There are well over 700 known strains of cannabis, and amongst those, there are some very popular strains that you have no doubt heard of. Blue Dream, GSC (Girl Scout Cookie), Sour Diesel, OG Kush and Northern Lights. However with the tide of change upon us where we are starting to see the relaxing of laws as well as full blown de-criminalisation creeping in around the world, things are changing and choice is growing.
we are at the beginning of a revolutionary period where we are seeing that there is a greater interest and demand for new, stronger, tastier, more tailored weed. Breeders are creating hybrids from Sativa and Indica, combining terpene and THC content to engineer the market so that there is a strain that meets everybody’s needs regardless of whether those needs are recreational or medicinal! The days where you didn’t even question what you were smoking and were happy just to get any weed are in the past. The legalisation and the boom in the potential cannabis market is ensuring that new products are constantly coming to market that have been streamlined and can be identified and recommended in dispensaries almost as if you were selecting what wine to enjoy with your dinner. The interest into the possibilities that weed has and the hybrids that could be created are keeping people watching for what comes next.
Nowhere is a better example of this cannabis entrepreneurial spirit than the USA and most notably in California which has already legalised recreational marijuana and has more than its fair share of Dispensaries. Weed has never been more popular and the US breeders are making the most of it by taking breeding to artisan levels, where weed comes vacuum packed and labelled telling you what strain it is, where it was grown and the exact THC content (average UK THC level is 15%, and the US strains can be up to 70%) The US breeders are experts who love what they are doing and are basing everything on science and complex biological genetics. They have made such impressive steps forward in the field that their newly created strains are some of the most sought after in the world.
Weed may still be illegal here in the UK, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the best strains that are on offer. It is possible to get your hands on these super-strains direct, but when some hybrid creations are changing hands for up to £700+ an ounce it might be a better option to go to a seed bank, as many are now selling a selection of “American genetics” seeds, allowing you the chance to grow and sample some of these new players on the scene. With this in mind I thought I would have a look in more detail at a few of these super-strains that we are starting to see emerge as new favourites here in the UK. One things for sure, with the choice we have these days the best weed in the UK is stronger and more complex than ever and nothing like the stuff you probably smoked down the park with your mates as a teenager!
A hybrid at 55% indica/45% Sativa, Gelato is one of California’s new favourite strains and its popularity has spread here to the UK and once you try it it is easy to see why! Gelato was created by well known breeders, Cookie Farm Genetics, the guys behind the now infamous strain “Girl Scout Cookies”. Gelato is a cross between their most popular creation, “Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies” and “Sunset Sherbet”. Called Gelato as it is indeed a real treat, this strain has some of the most potent flavour and aroma around, giving you blueberry and orange fruity-ness alongside a super sweet sherbet. This strain is one for the connoisseur as it can back itself up on every level. It looks as good as it tastes and smells with large buds, dark green nugs, plenty of purple and an over all coating of crystals.
Most importantly Gelato is known for its power punch effects with a high percentage of THC which at the very minimum comes in at 20%. Gelato is great for those suffering from muscle spasms, chronic pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, headaches and migraines as it will leave you feeling calm and relaxed, alleviating any anxiety so that you can enjoy a feeling of peace as the uplifting, energy focusing head high slowly reveals itself, followed shortly by a gradually building body buzz. Get your dosage right and Gelato is the perfect mix to keep you focused on day to day tasks and also to keep you mellow and chilled at night.
No surprise when looking at the name.. Skittles/Zkittlez or Zkittles as you may see it, actually smells and taste like you are eating Skittles!, it is bursting with fruitiness. Created by California based “Dying Breed Seeds” it is an Indica dominant hybrid born out of the meshing together of two fruity classics, the Indica heavy “Grape Ape” and the Sativa packed “Grapefruit”. Winner of Best Indica 2015 at the coveted High Times Cannabis Cup its reputation has indeed exceeded it and we are now seeing it take the UK scene by storm. Its aroma just like Skittles the candy, is sweet yet sour, with a very pleasant fruity taste, making for an easy to inhale smoke. The THC content is generally between 15%-23%. The flowers can be all different shades of green and purple sitting amongst bright flecks of orange pistils. The trimmed buds are totally Indica, with a dense, tightly packed appearance and smaller leaves. You won’t be disappointed if you like it sticky as this stuff is super sticky thanks to it being covered in a mist of cloudy white trichomes that help with its psychoactive abilities.
The Skittles head buzz sets in quickly and subtly and can be quite trippy, it can induce visual and aural distortions and a feeling of time slowing down. It focuses your energy onto certain thoughts and so can be very productive in helping you to get stuff done! This won’t last too long though before the chill vibe kicks in and you just want to relax, making it a perfect early evening choice. For medicinal use it is helpful for an array of conditions including attention deficit disorder due to its mentally focusing abilities. It also eases symptoms of stress and anxiety and physically it can assist with chronic pain. Skittles is known for increasing appetite too and so can help people who are not eating much due to chemotherapy for example.
Glueberry OG is born out of a combination of 3 well known popular hybrid strains, 2 of them being great examples potent American genetics themselves, namely “Gorilla Glue” and “OG Kush”. By using some of today’s most-supreme USA and Asian genetics mixed into one spectacular strain you get the perfect smoke for those who love complex and multi-layered flavours. Crossing the GG and the OG with Dutch passion’s “Blueberry” with its fruity berry flavour and euphoric effects means that the final product does not disappoint, producing a hybrid that is roughly 50/50 Sativa/Indica. Glueberry OG has a very complex taste, It’s fruity, it’s sweet, it’s sour, it gives the most unique, eclectic flavour along with some dank notes which sit in perfect harmony with the fruity Blueberry, delivering a very powerful hit and a truly awesome yet balanced high.
In appearance it is pretty impressive also, it has some great bud to leaf ratio and can show some vibrant purple hues. The buds are dense,compact, resin heavy and super sticky with some serious crystal-coated frosty bling. The Smoke is extremely smooth with a THC content of around 15-20% and its a creeper, giving you a sativa head buzz first with a very relaxing hit to the body to follow, not one to smoke if you have things to do, keep it for chill time. It Seems to have no limit either so the more you smoke the higher you go, so go easy! Medicinally Glueberry OG is good for all but the most severe physical pain and stress related conditions and it also has the added bonus that following the pain relief and mood lift, you will feel a gentle sense of relaxation coming through that will leave you feeling revitalised rather than in a haze.
For those who prefer a more Sativa dominant strain (roughly 90% Sativa to 10% Indica) then, Stardawg is the one for you! Originally developed in the Bay Area of California Stardawg is proving to be another up and coming UK favourite. The crossbred mongrel son of”Chemdawg 4″ and “Tres Dawg” this little beauty takes its name from both its Sativa dominant parents and from the star like formation of trichomes that are a prominent featureTHC levels in Stardawg are high, averaging between 16 and 22 percent. Aroma wise it is quite unique, a musky, earthy pine and diesel type scent. It really is an acquired smell and whilst Cannabis enthusiasts will appreciate the strong unusual aroma it may be off putting for the more inexperienced smoker, try to not let this deter you however, as the squeeze is definitely worth the juice with this one! Stardawg buds typically have small to medium dense popcorn shaped nugs that are a vivid menthol green with olive green and rich Amber accents. You will also notice a flurry of sparky orange hairs and a fine dense garnish of white crystals, sometimes the frosting may be so widespread that the green and orange colours will prove hard to see!
With this one the indica effects take a secondary role to the cerebral effects on the brain, with a high that is mentally uplifting and stimulating. Consumed in lower dosages you should be able to carry on with your day to day tasks/work pretty much as normal and so Stardawg is a great choice for daytime indulgence, especially a “wake and bake” as additionally it has the added benefit of long lasting effects of 2-3 hours, more than many other strains can manage. The smoke is a thick one with a slightly lemony pine on the exhale. The uplifting Sativa head buzz builds behind the eyes and in the neck, giving you a pleasant energised sociable vibe which will then be followed by a more mellowing Indica state throughout the body.For medicinal users it offers soft pulses of pain relief and an increase in appetite. As its more of a mind buzz it is perfect for treating stress, depression, panic, anxiety or fatigue . It is also useful for insomnia and symptoms of more serious conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
GG#4 or Gorilla Glue 4, a Sativa dominant hybrid (70% Sativa-30% Indica) has achieved God like status for sporting one of the highest THC contents around, anything between 18%_28%. It’s impressive parentage boasts “Sour Diesel”, “SourDubb”, “Chem’s Sister” and “Chocolate Diesel”. Amazingly this juggernaut was created by happy accident when the breeder accidentally pollinated one of his plants with a hermaphrodite and in frustration threw all the seeds away. A friend of his kept hold of some of them however and germinated them some time later…. and from this a legend was born!! Named for its stickiness, its ability to glue you to the sofa with its powerful hit and the phenotype number (4) which came out top from the samples of the accidental breeding, GG #4 is stocked in pretty much every dispensary in the US and is a multiple award winner to, winning at the Cannabis cup in Michigan and Los Angeles as well as the High Times Jamaican World Cup.
The aroma is dominantly diesel with an earthy, chocolatey, stale coffee tone with flavour as pungent to match but being a touch sweeter and piney than the odour would have you believe. Looking at it there is an abundance of trichomes and it is very resinous and sticky. The buds are very green, densely packed and spongy. No surprise, the high is quite heavy, going straight to your head and making your body melt ‘gluing’ you to the sofa but at the same time making you feel relaxed, mentally uplifted and stimulated. It is a pure Indica in the body, but in the head it’s all Sativa. It’s literally the best of both worlds! Due to its couch-locking properties however it is recommended as a strain to enjoy when you are chilling rather than when you have stuff to do, you have been warned! Medicinally this strain is a good choice for both physical and mental health conditions up to a moderate level, this is because it has a low CBD content and so would not be suitable for serious illnesses such as Cancer. It is very effective however at treating symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, OCD, migraines, insomnia, arthritis and back pain.
There are many more hybrid strains being developed and coming out of the States all the time as the legal Cannabis ‘boom’ continues to gather pace. This can only be a positive thing for the Cannabis connoisseur, as research and development goes deeper, fine tuning those genetics to create new hybrid super heroes tailored to meet the ever growing demands and needs of both recreational and medicinal users. It’s exciting to think where things are going to be in 5 or 10 years time. Who knows, by then maybe the UK will have followed suit and will have its own legal cannabis industry and we will be able to take full advantage of all the wonderful strains yet to be created!
By Rich Hamilton