No matter how much it changed your life in the past, the weed you bought in the 1980s, '90s and 2000s was probably trash. Remember? You'd sneak to your shady friend's house and he'd rummage through an old duffel bag hidden behind the furnace only to pull out a folded up newspaper with shake spilling everywhere. And whatever he was selling always looked like hedge clippings, like lettuce you dropped on the kitchen floor two weeks ago that shriveled up and got stepped on.

But did you know it used to be even worse?

That's what you learn when you buy a subscription to the archives of High Times — highly recommended; the old articles are edgy and amazing. But though the editors were nuts over it then, compared to today, even the best weed from the past looked unfit for composting.

Here's photographic evidence. Take 1977. Here are the Top 40 buds of that year:

Remember: this is the best marijuana back then. Try not to throw up.

And here's a cover from 1977, from the Christmas edition. Like, "Happy Holidays, here's some bunk-ass ganj!" 

The next year's top buds weren't much better: 

This full page spread was titled American Beauty: 

You couldn't get a Denver bum to smuggle this into jail. 

Here are the choicest buds from November 1978: 

In 1983, here's the best the rest of the world had to offer: 

And here's the 1983 pot of the year: 

This is not High Times' fault, or bad editorial judgment. It's just that cannabis back then was a regular plant, not the work of art it is today. 

As you read further through the archives, the evolution of cannabis happens before your eyes. 

Cannabis started to improve by the mid-80s. Here's an ad for the High Times calendar. You can see the difference. 

Despite the massive crackdown on cannabis, dedicated growers managed to thrive. (Or maybe because of the massive crackdown.) By the late '80s and early '90s, the grass improved. It had gotten hairier, stickier and prettier. 

The best buds in 1995 were closer to today's weed: 

And by the middle of last decade, a typical bud was decent.

Here's an unremarkable bud from 2005: 

And, now, everything is different. 

Bug your eyes out at today's fire, 2016's winner of the Rooster THC Classic: 

History moves forward. Let's never look back. 

[originally published December 12, 2017]