Its origins are legend. Many years past, the story goes, a clever scientist snuck a rare, exceedingly potent strain of marijuana out of a government lab. The strain, known simply as G13, eventually exploded in popularity.

G-13 G13G13 has allegedly given its genes to countless crossbreed hybrids and is currently one of the best-known strains in the world. Stoners often discuss it as if it were the Holy Grail of cannabis.

But is any of it true? What is G13, exactly, and how does it compare to other types of marijuana? Is it worth all the hype?

The legend of G13 has grown over the years. At least one version says the plant was originally cultivated by government agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and DEA, as part of a plan to breed the most potent possible weed.

G13 was allegedly one result of this effort, supposedly headquartered at a “top secret” government lab at the University of Mississippi. According to legend, a wily technician stole a clone of the strain and introduced it to the black market.

As a factual matter, most of the story is bunk. The government almost certainly didn’t grow G13, which almost certainly didn’t make its way out of a lab and almost certainly isn’t excessively potent.

How do we know this?

Well, for one thing, the federal cannabis farm at the University of Mississippi has never been classified. It’s not a matter of national security. It’s a simple garden where the feds grow relatively small amounts of pot, mostly for research purposes. Some of the drug goes to a handful of patients who receive medical marijuana under a program started in the 1970s and since discontinued.

For another thing, the feds have never been known to grow especially strong weed. Quite the opposite: The pot that goes to the federal MMJ patients is notoriously weak and noxious. The odds are very poor that the feds ever grew “super” marijuana in Mississippi or anywhere else, so there wouldn’t be much motive for a technician to smuggle a clone.

Also, government cannabis facilities are tightly guarded and always have been. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of a successful theft, but it makes it much less likely. The feds (usually) aren’t known for keeping illegal drugs out in the open.

Finally, when was the last time the FBI, the CIA, or any other government agency willingly shared manpower, resources, or even information with each other? The idea that these disparate agencies would join forces to grow drugs is nonsense.

Limited truth to the story

There is some limited truth to the story of G13. Government scientists really did collect some of the world’s best cannabis strains. But they never actually bred any of those strains or used them in significant research.

So where did this urban legend come from? In reality, G13 isn’t the name of a strain at all. Many people use it to refer to a specific ancestor of many modern hybrids, but in reality it refers to a type of high-quality pot, not to a specific strain.

Even so, crops labeled “G13” occasionally make the rounds on both the legal and black markets. There’s little evidence that each of these batches is even the same strain, let alone that they’re especially powerful.

G13, if there is such a thing, is known for its THC content, which may actually be quite high in some samples. But it’s unlikely that it’s on the highest shelf, given its alleged age. THC levels are a kind of marijuana arms race, and the majority of the most potent strains were first bred in recent years. G13 doesn’t qualify.


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