There are thousands of Cannabis strains in the world; and with most of them being hybrids of hybrids, you may wonder which plants gave way to everything we use today.
The majority of the weed strains we know and love can be traced back to landrace (pure native) strains from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, and Mexico. Though these are the most historic, when it comes to influencing, we’re talking about the genetics that come to mind when your budtender tries to explain how a product will probably make you feel.
Because of that, here are 5 of the most influential Cannabis strains in the world. Chances are that any flower, dabs, vape pens, and even edibles that you consume feature their lineage.
If you’ve smoked weed then you’re familiar with the terms: Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid. The world uses these classifications as Indicators for not only how plants will grow, but also how they may make you feel. While the world debates if Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid actually help you predict effects, one thing is undebatable: when it comes to Sativas, damn near all of them exist thanks to Haze.
Haze is the founding father of Sativas and Sativa-dominant hybrids worldwide. Without Haze, there is no Super Silver Haze; there is no Super Lemon Haze, and most importantly, there is no Blue Dream. *Gasps*
Haze has historically been famous for its potently energetic buzz that gives way to creative and social activities. The uplifting euphoria that people associate with Sativa Cannabis strains is because of Haze. But where did it come from?
This illustrious strain dates all the way back to the 1960s when two brothers: R. Haze and J. Haze, culturally known as the Haze Brothers, started cross-breeding landrace strains from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and South India.
Stationed near Santa Cruz, California, the two brothers hybridized the strains, ultimately creating the Original Haze. They worked the Haze strain, spread the seeds amongst the community, and eventually sometime in the late 1980s Haze landed in the hands of Neville Schoenmakers, a Dutch breeder who carried on the legacy by creating Neville’s Haze. The rest is history.
You know Skunk weed. You know the Skunk smell- that pungent funk that smells like sour armpit, oooooohweeeee, put that in a blunt and pass it to me right NOW.
Skunk #1 is one of the most famous Cannabis strains ever, but its history is as hearsay as they come. The stories track Skunk’s origins way back to the 1970’s where a California collective called Sacred Seeds, led by Sam The Skunkman (David Watson), bred the cultivar from some experiments with what was believed to be Afghani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombia Gold genetics.
During this time, the War on Drugs hit, which ultimately caused Sam the Skunkman to uproot his business in the early 1980s and move out to the Netherlands with thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands, of Skunk #1 seeds. As a California grower, Sam was coming from a traditional background of growing Sativa plants outdoors and in greenhouses. It was here in the Netherlands, where Dutch breeders and growers were experimenting with Indica landrace strains and artificial lighting, that Sam was able to work Skunk #1 to perfection.
Sam partnered with many Dutch cultivators, started the Cultivators Choice seed company, and they eventually worked the strain into worldwide acclaim when in 1988 Skunk #1 won the 1st Prize in The 1st Official High Times Cannabis Cup. It has been cemented in Cannabis culture ever since.
Skunk #1 has been used to create many other famous strains including Super Skunk, Jack Herer, and the UK’s famous Cheese. Though Skunk refers to a specific family of strains, the UK now uses the word skunk to describe all high-THC Cannabis strains.
Chemdog is one of the most recognizable Cannabis strains in all of the land. It cemented a legacy dating all the way back to the 1990s and its renown has not wavered since. With its pungent diesel-like aroma and flavor, Chemdog is known as the grandmother of all gassy strains worldwide.
As the story goes, Chemdog’s origins go back to a Grateful Dead concert in Deer Creek, Indiana. At this concert, the breeder culturally known as Chem bought a sack of weed from a group of deadheads that included PBud and Joe Brand. Though they originally called the weed Dogbud, Joe thought that it had a peculiar scent and taste like chemicals, he began calling it Chemweed. Chem then took both Chemweed and Dogbud, merged them together, and THAT is why spelling it Chemdawg is completely incorrect.
Sometime after the concert, Chem was able to link up with PBud and Joe again to receive some more of the Chemweed Dogbud. In the two ounces Chem received, one was seedless, but the other contained thirteen seeds. From these seeds, four popped, three plants were kept, and in the end, Chem blessed the world with the three Chemdog phenotypes that we know as Chem 91, Chem’s Sister, and Chemdog B. What followed was an instant success for Chem 91 and a plethora of gassy Chemdog descendants.
Today, Chemdog is a clone-only Cannabis strain that has been flown and grown around so many places that it’s truly tough to know when you’re smoking the real deal. Its genetics have been used to birth some of the world’s most famous strains including Sour Diesel, GG#4, and the newly popular GMO Cookies.
OG Kush is probably the single most recognizable Cannabis strain name in the whole wide world. We can thank Matt Berger and Josh D for that.
As with most legendary Cannabis strains, the genetics of OG Kush are hard to confirm. Some believe it to be a cross of Chemdog and Hindu Kush; some believe it to be the result of some bag seed phenotypes from long ago. Others believe it can be traced all the way back to the Hindu Mountains.
Regardless of its genetics, what we do know about OG Kush is that it was first brought over to Florida from Amsterdam by a breeder named Matt “Bubba” Berger sometime in the early 1990s. Berger worked with the strain and eventually traveled out to California where he gave his Kush seeds to a grower named Josh D. Josh D then perfected the strain and grew OG Kush into the backbone of West Coast Cannabis culture that it is today. Because it was the original Kush before the varietals entered farms around the world, Josh D named it OG Kush.
Since then, OG Kush has gained worldwide acclaim, as well as been instrumental in the creation of some of the most popular strains of today, G.S.C., Bubba Kush, and Headband being the most notable. Tahoe OG and SFV are the most well-known phenotypes of OG Kush.
Granddaddy Purple is an Indica hybrid of Purple Urkle and Big Bud whose murky history suggests it may have Afghani descent. It has dense buds that grow extremely dark in coloring, blanketed by a thick white coat of trichomes. GDP is known to deliver a potent full-body relaxation, which is why many consumers seek it out for physical pain or insomnia.
The story begins back in the 1970s when Ken Estes was injured in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. During this time, his doctors had prescribed him a bunch of pain pills that ended up making Estes feel a lot worse. In looking for a safer alternative, Ken came across a woman who was treating patients with medicated weed brownies, thus choosing to follow a similar path.
According to Ken Estes, the history of purple Cannabis dates back to the 1970s when Vietnam vets brought back plants with Afghani genetics. They had purple coloring and potent effects, but the yield was terrible and the nugs were really small, so people stuck to growing Sativas.
GDP came about when Ken got his hands on the strain from an indigenous tribe in Northern California. Once in his hands, Ken and a few other breeders worked the strain until finally in 2003, Purple Urkle and Big Bud were perfectly hybridized and Granddaddy Purple was born.
Since then, GDP has grown into a world-renowned staple of California Cannabis culture. Because of this plant and its dominantly purple-hued flowers, Cannabis culture has grown to become obsessed with dark-colored buds and potent Indicas.
All in all, when it comes down to the 5 most influential Cannabis strains ever; Haze, Skunk #1, Chemdog, OG Kush, and Granddaddy Purple, are undeniably the forefathers of the entire game. Over the past half-decade, their genetics have been used to create the majority of the Cannabis strains we smoke today, and will continue to be used to create the strains of tomorrow. The popularity and prominence of GSC put the proof inside the pudding.