June 10, 2022

Dutchie's Guide to the Top 40 Classic Cannabis Strains

Kat Kuchtjak
June 10, 2022

When it comes to plant genetics, it helps to know the basics of where popular parent strains originated from. In a world where new cross-strains pop up almost every day, tracking the lineage of varieties your parents and grandparents may have smoked can be tricky.

Growers are constantly creating new selections and proprietary strains that are exclusive to their brand. But remember—classics never die—and that phrase applies to cannabis genetics, too. 

Here are 40 classic cannabis strains with long-lasting lineage:

1. Acapulco Gold 

Acapulco Gold, a Central American landrace, is undoubtedly a hidden treasure. The woody and earthy flavor palate retain sweet hints of toffee and chestnut. This dank tasting bud can be an excellent pairing for any thoughtful activity. It can enhance a sense of mental clarity, allowing the mind to focus. Acapulco Gold provides both a welcomed energy and mood boost.

2. Afghani 

The origin story of Afghani begins in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Afghanistan. This indica landrace has been around for years and is the parent strain to a lot of popular crosses. Its fragrance contains sweet and earthy pine, whereas its taste is mainly earthy with notes of pungent fuel and sour lemon. During combustion, Afghani can expel vast amounts of smoke. Its heavy nature is known to provide relaxation and euphoria. It may make you feel happy with welcomed sedation in the limbs. Try Afghani early in the evenings for prolonged rest.  

3. AK-47 

Colombian, Mexican, Afghani, and Thai are the four landrace parents of AK-47. Its aroma profile is pungent with sour scents of skunk and spice. When burned, this flower tastes sweet but is still skunky with a woody base. AK-47’s effects are not nearly as intense as one might assume. Users can expect an energizing, jovial euphoria. Once you exhale AK-47, it is easy to see why it has won multiple cannabis awards, including the High Times Cup. 

4. Apple Jack

Named after a spirit from the colonial era, Apple Jack is a delectable indulgence. This early 2000s selection crafted back in Amsterdam was recreated by Seedism Seeds from a cross of Jack Herer and White Widow. It presents with a sweet, earthy, and pungent aroma that transitions into flavors of cheese and apples, much like the contents of a well-packed picnic basket. Its high is well balanced between uplifting cerebral effects and a relaxed and euphoric body high. 

5. Aurora Indica

Aurora Indica is a well-known strain that comes from a cross of Northern Lights and Afghani. Nirvana Seeds achieved something truly magical when they created this cultivar in the 1990s. Aromatically, it pairs distinct layers of earthy, fragrant lavender and sweet mango. Spicy chemical notes are followed by pine flavors that mix well on the palate upon inhalation. Aurora Indica’s effect is happy and relaxed, giving you a sense of euphoria.

6. Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is a potent strain that can be traced back to its natural growth in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range. The aroma of the cured flower is uniquely spicy, with notes of hash, coffee, and chocolate. The flavor of Bubba Kush is rich and varied, hitting different parts of the pallet with each toke. The effects of Bubba Kush are heavy and sedative, leaving you in a state of relaxed and sleepy euphoria. Best consumed in the evenings, the sleepy effects can cause unexpected daytime drowsiness for some. 

7. Blue Dream

Blue Dream is one of the most well-regarded and popular cannabis strains of all time. Even the pickiest critics seem to be at a loss when trying to find fault with Blue Dream. Although its origin remains a mystery, we do know that Blue Dream is a cross of DJ Short’s legendary Blueberry and Haze. Although its origin remains a mystery, we do know that Blue Dream is a cross of DJ Short’s Blueberry and Haze.

8. Blueberry Skunk 

Two obvious and popular strains—Blueberry and Skunk #1—were crossed to create Blueberry Skunk. This flower smells of blueberry, skunk, hash, and spice. It tastes just like it smells but with a peppery exhale. Blueberry Skunk is deeply euphoric and relaxing, inducing a gentle trance with a warm and slow body buzz. Shortly afterward, the effects may feel reinvigorating and imaginative. 

9. Chemdawg #4 

Chemdawg #4 (a.k.a. Chem #4) is a strain initially passed down from a group of psychedelic-loving Grateful Dead fans and has more recently been used for breeding cult classics like cult classics OG Kush and Sour Diesel. Since its creation, it has been revered and loved for its unique flavor and powerful effects. The scent of the flower is less chemical-heavy than you might expect with a name like Chemdawg #4; in fact, it has a sweet earthy lemon and pine scent that is pleasing to the nose.

When smoked, the flavor of Chem #4 is similar to the scent, with a slight woody aftertaste. It can be relaxing in a cerebral sense and in the body, allowing jam band enthusiasts to dance their worries away. The effects of Chemdawg #4 are well balanced between head and body, making this an excellent strain for both daytime and nighttime use.

10. DJ Short Blueberry

DJ Short created this mouthwatering Blueberry variety back in the 1970s, and it does not disappoint with its sweet nose that includes notes of blueberry, citrus, and vanilla. The taste of this strain is equally smooth and sweet, sometimes leaving a flavorful hint of ripe berries lingering on the palate. DJ Short Blueberry is said to bring on a euphoric sense of relaxation,  making it an excellent choice when it’s time to unwind. 

11. Durban Poison

Hailing from South Africa, this potent landrace sativa is a go-to for those looking to get up and get active! First discovered in the 1970s by cannabis enthusiast and grower Ed Rosenthal, Durban Poison has a unique and spicy scent with a heavy overtone of anise. Give this strain a try if you like pure sativas or just want to time travel back to the 70s, with Durban Poison's classic flavor and uplifting high.

12. Forum Cookies 

A phenotype of the famous Girl Scout Cookies, this selection was born from a cross of landrace Durban Poison and Cherry Kush. The “forum cut” version tends to lean to the sativa side. It hits hard with euphoria that can make you self-reflect. The cerebral uplift from this plant can spur thought and imagination. It emits a layered aroma of jam and pine with residual earthy notes. The flavor is sweet, like nuanced cookie dough. Try Forum Cookies in the afternoon to gain enlightenment through introspection. 

13. G-13

“G-13” stands for “Government Indica Strain #1” and its exact lineage remains unknown. This selection was allegedly created by the government from a native Afghani strain in an effort to test the medical effects of cannabis in the 1960s-1970s. The high from this mysterious cultivar can be felt just as powerfully today, starting with a euphoric head high and a burst of energy. Deep relaxation can set in next that borders on laziness, which may have led to any “Reefer Madness” type misconceptions about cannabis during that time. The flower emits a pungent skunk aroma deepened with a fruity, berry background. When smoked, it tastes of sweet pine and wood. 

14. God’s Gift

This heavyweight cross of Grandaddy Purple and OG Kush packs a delicious punch. God's Gift is an excellent choice when you’re ready to unwind and experience the next level of relaxation. Depending on the dosage, its effects can range from a mellow high that brings on a peaceful sense of wellbeing to full-body relaxation. God’s Gift has a pine forward nose, while its flavor profile is full and spicy, similar to that of an earthy mulled wine.

15. GG #4 

This Cannabis Cup Winner gained momentum so quickly that the original breeders, Joesy Whales and Lone Watty, proudly named their company “GG Strains” after it. Its parents Sour Dubb, Chem’s Sister, and Chocolate Diesel provided the genetics for this variety and created the basis for many different “glue” variations to come. This supreme flower contains a sour and dank nose. It reveals a tart flavor reminiscent of citrus mixed with an herbal bouquet when smoked. Also known as “Original Glue,” its well-known high can grant the body heavy euphoria. This sensation can weigh the limbs down like a thick blanket of comfort. 

16. GSC 

GSC may be one of the most famous modern cultivars in the world, with its fan base reaching from Europe to the West Coast. Not only did its genetics spur a multitude of other strains, but its euphoric effects are widely known and cherished thanks to classic parents like Durban Poison and OG Kush. This variety may pull the user in with its nutty vanilla nose. The sweet flavors are complex, layering cherry, lemon, and cool mint over a cedarwood base. Its potent high is perfect for an afternoon or evening gathering because the effects can feel social, fun, and relaxing. 

17. Grapefruit

This mouthwatering, citrus-inspired flower carries an invigorating grapefruit profile in both scent and flavor. Grapefruit is appreciated by cannabis aficionados and first-time users alike, thanks to the strain’s uncanny aromatic likeness to its namesake. Stick around long enough to taste it, and you’ll be treated to a subtly floral burst of grapefruit, tapering off to a smooth finish with hints of persimmon. This cheerful and uplifting flower is the result of Cinderella 99 crossed with an unknown sativa, and we’re not mad about it.

18. Granddaddy Purple 

Granddaddy Purple is the strain that set the bar that many other indicas look up to even to this day. Furthermore, this now-ubiquitous strain helped kick off the “purple” craze in the early 2000s that left many cannabis connoisseurs searching high and low for purple flowers. Bred by Ken Estes in 2003, Granddaddy Purple is a cross between Purple Urkle and Big Bud. Staying true to its heritage, Granddaddy Purple offers large, dense purple flowers that are drenched in resin . Grandaddy Purple can be quite potent and has been known to give some users the strong feeling of relaxation that many indica-dominant varieties have become known for.

Grandaddy Purple has an overwhelmingly sweet aroma with grape and berry tones. The flavor of the burned flower is more piney and spicy than the aroma would lead you to believe. While spicy, the exhale still leaves hints of grape and berry on the tip of your tongue. This flower can be a great choice for deep relaxation after a long day or a nightcap just before bed.

19. Green Crack 

Green Crack, also known as Green Cush or Cush, has been a staple strain in the west coast cannabis community since the 1990s. Greek Crack was made famous by the rapper Snoop Dogg once it hit the West Coast due to its uplifting and energetic effects. It is a powerful and unique selection of Skunk No. 1 that gives off an intense tropical fruit and sandalwood aroma. The flavor, when smoked, is very similar to the aroma, leaving lingering notes of fresh mango and pineapple on the tongue. Green Crack is a great choice for an uplifting and energetic buzz with a unique fruity flavor. 

20. Haze

Originally grown in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1960s, this selection is a cultural melting pot. Its parents are Landrace sativas from four different regions of the world: South American, Thai, Mexican, and South Indian. This variety in any form emits exotic and spicy aromatic qualities. It tastes sweet and citrusy, with sour, herbal tones lingering after the exhale. Haze is named directly for the cloud-like mist that can coat your thoughts after smoking it. You may feel ethereal, with your consciousness floating in a disconnected fashion away from your body and reality. 

21. Headband

This award-winning strain is an OG and Sour Diesel cross, making it the perfect choice for a well-balanced mind and body high. Headband has gained notoriety as a West Coast classic and was named after a common cerebral effect some users experience as similar to the feeling of wearing a headband. In addition to the strong cerebral focus, a relaxed full-body high makes this strain a soothing, balanced experience.

Headband is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for versatility, as it moves quickly from day to night with a joyful yet relaxing high. The diesel forward nose of this earthy pine-scented flower is enhanced by a more complex flavor profile. The anticipated hint of pine is complemented by layers of lime, making it a bright and nuanced smoke to delight your palate.

22. Humboldt 

Since the 1970s, the vegetative region of Northern California known as Humboldt County has been producing high-quality grows. This selection of breeder secrecy is an ode to those growers and the tremendous effort they put into cultivating new strains. The genetic history of this flower remains unknown. Its nose is reminiscent of its birthplace, with dank earth notes of sprawling flowers surrounding pine trees.

Upon tasting, Humboldt contains forest-like flavors of sweet nuts and burned wood. Its energetic high can usher in euphoria at its peak and become sedative during the comedown. 

23. Island Sweet Skunk

A long-time Canadian staple, Island Sweet Skunk, has provided connoisseurs with a unique and tasty experience since its creation over two decades ago by Federation Seed Company in Vancouver, British Columbia. This sativa dominant hybrid is a cross of Skunk #1 and Sweet Skunk and provides a sweet tropical taste and a high that is clear, focused, and lucid. Its skunk lineage provides a distinct spicy aroma balanced out with sour citrus and grapefruit undertones. Island Sweet Skunk is popular for its uplifting effects that keeps you motivated, creative, and asking for more!

24. Jack Herer

Named after the Emperor of Hemp himself, Jack Herer is a sativa hybrid created by Sensi Seeds in the late 1980s. The progeny of Haze and a cross of Northern Lights and Shiva Skunk, Jack Herer is an attempt to create effects as cerebral and unique as the famed author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes. With a scent that evokes thoughts of an earthy forest, pine trees, and fresh citrus, Jack Herer is an excellent choice for taking a hike or finding some daytime motivation due to its energetic, focused, and euphoric high.

25. Lamb’s Bread

Lamb’s Bread is an awe-inspiring Jamaican Landrace most famously loved by the musical legend Bob Marley. It has a pungent sour and skunky aroma that can resemble a sour cheese. Lamb’s Bread flavor profile is in keeping with the scent that contains heavy pine and earthy, floral notes that are light on the palate. When smoked, Lamb’s Bread can have an aftertaste of cheese that some connoisseurs love. The effects are often energetic and inspirational and may have even helped to inspire Marley’s peaceful songwriting.

26. Mendocino Purps

Also simply known as “The Purps,” is a famous strain that has won many accolades. With a funky aroma that mixes scents of sweet caramel, pine, and coffee, this strain is known to uplift the spirits and relax physical tensions. Its grape flavor presents itself first, followed by nutty caramel notes. The effects are full-bodied. Initially, after trying Mendocino Purps, you should notice stress melting away, creating a tranquil state of mind. Then the body follows the same rhythm and becomes relaxed and sedated. 

27. Mr. Nice 

Originally crafted by Sensi Seeds, Mr. Nice is the genetic fusion of G13 and Hashplant. 

The name of this selection references a notorious cannabis smuggler who brought a gentle high to many consumers in need. It emits a skunky smell mixed with freshly churned earth. The flavor of this bud is spicy but sweet and boldly reminiscent of pine. Once activated, this high can uplift your mood to a whole new level. You can read more about the journey of Mr. Nice in Howard Mark’s autobiography. 

28. OG Kush

When it comes to legendary cannabis strains, few compare to OG Kush. Although its origins are debatable, it goes without saying that there’s a reason why it’s the backbone of nearly all West Coast cannabis strains. This Indica-leaning hybrid is filled with intoxicating aromas from the East, such as delicate pine, cardamom spice, citrus zest, and pungent incense. There’s no mistaking the incredible smell of OG Kush, and the flavor is just as exciting. Floral accents and hashish dance throughout the palate, leaving any user beyond satisfied. The effects are relaxing and euphoric, and one can expect a sudden burst of uplifting energy followed by a profound state of relaxation.

29. Panama Red 

A legendary Central American Landrace, Panama Red became popular back in the 1960s. It has the fragrance and taste of sweet and spicy herbal citrus. Panama Red frequently gives consumers a soaring energy boost. It combines its racy, energetic power with mental uplift. Panama Red has potent, mood-enhancing effects that kick in almost immediately after smoking. 

30. Purple Hindu Kush 

Purple Hindu Kush is a potently soothing strain, making it popular for promoting restful sleep and relief of minor pain. The musky grape nose of this flower is matched by a full, earthy flavor, layered with sweeter notes of grape. Purple Hindu Kush offers a euphoric full-body high, making it perfect for deep rest and relaxation. 

31. Purple Urkle 

Originating in the 1980s, Purple Urkle’s origin is guised in a bit of mystery, but it’s thought to be traceable to Granddaddy Purps or just straight Purps. It has the aroma of unwashed, sweet, earthy grapes. The flavor profile retains the aroma with notes of berry and skunk. Purple Urkle can provide a happy and creative euphoria. This euphoria often transfers from the mind to the limbs, leaving a relaxing and tingling body sensation. 

32. Romulan

Romulan’s lineage is a mystery, but White Rhino is a traceable backcross. Federation Seeds purchased the strain in 1996. The aroma is earthy, skunky pine, while the taste is woody and pine. Its flavor profile is brightened by the citrus, fruity aftertaste. Romulan’s effects are well known and coveted. It often hits first with a substantial head rush. Then, Romulan may leave your limbs feeling light and cloud-like. This is a dreamy strain known to produce a euphoric and happy mood, but overall you can expect to feel relaxed. 

33. Shishkaberry 

Shiskaberry comes from a cross of The Red and Blueberry, which make for an aromatic, fruity puree of fruit scents and flavors. When smoked, the flavors of rich blueberry and grape coat your palate and have you immediately asking for another taste. Ever since it received second place in the indica category at the High Times Cannabis Cup in 2001, Shiskaberry has been a popular choice for cannabis connoisseurs around the world. The high from Shishkaberry is relaxed, euphoric, and happy and can give creative boosts to some users. 

34. Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is an absolute legend in the world of cannabis. Half of the allure of Sour Diesel is that no one is entirely sure how it came to be. Some say it’s a direct descendant of a landrace Sativa, while others say it contains Chemdawg and Skunk #1 genetics. Regardless of how it was bred, Sour Diesel is sure to give adrenaline junkies the adventure that they seek.

The Aroma of Sour Diesel is potent and formidable, with strong overtones of fuel, skunk, lemon, and pine. The flavor of the flower is quite similar to the aroma, with fuel and lemon being the most present upon exhalation. Make sure you have a smell-proof container if you want to stay incognito while enjoying this pungent favorite.

Packed with sky-high THC levels and Sativa-dominant effects, users can expect laughter, energy, and in some cases—mind-blowing creativity. Aside from using Sour Diesel for a rollicking day of recreational fun, also some medical users report it helpful for mood and energy.

35. Strawberry Diesel

The offspring of the famous NYC Diesel and Kyle Kushman’s Strawberry Cough, Strawberry Diesel has been a favorite in the cannabis community since its release in the early 2000s. The flower's aroma is heavy on fuel, with various earthy berry tones also present. The taste of smoke is thick and sweet while at the same time retaining a skunky and gassy flavor.

The high from Strawberry Diesel is well balanced, combining an alert, clear-headed feeling with deep, full-body relaxation. Strawberry Diesel can be well utilized at any time of day or night due to users reporting balanced effects. 

36. Strawberry Fields

All the way from Sagarmatha Seeds in Amsterdam, Strawberry Fields is a cross of Strawberry Cough and an unknown Indica strain. The aroma is just as you would expect, strawberries all the way. The flavor is more complex, starting off spicy and hashy with just a note of berry on the exhale.

The combination of the fruit-forward flavor of Strawberry Cough with the more relaxed effects of the Indica parent makes Strawberry Fields a great choice for those who enjoy the strawberry aroma and flavor but want a more relaxed and sedated experience. 

37. Super Silver Haze

Super Silver Haze is a strain so well known that even non-cannabis users know of its existence. Super Silver Haze was bred in the early 1990s in Amsterdam by Neville and Shantibaba of Greenhouse Seed Co. By the end of the decade, it had gained renown as the three-time winner of the Cannabis Cup Sativa SFlower category in 1997, 1998, and 1999. The scent of Super Silver Haze is spicy and peppery while at the same time having hints of citrus and earthy notes.

When smoked, the flavor is complex, hitting with a spicy bite on the inhale and a smooth, earthy citrus taste on the exhale. The high is cerebral and mainly focused in the head. Just a few hits leave most users feeling uplifted and euphoric while retaining the physical energy to take on almost any task!  

38. Trainwreck

For more than two decades, Trainwreck has been a staple strain for cannabis connoisseurs. The powerful three-way cross of classic Mexican, Thai, and Afghani landrace genetics gives this strain its potency and original flavor profile. Trainwreck has an aroma and flavor that is similar to spicy lemon zest and sour fruit. Some users even go as far as to compare the flavor to lemon-scented cleaning products.

The effects of Trainwreck are potent and fast-acting, usually giving you a rush of mental energy and an uplifted mood. Reserve this strain for daytime use as it may make falling asleep more difficult for some. 

39. UK Cheese 

UK Cheese is a Skunk No. 1 phenotype that combines the flavors of skunk and cheese. Created in the British Isles, UK Cheese is world-renowned. The scent is sweet when the flower is burned. Upon exhale, it tastes sweet like cream cheese. UK Cheese can lead to a happy and euphoric mental state while the body may feel warm and relaxed.

40. White Widow

Amsterdam’s Green House Seed Company bred White Widow from South American and South Indian ancestry in 1994. Its resin production is high, which often results in concentrates being produced from this strain. White Widow smells of incense and floral hash, while the flavor is smooth and skunky with mellow undertones of musk. The effects are uplifting and soothing, making it an excellent anytime strain. White Widow is perfect if you want a relaxing high without losing mental clarity. 

The bottom line

Note these names to see if you can track their genetics trickling into new strains you know and love today. Sometimes you can tell by the new selection’s name, or you may notice similar aromas, taste profiles, and effects. Ready to try out these powerhouse strains or their spinoffs? Start shopping now.

About the author
Kat Kuchtjak