How Is My Weed So Strong?

The most consistent comment (I wouldn’t say it’s a complaint necessarily) I hear about today’s weed from old school smokers is that what we smoke is so much stronger than what they used to smoke. They are correct; we do have much more potent pot. The ganj that our parents and the hippie generation smoked had an average THC percentage of  around one percent. Now, some of the most potent strains test as high as 29 percent! Why is our weed so strong?

At First, Grass Was Just Grass

In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) established the scheduling system that we all know and loathe. Cannabis was placed on Schedule I, meaning that cannabis cultivation had to be done in secret. Hydroponic growing didn’t take off until the 1980s. Prior to that cannabis was grown in outdoor fields and sometimes in ditches. Where did you think the term “ditch weed” came from anyway?

Old school cannabis was packed into bricks, which were packed into kilos, and transported en masse. Cannabis was called “grass” because it looked like yard trimmings. Much of the time it was just trimmings. Most of the strains grown in our parents’ era were in fact just that, stems, clippings, and other different parts of the plant. What we see now is all sensimilla, the female plant.

acapulco gold
This was what weed used to look like. Image Source: newssourcegy

Advances in Technology Made Your Weed So Strong

Now of course, things are much different. Growing technique has advanced to the point where we can grow cannabis anywhere we want. We know much more about breeding than we did even in the 90s, when the most potent pot was only at about five percent THC. We also have much more potent strains to breed our plants with than before.

Naturally when you’re combining two fairly potent strains, you’re highly likely to come up with a strain that’s even more potent. It also helps that we know more about the cannabis plant itself, not just different ways to grow it. Growers have been experimenting with different terpenes to engineer strains that have a certain flavor, have a certain side effect, or a particular aroma.

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    Legalization Had a Lot to Do With It

    Then there’s of course legalization. As more and more states began to legalize cannabis, growing became more mainstream. Suddenly we had more green thumbs than we’d ever had before. This led to many more strains, each more potent than the last. When cannabis became something for connoisseurs, the old brick ditchweed had fallen completely out of favor for the most potent pot money could buy. Legalization meant that there was no longer a market for the dirty ditchweed of yesterday.

    I for one could not be happier. There was a time when ditchweed was the easiest and most cost effective herb I could find, so I would buy ounce after ounce of that nasty dirt weed for practically nothing. I know I’m not alone in saying this, but goodbye forever ditchweed. Goodbye schwag headaches and coughing so hard from the harsh smoke that I almost vomited. I’ll take the good stuff.

    Featured Image Source: Vice

    Life is much better with weed so strong, wouldn’t you agree? Share in the comments!

    Avatar for Sarah


    Writer, Customer Support Angel at I Love Growing Marijuana

    Sarah is a D&D fanatic and loves singing silly songs to her cat. No matter what she does though, Sarah can always be found with a bong in hand. If there is one strain that she could call her favorite, that would be Zkittlez because it matches her colorful personality and hair!... [Read full bio]


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    • Grow With My Quick Start Guide
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    • Avoid Common Grow Mistakes

      2 comments on “How Is My Weed So Strong?”

      1. Gotta say I wish I could get the buzz that some of the Columain red bud or Jamican bud I used to in the late 70/80’s. I would love to find some of the ORIGINAL strains before they were cross breed.

      2. Where were your grandparents growing up?
        We had great weed. I am 68 and we had fantastic weed and it was not even close to your 1%.
        The Colombian was 15 – 20 fact. The Hawaiian was 15+. Thia Stick was 15%.
        Our Mex was more that 10%.
        Maybe your grandparents didn’t inhale.
        We had lots of hash and opium also.