There really couldn’t be two better representatives of the current weed culture. One is thought to be responsible for the co-evolution of West Coast weed and rap in the 90s. The other serves as the macguffin to what is widely considered the best stoner film of the 2000s. Both have done quite a bit to put weed into the mainstream and have each benefited from the exposure. Given their popularity and place deep within the culture of cannabis, it’s really no surprise to find them in the final matchup. Here is what a co-worker said when we announced the final matchup in Slack:
“Snicklefritz” is a Dutch term of affection for mischievous children, but it’s also a term James Franco’s character uses for bad weed in the Pineapple Express. Impressively, he’s using a deepcut from Pineapple Express to call OG Kush sub-par … in a matchup against Pineapple Express the strain. Weed culture is beautiful, people.
As for who will take home the flower crown, it should be a close matchup. Both have performed well, earning the most overall votes. On Instagram polls, OG Kush collected a total of 7,318 votes to Pineapple Express’ 7,092 votes. If total votes is an indicator, OG Kush has a slight edge, but it should come down to the wire. Don’t forget to vote!
And with the end of the third round, we are firmly in the four! Below is a recap of the third round:
The field now looks like this:
Quick thing: don’t forget to vote on Weedmaps’ Instagram stories. Polls will stay open until Monday 4:20 p.m. PST.
And with that, let’s dive into the 2 fourth-round matchups and the 4 strains competing.
(5) Gelato v. (1) OG Kush
I’m going to be honest, this is the matchup I’ve been waiting for. The modern classic versus the OG. Gelato v. OG Kush. It’s the MJ vs. LeBron debate, but for weed.
(5) Pineapple Express v. (8) Alien OG
As predicted, Pineapple Express has breezed past Jack Here and sits comfortably in the final four. I personally think PE is heating up and has too much momentum for Alien OG, but at the risk of being on the receiving end of a Dennis Green-esque rant, I’ll save the crowning for after they play the game.
The second round was a bit more predictable, but still saw the loss of some good strains. Check out who got knocked out and light one up for them:
The field now looks like this:
Quick thing: don’t forget to vote on Weedmaps’ Instagram stories. Polls will stay open until Saturday 4:20 p.m. PST.
And with that, let’s dive into the 4 third-round matchups and the 8 strains competing.
(2) Sour Diesel v. (5) Gelato
Sour Diesel squeaked by in the second round. But a win is a win, and it’s faced some good competition. Shelf 1 has definitely been the most competitive, and Gelato is one of the most popular strains left in the competition. The winner will have a tough matchup against whoever represents Shelf 2.
(1) OG Kush v. (4) Wedding Cake
And let’s face it, OG Kush is going to come out of Shelf 2. No disrespect to Wedding Cake, which is a fine strain, but OG Kush is dominating every matchup. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t advance to the Fire Four.
Winner: OG Kush
(8) Jack Herer v. (5) Pineapple Express
Jack Herer is the last wild card strain remaining after Purple Punch had an unfortunate run-in with Sour Diesel. As the people’s competitor, it faces its stiffest competition yet: Pineapple Express. I could see the Seth Rogen cosign carrying PE to the Fire Four.
Winner: Pineapple Express
(8) Alien OG v. (4) GMO Cookies
Sure, Alien OG is benefiting from being in a weaker division, but still, it has put in a respectable performance thus far. But don’t sleep on GMO Cookies who earned 91 more votes than Alien OG did in the second round.
The 1st round has come to an end and WOW have the mighty fallen. Only one 1st seed (OG Kush) made it out of the first round, the rest were upset by the 8th seeds, including both wild card write-ins. Here’s a look at how all the matches ended:
The field now looks like this:
Before we jump into the second round matchups, we want to give a big thank you to everyone who voted. Nearly 62,000 votes were submitted in total through Weedmaps’ Instagram stories.
Quick thing: don’t forget to vote on Weedmaps’ Instagram stories. Polls will stay open until Thursday 4:20 p.m. PST.
And with that, let’s dive into the 8 second-round matchups and the 16 strains competing.
(8) Purple Punch v. (2) Sour Diesel
In a surprising upset, the wild card Purple Punch pummelled 1st seed Biscotti, taking in 64% of the votes. Purple Punch is going up against Sour Diesel, a classic strain that easily dismissed Kush Mints in round one. I think this is where Purple Punch’s luck ends and expect to see Sour Diesel advance, but we could have another upset in the making.
(3) Green Crack v. (5) Gelato
Green Crack and AK-47 tied the on the first vote before Green Crack took the match in a shortened second vote. Gelato came up victorious in its much-publicized first-round matchup with Blue Dream. Green Crack is a utility strain going up against Gelato’s higher profile. The winner should be a good indicator of what kind of weed you all favor.
(1) OG Kush v. (7) Northern Lights
The most dominant performance in the first round went to OG Kush, which crushed Pink Panties. OG Kush was one of only two strains to get more than 3,000 votes, so it’s safe to assume it should handle 7th seed Northern Lights with ease. But we’ll have to see.
(6) GG4 v. (4) Wedding Cake
GG4 escaped a fairly close skirmish with Forbidden Fruit winning by just 281 votes, the closest contest (besides the tie). It will face Wedding Cake, which had a breezy first round against Cherry Pie. I don’t think Wedding Cake is going to have it as easy in the second round considering how battle-tested GG4 is. Whoever advances should have a tough, but a winnable matchup with OG Kush.
(8) Jack Herer v. (7) Godfather OG
I had a feeling Jack Herer was going to stomp on Acapulco Gold. You all loved Jack, but you also loved Godfather OG nearly as much. Jack Herer got 2,376 votes to Godfather OG’s 2,300, a mere 76 vote difference. Fingers crossed this one comes down to the wire.
(6) Granddaddy Purple v. (5) Pineapple Express
Granddaddy Purple didn’t break much of a sweat against 24k and easily advanced to the next matchup. Unfortunately, it will be facing up against Pineapple Express, which was the other strain to get more than 3,000 votes. Pineapple Express has a ton of momentum, we’ll see if it continues in this second-round matchup.
(8) Alien OG v. (2) Sherbet
It proved to be a respectable matchup, but Alien OG ended up knocking out GSC fairly decisively, 58% to 42%. But Sherbet comes out of the first round looking strong. While Alien OG took in 2,226 votes, Sherbet brought home 2,462 votes in the first round. Perhaps Sherbet had weaker competition (sorry Harlequin), but if momentum stays the same this should be a close matchup to watch.
(3) Afghani v. (4) GMO Cookies
Afghanistan v. GMO Cookies is a solid matchup. GMO Cookies had a little bit more momentum once the first round was all said and done, but this should stay a close matchup.
And the competition is well underway as the two wild card slots are now voted in. Congratulations to Purple Punch and Jack Herer for making it into two of the 8th seeds where they will face up against the 1st seeds, Biscotti and Acapulco Gold, respectively.
And thanks to everyone who voted in wild cards on Sunday. There were more than 1,030 submissions, many of which were expected (Jack Herer, SFV OG, Tangie), some of which were less than expected (Sunday Driver, Famous OG), and some that were out of left field (a decent amount of you really like Gary Payton).
A quick note on the submissions, we were advised against including any strains that could run up against some trademark infringement. This included a strain named after the hero of a classic space opera and some strains named after candy and cereal. Sorry, but that’s the weed world we live in.
Quick thing: don’t forget to vote on Weedmaps’ Instagram stories. Polls will stay open until Tuesday 4:20 p.m. PST.
And with that, let’s dive into the 16 first-round matchups and the 32 strains competing.
(1) Biscotti v. (8) Purple Punch
Biscotti is a clear number 1 and favorite among weed enthusiasts. Developed by the iconic Cookies Fam Genetics, founded by rapper Berner and grower Jigga, Biscotti is a descendant from GSC, Gelato #25, and South Florida OG. This strain has reached icon status in the last several years and isn’t likely to go down without a fight.
Purple Punch is the strain that volunteered as tribute. Not that I’m trying to write Purple Punch’s early obituary, but it would be a stunning upset to see it takedown Biscotti. But a couple of you felt it deserved a shot, and everyone loves to see an underdog. Do I smell an upset? Maybe, but it won’t be easy.
(2) Sour Diesel v. (7) Kush Mints
Several of you predicted Sour Diesel going all the way, and I have to admit it’s not a bad bet. Sour Diesel is one of those storied strains from the 90s weed scene that not only garners respect from longtime stoners and growers but manages to stay relevant among a sea of new strains and trends.
But make no mistake, Kush Mints is not to be trifled with. Originally bred by Seed Junky Genetics in Southern California, Kush Mints is named for its strong minty flavor and reported heavy effects.
(3) Green Crack v. (6) AK-47
Despite the name, Green Crack is a staple in most retailers and delivery menus, so it’s no surprise to not only see it in the competition but in a strong seed. Green Crack reportedly has ties to Snoop Dogg, which doesn’t hurt when it comes to name recognition. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the next round.
But that doesn’t mean AK-47 is going down quietly. A staple from the early 90s, AK-47 has won tons of awards at various cannabis cups throughout the 2000s. Winning this round would be another notch on AK’s belt.
(4) Blue Dream v. (5) Gelato
A colleague called this matchup Duke vs. UNC and he couldn’t be more right. Blue Dream is probably the most popular strain in the modern age of weed, which makes it also one of the most hated strains by weed snobs. Whenever I think of Blue Dream, this scene from the HBO series Crashing comes to mind. And while Blue Dream (probably) won’t make you a genius, it’s become so popular with your casual cannabis users that it could carry it out of this nail-biting matchup.
But Gelato has a major ally in its corner: the rap community. Rappers love name dropping weed strains, Gelato chief among them. Heck, a rapper is one of the people rumored to have originated the strain. Gelato is considered weed caviar, a strain to be coveted. I once bought an ounce of Gelato from Cookies in Hollywood and it really did wonders for my self-esteem.
(1) OG Kush v. (8) Pink Panties
OG Kush is perhaps the most storied and legendary strains in all of weed culture. Its origin story is one of the most discussed topics in weed and being able to grow it is a rite of passage among cultivators. OG Kush is renowned for its potency and effects and has stayed relevant on retail menus to this very day. But is that enough to carry it all the way to the championship?
But first, it will have to get through Pink Panties. A clone-only from legendary grower Mr. Sherbinski, Pink Panties is supposedly closely related to OG Kush. How poetic would it be if OG Kush were taken down by its descendant?
(2) Mimosa v. (7) Northern Lights
Mimosa is celebrated for it’s sweet and citrusy flavors and reported energetic and uplifting effects. Like the brunch drink it’s named for, Mimosa is a popular strain for daytime-use that has been gaining traction in California weed circles. Is this its chance to break out into the mainstream?
And yet Northern Lights has been one of the most popular weed strains since the 1980s. While it’s origins are hazy, it’s associated with legendary breeder Neville Schoenmaker and Sensi Seeds in the Netherlands. Northern Lights still commands lots of love and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it knock off the new kid on the block.
(3) Forbidden Fruit v. (6) GG4
A “beauty and the beast” matchup if there ever was one. Forbidden Fruit is all sweet, fruity flavor, and a day-to-day favorite around the Weedmaps office. Forbidden Fruit seems to have taken Tangie’s place as the fruity strain of choice as of late, and it’s cool to see it as a 3 seed.
GG4 is an absolute monster of a strain. Consistently on lists of high THC strains, GG4 is synonymous with potency and known for being one of the first strains to test at above 30% THC in the days when cracking the thirties was unheard of.
(4) Wedding Cake v. (5) Cherry Pie
Wedding Cake is another one of those strains gaining a lot of traction among weed enthusiasts. Fame L.A. growers Jungle Boys have put Wedding Cake on the map and into the conversation among the likes of Gelato and Biscotti.
But Cherry Pie is a Cookie Fam strain with plenty of its own supporters. This should be a close matchup between two California strains that pits north against south.
(1) Acapulco Gold v. (8) Jack Herer
Acapulco Gold is another classic strain with mysterious origins. While it’s best years are probably behind it, the fact that it made it into the competition is a big plus, and it felt good to give it a 1 seed, to be honest.
It’s too bad it’s getting matched up with the Jack Herer wild card. If there is one thing I learned from this exercise it’s that you all really wanted Jack Herer in the mix. And so you got Jack Herer in the mix, and now it’s matched up against poor Acapulco Gold, who I’m thinking might get taken down in this first matchup. But who knows, we’ll have to see how you all vote.
(2) Peanut Butter Breath v. (7) Godfather OG
Peanut Butter Breath v. Godfather OG is one of those boring first-round matchups that not that many people are going to be excited about, let’s be completely honest. I haven’t had either, so I’ll probably flip a coin. Don’t @ me.
(3) 24k v. (6) Granddaddy Purple
This should be an interesting matchup. 24k is a staple out of Amsterdam that has gone through a couple of name changes, so that may hurt it in the long run. Granddaddy Purple is a popular staple coming out of Northern California and is fun to say. Go ahead, say it: Grand. Daddy. Purple. Both are solid smokes with plenty of supporters, so I’m curious to see who advances.
(4) MAC v. (5) Pineapple Express
I’ve seen a few of you predict MAC making it all the way through the competition, which is a bold prediction, in my opinion. But then again, I’ve seen a lot of people swear by MAC in the last 6-12 months. And MAC stands for “miracle alien cookies,” so it has that going for it.
But Pineapple Express has so much going for it. Not only is it a solid strain with its reportedly balanced effects and fruity flavors, there is that whole stoner action movie that everyone is a pretty big fan of. I’ve got my money on Pineapple Express.
(1) GSC v. (8) Alien OG
GSC is a modern marvel in strain form. Another Cookie Fam original, GSC broke into the mainstream when girl scouts started selling actual girl scout cookies outside of dispensaries. One of those art imitating life scenarios that results in GSC taking the 1 seed.
But Alien OG is a really strong contender. Some of you think it could go all the way, which I could actually see happening, too. While I think Alien OG is still a little too niche to overtake the mainstream appeal of GSC, if the weed enthusiasts come out in droves it might be enough to push Alien OG over the top.
(2) Sherbet v. (7) Harlequin
Is it just me or is it surprising that Sherbet is still this popular? It’s like when Beck comes out with a new album and you say “Oh what, Beck is still doing stuff?” and then you listen to it and it’s still good and you remember that “Oh yeah, Beck is still cool.” Sherbet is like that.
Sadly, Harlequin is the only CBD-dominant strain in the competition. While I would love to see a CBD strain make it far in the competition, I just don’t see it happening. Lock in Sherbet for the next round.
(3) Afghani v. (6) Candyland
Afghani is a classic, landrace strain originating from Afghanistan and Candyland is named after a children’s board game that requires no skill or strategy. Moving along.
(4) GMO Cookies v. (5) 9lb Hammer
One Instagram follower was so outraged not to see GMO Cookies in the competition that they missed the fact that GMO Cookies was indeed in the competition. It could have been the strong effects of GMO Cookies, or just the fact that people love this strain and want to see it do well. Either way, it’s going to be a tough out of any challenger.
And that challenger is 9lb Hammer. Known for its heavy, sedative effects, 9lb Hammer is known for knocking out users not too long after they smoke a bowl or joint. It might pack enough of a punch to knock out the rest of the competition.
As our scientific knowledge of cannabis grows, we’re gaining a better understanding of how the plant’s complex chemical makeup shapes how our bodies and minds respond to different strains. From cannabinoids to terpenes and flavonoids, we’re learning that even the smallest molecules can have a big impact on how a particular cannabis strain makes us feel, along with the health benefits it can provide. A perfect example of this is the trace cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
THCV is a minor cannabinoid usually found in trace amounts in most cannabis strains, or “cultivars.” But its slim profile hasn’t prevented THCV from gaining the attention of researchers and recently, a foothold in the health and wellness segment of the cannabis market.
What’s the skinny on high-THCV strains?
Over the last decade, studies involving human participants and animal models have identified THCV’s potential to suppress appetite in people struggling to lose weight, regulate blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes, reduce epilepsy-related seizures, delay neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease and ameliorate the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Beyond the medical and therapeutic potential of THCV, consumers are increasingly turning to high-THCV strains for their energizing, stimulating and uplifting effects. And no wonder; cultivars with high levels of THCV tend to share a genetic lineage with landrace sativas known for their invigorating highs.
But it’s important to note that THCV itself is not psychoactive. THCV appears to slightly reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. That alone makes THCV-rich strains an attractive choice for consumers seeking a high-functioning experience. And for those who use cannabis as part of their workouts and wellness regimes, THCV’s ability to quiet the pangs of problematic munchies make it a worthy companion to diet and exercise.
5 high-THCV strains you should know about
With all the benefits this cannabinoid boasts, you’re probably wondering why there aren’t more high-THCV strains and cannabis products out there. THCV’s relative rarity makes it not only hard to find but difficult and costly to isolate and extract.
Still, there are a handful of cannabis cultivars that are naturally high in THCV, and almost all of them stem from landrace sativas originating in Africa. They may be harder to track down, but they’re worth the extra effort. If the many benefits of tetrahydrocannabivarin appeal to you, here are five high-THCV strains you need to know about.
Durban Poison: legendary landrace African sativa
Durban Poison originates from the port city of Durban, South Africa and was first imported to the U.S. in the late 1970s by one of America’s first international strain hunters, Ed Rosenthal. This award-winning medical sativa has been at the center of the newfound interest in high-THCV strains. With a naturally occurring THCV concentration of nearly 1%, Durban Poison excels at suppressing appetite while inducing energizing and focusing effects of a pure sativa.
The cultivation of Doug’s Varin, likely the highest THC strain available today, appears to have been a happy accident. David Lampach, co-founder of Doug’s Varin (now owned by Oakland, California-based California Cannabinoids), said the original cultivar stemmed from a Harlequin parent. When the company identified the cultivar’s high THCV content, it began using it to develop a family of THCV-rich strains ranging from 3% to 6% THCV.
Today, Doug’s Varin is the strain of choice for many concentrates and extract manufacturers producing products such as tinctures and vape pens with very high levels of THCV.
Pink Boost Goddess, developed by California-based cannabis flower brand Flow Kana, is one of the specialized strains to emerge from the recent hype surrounding THCV. Unveiled in July 2019, Flow Kana says Pink Boost Goddess contains 4.24 percent THCV along with 18.7 percent THC, making it ideal for reducing anxiety and suppressing appetite. Flow Kana grows its high-THCV cultivar outdoors to increase sun exposure and stimulate THCV production.
Unlike other high-THCV strains, which tend to be pure sativas, Pink Boost Goddess is an indica-dominant hybrid with a vanilla flavor and an intense floral terpene aroma.
Pineapple Purps is as rare as its genetics are esoteric. A cross between Pineapple, Skunk #1 (another high-THCV strain) and Cheese, Pineapple Purps has been dubbed a “super sativa” on account of its energetic, euphoric and low-anxiety effects. Those strong sativa genetics also mean Pineapple Purps has a very high THCV profile, with some lab results measuring the cannabinoid at 4 percent of the flower’s dry weight.
Earthy and sweetly citrusy, this high-THCV strain is one you should definitely know about in case you’re lucky enough to come across it.
Jack the Ripper’s storied lineage is one breeders and growers love to recount, but producing a strain rich in THCV wasn’t the goal Subcool The Dank (formerly TGA Subcool) had in mind when the idea occurred to cross a Jack Cleaner female with a Space Queen male. Instead, the plan was to breed a fast-acting Haze strain with extreme THC content. But the results speak for themselves: Jack the Ripper consistently weighs in at 5% THCV or higher, with THC content that ranges from around 15-25%.
Despite those wide variations in psychoactive potency, Jack the Ripper maintains one of the highest THCV profiles of any strain to date. Fortunately, Jack the Ripper has become so cherished among growers and recreational consumers that it’s one of the easiest high-THCV strains to find.
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It is the middle of September and the heat is intense, sweat is dripping down my forehead as I walk down rows of plants that seem to never end. Myself and my crew, which includes my bandmate Bleezy from our rap group Mendo Dope and our business partner Mark Greyshock of Greenshock Farms, are just finishing up the biggest pheno hunt that any of us have ever done. Our noses are covered in resin after closely examining about 800 plants, searching for the next top strain among the phenos. We literally cannot smell anymore, our nostril hairs are sticky and the tips of our noses are raw.
As the sun sets, the colors in the sky are unreal, almost as if the clouds themselves were on fire glowing in a bright orange. We roll up a Backwood of Sour Apple bud, pack our gear and get ready to head out, reeking of fresh ganja. The road is winding, swerving through the rolling hills with such sharpness that it almost feels like we are on mushrooms as we drive into the night sky.
“We found some winners today,” Bleezy says, still smelling the tips of his fingers that are completely covered in resin.
The Road Before Us
Pheno hunting and creating new strains is a lengthy process. Greyshock explains that creating the award-winning Tropical Sleigh Ride strain came after many years of hard work.
“It all started with the Purple Candy Cane, which has placed in the top three at the Emerald Cup two years in a row,” he says of the strain’s lineage. “We got a hold of a Pineapple plant from [noted California cannabis breeder] Mean Gene and just out of intuition, I knew that there was going to be a winner by crossing these two plants.”
The strain was created in 2016 and grown for the first time during the 2017 harvest. Greyshock says he had more confidence in this particular breeding project than others he has worked on in the past. This confidence was due, in part, to the strain’s unique terpene profile. In fact, in 2017, Greenshock’s Tropical Sleigh Ride won the highest total terpene content award at the prestigious Emerald Cup, with 4.8% terpenes.
The fruit-forward Tropical Sleigh Ride has an ocimene-dominant terpene profile, something that is also found in other plants such as basil, bergamot and lavender. In addition, it has a high level of CBG (a cannabinoid that is a precursor to both THC and CBD), generally 2 to 2.5 %.
“It has an overall very high cannabinoid ratio with the THC itself in the neighborhood of 17% at its lowest and all the way up to 27-28%,” Greyshock says. “With high levels of both terpenes and cannabinoids in one plant, it makes this strain a very dynamic combination. The smell and flavor of this flower is unlike any other.”
It’s an uplifting strain with a woodsy, floral and tropical smell (think oranges, mangos, guava, pineapple, papaya, lemons and hints of pine) that could be applicable to lift a depressive fog, he says.
“Tropical Sleigh Ride makes you feel happy to be alive. It crushes negativity and brings out positivity. I would say its best medical trait would be treating depression,” Greyshock says. “The flavor is truly delicious and just smelling it will make you feel good. Smoking the Tropical Sleigh Ride is like snowboarding down a mountain of fruit, carving through oranges and mangos jumping over pine trees.”
And, in terms of its growth, Greyshock says the vigorous fast-growing Tropical Sleigh Ride is extremely adaptable.
“It handles a variety of conditions very well, performing great in all environments,” he says. “Here in California, we have grown it in the Sierras at 4,200 feet [elevation] and it grew very nicely. This year, we are growing it in San Luis Obispo County in a very hot and dry climate that reaches temperatures of 110 degrees regularly and it is performing great.”
Greyshock says the strain also possess a strong resistance to both bugs and mold, something that becomes very important when picking the winners from a new batch of plants. The buds themselves are generally very solid and chunky.
“Even with the sativa influence, these buds are not loose at all — they are very tight sativa buds,” Greyshock says. “We have had plants started from seed that have grown over 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, towering over our heads, so she can definitely grow big. One of this strain’s best traits is its ability to fight off mold.”
Two Birds of a Feather
When it comes to the variations in phenotypes on this strain, Greyshock explains there are two basic types: the green pheno and the purple pheno.
“The purple pheno shows a lot of color on the leaves and stalk and a decent amount on the bud,” he says. “About 40% of the phenos exhibit the green version of this strain. One pheno that we love is the Passion Orange Guava (POG) and that is an example of a green variation. Another pheno we have took sixth place [in the sungrown category] at the 2018 Emerald Cup and this one has more of a purple influence that we call the Hawaiian Punch pheno.”
And when it comes to picking which pheno is best, you might as well ask a mother which daughter she favors more.
“It is hard to say which variation is better, both purple and green phenos are phenomenal,” Greyshock says. “In terms of the overall size of the buds, I’d say about 10% of the phenos have large big buds and those aren’t generally the ones we keep. It seems to be the tighter, medium, chunky phenos that we are after a lot, which fortunately the majority come out to be.”
Even though the Tropical Sleigh Ride is a fabulous smoke, cannabis breeders are almost always interested in taking their strain further.
“Once you have these type of plants in your collection, it is always about trying to make new and better things if you can,” Greyshock says. “Right now, we are playing around with the Tropical Sleigh Ride. This last year, we crossed it with another phenomenal California plant that was bred right here in Mendocino County called the Long Valley Royal Kush. Both of these plants have won awards at the Emerald Cup, so the combination of these two plants is making for some really exciting stuff this year.”
Breeder: Greenshock Farms
Genetics: Purple Candy Cane x Pineapple
Yield: Medium to Heavy
Height: Medium to Tall
Harvest Time: 56 to 60 Days
Profile: Sativa 70%/Indica 30%
TELL US, would you be interested in trying a strain bursting with tropical terps?
Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE
In this list, we highlight some of the strains that not only caught our attention throughout the 2010s, but also caught the attention of the entire cannabis community. Maybe not every strain on this list is an award winner, but that doesn’t mean Americans weren’t flooded with it at some point over the last ten years.
Most importantly, this is not a ranking, but a group of strains we believe has a seat at the table when discussing the cannabis genetics that made the most waves over the last decade, and it’s meant to acknowledge their place in history where the cannabis genome continues to expand to bold and tasty new places.
At the turn of the decade, a cut of the original Cookies was considered the newest holy grail of cannabis genetics. In a world that loved OG and various Purps, Cookies crashed onto the scene like a tidal wave. It wasn’t just another OG, it’s wasn’t one of the wild Amsterdam cuts that didn’t meet the production requirements of the California market, it was a new creature. And while Florida will always get to hold a little piece of OG Kush’s legacy, Cookies was born in San Francisco only a few miles from where Dennis Peron and his comrades worked to pass Proposition 215, legalizing medical marijuana in California. Cookies is attached to the ethos of good California cannabis forever.
As Cookies continues to have global impact to this day, it seemed like it’s first famous offspring Gelato took the hype torch for a bit after. What also makes Gelato unique is it’s the only strain to catch fire in a crazy way twice this decade. First after Jigga and Sherbinski bred it, then again many years later when the Gelato #41 hit the world. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sherbinski back in the day to get the whole story of how one of the premier cuts of the decade came to be. Also, shout out to all the Gelato offspring we love, like Gelonade, Area 41 and who knows how many others.
When AC/DC hit Northern California, it was the CBD strain we knew we had been waiting for. Some of the original cuts of AC/DC produced phenotypes with a CBD/THC ratio between 16 to 1 and 20 to 1, and they showed the most promise and potential for the entourage effect around treating a variety of issues. Other strains with public relations teams may have stolen the spotlight, but make no mistake about it: AC/DC was the first of the second generation of CBD strains that helped start the CBD revolution.
The official strain of the FIFA Men’s World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, Durban Poison carved a place in people’s hearts for a few years after and still floats around to this day in some capacity. The landrace African Sativa provided a completely different terpene profile than what American and European consumers were used to and they ate it right up.
Apart from Cookies and Gelato, it’s tough to argue anything else on this list reached the hype level of Zkittlez in the last decade. One immediately thinks of the work that 3rd Gen Family and Terp Hogz did to bring it to the forefront of modern cannabis. But the strain is so special that others were also able to ride its magic to the top of the mountain, such as in 2016, when the Dookie Brothers took home the Golden Tarp and the Emerald Cup for their legendary batch of light dep Zkittlez. This year, the Terp Hogz again added to Zkittlez trophy shelf, taking home first place in the Emerald Cup Liquid BHO category. When we spoke with Brandon of 3rd Gen Family about his Roze cross that won The Emerald Cup’s Breeders’ Cup in 2017, we dove in a little on Zkittlez.
To be honest with you, Forbidden Fruit was never really my thing. Sure, it smells cool and different and looks insanely purple, but just isn’t for me. Nevertheless, the masses have spoken and I would be firmly mistaken if I did not include this Cherry Pie x Tangie cut among those that made the biggest impact in the last decade. We spoke with Chameleon Extracts about breeding it.
There were so many great cuts over the last decade that made me think I was smelling some kind of industrial accident at a gas station. I loved it. I wish I had enough room to list all that fuel, Petrol and whatever Elon Musk uses. But know that if you grew gassy OG, Sour Diesel, and Chems, I appreciate you. And your art is timeless like a fine wine or pizza.
Nothing defines your cultural impact quite like a lawsuit, and so you know the strain formerly known as Gorilla Glue #4 will be etched in stone forever. Even without lawsuits, people loved awesome Gorilla Glue and the various names it’s called now by people who don’t want to get sued. We loved versions we saw from 3C Farms and Tahoe Wellness in recent years. They were absolutely elite.
While Seed Junkie Genetics gave us plenty of hitters in recent years and although I probably like the Animal Mints the best personally, it’s tough to argue against the Wedding Cake having the biggest impact of Seed Junkie strains on the cannabis world. One of the sure signs of its dominance was all the killers you saw growing it early before the blowup that happened like so many of the strains on this list. Versions of Wedding Cake from the farms of Alien Labs and Str8organics are among the best ever cultivated.
From rap songs to the most recent Emerald Cup winner, the times have certainly proven we are now properly prepared to Runtz up our lives. Like any ultra-hype strain, Runtz took a little bit to get the wind in its sails, but after helping Humboldt County defend the Emerald Cup this year from the killers in Salinas and Mendocino Counties, it’s in a hype storm of its own creation. There is a solid argument to be made that Runtz carries the brightest cannabis hype torch into the next decade.
Bred by Supernova Gardens and further stabilized and spread to the masses by Symbiotic Genetics, Purple Punch was so good it was cursed by its own fame. So many people bought a pack of seeds and then selections from things it would be debatable to call propagations hit the shelves. But when you saw a real all-star Purple Punch cut grown out by someone like The Village or The Jungle Boys (won Chalice with a Purple Punch pheno), you knew how special it was.
Super Lemon Haze
After conquering Amsterdam with back-to-back Cannabis Cup wins in the late 2000s, Super Lemon Haze fully crossed the pond in the 2010s. For the last ten years, it’s been one of the best natural limonene profiles available plus a dash of haze. For many, it’s likely been a spark of creativity or an excuse to eat a sandwich. The best phenotype in the U.S. is grown by C.R.A.F.T. at sea level in California where marijuana doesn’t turn into dust, but we appreciate you, Colorado!
In some of those middle harvest seasons this decade, you would be hard-pressed to find a strain there was more of floating around than Tangie. Some of the most ridiculous farm pictures of the decade where people laying in giant piles of Tangie because they just didn’t care since they had so much of it. Also, it was a wild terpene profile available when we really started figuring out how to best preserve them in sauces.
Miracle Alien Cookies
The Capulator-bred sensation Miracle Alien Cookies (commonly shortened to MAC) is only a few years old, but in that time, few strains have garnered so much deserving enthusiasm. As evidence, it was clearly one of the most popular strains among outdoor farmers this year, with many producing rockstar versions that got some purple hues during the chilly nights of early October. It’s absolute flame and we look forward to smoking it well into the next decade.
The Sensi Seeds standout is a holdover from the 2000s, named for one cannabis most beloved activists. Thankfully, Herer got to try it himself before he passed away in 2010. But the masses, even if ignorant of how important the man it’s named for is to them smoking pot, love their Jack Herer. While we admit we haven’t seen an all-star version in some time, Jack is timeless, and sales data from across the country confirms consumers still love it.
Boy, the Midwest folks love Blue Dream, and California is more than happy to cater to their wholesome flyover tastes. The Blueberry x Haze legend is a big yielder. One of California’s biggest weed companies started because they had a Blue Dream pheno that was producing two and a half pounds a light and they had a ton of trim. Missouri is especially deep Blue Dream country from what I understand. I honestly did see an all-star Blue Dream once by the same guy that grew the best Bruce Banner I ever saw.
TELL US, what is your favorite strain of the 2010s?
What’s in a name? If we’re talking about cannabis strain names, the answer is a lot of inspiration. At least that’s the way that Mikey Peterson of Denver, the creator of the animated series Nug Nation, sees things anyway.
Peterson, an admitted life-long animation nerd, had been doing film and video production for 20 years when he decided it was time for a change from producing mundane projects for corporate clients. He saw the opportunity to do something new with the legalization of cannabis.
“Once recreational marijuana passed in Colorado, I decided to start my own creative agency to do cool creative concepts geared towards the industry because I wasn’t seeing anything like that at the time,” he explains in a phone interview with High Times.
The new agency, Nuglife LLC, first set its attention to cannabis content including videos about cultivation and infused cooking. Then Peterson had the idea for Nug Nation, a stop-motion animated series that brings the world of cannabis to life with characters based on the names of marijuana strains. Peterson says that he realized in 2015 that there’s plenty of fodder for the imagination in the names of pot varietals such as Alaskan Thunderfuck, among others.
“The way people are naming these strains lends themselves to characters automatically,” he says.
Peterson spent nine months producing the first Nug Nation video, using facial features made of clay attached to real buds of weed to create the animated characters. After the video was released in April 2016, he knew from the positive reaction the pilot received that he was on to something exciting.
“We dropped everything we were doing and went full time into animation,” Peterson remembers.
Nug Nation has evolved into a series of digital shorts featuring the voiceover talent of celebrities including Redman, Nappy Roots, Afroman, and Billy Ray Cyrus. The series revolves around the hilarious exploits of the residents of Nugville, all of whom are based on strain names. There’s Affy (Afghan Haze), Diesel (Sour Diesel), Cookie (Girl Scout Cookies), and Daddy (Grand Daddy Purple), and they’re all made with real weed. TV Anchor Bong Burgundy reports on the everyday drama going down in the pungent burg.
Labor of Love
Taking two to three days apiece to create, each character is built with a ball-and-socket skeleton called an armature that facilitates movement. The armature is surrounded by a 3D-printed shell that is covered with actual cannabis before being dressed for its part.
Each episode requires a months-long process of scripting, voice-overs, storyboarding, set design, and character-building before the tedious process of stop-motion animation can begin. Thousands of individual photographs are shot for each scene, with the characters moved only slightly between each frame. After the photos are shot, there’s still post-production work including matching the motion to the dialogue and adding music and sound effects to do before the project is complete.
Besides being engaging entertainment, Nug Nation provides an opportunity for cannabis brands to reach consumers in a novel way. With the cannabis industry largely shut out of traditional advertising media due to regulations and continuing stigma, animated entertainment shared via social media can give companies a new avenue of exposure. Peterson is currently developing a project with rolling paper manufacturer Hempire that features joints instead of nugs as the main characters. An educational series titled Hemp 101, the show is slated to launch in the next month.
Nug Nation videos are available on the company’s website and YouTube channel and Peterson also has his sights set on streaming services and other opportunities.
“There’s always a plan to go bigger and do bigger and better things,” Peterson asserts confidently.