Curious Cannabis Strains

By: Kannabia Seed Company Culture

We’ve always been curious about how cannabis strains ended up with the names we know so well today. While some strains are named for more obvious reasons, such as their smell or taste, others are not as easy to clarify. Where do all these names that fill the marijuana ecosystem come from?

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which have generic alphanumeric codes, cannabis strains feature creative and evocative designations. These unique strain names form a language that celebrates the plant’s diversity, denoting its specific properties and origins, in a fun way. Of course, this colorful lexicon arose from the plant’s clandestine status, which prevented its proper documentation, but it still perfectly captures cannabis’ playful essence.

Like our own names, some are unique simply because they mean something to our parents, while others are inherited from our grandparents or great-grandparents. The naming of strains follows similar patterns; in other words, there really is no scientific rule that breeders should follow.

A short history of cannabis’s nomenclature

The peculiar conventions of this nomenclature date back to the pioneering days of cultivation in America in the 1960s and 1970s. As enthusiastic growers began experimenting with selective breeding, varieties with different names emerged from humble native origins.

Without access to laboratories to obtain the appropriate documentation, stoner horticulturists such as Sam the Skunkman, Jorge Cervantes and Ed Rosenthal dubbed their new crosses with creative nicknames that conveyed certain characteristics, christening them with legendary names such as Northern Lights, Alaskan Thunderfuck and Amnesia.

These ad hoc phenotype brands spawned thousands of equally colorful monikers as grassroots innovation surged in the 70s and 80s. Cryptic names, which often paid homage to the variety’s region, aroma, or pop culture, became a kind of coded language that universally conveyed the qualities of the cannabis.

Where do today’s strains get their names from?

Today, thousands of cannabis strains with equally colorful names fill legal markets. Despite commercial trials, the legacy of improvised local-variety names endures, forming part of cannabis’s cultural fabric. And, while there is no established way to dub them, these are the most common strategies we see in the industry:

  • By parental strains: some varieties are named according to their lineages. For example, if the Blueberry strain is crossed with White Widow, the daughter strain is called Berry White. Or, to put another twist on this wordplay, if a White Widow is crossed with a White Widow, the result could be none other than Silver Widow.
  • Regional references. For example, you might find SFV OG or Valley OG on a dispensary menu because many OG Kush strains originate from California’s San Fernando Valley. Other examples include Blue Dream (a reference to the Colorado state flower), Tahoe OG, and NYC Diesel.
  • For their physical attributes: If you’ve ever tried a White Widow, you’ll know why it gets its name: it has a visible layer of crystalline white trichomes. When the marijuana flower is identifiable in this way, it’s easy to find the name of a cool strain. Purple Kush was named in the same way, as its buds are of an intense and deep violet tone.
  • For their terpenes/flavor: there are some varieties that have strong flavors and aromas thanks to their terpene profiles. Growers can’t help but name these varieties after those characteristics, so this is how Sour Diesel, Banana Kush and Strawberry Cough were named.
  • For their cognitive effects: Blue Dream, Purple Haze, and Trainwreck got their names for a reason: cannabis enthusiasts reported certain effects that made them feel confused, dreamy, or just stuck on the couch.
  • Eponymous icons: there are even some strains named after influential people. For example, Jack Herer was a cannabis activist and earned the honor of having his name on one of the most popular sativa hybrids out there. You’ll also find strains with names of celebrities that provided financial backing or other resources to develop the strain.
Three strain varieties at a recreational dispensary in Denver, Colorado

The meaning of the names of some of the most famous varieties

  • Girl Scout Cookies: This genetic emerged in early 2010, a product of the legendary San Francisco-based collective Cookies Fam. It is believed that its name was influenced by its terpene profile, which was associated with the aroma of freshly baked cookies. The strain’s rapid rise to stardom coincided with the story of one enterprising girl scout who took advantage of the enthusiastic audience she found at a San Francisco marijuana dispensary to sell 117 boxes of authentic Girl Scout cookies. Pressure brought by the organization and its threats of lawsuits resulted in the name being changed to GSC.
  • Gorilla Glue: something similar happened with this ultra-resinous variety. Today Gorilla Glue, abbreviated as “GG,” can be found at dispensaries for similar reasons, after legal threats from the producer of the actual glue. The breeder of Gorilla Glue #4, GG Strains LLC, was even sued by the original Gorilla Glue and agreed to stop using the name in 2017 after reaching a legal agreement. Other marijuana seed banks took note and slowly changed the names of these strains to avoid problems.
  • Wedding Cake: this particular strain of cannabis originated in Los Angeles. In this case the name is owing to the strain’s aromatic and visual qualities, thanks to its vanilla frosting scent, fluffy buds, pink and purple hues, and shiny resinous appearance, which evoke the image of a wedding cake.
  • Mimosa: this genetic is known for its sweet, citrusy aroma, reminiscent of a Mimosa cocktail, a popular drink made with orange juice and champagne. The name alludes to the stimulating its upbeat effects, which resemble those from enjoying a Mimosa.
  • OG Kush: If there’s one name that is really controversial, it is the acronym “OG” for Kush varieties. The term “Kush” was too broad, particularly given its unintended relationship to a Middle Eastern mountain range, so the creators of this hybrid soon nicknamed the West Coast version “OG Kush.” Ever since a heated debate has raged over what exactly the “OG” means. Given its popularity in Los Angeles, many think it stands for “Original Gangster,” a homage to the hardcore hip hop scene in California in the early ’90s. Others swear it means “Ocean Grown” and that it should be grown near the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Others claim it means “Original Grower,” referring to the growers who traveled to Afghanistan to obtain its seeds and take them back to the U.S. . Josh D, a key figure in popularizing OG Kush in Los Angeles, ended the speculation years ago: He explained that “we called it OG because it was authentic… the original.” In Californian slang, an OG is someone or something that is old and respected; a term, like that of an iconic marijuana, is only earned over time.

In conclusion, the colorful and creative names of cannabis strains have a rich history rooted in the plant’s clandestine past. Unlike pharmaceuticals with generic codes, cannabis strains boast evocative designations that celebrate the plant’s diversity in a fun and imaginative way. This unique nomenclature, born out of the plant’s underground status, reflects the playful essence of cannabis.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

Silver Widow

From: 94.00$

New, US Genetics

Break-up Cake

From: 94.00$

US Genetics

Super OG Kush

From: 94.00$