Countless cannabis strains have been enjoyed by consumers through the centuries. Today, more than at any point in history, the number of strains being added to that rich heritage is enormous. Modern agricultural practices make it easy for breeders to hybridize new strains with the aim of creating flower tailored to the specific needs and wants of medical patients and recreational users alike.
Though there is an enormous (and overwhelming) variety of strains to choose from, there are certain traits that are almost universally desired by cannabis consumers. High-quality cannabis will have a smooth smoke and potent therapeutic attributes. The therapeutic efficacy of a cannabis strain is determined by the plant’s chemical profile. The terpenes it houses produce certain aromas and flavors as well as medicinal effects. The cannabinoid levels within each strain determine how that strain will interact with your body. Strains that are high in CBD are excellent for inflammation and mood disorders. Strains high in THC help combat nausea and vomiting and will leave you feeling euphoric (too much THC might leave you feeling paranoid).
There are also characteristics that weed lovers want to avoid when at all possible. Most cannabis consumers are looking for strains with high THC levels because most people smoke weed to get high, so strains with low THC levels are hard to find on dispensary shelves, especially in stores that are geared toward recreational users. While cannabis users might risk the paranoia that could come with lots of THC, they generally want to avoid strains that have bad reputations for adverse reactions like paranoia, anxiety, and headaches.
Legendary Strains that Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon
These strains are considered classics because their genetic composition makes them therapeutic and enjoyable for most.
This classic strain was bred by the Haze brothers (R. Haze and J. Haze) in the early 1970’s. Haze is widely regarded as the most popular and commonly cultivated sativa strain of cannabis in the world. Haze’s genetic makeup is 100% sativa, a cross between Mexican, Thai, Colombian, and Indian—sativa landrace strains, or strains bred by no one other than Mother Nature herself. Haze’s longevity is likely due to its euphoric and powerful cerebral high that can leave users in a creative and uplifted state. Haze is commonly used to treat anxiety, depression, and stress.
This landrace strain is named after the mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan from where it originates and has been used for thousands of years. It was brought to the United States sometime in the 1960’s by cannabis lovers who traveled to this region from where many believe cannabis was first discovered. Exhibiting classic indica traits, Hindu Kush is best consumed at night because of its powerfully sedative effect. This also makes it a great choice for pain management.
Like Hindu Kush, Afghani is a landrace strain hailing from the mountains of Afghanistan. Also like Hindu Kush, Afghani’s roots are ancient, and its reputation as one of the first widely consumed cannabis strains in human civilization led cannabis enthusiasts to track it down and bring its seeds back to the United States throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. As is typical of the strains hailing from the Middle East, this landrace is a pure indica. Afghani’s strong genetics make it a highly desired building block for hybrids.
While Northern Lights is frequently thought of as a European strain, it is believed to have been developed by a Seattle, Washington breeder known as “The Indian” in the 1970’s. Still others say that the strain hails from California before The Indian started cultivating it. The strain made its way to Europe where it is believed to have been refined even further by Sensi Seeds in the Netherlands. Northern Lights is an indica-dominant crossbreed between Afghani and Thai. The award-winning strain is appreciated worldwide for its powerful body high that insomniacs and pain patients may find particularly therapeutic.
With a lineage comprised of Acapulco Gold, Afghani, and Columbian Gold, it is no wonder that this strain’s name is now used as a universal adjective for potent cannabis. Though Skunk is the first hybrid strain stabilized in the Netherlands, it was first developed by the Californian cannabis cultivator Sam “Skunkman” of Sacred Seeds in the early 1970’s. Because of Skunk’s extraordinarily stable genes, it has been used as a building block for many hybrids. Depending on the dose, Skunk can be used to help alleviate a range of medical ailments ranging from mood and psychiatric disorders to nausea and vomiting.
Strains That Just Couldn’t Cut It
Though cannabis is the most widely used substance in the world, some of its branches are avoided by even the most fervent cannabis enthusiast. These strains are difficult to find today for reasons varying from expense to a flat out unenjoyable high.
Fruity Pebbles OG
This colorful strain is aptly named after the fruity cereal. But unlike its namesake, you’d be hard-pressed to find an authentic sample of this strain in a pot shop. Alien Genetics only released a limited number of Fruity Pebbles in 2006, and not for cheap. A bag of seeds could cost as much $1500.
Though this strain’s lineage is made up of the legendary Haze and Northern lights, Neville’s Haze is a hassle to grow because of its long season and mediocre-sized yield. With so many other high-quality and more efficient options out there, Neville’s Haze lost popularity soon after it was introduced in the 70’s, nearly becoming extinct by the early 80’s.
Chronic became popular in the 90’s because of the use of its name by rappers like Dr. Dre and Snoop, but the overhyped strain soon lost its rep once smokers realized that it’s just not that potent. With an average THC level of 14 percent, it’s much less powerful than more popular strains today. However, it does have a relatively high CBD level, ranging from 1 to 13 percent, making it a good choice for medical patients who are trying to get medicated without getting stoned.