Despite failing efforts to set THC-limits on recreational cannabis grown in Colorado, cannabis continues to get stronger. These out-of-this-world strains are engineered to produce the highest possible THC potency, while still remaining genetically unmodified. Thanks to the legal recreational market, growers have access to the finest tricks and tools available to produce the highest THC concentrations. While there are still lower content strains available for those looking for a more mellow high, these potent strains deliver highs that most enthusiasts haven’t experienced before.
Growers, who were enthusiastic about the legal recreational market, fought back hard against these proposed regulations, along with supports who enjoy purchasing high-THC strains. The growers and supports won, putting a stop to the possibility of capping their cannabis THC limits.
Andy Williams, CEO of Medical Man Denver, was among those opposing THC limits, and for good reason. His operation produces strains like Screaming Gorilla, which carries 28% THC.
He also grows strains, like Canna Tsu, that only carry 6% THC, but believes it should be the buyer’s choice, not the governments, as to which end of the potency spectrum they purchase.
Those types of actions would be similar to saying we can’t have alcohol on the shelf other than beer, and people who don’t like beer, that want spirits, that want wine, are going to have to make it themselves.
If THC limits were imposed, Williams believes it would help to fuel the black market, where growers don’t follow laws, or regulations, to begin with, and would continue to produce high-potency THC that would, in turn, affect the legal market.
Testing THC potency
Each recreational strain is labeled and tested for potency by a third-party organization to ensure the public is aware of what they are purchasing.
TEQ Analytical Laboratories is one of the organizations used by more than 24 recreational growers to test the quality of their cannabis.
JJ Slatkin, director of business development for TEQ, says while there are still low-level THC strains being produced, they’ve seen a steady increase in the stronger strains, as well as a steady increase in the demand for stronger strains.
The biggest issue is protecting the public’s health and safety and making sure this industry is based on sound accurate science.
TEQ Analytical Laboratories has tested strains that reached as high as 32% THC. These ultra-powerful cannabis strains weren’t specifically named, but having tested more than 100 strains, TEQ is positive this is among the highest that any laboratory has seen.
Aside from just Colorado, the national THC content has also seen a steep rise. In the early 1990’s, most cannabis had just 3.7% THC, according to a study conducted by NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse.
By 2014, that number has risen to 12%. While these concentrations are still far less than Colorado’s proposed 16% limit, they show just how far growing operations have come, even in states where cannabis is still illegally grown.