According to Jake Browne, America’s budtender and head strain reviewer at Denver Post’s The Cannabist, most consumers are not looking for strains to get them higher than Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson trolling KFC at 3:00 a.m. on a weekend bender in Amsterdam.
“If I had cataloged the most common request at dispensaries where I’ve worked,” writes Browne, “it wouldn’t be, ‘What’s going to get me the highest?’ but rather, ‘What can I smoke that won’t knock me out?’”
Nonetheless, since the 1980s growers keep crossbreeding high-octane thoroughbred cannabis strains to steadily drive up THC content while breeding out an essential cannabinoid: CBD. According the National Institute on Drug Abuse, potency has increased from around 4 percent in the 1980s to 15 percent (as of 2012). Peruse a few menus in Denver or San Francisco and you’ll find plenty of strains topping 20, even 30 percent THC. (Notably, after the Netherlands saw THC increase dramatically from 2000 to 2005, THC content has trended downward for the last 10 years.)