Looking for a weed strain that will challenge your tolerance or stand up to stubborn medical symptoms? Strain potency depends on a variety of factors, including how it was grown, the quality of genetics, and much more.
While THC is the main driver of potency in weed, it’s important to understand the role terpenes may play in enhancing and shaping a strain’s high. Terpenes like myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene are the aromatic compounds that give cannabis its unique array of smells, and a cannabis strain rich in both terpenes and THC often delivers a stronger high than a product that lacks chemical diversity.
The cannabis strains below are just a selection of popular powerhouses with a reputation for heavy-handed euphoria, but keep in mind that there are many more out there. Remember the adage “start low and go slow” with these ones.
Average THC: 20%
Original Glue, also known as “GG4” or “Gorilla Glue,” is named for the stickiness of its resinous buds, and this strain certainly lives up to its name. Multiple Cannabis Cup awards serve to back up the legends of Original Glue’s potency, but we doubt you’ll need the proof once you’re stuck to the couch in stupefied contentment.
Average THC: 21%
Bruce Banner, appropriately named after the Hulk’s alter ego, is a heavy-duty hybrid with a staggering THC content. Rated the strongest strain in 2014 by High Times following its victory in the 2013 Denver Cannabis Cup, Bruce Banner has since carved itself quite the reputation. Powered by OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel genetics, Bruce Banner delivers a dizzying punch of euphoria that anchors your body in deep relaxation.
Average THC: 27%
Combining old school classic Bubba Kush, and energetic Animal mints, Kush Mints is a THC powerhouse. This strain has increasing in popularity as of late, likely due to its potency and complex minty flavor profile. If you’re a cookies lover looking for something a little different, check out Kush Mints.
Ice Cream Cake
Average THC: 23%
Ice Cream Cake taps into the Cookies and Cakes craze in weed of the last few years, crossing Wedding Cake—Leafly’s 2019 strain of the year—and Gelato #33—a phenotype of our 2018 strain of the year. ICC is a relaxing, sleep strain that’s great for nighttime. It’s sweet, creamy flavor profile, makes it accessible for a broad range of smokers, just be sure to have a soft couch and some munchies around.
MAC (Miracle Alien Cookies)
Average THC: 22%
Short for “Miracle Alien Cookies,” MAC has some Cookies and Chemdog buried in its roots, giving it a complex flavor. MAC is a strong, uplifting strain with a smooth orange flavor and floral notes. It’s so popular, related phenotype MAC 1 has also come out, which is usually slightly less potent and more balanced in effects.
More high-THC weed strains
Looking for more strains? Check out these heavy-hitters.
This post was originally published on October 22, 2015. It was most recently updated on April 4, 2022.