On Weed: Patrick Gower alerts Justice Minister to New Zealand's strongest ever weed

The potent weed tracked down by Patrick Gower for his latest cannabis documentary is the strongest ever tested in New Zealand, the Government's research institute has confirmed.

Newshub's National Correspondent discovered the powerful cannabis product dubbed Diamonds while filming the third instalment of his On Weed series, which aired earlier on Monday night on Three.

The product - a concentrated cannabis resin put through various processes to form a crystal - is taken as a dab. Manufactured by a Kiwi who goes by 'the Dab Chemist', it's an incredibly potent 81 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is one of 400 chemical compounds in weed, but it's the most notorious because it's the main psychoactive substance - it's the bit that makes you feel high.

On Monday afternoon, Crown research institute Environmental Science and Research (ESR) confirmed in a social media post that Diamonds is the most powerful cannabis product ever seen in New Zealand.

ESR found the THC levels are nearly six times higher than the bush weed smoked by one chronic user interviewed by Gower, and still had more than four times the THC of the next-most powerful cannabis it tested, Ngāruawāhia Kush.

As it stands, Diamonds is far too potent even for a regulated market in New Zealand. It's unlikely to ever be available for purchase lawfully here, even if Kiwis vote in favour of legalisation at next month's referendum.

This is because at 81 percent THC, it's five times more potent than what's allowed under the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

When told of the THC levels, Justice Minister Andrew Little was taken aback.

"Good grief, I haven't heard of THC levels that high," he told Gower.

"Depending on how you consume it, that could potentially be very dangerous. You will fry your brain over a period of time if that's what you're using on a regular basis."

The discovery of Diamonds was just one of several moments that showed the increasing scale and sophistication of New Zealand's illegal cannabis market.

On Weed also follows Gower as he attends a highly illegal cannabis-infused dinner party run by a cook called Chef Budsworthy, and as he meets with the growers, manufacturers and dealers behind our illegal weed trade.

The journalist also comes clean to a group of schoolchildren about his first ever experience smoking cannabis, and explores just how large an influence gangs have on cannabis.

Missed the documentary? Watch it in full now on Three Now.