In a happy revolution that is transforming both popular culture and the international economy, cannabis is sweeping the globe. It’s tough to stop an idea once it’s taken off. But where should you go to find the best weed in the world?
Let us count down the countries known for their kind bud. We’ll hit ten stops along the way; we only stop for the best. (Didn’t I hear that in a Rush song somewhere?)
India’s cultural and spiritual traditions have been strongly tied to cannabis for thousands of years. Considered one of the five “sacred plants,” human use of the ganja plant goes back to at least 2000 BC on the Indian subcontinent.
Unfortunately, in 1961, the country signed the same international treaty that banned marijuana everywhere else on Earth. The good news is that stopped practically nobody from using weed.
Cannabis is cheap (about $3 a gram) and plentiful in India. Anti-pot laws may be on the books, but they’re rarely enforced in most provinces. And the fact that holy men (sadhus) have been using cannabis as part of their spiritual quests for millennia means that cultivating potent weed is an ancient and well-practiced art here.
Spain ranks as one of the most liberal weed-smoking hubs in Europe. Some areas of the country have private cannabis clubs where marijuana can be purchased and onsite consumption is allowed. The region of Catalonia passed a generous law just this summer allowing for a network of co-ops that can cultivate and distribute cannabis.
Marijuana is illegal for commercial purposes in Spain, but, as of 2017, is officially legal for personal cultivation and use in a private space. Publicly visible home grows are frowned upon and can still result in stiff fines.
Spain’s tolerance of cultivation is quickly resulting in a renaissance of strain innovation and expertise. This certainly makes it a candidate for some of the best weed in the world.
Ever heard of Durban Poison? If you’ve seshed with this legendary strain, you know the electrifying sativa power of South African “dagga” (that’s their word for cannabis) qualifies as some of the best weed in the world.
Like much of the rest of the planet, South Africa is currently in a nationwide discussion about legalizing the herb.
Once South Africa’s politicians catch up with the wishes of their populace, it is expected that the nation’s economy will make a spectacular break from its current doldrums.
Uruguay, just a few years ago, became the first country in the modern world to completely legalize the sale, possession, and cultivation of cannabis.
The Uruguayan legalization scheme, in which the government is your pot dealer, seems to be working spectacularly well at providing affordable weed to the masses. Uruguay’s pot is ranked as the cheapest in the world, at a government-mandated $1 per gram.
Uruguay citizens can legally grow up to six plants for personal use, and that’s where some of the finest weeds in the country can be found. A dedicated and skillful cultivation community is taking this small South American nation into an exciting future.
A man smokes marijuana during the annual 4/20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on April 20, 2018.
With legalization so close you can smell it, the weed fever is sky-high in Canada right now. Across the country, growers in every province are dreaming of creating the next big strain which will delight the cannabinoid receptors of fellow tokers from B.C. to Quebec.
The Great White North’s medical marijuana scene has already made Canadian weed legendary. Strains such as B.C. Hydro have entered the history books due to their soaring highs and beautiful appearances.
Will Canada’s craft growers, responsible for much of the knowledge and expertise around cultivating the herb, be shut out of a big-money corporate game with recreational legalization? Let’s hope not because while mass-grown, cheap McWeed has its place, the stickily seductive flowers from artisan cultivators do too.
This Caribbean island nation became a cannabis legend back in the 1970s with the spectacular ascent of Lamb’s Bread, a Rastafarian-inspired spiritual strain favored by Bob Marley.
Since then, Jamaica has become a popular destination for weed tourists. The government is on the verge of getting on board. It seems only right that they’d take the plunge and officially legalize ganja in the land that created reggae music.
Aussies love their weed—and they have a great climate for growing it. They have a knack for breeding and naming strains too like Mullumbimby Madness, Deep Chunk, Zoid Fuel, Rainbow Dream, and MBS (Mind, Body, and Soul).
The names of legendary growers like Kangativa and Moonunit are uttered in hushed reverence by certain sectors of the Australian cultivation community. Many of the potent sativas favored by Kangativa tower to heights of more than 18 feet in the Australian climate.
Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountain range eventually ended up lending its name—and its dizzying heights— to the Kush family of cannabis strains.
This hashish-loving nation has been growing potent indicas for generations. Many experts consider Afghanistan to be the mother source of all Indica strains.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the multitude of Afghan hashes, or flower strains like Afgoo, Black Afghan, or Afghani Kush, you have some idea of the ancient psychoactive expertise of these mountain dwellers.
The practical and tolerant Dutch were wise enough to create the modern world’s first cannabis tourist destination: Amsterdam, with its famous “coffee shops” where tourists can toke out on hash and flowers right at their tables.
Dutch breeders, for at least 40 years now, have been widely acknowledged as among the best in the world when it comes to creating new genetic masterpieces of cannabis.
Many of the most important building blocks of modern cannabis genetics were developed in Holland, including the legendary varieties Skunk #1, Northern Lights #5, Big Bud, and Super Lemon Haze.
The sheer size, explosive growth, and continuing innovation of the American growing scene have allowed the U.S. to take the pole position as the country with the best weed in the world.
It’s no accident that popular favorites like Girl Scout Cookies, Grand Daddy Purple, Chem Dog, Sour Diesel, and OG Kush were created by American breeders. Growers in states like California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii are leading the way, leaving a resin-soaked trail of excellence in their wake.
Which country do you think is destined to become the home of the best weed in the world? Let us know in the comments below!
As our global tour continues, we’re turning our heads to some hotspots around the world, each having unique twists on their cannabis cultivation practices. While countries like the Netherlands and the United States have staked their claim as cannabis powerhouses, others are slowly beginning to bud.
While it may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about your favorite green friend, Israel is leading the way in cannabis development and research.
Government support for cannabis research is allowing Israel to be on track to become a global powerhouse for both science and cannabis cultivation.
Known for strains like Midnight, bred to maximize CBD content, Israel could easily produce exciting products that shake up the current Top 30 Strains of 2023.
Not new to the cannabis game is Portugal – a country long at the forefront of progressive drug laws and among the first to decriminalize the use of all drugs in the early 2000s.
Legalizing cannabis in 2018, Portugal is setting the stage for a blossoming cannabis industry. Their Mediterranean climate makes for the ideal growing location for premium-quality, craft cannabis.
Given their advantageous conditions, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Portugal soon feature among the best weed producers globally. Who knows, the next best strain for productivity may just come from this corner in Europe.
The Future: Uncharted Territories
As more countries liberalize their cannabis laws and enter the rapidly-growing market, traditional powerhouses may seize their control.
The Asian Market
The strict laws that have traditionally governed many Asian countries’ stance on cannabis may be undergoing a shift.
Thailand, for instance, recently took steps towards cannabis legalization and have cultivated government-approved cannabis crops.
Similarly, South Korea has made incredible strides by legalizing medical cannabis, making it the first East Asian nation to do so – this move could be quite the game-changer for other countries in the region.
Towards a Greener Future
The future of cannabis is all about innovation – taking on new approaches that don’t compromise quality and sustainability.
As this budding industry continues to grow, the story of cannabis becomes a tale as rich and varied as the very strains we adore.
But, who truly grows the best weed in the world? The American trailblazers? The time-honored traditions of the Hindu Kush mountains?
The reality is, the answer is complex and nuanced as cannabis itself.
There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – but there is one thing for certain – the world of cannabis will continue to innovate, create and push serious boundaries.
Light up, pass on, and keep the spirit of cannabis alive, cannabis aficionados!