Has weed really gotten stronger?

Has weed really gotten stronger?
Max Sargent

Legalization and innovation are all contributing factors lending to more potent weed. Is this a purely positive trend?

It is common knowledge amongst experienced cannabis consumers that different strains result in different highs. Anything from the strength of the high itself to its specific characteristics can change from strain to strain.

Some people who have been smoking since the 70s claim that weed is certainly getting stronger as time goes by.

This might be an unpreventable issue as legalization and innovation are creating a market where high potency cannabis is in high demand, and businesses and breeders and fulfilling customer desires.

Some strains are being bred to maintain a low THC content and provide medical relief via high amounts of medicinal cannabinoids like CBD. Other strains, however, have been specially designed to send the users to the moon, containing sky-high levels of THC.

So, different strains provide different strengths, and these days there are many different strains to choose from. But is cannabis becoming stronger overall?


Cannabis is quickly being released from a brief period of prohibition and vilification. In America, cannabis is becoming legal state by state. And many regions within Europe and the rest of the world are relaxing their stance when it comes to the herb.

It’s only natural within capitalist societies that individuals form businesses around products that are in high demand and can make them money. Cannabis has very much become one of these products. Even in regions where the herb is illegal, huge black markets are in operation.

Now that cannabis is legal to trade in some places, competition has really set in. Whether for medical or recreational use, customers are seeking top-quality cannabis strains for their hard earned money. Competition is natural within free markets, and cannabis producers are in a race to breed the strongest cannabis strains available to stay ahead of the game.

So in this regard, cannabis strains are most definitely becoming stronger.


The cannabis purchased today from professional dispensaries is very different from bags of weed obtained during the 1970s. Back then, cannabis was still very much an illicit and frowned upon substance, surrounded by negative narratives and slews of propaganda. The illegal status of cannabis meant that for most countries including the United States, huge amounts of it were being shipped in from other countries, and the quality of it was usually by no means great.

Sometimes bags were even made heavier on purpose, by leaving in stems, leaves, and seeds. This usually meant that the quality was also far less by weight. Today, however, bags are expected to be full with prime nuggets of cannabis, with little-to-no stems in place to make the bag heavier and the product inferior.

Of course it might also be that in the 70s the growing techniques were not as developed and high-end as nowdays, but it all in all, the weed seemed a lot less strong back then.

At present, cannabis has been subject to a sustained period of selective breeding. Back in the 70s, growers and breeders were still experimenting with the strongest genetics they could find.

Especially smokers from the 70s who have taken some time away from the herb report feeling far more potent effects from trying weed that meets today's standards.

But then again, if you would let a person drive a brand new Tesla after not having driven any car since the 70s, you might have the same effect.



Landraces are strains of cannabis that have naturally evolved and adapted to specific regions on Earth. Famous examples include Afghan and Moroccan varieties. Because landraces have been left to their own devices, they have evolved slowly and steadily over a long period of time.

Compared to strains interbred by humans, the THC levels found within landraces don’t make them particularly strong in comparison. With that said, some landraces are particularly potent.

Newer and stronger strains have all been created by the hand of man. Breeders are constantly selecting the strongest genetic specimens from their crop and crossing them with other top-quality specimens.

Over time, this process results in strains that are oozing with resin and absolutely loaded with high levels of THC, or whatever cannabinoid profile is being sought after.


It wasn’t too long ago that joints, bongs, and pipes were the tried and tested methods of getting blazed. Nowadays, not only stronger weed, but also the methods of consumption have absolutely helped changing the game.

With the help of cannabutter and cannabis infused olive oil for instance, almost any food item can now be infused using cannabinoids. And edibles can last much longer and result in a more intense high.

Extracts and oils of many kinds also offer the consumer extremely potent options when it comes to dabs, concentrates and bong hits.

The creation of products such as moon rocks has seen the rise of unrivalled strength and potency but as the industry is changing fast, we probably haven’t seen half of it yet.

So if you are new to cannabis, or haven’t smoked any weed since the 70s, be careful and take it easy.

Max Sargent
Max Sargent

Max has been writing about cannabis and psychedelics for several years now. With a strong belief that an open, honest attitude toward drugs and drug policy can improve the lives of many, he seeks to offer insightful and developed opinions on the subject.