At Pure Analytics we have the enviable position of seeing a good cross-section of the medicinal cannabis in Northern California.  Over the last two years we have compiled extensive data on thousands of samples allowing us to take a look at the trends for various strains and to take a mathematical approach to characterizing the most popular strains.  Here is a snapshot of the potency trends for some of Nor Cal’s favorites:

Top 10 Most Tested Strains in Northern CA

1.   OG Kush

2.   Bubba Kush

3.   Sour Diesel

4.   Blue Dream

5.   Grandaddy Purple

6.   Green Crack

7.   Blackberry Kush

8.   Headband

9.   Harlequin

10.  Purple Kush

With OG Kush topping the list we’ll take an in-depth look at potency trends for this strain along with a few other favorites.  The Nor Cal cannabis market is characterized overall by THC-dominant cannabis with an average THC potency level between 16-17%.  While the majority of strains hover around the average, there are certain thresholds that we see in cannabis potency, with fewer examples performing in these brackets.  THC-dominant cannabis less than 10% THC represents an anomaly in the Nor Cal medical cannabis environment.  Similarly, as potency levels reach toward 21% THC, many fewer examples are seen that perform in this range, regardless of strain.  Above 21% appear two more distinct thresholds with dramatic drop-offs in the number of cannabis samples that perform above 23% and then at above 25% we see very few samples in thousands that perform this high.   Let’s take a closer look at some of the top performers:

OG Kush.  As noted by its ranking above, one of Northern California’s favorites, OG Kush originated from the San Fernando Valley in Southern CA.  Once a clone-only strain it quickly became a favorite of breeders and cultivators for development of new “OG” strains and intriguing crosses.   OG Kush is a THC-dominant cannabis variety usually seen with an accompanying low level of CBD, usually less than 0.5%.  While OG Kush has an average THC potency of around 19% , skill and growing conditions matter with low performing examples around 13% and the best of the best above 23% THC.  CBD range remains consistent with values from 0-0.7% by weight.

Sour Diesel.  A potent sativa strain “Sour D” as it’s usually called, gets its name from its distinctive and pungent aroma.  A cross of Super Skunk and Diesel appeared to create a strain the Nor Cal scene can’t get enough of as illustrated by its #3 ranking on the most tested strains in Nor Cal.  Sour Diesel, like OG Kush, has become a favorite of cultivators and breeders with higher than average THC levels and generally, a good yield.   The average THC potency level for Sour Diesel in Northern CA is slightly over 18%.   Sour Diesel demonstrates a similar potency performance range to OG Kush with the lowest potency examples seen at around 12% with the highest performing crops coming in at almost 24% THC!

Blackberry Kush.   Another mainstay of the California cannabis movement, Blackberry Kush, referred to by many as a true indica, its lineage at times has been unclear with the latest suspects including Afghani and Blueberry strains.   Blackberry Kush attracted a loyal crowd, quickly becoming a favorite and mainstay of the Nor Cal cannabis scene.  A more subdued example of THC-dominant cannabis, Blackberry Kush sees potency levels hovering at 15-16% THC, with the best of the best examples pushing 19% THC .   CBD levels are always low, averaging around 0.1% by weight.

Harlequin.  An exciting entry on the top 10 list of the most tested cannabis strains in Northern CA, Harlequin is a CBD-dominant cannabis flower with an accompanying low level of THC, usually about ½ the amount of CBD present.  One of the most prevalent and widely available cannabis strains, Harlequin is a cultivar, or clone-only strain.  Seeds are available for crosses to Harlequin from various seed companies including, Southern Humboldt Seed Collective.  Harlequin in a Sativa-dominant strain, 75% sativa:25%  Indica according to the breeder.  The sativa influences include Columbian Gold, a Laotian Thai and a Swiss strain bred for cattle feed.  The Indica component was said to originate from the Mustang region of Nepal.  CBD has unique effects and therapeutic benefits as many cannabis users are discovering.   CBD has been identified as providing excellent, non-psychoactive pain relief for conditions where pain results from muscular spasticity or convulsions as well as inflammation, such as MS, Fibromyalgia and Epilepsy.  Harlequin averages around 8% CBD and 5% THC with CBD levels seen as low as 4% in diseased plants and as high as 10%.  There are many cases of mis-identified Harlequin, always make sure it has been verified as CBD-dominant through lab-testing before relying on it for your therapy regimen.

Keep it Pure!

The Pure Analytics Team,,

4 Responses to Cannabis Potency by the Numbers: Nor Cal’s Most Tested Strains

  1. dwight says:

    i was curious on whats the highest outdoor thc tested and whats the best soil?

  2. Barbara Tabor says:

    Wow this blog is geat Iam just learning ! Iam trying my hardest to find a strain that we can grow for med purpose I have damage in the opcipital nerve , many strains i have found that for some reason it induces the pain , so my pain can go from a 5 to 10 . Recently i have started juicing is there more info on the raw canbis if one strain is better than another ! Thank you Barb

  3. […] This was published about seven months ago; I'm only quoting an excerpt, read the whole thing:…ested-strains/ The Nor Cal cannabis market is characterized overall by THC-dominant cannabis with an average THC […]

  4. […] Cannabis Potency by the Numbers: Nor Cal’s Most Tested Strains. Retrieved […]

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