out faster growth times, larger buds, and countless other unique characteristics.

Weed strains are part of the basic breakdown of all cannabis products. Even edibles, cannabis oil, dabs, and vape cartridges are often strain specific. If you haven’t yet, you can likely find a cannabis strain that’s right for your body, bliss level and budget.


What is a Strain of Weed


How Many Strains Of Weed Are There?’

Experts have found at least 700 strains of weed but there are likely over a thousand, if not thousands of unique cannabis strains. Thanks to hybridization and crossbreeding many in the cannabis industry have sought out higher THC levels, courted different cannabinoid breakdowns or terpene profiles, or have even sought out other unique identifiers like color, crystallization, or scent.

Cannabis companies can create proprietary strains. Plus, given the pre-legalization weed market cultivators have been cross breeding strains for decades. Cannabis enthusiasts and growers have created a genetic super stash of unique strains with interesting names like Girl Scout Cookies, Island Sweet Skunk or Red Headed Stranger.

There are many unique demands of the cannabis industry whether it’s the growing demand for higher THC content, needing to skirt THC restrictions thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing low-THC cannabis, or even just to cater to their own specific tastes.

Countless cultivators are creating new strains each year. High Times’s Cannabis Cup is an international contest where different cannabis enthusiasts bring their specific strains and products in an attempt to get greater notoriety and visibility in the industry.

Like the wine industry, the number of cannabis strains is likely to only skyrocket to meet demand, interest, and even provide novelty in a fairly saturated industry. Not to mention, some states allow people to grow their own cannabis which can lead to more people experimenting with horticulture.

As more states legalize cannabis there are more players in the game creating new strains and scientific research driving interest in different chemical compounds in cannabis leading to other motivations to create new strains.


What Is The Strongest Strain Of Weed?

Given the overabundance of weed strains it can be a bit challenging to choose one specific strain of weed that’s strongest than the others. There are also different factors that dictate strength because a high-THC content does not always equate to the strength that you will feel it.

Certain terpenes like pinene and cannabinoids like CBD can temper the effect that THC will have on you. That being said, there are a few strains that appear on multiple top 10 lists.

Some of the strongest strains of weed include:

Godfather OG tops many of the top 10 lists including High Times Strongest Strains on Earth 2017. It broke records with its high THC content reaching 34.04% active THC. Out of curiosity this strain was cultivated using 3 other popular strains Cherry Pie, Granddaddy Purps, OG Kush.

Some other strains that have appeared in multiple strongest weed strains lists include:

  • Bruce Banner
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Gorilla Glue

Again, new strains are cropping up and without an official set of characteristics to track “strongest weed” strains these can vary but some keys to consider are THC content and what other prominent terpenes feature. Also, while not always reliable, it’s good to ask around from friends, budtenders, and even your doctor what strains might fit best for your cannabis goals.


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How Much THC Is In Normal Weed?

Again, given the oversaturated market this is a tough number to ascertain. Cannabis THC levels have changed significantly in the last 30 years or so. Legalization, and the wild west of pre-legalization led to a lot of experimentation and an almost paradigmatic shift for how much THC is in the average cannabis.

Currently, the average THC content can range from 10%-25% with “high THC strains” coming in at over 30% THC. Moon rock weed, which is one of the highest THC products and is a high THC strain with kief and cannabis concentrate is still only 50% THC.

So what was the THC concentration of weed back in the day?


How Much THC Did Weed In The 70s Have?

Despite puritanical attitudes and propaganda against cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s the THC content was fairly low, especially by today’s standards. That’s right, movies like 1936’s Reefer Madness were telling horror stories of people who were smoking cannabis with 1-4% THC.

The average strain was .7%-1% THC. THC content from the 1960s-1980s was 1-2%. Higher THC strains at best were 5-7% but no strains were higher than 10% THC.

When did THC levels pick up?


How Much THC Was In Weed In The 90s?

In the 1990s, thanks to popularity and new developments in cultivation that 1-2% creeped up to an average 4% with strains ranging from 3-5% and 10-15% being the higher end of THC content and still on the rarer side.

Now people were able to create indoor growing operations and were able to experiment with different factors to drive up the strength and potency. After all, cannabinoids are compounds plants create to thrive in their environment and can be temperamental.

Between 1995 and 2015 there was a 212% increase in THC content with THC reaching higher levels like 17-28% THC found in strains like Girl Scout Cookie.


Strongest Strain of Weed


How Much THC Is In Medical-Grade Weed?

There is not much difference between THC levels of normal weed and medical-grade weed other than medical-grade cannabis has more robust testing than the average product.

A 2020 study examined 8,505 cannabis products across 653 dispensaries in California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

They found that most of these products ranged from 10-15% THC and sometimes higher. Some other interesting data points were that medical-grade weed ranged from “0 to 35% THC in medical programs, while THC concentrations ranged from 0 to 45% in recreational programs.”

In order to help you understand the lay of the land with regards to weed strains the following sections will outline popular strains based on their terpene prominence. Beyond THC, terpenes are driving much of the interest in cannabis. For more information on these terpenes click through to read more about their health benefits, flavor profile, and studies that highlight their potential.


Strains High in Myrcene

Myrcene is often attributed to indicas and has a lot of the unique sedative properties commonly attributed to indicas in the indica vs. sativa comparison.

It can have a sweet yet slightly spicy flavor and is most common in mangoes. Some high myrcene strains include:

  • 9LB Hammer
  • ACDC
  • Afgan Moon
  • Aliens on Moonshine
  • Blue Dream
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Grape Ape
  • Harlequin
  • Jillybean
  • Lemongrass
  • Mandarin Dream
  • OG Kush
  • Purple Urkle
  • Strawberry Switchblade
  • Tangie
  • TruBerry OG
  • White Widow


Strongest THC Strain of Weed


Strains High in Limonene

High limonene strains can often be easy to identify, strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are usually rich in limonene. Limonene is often attributed to providing euphoric effects but it also has anti-inflammatory properties and prevented tumor growth in animals.

Popular strains high in limonene include:

  • O.G. Kush
  • Sour Diesel
  • Banana Kush
  • Super Lemon Haze
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Durban Poison
  • Jack Herer
  • Jack the Ripper


Strains High In Linalool

Linalool is a common terpene used in fragrances and gives lavender its trademark scent. It’s known to be a potent pain reliever and mood stabilizer. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

There are higher concentrations of linalool in the following cannabis strains:

  • Amnesia Haze
  • Do Si Dos
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Lavender/Lavender Kush
  • LA Confidential
  • Kosher Kush


Strains High In Farnesene

Farnesene gives green apples their distinct flavor and it can combine with other terpenes and round them out with an overall sweet flavor. Farnesene is great for gut health and a potent anti-inflammatory. Some strains high in farnesene include:

  • Green Crack
  • Ghost Train Haze
  • Headband
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Cherry Punch
  • Gainesville Green
  • White Rhino
  • Dutch Treat Haze
  • Zookies
  • Comatose OG


How Much THC is in Weed


Strains High in Ocimene

Ocimene is common and fairly ubiquitous in the plant kingdom but not necessarily found in high concentrations. Ocimene is credited with providing relaxing and uplifting feelings. It’s a natural decongestant and expectorant.

Here are some strains with high concentrations of ocimene (between .7%- 4%):

  • Dutch Treat
  • Amnesia
  • Clementine
  • Dream Queen
  • Golden Pineapple
  • Space Queen
  • Golden Goat
  • Purple Haze
  • Green Crack
  • J1
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Super Lemon Haze
  • Golden Lemon OG
  • Headband
  • Sour Diesel
  • Durban Poison
  • Jack Herer
  • Mandarin Dream


High Caryophyllene Strains

Caryophyllene can uniquely bond to CB2 receptors similar to CBD. Flavorwise it tends to be spicy and woody. It’s ability to bond to CB2 receptors make it a potent anti-inflammatory.

Strains that tend to be caryophyllene heavy include:

  • White Widow
  • OG Kush
  • Sherbert
  • GSC
  • Bubba Kush
  • White Yoda Auto
  • Purple Punch
  • Sour Diesel
  • East Coast Sour Diesel
  • Chemdog
  • Royal Cookies
  • GG#4
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Candyland
  • Death Star
  • Original Glue
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Gelato
  • The White
  • Master Kush


Strains High In Pinene

Pinene has the ability to boost and decrease cannabinoid function. If you’re too high pinene can bring you down. It is one of the most prominent terpenes in the cannabis industry and drives the signature pine scent in nature.

One benefit of pinene is bronchodilation which is the relaxation of the airway in your bronchioles to allow for the opening of respiratory airways. This makes it great for breathing issues and asthma.

A few pinene-rich strains include:

  • Blue Dream
  • Jack Herer
  • Dutch Treat
  • Cinex
  • Harlequin
  • Sour Diesel
  • Critical Mass
  • Snoop’s Dream
  • Big Smooth
  • Cotton Candy Crush
  • Grape Ape
  • Remedy
  • Super Lemon Haze
  • Haze Berry
  • OG Kush
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Bubba Kush
  • Chemdawg 91
  • Island Sweet Skunk
  • Chocolope
  • Cheese
  • Kosher Tangie
  • The Great Grape Ape Show


Strains of Weed Chart


What Cannabis Strains Are High In Humulene?

Humulene can help suppress your appetite, fight bacterial and fungal infections and help control allergies. It’s chemically similar to caryophyllene and can have a similar herbal, spicy, musky flavor.

Some strains high in :

  • Sour Diesel
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Headband
  • White Widow
  • Pink Kush
  • Ice Cream Cake
  • Death Star
  • Afghan Kush
  • Candyland
  • Original Glue
  • Wedding Cake
  • Super Sour DieseL


Strains High In Terpinolene

Terpinolene has a unique flavor profile that ranges from sweet and floral to fruity.

Terpinolene with CBG, or cannabigerol, can help boost focus and clarity and help improve concentration and alertness and it is a potent antioxidant.

Some heavy terpinolene strains include:

  • Lemon Jeffrey
  • Jack Herer
  • Chernobyl
  • Lamb’s Bread
  • Royal Jack Automatic
  • Ghost Train Haze
  • Lemon OG Kush
  • Lemon Haze
  • Super Lemon Haze
  • Sentinel
  • Pre-98 Bubba Kush
  • Ultra Sour
  • Blue Dream
  • Dutch Treat
  • Orange Goat
  • Orange Cookies
  • Golden Pineapple
  • J1
  • XJ-13
  • Jack Herer
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • White Widow
  • Durban Poison
  • Golden Goat
  • Cherry Pie


Final Thoughts

In the same way you love your favorite Pinot Noir or Pilsner you can equally find a cannabis strain that fits with your health goals, ideal level of high, and what you generally enjoy. Strains are becoming as common as cannabis products as many people in the industry are seeking a way to set themselves apart.

With potentially thousands of strains in the cannabis market there’s no need to memorize them all, but it’s important to find what you look for in a cannabis strain, what’s best for your prescribed condition and what you enjoy. Hopefully, this post has given you some to consider, try, and a greater awareness of why there are so many. If you want to get your medical marijuana card, let Green Health Docs simplify the process for you and schedule an appointment in your area.


Dr. Anand DugarThis article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.

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