Strain Knowledge #4: Medical Cannabis Royal Families and Their Offspring

In this installment, We have grouped the Major Marijuana Varieties by Family. This ties together some of the Lineages, and creates a better understanding of Basic Cannabis Genetics.

The Big Three

Most of Today’s Strains are built from The Big Three. Northern Lights, Haze and Skunk #1. Although there are many new variations – most Strains can be attributed to some connection with the “3 Majors.”

Skunk #1 – “The Building Block.”

One of the Major 3. In many places – the first Sinsemilla (seedless Buds) was Skunk Hybrids. This genetic changed everything in the Cannabis World. It was bred to almost all available strains at the onset of its’ appearance on the scene. One of the Great Hybrids that utilize the Skunk Genetic is “Durban Poison.” Many people consider almost ALL seed varieties to contain at least a trace amount of the Skunk #1 genetic, if not more.

Northern Lights – a basic but high-yielding Indica Strain used quite often for breeding . Used in order to bring flowering times down on Equatorial Sativas,  and to increase yield in moderate-producing genetics. Not a very flavourful strain on its’ own. It has a funky Celery-like flavour, not very pleasing. But it adds a great deal to other genetic profiles, when bred with it.

The Almighty “Haze”

Including  Amnesia Haze – Neville’s Haze – Blue DreamBlue Dream (the ubiquitous) –  An Amsterdam favorite, Haze is very common in the Dutch Canal Village We all love so much. Hollanders enjoy being social and “High” simultaneously, as opposed to Americans who prefer to be “Stoned,” as the Dutch Budtenders call it. Haze does not provide a heavy Body Effect by any means. More of a cerebral, trippy THCV influenced ratio of THC to CBN’s. Most of the long-flowering Strains that contain Haze are originally from Equatorial regions.

Many Mexican, South American and Equatorial varieties contain some of this Haze Genetic. It features a long flowering time, wispy flowers – and an incense-like odor. A Combo called “G13 x Haze” has taken the Northern Europe Cannabis Scene by storm in the last decade. The Famous Seed Breeder called SOMA isolated this Cut and applied it to almost all of His existing plants. 

Based on the above “Big 3,” there are millions of variations – some of which but by no means all – very popular, or generally notable, are listed below.

The Sativa-Dominant Varieities

Colombian Punta Rojo (Red Bud) and Santa Marta Gold – or “Lumbo.” For all You oldsters – Who can forget these classic strains that were so present in the 70’s ? Full of seeds, and sun-dried, it still tasted excellent, and was always a crowd-pleaser.

While we are on the throwback subject – Thai Sticks deserve a special Mention. Usually arriving in the form of bundled up small buds from Southeast Asia wrapped around a stick with hemp string. Very tasty, almost chocolate, and a very “Up” and happy high. Early versions were rumored to be opium-rubbed.

The Arcata Trainwreck – An Amazingly tangy, garlicky, foody unique genetic from Humboldt County, Emerald Triangle, (NorCal) California. An almost 100% Sativa, with many-bladed leaves – up to 13.. A Beautiful plant, like a small Christmas tree. Exhibiting a rare fast-finishing Flower for a Sativsa Plant, The T-Dub has a strong heady effect.

The Super Silver Haze  – Pride of Holland – Developed by the superior Breeder called Shantibaba for the Mr. Nice Seed Company. Perhaps the most complete Hybrid of the Three Majors – NL x Skunk x Haze – May be the perfect Strain, when the correct phenotype is isolated. It has won numerous awards, and is many peoples’ favorite. Considered the most Indica of the Hazes, it hits on all necessities…!

Hawaiian – Was always rare, and even for a resident of the state, not easy to find. It usually appeared wet, with no seeds And it mystified people since it came on the heels of the deluge of seeded Colombian/Mexican of the 70’s.. 

OG Kush / Diesel / GSC – the Chemdog Story.  An ounce of pot from a Grateful Dead Show in Colorado yielded several seeds which were later germinated by a Man to be known as Chemdog. Daywrecker Diesel #1, Diesel, the original OG Kush, and the many spinoffs such as East Coast Sour Diesel, NewDSCN3471York City Diesel, and others became perhaps the ultimate Royalty of Cannabis. For good reason. Not many Buds are as strong as Original OG Kush, or its’ Sisters mentioned above. The Famous Girl Scout Cookies Strain from San Francisco CA is partly composed of OG Kush – so the Circle Completes itself with a modern Classic. Pictured is the excellent Sour Diesel Hybrid Cutting called “Triple Diesel,” “3D,” or “Trip D,” at the time of harvest after trimming. The lighter in the picture shows the scale of the Bud.

Indica and Indica-Dominant

Master Kush, or “The Affie”  –  Like most genetics from the Hindu Kush Mountain Area in and around Afghanistan, the plants structure is very stout, squat, large-leaved, and fast-finishing – due to the always impending early mountain winters. This family of Cannbis is almost exclusively Indica. Sometimes purple in color. Very Medicinal, sleepy, appetite-inducing, and potentially stupifying. A Favorite cannabis family in the USA. Often has flavours of Chocolate, Coffee, and Earth.

The Cheese – Unbeknownst to many, a very flavorful and much-bred strain called “The Cheese” is a special Phenotype of Skunk #1 found in the 90’s in Luton, England, on a Hippie Commune. It truly does smell and taste like sweet cheese with often a hint of blueberries. The cutting was passed around the whole country, and was known as the “Exodus Cut.” The Flowers were first available in Amsterdam Coffeeshops in or around 2004. The Flowers were such a Hit during the Cannabis Cup, that there was a purchase limit of two grams at the Coffeeshop that first featured it (Homegrown Fantaseeds). The Cheese is beyond tasty.

Blueberry (DJ Short’s) – A Classic hybrid that contains Chocolate Thai, Oaxacan (Mexican),  Colombian Sativa, and Panamanian genetics. The strain exhibits mutations in the form of variegated leaves (two color – light and dark) and strange patterns of growth. Although finding a great phenotype is never easy with this genetic – once one DOES isolate one, the flavours and appearance are superior to most other plants. The Blueberry has been bred with so many different plants it is difficult to keep track.

Purple Urkle / The Purps / Grape Ape – Another extreme Indica. Grape in flavour, and purple in color. These are small plants with lovely flavour, low-yield, and quick finish. ALthough many plants will turn purple with chilly temperatures –  the “Erk” will change to a lavender hue on its’ own, regardless of temperature. Patients at the old Oakland California Dispensaries used to line up for blocks to get at this bud.


Although there are millions of variations possible in the world of Cannabis, it is clearly possible to classify most varieties by tracing back to the original strains used to produce them. Accurate information, while not always available, is important to those making decisions about what Strains to Grow or obtain, based on the Medical Needs in the particular situation. The knowledge is increasingly available with the Normalization of Cannabis Laws around the world.