Pineapple Express: The Story Behind the Strain

This cannabis strain is highly in demand, but it wouldn't exist without Seth Rogen.

A lengthy, green bud that has orange hairs covering it

The marijuana strain Pineapple Express is so famous, it has an entire movie named after it. Or is the strain named after the movie? We dug in to find out.

The Name

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen claims to be the inventor of Pineapple Express, at least as a name for a strain.

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“There was NO strain of weed called #PineappleExpress when we made the movie,” he wrote on Twitter back in 2018. “We said ‘if one day, people are out there selling weed called Pineapple Express, it worked.’”

A satelite image of the weather pattern over top the southern part of California.

Seth Rogen prefers to name his strains after unique weather patterns. Photo credit: Creative Commons

The name itself refers to a weather pattern that describes moisture flowing from areas north of Hawaii into the Pacific Northwest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a pineapple express is a type of atmospheric river that usually brings heavy rainfall or snow with it. NOAA says: 

“Prevailing winds cross over warm bands of tropical water vapor to form this ‘river,’ which travels across the Pacific as part of the global conveyor belt. When it reaches the west coast, the Pineapple Express can dump as much as five inches of rain on California in one day”.

With impacts like that, it makes sense that the strong weather system with an objectively goofy name was something the famous comedian caught onto. 

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Three different pictures of Seth Rogen smoking weed and blowing smoke

Seth Rogen is one of the biggest celebrity activists for cannabis. Photo credit: Creative Commons

Rogen now has his own cannabis company, selling marijuana flower and home goods. Those include centerpieces like decorative ashtrays, large and ornate lighters, and ceramics. The company, Houseplant, is a product of a collaboration between Rogen, his business partner and best friend Evan Goldberg, and Canopy Growth, a Canadian-based marijuana company. Houseplant has since parted ways with Canopy and moved into California instead,  though the company does plan to re-launch in Canada. When Houseplant first reached California customers, so many people visited the website that it crashed. 

If you’re looking for people who know weed, Rogen’s brand is considered top-notch. That shouldn’t come as much as a surprise, as the artist describes himself as someone who smokes weed “all day, every day.” In his autobiographical novel Yearbook, Rogen says he considers marijuana an essential tool comparable to eyeglasses or shoes. His father has also said it helped Rogen calm his symptoms of ADD. 

For the weed itself, Rogen says he names all over his strains after weather systems. One, called Pancake Ice, is 33% THC, but also refers to the phenomenon of slush accumulating into circular disks. Diablo Wind, another sativa that Rogen describes as giving a cerebral high, is named for a weather system referring to hot, dry winds from the northeast that sometimes occur in the Bay Area of California during the spring and fall. And Pink Moon, an indica with sedative effects, is named for an astronomical event that alters the appearance of the moon’s color when it’s full in Spring. 

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The Strain

Pineapple Express is a sativa-dominant strain, but is technically a hybrid, clocking in around a 60:40 ratio. It’s a cross between Trainwreck, a hard-hitting and euphoria-inducing sativa, and Hawaiian, another sativa known for bringing on happiness and creativity. Pineapple Express brings on the best of both its parent strains, hitting quickly like Trainwreck and then lasting a long time like Hawaiian. Since it’s known to be so energizing, connoisseurs recommend using it in the morning, afternoon, or early evening. 

An orange hair covered green cannabis bud

Pineapple Express has a very bright and citrus smell with pine flavors.

Although the reference to the pineapple is for a weather pattern, it does have a tropical, pineapple-like taste. The pallet is bright and citrusy, with limonene terpenes that ring through quite beautifully and mix nicely with earthy pine flavors. It has yellowish-orange accents on the bud, too, with curly punctuative hairs within a dark flower.  

Its uses among medical marijuana patients and those taking the product to relieve symptoms they’ve noticed in themselves fall squarely in line with what one may expect from a marijuana known for its energetic qualities. It’s a fantastic cure for fatigue and symptoms of depression, and can also help with chronic pain. 

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If you can’t find Pineapple Express in your area, Purple Mimosa, Lemon Haze, and NYC Diesel are good substitutes. Each are energetic strains with similar amounts of THC and CBG to Pineapple Express. They also each contain Myrcene as the dominant terpene. Of that list, Lemon Haze is a hybrid while the other two are considered sativas. 

The Fame

Pineapple Express the movie was created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, childhood friends who have collaborated on a number of movies and other projects. It’s now a favorite buddy comedy for stoners and comedy fans of all varieties.  

The plot of the film is fairly simple. The 2008 comedy stars Seth Rogen, the protagonist, who witnesses a murder and drops a joint while fleeing. Within that joint was an extremely unique strain, Pineapple Express. That made it easy to trace back to his dealer and second-main character, James Franco. The two of them have to join up as they flee a dangerous drug lord and crooked cop. 

Two joints crossed together

The famous cross joint was referenced in the movie Pineapple Express. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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The movie Pineapple Express made another thing famous, too: the cross joint. But he didn’t create it; he says the style had been around for a while, and he merely spread the word about it in his movie. 

“I didn’t (invent the cross joint),” Rogen told Wired in a 2022 interview. “I would say I probably played a role in popularizing the cross joint. We had like, a book of novelty joints that someone had given us, and we rolled them in high school. They were like a party trick, kind of. I only wish I had the ingenuity to invent the cross joint. I’m not an engineer.”

Those joints weren’t simple props, however. 

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“In #PineappleExpress, me and my co-writer Evan had to roll all the cross joints needed to film (about 100) ourselves because nobody else on the crew could roll them properly,” Rogen shared on Twitter

Weed has also been a predominant theme in many of Rogen’s other projects, such as the now-classic comedy Superbad. Forbes reports Rogen has played nearly 100 roles where weed is a plot point for his character. 

“It really bothers me that people downplay its importance and downplay how meaningful it is to some people’s lives,” Rogen told Forbes. “There’s always been lies that have been told to control weed, it’ll make you go crazy, it’ll make you lazy, it’ll do this and do that. Right now, I think the biggest lie is that it’s just not important, and there are more important things to be talking about.”

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