Have you noticed that older folks seem convinced the weed has gotten stronger since their day, while the Millennials are constantly asking for even more potency? There is a unique history surrounding the spread of cannabis in America – the plant has very humble roots here. The percentage of THC—the main psychoactive component in cannabis—averaged from less than 1% in 1975 to just under 3% a decade later (here’s the data). These notoriously low levels reflected the times and the state of the industry – most of the cannabis was still being grown outside the country and smuggled in illegally. As states like California gave rise to medicinal cannabis in the 90’s, the potency of weed saw its first explosion. From 1995 to 2014, the average strains THC content surged 3x from 4% to 12%.

Quality of Growing Method

No more growing outside in the elements. Moving plants indoors means you can control and optimize the environment to a much higher degree. Furthermore, low-tech practices like trimming the fan leaves and lower shoots to divert energy to the top of the plant have become widely implemented and highly effective methods of increasing potency. Here is what high quality cannabis looks like.


It’s a very simple problem – how do you hide all the weed from the authorities? By breeding cannabis to be more potent, people can get high on a smaller amount, which means there is less to sell, transport, harvest, and grow. If you look at history, this is exactly how hard liquor gained popularity over beer and wine during prohibition. More potency in a smaller quantity = easier to hide

Consumer Demand

THC has a tolerance effect. The more frequently you consume, the more you need to use in order to achieve the desired effect. So the less you can smoke to get the desired effect, the better it is for your lungs and your wallet. This increase in quality via consumer demand is also what gave rise to vaping. Vaporizers work best with strains containing extremely high levels of cannabinoids that are often extracted from the plant and turned into a concentrated form. As customers asked for stronger strains, breeders realized they needed to increase the potency of each plant instead of increasing the size of the garden.

Medical Need

The increase in patients using marijuana for medical purposes instantly created a need for ultra-high THC and CBD concentrates. Many patients need instant, powerful pain relief that is much harder for them to achieve with low-potency marijuana. CBD, the 2nd most prevalent cannabinoid after THC, is specially bred for its myriad of medical benefits. The thing is, most patients would have to smoke an ungodly amount of flower in order to achieve the desired result. Therefore, both breeders and extractors work together to find the best high-CBD strains for people suffering from ailments and diseases like anxiety, insomnia, cancer, chronic pain, PTSD, and more. Some people even buy CBD dog treats for their furry friends at home!


Any gardener worth their salt is focused on growing the highest quality product for its customers. In order to serve the needs of today’s consumer, the cannabis has undoubtedly gotten stronger. Curious how much you should consume? We’ve made a high-THC dosage guide which is worth the read!

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