After implementing our new Cannabis Cup scoring system in April 2011—which utilizes lab testing as part of the equation—and after four trial runs in cities around the world including San Francisco, Denver and Amsterdam, we figured we had a pretty good hold on exactly which strains are the most potent on the planet. Here is our list of the world's strongest sativas, indicas and hybrids that Ms. Cannabis sativa L. has to offer. Warning: This is definitely not your parents' pot. Bp Nico Escondido


The first "Elite Eight" strains listed herein tested highest in THC potency among the more than 300 varieties entered in the four Can­nabis Cup events that HiGH TIMES held in 2011 They're in the uppermost echelon when it comes to strength and reflect not only superior genetics, but also the best cultivation techniques possible in order to unlock their potential.

All of these strains, including the 16 others that round out the list, possessed the highest levels of THC, with each of them registering at least 20% when labo­ratory tested on gas chromatograph (GC) machines. Gas chromatography is used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds. These entries were submitted from across countries in both North America and Europe and are currently the strongest strains on planet Earth. Don't worry, we'll be updating this list annually, after every year's round of Cannabis and Medical Cannabis Cups!

OG Ghost TrainHaze

25.49% THC

Southwest Alternative Care

STRONGEST STRAINS 01 Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

The strain with the highest percentage of THC at any of the 2011 HIGH TIMES Cup events came from Denver, CO: It was entered by Southwest Alternative Care and was created and grown by Rare Dankness Genetics. But what exactly is the OG Ghost Train Haze? One might guess she has some OG and some Haze in her. But more accurately this strain has the Haze, as in Neville's Haze, mixed together with some OG and Trainwreck. For those of you keeping score at home, the exact line looks like this: OG Kush x (Trainwreck x Neville's Haze). Surprising? Not really. Strong? Tops in '11.

Chem Dog

24.72% THC

Highland Health

DenverMedical Cannabis Cup

You know the name, we all love the strain—and if she's not No. 1, of course she's No. 2. The only surprise here is that this was the first time Chem Dog has ever been entered into a HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, but she didn't disappoint! Grown by Highland Health for the Denver Medical Cannabis Cup in Colorado last April ('11), the Chem D topped out at close to 25%.

Banana Kush

24.19% THC

Highland Health

STRONGEST STRAINS 02 Denver Medical Cannabis Cup Another entry by Highland Health in the 2011 Denver Cup: The precise genetics are unknown, but what we can say for sure is that there's definitely some Kush present, which likely accounts for her powerful punch. What we don't know is exactly where that awesome banana flavor comes from!

G-13 Widow

23.77% THC


Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

Finally...a non-Chem D fam­ily member cracks the list! And wouldn't you know it, she's a G-13 x White Widow. The G-13, engineered by the US government's medical project at the University of Mississippi, was always said to possess the highest levels of THC available at the time, and crossing those genetics with the legendary White Widow should only boost the case for a Top 5 inclusion. Entered by Biocare at the 2011 Denver Cup, this strain hit nearly 24% THC, giving her a definite "one-hit wonder" status.

Golden Goat

22.89% THC

Colorado Alternative Medicine Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

The previously unknown Golden Goat was entered by Colorado Alternative Medicine in the 20H Denver Cup. (Don't feel left out—this is the first time we've ever seen her, too.) In case you're wonder­ing about the lineage, it's Island Sweet Skunk x Hawaiian x Romulan. And though she's a hybrid, the Golden Goat offers an uplifting, sativa-like high with Super Silver Haze flavor and fruity aftertones. Where that name came from is another story...

Presidential Kush

22.76% THC

Colorado Alternative Medicine

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

STRONGEST STRAINS 03 Well, it appears the folks at Colorado Alternative Medicine are doing something very, very right: They came proper for our first annual HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in Denver last year, entering two strains that tipped the scales at over 22% THC (see above). This entry, their Presidential Kush, was a cross of two fabled strains known for both potency and flavor, the OG Kush and the Lemon Skunk.

On Lineage Si Cities

When talking about the strongest strains on Earth, the obvious follow-up questions are: What's the strongest overall lineage (or cannabis family) on Earth? And, of course: Which is the strongest city on Earth? After going through piles and piles of lab reports, it eventually became clear that the answers to both of these questions are very closely related.

To start, it is now apparent—as was suspected—that the strongest cannabis lineage is clearly the Chem Dog family. Consider this, More than 300 total entries were submitted in 2011 in flower categories across four HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cups. Out of those only 31, or 10 percent, tested over 20% THC (sorry only 24 made it into this article). Out of those 31 that broke the 20% threshold; 22 of them contain lineage spawned from the Chem Dog strain.

Now, Chemdog—the man and legendary grower, not the strain—reports to HIGH TIMES that his fabled strain began from bag seed pulled out of a pound of ganja he bought in the early '90s on Dead tour. Where did that pound of supreme fire originate? Colorado.

STRONGEST STRAINS 04 You probably see where this is going. but just in case, here's another little factoid: Out of the 31 strains entered last year that tested over 20% THC,19 of them came from the Denver Medical Cannabis Cup. That's more than 60 percent of the strongest strains of 2011 coming from just Colo­rado with the rest spread out over the other three Cups (San Fran, Detroit and Amsterdam).

So do we think its a coincidence that the strongest strains and the origin of the strongest lineage both hail from Colorado? Hell no, it's no coincidence! And our apologies to the great pot cities in California and the Netherlands, but the hands down winner of the 2011 potency challenge is Denver, and the strongest lineage is that of the Chem Dog family. If you've got a problem with that, come on out to a Cup and prove us wrong!


22.64% THC

The Cannasseur

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

Another potent entry in the 2011 Denver Cup (and a connoisseur's blend for sure), this unique hybrid of a female OG Kush and a male Super Silver Haze ('99) smokes like a sativa (more than 70% dominant) and keeps you high for hours. With a THC level over 22%, she rounds out our crop of the Elite Eight in 2011. We're expecting great things from this Colorado-based breeder and dispensary in the not-too­distant future.



Dr. Grinspoon, 21.87% THC

Barney's Farm

24th Annual Cannabis Cup

No strains from the big daddy of cannabis events, the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, cracked the Elite Eight, but this one sure came close—and she's from the seed masters at Barney's Farm. The reigning Cannabis Cup champion,

Barney's Coffeeshop released Dr. Grinspoon in 2009 (via their sister seed company, Barney's Farm) to honor the Harvard professor and author of Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, who has fought valiantly for medical marijuana and users' rights. A super-sativa, the Grinspoon takes a long time to flower (95 days), grows tall and lanky, and has a truly superb high.

Blue Dream, 20.75% THC

Good Chemistry

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

STRONGEST STRAINS 07 Another extremely popular US strain, this Blue Dream was done right (once again) at the Denver Cup and entered by the Good Chemistry dispensary. Showing how important good grow technique is, this entry almost hit 21% THC, whereas many other Blue Dream entries across all four Cups in 2011 fell short of the 20% mark. A simple cross of the beloved Blue­berry and a straight-up Haze, the Blue Dream can exhibit various phenotypes in her psychoactive effects, some smoking as sativa-dominant and others bringing a more balanced, hybridized high.

Gold Haze, 20.51% THC

Devils Harvest Seed Company

24th Annual Cannabis Cup

One of the latest up-and-coining seed companies in Amsterdam, the team at Devil's Harvest is itching to grab their first Cup, and with strains like Gold Haze and T-Light (a.k.a. Strawberry Sour Diesel), which were both entered in the 2011 Can­nabis Cup, it's just a matter of time before they take one home. The Gold Haze, a nine-week pheno of the legendary Amnesia Haze, shows the crew's prowess as big-time indoor cultivators, as they got the old-school strain into the upper stratosphere of potency, rocking it at more than 20% THC—something definitely not easy to do with her. Look for more big things from Devil's Harvest at the 2012 Cannabis Cup.

Durban Poison, 20.16% THC

Highland Health

STRONGEST STRAINS 08 Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

Everyone at the HIGH TIMES office gets super-stoked whenever we see landrace genetics—and when those heirloom strains are grown well and top out at over 20% THC, as with this entry from Highland Health at the 2011 Denver Cup, well, it gives us chills. The old-school Durban Poison is as good as it gets when done right. One has to wonder, given the strain's history and the fact that this entry came from Denver, if altitude played a part in how well it turned out.


Larry OG Kush, 21.46% THC

The Cali Connection

San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup

If you're an aficionado of fine cannabis, the Cali Connection should be a house­hold name to you by now—especially if you're also a gardener! That's because these guys don't mess around when it comes to their seed lines, and they also boast one of the best collections of rare and original genetics from the Chem Dog family lineage. The Larry OG strain was entered in our 2011 San Francisco Cup and has never appeared in any HIGH TIMES Cup event before this (even though the Larry has made an appearance or two in NYC). Not only is Larry one of our best-tasting friends right now, but when she's (he's?) done right (as was the case here, breaking 21% THC), Larry is welcome anywhere we go.

STRONGEST STRAINS 09 LA Confidential, 20.72% THC

420 Wellness

Denver Medical Cannabis Cap

An excellent entry from one of Denver's finest clinics, 420 Wellness—add to it killer genes courtesy of DNA Genetics and you have some strong sinsemilla. Incidentally, Snoop Dogg just told one of HT's editors that the LA Confidential is one of his favorite all-time strains, espe­cially when he's overseas in Amsterdam. He went on to say that he was proud it came from Cali, where "both the mom and dad came from?' Looks like Snoop knows his weed!

Diamond Girl, 20.12% THC

The Green House Seed Company 24th Annual Cannabis Cup

Green House Seeds, perennial Canna­bis Cup winners and world-renowned breeders, came through at the 2011 Cup in Amsterdam with a brand-new strain that topped the charts for potency in the seed company indica category. But that was no surprise, since they've been doing it for years. What was a sur­prise was the Diamond Girl's lineage: an Early Pearl mother crossed with a Skunk x Northern Lights father. In a

word, sexy!

Jedi OG, 2O.01% THC

The Ant Farm,

Detroit Medical Cannabis Cup

STRONGEST STRAINS 10 Entered by the Ant Farm in our 2011 Detroit Cup, the Jedi OG was the only strain in the competition to exceed 20% percent THC (sorry, Michigan). Still, that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of excellent herb in Detroit last September—the breeders up there are creative, and we saw a few up-and-coming seed companies that We know will be making a big splash in the next few years, most notably New World Seeds with their prize-winning sativa, the Obamanator (a cross of a Kenyan landrace and a pure Hawaiian that came in close at 18.70% THC).

Indicas, Sativas and Hybrids People always ask us what exactly constitutes a sativa or an indica versus a hybrid strain. Mer all, with the exception of true landrace strains, there aren't many 100 percent sativas or indicas out there, which means that most strains, techni­cally speaking, are hybrids. This one's a tough call, but HIGH TIMES considers something a sativa or an indica if it's at least 70% (or more) in either category. We use lineage to determine this, as well as how the cannabis smokes. If those two parameters are at odds—for example, if the lineage shows her as indica-dominant, but she smokes like a sativa—we ask the folks who entered it to change the name of the entry so as to avoid confusion (both for ourselves and the general public), as well as to high­light the fact that it's most likely a mutant, phenotype,


Bio Diesel, 21.63% THC

Denver Relief

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

STRONGEST STRAINS 11 There's a lot of great things going on with this bud. For starters, she was organically grown, which helps kick up the flavor a notch, especially when one of the parents is the fabled East Coast Sour Diesel, known as one of the best-tasting herbs on the planet. Then you take the East Coast Sour Diesel (Chem Dog x Mass Super Skunk) and cross her with a nice Sensi Star phenotype and you get Bio Diesel, with top-tier flavor and just about 22%

Karma's Headband, 2L54% THC Karmaceuticals

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

This variation on the original Headband adds Master Kush to the mix (OG Kush x Master Kush x Sour Diesel) with some seriously potent results. Karma's Headband didn't win anything at the Denver Cup, but she did quite well in the lab reports.

Chem Dog Biodiesel, 20.81% THC

Broadway Wellness

Denver Medical Cannabis Cup

This one should be named "Candy Head-banger" because she tastes so sweet—and then you get banged in the head! The lineage on this one: (F1 Sensi Star x S1 Sour Diesel) x Chem Dog. Go ahead, read it again...The Dog gives her a potent kick, while the Star and Diesel sugar her up. God bless you, Denver.

OG Rush, 20.11% THC

D&M Compassion Center

San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup

It takes real cojones to enter a popular strain like OG Kush, for a few reasons. First, with a prolific clone strain such as the OG, a grower needs to be sure it's the real-deal cut. Next, the grower needs to know they did her right in the garden, because everyone knows what a good OG should look, taste and—most importantly—feel like. This one felt like 20% THC.

Dead Head OG, 20.

08% THC

The Cali Connection

24th Annual Cannabis Cup

We're going to keep this as short as possible: OMG! A Chem '91 x San Fernando Valley OG (an F6). Strong. Stinky. If you grow, get these seeds now—you will not regret it. If you don't grow, good luck finding the buds. Absolutely killer.

Funky Facts

Surprisingly enough, most of the strains in this article did not win a Cup in their respective HiGH TIMES Cup competitions (only four of the 24 strains listed in this article took home Cups). The average THC potency of Cannabis Cup winners usually ranges from 16% to 18%THC.

Wondering what the weak­est strains ever entered test at? Well, without divulging their origins and embarrass­ing any good friends. we'll just say that In each city where we held Cups in 2011, the least-potent pot hovered around 7% THC. Dohl

Some people ask if stronger potency means stronger aroma or flavor. As much as we'd like to answer this question with a definitive yes or no, we can't. Our guess would be "YES!'—but, to be fair, the only true way to quantitatively measure these categories would be to get lab results for the vari­ous terpenes and essential oils, which help create the real essence of the flower, and then correlate those numbers with our THC readouts. We are on the hunt to find a lab that is will­ing and able to supply these numbers for us. Any takers?