You may have heard Kush being mentioned in many popular hip-hop songs. Here is all you need to know about it.
Hindu Kush is one of the most potent landrace strains you can stumble upon these days.
This species historically grew only in the Hindu Kush mountain range, located on the border of three central Asian countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
The Himalayan slopes gave birth to this strain, which over time brought us many other strains that inherited a part of its name—Kush.
What does the slang word “kush” mean?
In the last decade or so, the word Kush became a symbol for premium cannabis strains. For example, high quality street weed is often called kush among users.
Most people engaged in the black market bought weed from street dealers, and every time they would raise the price the same question would arise:
“Is it kush?!”
Kush became the go-to term for high-quality cannabis in the United States, quickly replacing its contemporaries.
What is Kush?
Kush is primarily a Cannabis indica strain, which has risen in popularity in the last decade, and played a pivotal role in creating dozens of modern day hybrid strains.
You will rarely see a Kush strain that is a purebred Sativa, however, this can occur with proper growing conditions, combined with relentless cross-breeding.
When Kush is grown under specific conditions, its unique phenotypes come out in a different light. Kush plants are known to evolve and acclimate in order to survive.
Nowadays Kush is grown all around the world, but its tough Himalayan genetics endured and continues to follow the strain giving it both durability and potency.
You might even hear people saying that Kush is a lost strain and that its precise genetics are unknown.
This is most likely true, however we have the next best thing—OG Kush, also known as Ocean Grown Kush.
The rise of OG Kush
OG Kush first appeared in California during the ‘90s, right around the time Dr. Dre dropped his “The Chronic” album which took the cannabis community by storm.
There are two stories that explain its mysterious genetics.
The first one is that a breeder claimed to have gotten the seed from a bag of Chemdawg 91 strain, in the Lake Tahoe area in 1996.
The other tale goes that it was brought to Cali from Florida, by a grower who now operates a company known as Imperial Genetics.
According to him, the parents of this strain were a male cross of Lemon Thai and Old World Paki Kush, and a female Chemdawg plant.
Unfortunately, OG Kush is a clone-only strain and at that time you couldn’t just plant a seed of this strain. Instead you’d have to get ahold of a cutting from an existing plant.
There is a lot of confusion about the origin of the name, and what OG exactly stands for. Seeing how it was bred in California, many users thought it meant Original Gangster, or just Original Kush.
However, the truth is this:
One time, the grower who first bred OG Kush in California was asked by a consumer whether it was mountain grown, complimenting the quality of his buds.
The grower answered that question with a simple “this kush is ocean grown bro”. The rest is history.
Quickly after that, cuttings of various OG Kush plants started making rounds around in Los Angeles and the rest of California. Those cuttings made way for a bunch of new, closely-related strains.
The strains that came from these plants all gained popularity, and developed into Cannabis Cup winners themselves, such as Bubba Kush, West Coast Dog, Larry OG, Tahoe OG Kush, Triple OG, Ghost OG, Diablo OG and so forth.
What does the Kush high feel like?
Kush strains are known to have the utmost relaxing effect, all the while making the user giggly and joyous. These traits aren’t common among the different cannabis strains that came from Kush.
Kush strains that have strong ties to their Indica roots are very hard to come by these days, as the cannabis community moved towards growing highly-resistant hybrids.
However, those that still grow Kush with a higher indica presence are known to produce flowers with potent cerebral effects that “tranquilize” the user, and these buds are frequently recommended as a way to battle insomnia.
Popular Kush strains
There are more than 100 strains that contain the word Kush in their name, and many more that came into existence by cross-breeding kush strains with other strains.
As previously mentioned, landrace Hindu Kush is known for its resilience and the ability to grow just about anywhere. This useful trait made Hindu Kush one of the most sought-after strains by growers and breeders.
Before I list my favorite Kush strains, here’s a quick explanation about the way I listed them: There are overwhelmingly more hybrid and indica Kush strains than sativa Kush strains.
Also, most of the Kush strains aren’t pure indicas and sativas, but rather hybrids whose one trait is more dominant than the other.
With that in mind here are my picks of some of the best Kush strains, in three separate categories:
Most popular indica-dominant Kush strains:
- Kosher Kush
- Bubba Kush
- Critical Kush
- Afghan Kush
- Platinum Kush
- Hindu Kush
- Super Kush
- Sin City Kush
- Alien Kush
- Purple Kush
- Purple OG Kush
- Master Kush
Most popular hybrid Kush strains:
- OG Kush
- Pink Kush
- Lemon OG Kush
- Cali Kush
- Royal Kush
- Mango Kush
- Pineapple Kush
- Holy Grail Kush
- Big Kush
Most popular sativa-dominant Kush strains:
- Mickey Kush
- Silver Kush
- Quantum Kush
- Heisenberg Kush
What is the best Kush strain?
OG Kush is widely viewed as the best Kush strain because of its legacy, however it’s somewhat difficult to classify one strain as an absolute best, mostly because each crop varies in quality and cannabinoid and terpene levels.
Since there are so many Kush varieties out there I really doubt that anyone tried all of them (and stayed sober enough) to objectively determine which one is the finest.
There are also many variations of a more-or-less same strain.
Seeing how OG Kush was originally a clone-only strain, growers named clones of different potency different names.
This leads to confusion, because at one point you might have smoked the exact same weed from two different growers, as they were marketed by two completely different names.
If you define the best strain as “the one with the highest level of THC” then the Oscar goes to Ghost OG.
This strain is without a doubt the strongest Kush variety, at least according to Washington State I-502 data.
In that testing sample, Ghost OG, which is a cutting from the original OG Kush mother stock, consistently came at a colossal 28.7% THC content.
On the same test, OG Kush results came in significantly lower, averaging at around 19.4% THC content.
In a study conducted by Nick Jikomes and Michael Zoorob, the two scientists found that OG Kush isn’t topping its competitors, at least as far as THC levels go.
In their study, Gorilla Glue #4 (now usually known as Original Glue) came in first place with an average of 21% THC.
The two researchers rounded up the study with a conclusion that there’s still a lot of test result manipulation going on and that retailers often display cannabinoid levels much higher than they are.
With that in mind, THC levels should not determine which Kush strain is the best, because the delicate balance of both minor cannabinoids and terpenes also plays a very important role in the effects of each particular strain.
There is much more to a strain than just numbers on a piece of paper.