While cannabis has been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years, the evolution of marijuana has been rapidly accelerating, especially with an increase in crossbreeding and a consistent introduction of new and improved strains each year. However, the potency of weed wasn’t always what it is today, partially due to the limitations and restrictions that persisted all the way through the first decade of the 21st century.
How strong was weed in the past?
The height of marijuana made its mark in the ’60s and ’70s, a period when psychedelic rock also hit its stride. Although the spirit of weed was at its true peak, the potency of the marijuana was undoubtedly lower than today’s standards. This is because the quality of the weed was relatively poor all-around — countries like Colombia controlled the weed market and exported product heavy in leaves, stems, and seeds rather than the dense, resin-packed buds that most consumers have grown accustomed to today. Since cannabis was outlawed in the US, there was little freedom to experiment with genetics that could produce a superior hybrid. In 1972, the Potency Monitoring Program started measuring THC potency levels in samples that US law enforcement had seized. However, there were many limiting factors that affected the accuracy of the recorded data — low sample size (averaging at roughly 18 samples per year), age and storage conditions, and inefficient methods of measurement. Average THC content was reported to be 3-4%, but the numbers were likely much higher in reality. In the ’80s and ’90s, cannabis importation hit a decline with the rise of hydroponically grown weed. The products of this technique were fresher, domestic, and of higher quality. It is estimated that the potency was still much lower than today’s standards, although the data is not truly accurate, again, due to improper storage of samples and the aging of THC over several months (or even years).
How strong is weed today?
In recent decades, THC potency has increased significantly. By 2014, the potency average — according to a study published in Biological Psychiatry — had risen to around 12%. THC contents over 20% are also becoming more common, with some strains boasting numbers above 30%. While today’s strains are, by all appearances, more potent than the strains of past generations, this is probably due to a difference in quality and resources available in the US — not just time itself. The legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana in various regions has also greatly contributed to the rise in potency, as growers have started racing to develop superior strains at a faster rate than ever before.
The strains available to the public today are almost a luxury when it comes to THC content. If you’re looking for something especially potent from our menu, check out Bento Delivery’s top-shelf Sin Mint Cookies [THC 33.55%] and Sonoma Cake [THC 30.52%].
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