Top 20 Cannabis Strains Every Grower Should Try At Least Once
Once upon a time when I first started growing, the choices of what strain to grow was pretty small. Basically you grew out what clones your mate could provide OR you headed down the local head shop and asked to see the seeds list. This was mainly the Sensi Seed Bank’s catalogue with a few add ons. Nowadays though we can buy cannabis seeds safely online from breeders or seed banks around the world and get them shipped directly to our homes. And the choice is amazing .. In fact sometimes it seems like there’s too much choice. With seeds banks like Attitude listing 136 separate seed breeders, each with a minimum of 4 separate strains (and many like Dinafem with closer to a hundred) how the heck do you pick which plants to grow in 2014?
Surely all cannabis strains can’t be the same?
Well yes and no .. If you look at the names of some strains, or their genetic history, you can see that they are basically a rebranding of another breeder’s strain with different packaging. Not necessarily a bad thing this, the breeder may have found a particularly potent mother plant and bred it on. The wonder of many new strains available though is that some breeders have become the Victorian plant hunters of the modern age, exploring far flung fields for exotic strains and either putting them on the market as semi-landrace (eg Ace Seeds, Greenhouse Seeds’ Strain Hunters) or have used them in their breeding stock. As more and more of these esoteric varieties are brought into the western cannabis culture and crossbred, more and more cannabis strains are being developed.
Decide your priorities
So in order to make your choice about what you grow this year, you need to decide first what end result you are looking for. Here are some of the things you should consider:
Surprisingly, yield isn’t the all important factor to all of us. However if you are growing commercially (under mmj license of course) its certainly a factor. Check out the local buyers and see if there is a demand for a particular strain – for example, in the UK Cheese strains normally command a premium price (which compensates for the slightly longer flowering time) – whereas in Spain all varieties are sold for pretty much the same value. Be sceptical about some breeder’s claims about yield. If every strain they’ve developed is described as “high” or 600g/m2 then you can bet your last dollar, some are mediocre yielders. I think its especially important to be cautious with descriptions of yields for autoflowers. I’ve seen and read enough grow reports of Dutch Passion’s Think Different to be confident in saying that most growers will get around 200g+ dry weight per plant. But when I see claims of 800g/m2 for an 7-8 week seed to harvest I have serious concerns. An auto this quick tends to produce around 25g dry weight so that would mean 32 plants to produce 800g – and I see no feasible way to pack 32 plants into a metre squared in big enough pots to produce that 25g … here’s a rough guideline of what dry weight yield you would expect to get from an autoflower indoors under good lighting: (I’d expect slightly less outdoors) [toggle] [toggle_content title=”Guideline to Autoflowering Yields” subtitle=”just a rough idea so you know if you’re being bullshitted”] 7-8 weeks from seed: 25-30g per plant 8-9 weeks from seed: 25-50g per plant 10 weeks from seed – 100g per plant 10-12 weeks from seed – 150-200g per plant but there are some exceptions to this and a few under ideal circumstances will get you up to 300g 12 weeks plus – 250g+ [/toggle_content] [/toggle]
Potency / Effect
Not at all the same thing! Some strains sell simply by virtue of a high THC level but differing strains do have different effects even at the same THC level. If you want a knockout zombie on the sofa style smoke, you may not be impressed by an uppy creative sativa buzz (or vice versa).
Ease of Grow
Experience doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful crop .. and if you are growing more than one plant I’d recommend throwing in an “easy grow” strain that’s tolerant of temperature variations, over / under feedings etc. You never know what life’s going to throw at your grow room!
Indoor / Outdoor?
Whilst it shouldn’t make a difference, some strains really come to into their strengths grown for a full 8-9 months outside, but it really depends on your climate. Choose a cannabis strain that’s good for cold climate grows if you are looking at a short damp summer.
Our List of the top 20 cannabis strains every grower should have a go at at least once in their lifetime:
The foundation strains from which all else good is grown (well nearly … )
At any rate, in order to hold your own with any experienced (read old timer!) grower on any international cannabis forum, you should consider growing the following at least once during your growing lifetime:Skunk #1 (Sensi Seed bank) – the basis of so many of todays cannabis strains, Skunk has in itself become synonymous in Europe with good weed. Just like “hoover” refers to the machine and not the brand, people smoke skunk irrespective of its strain. According to Sensi Seed bank, the original Skunk has a mixed heritage from Central and South America, Afghanistan and Thailand, fused together to make the “superstrong” cannabis that is so often blamed for the cause of so many of modern society’s ills by the likes of UK tabloid The Daily Mail.
Cheese #1 (Kaliman Seeds). The real deal as far as Cheese strains go, Cheese #1 came about as a result of spontaneous sexual reversal from an original Exodus Clone. If you’ve seen other cheese varieties on a best cannabis strains ever list, you can bet your ass they haven’t tried this one. With a smell so potent in flower that its been described as “reminiscent of sweaty teenage sex” its not a novice smoke and you may find yourself locked in the cupboard waiting for the moment to pass ..
Black/White Widow (various) – ever since 1995 when it won the Cannabis Cup, white widow strains have been hugely popular and there are more than 30 versions available by different breeders. Who has the original award winning strain? No one’s quite sure, but it seems likely that its been renamed as Black Widow under Mr Nice Seeds! (read more about the origins of white widow)Super Silver Haze (Mr Nice Seeds). With almost royal pedigree, this hallucinogenic cannabis strain is just head and shoulders over many strains. She blends a haze high with indica undertones so smoothly you can tell she is a class apart. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of weed exquisiteness then grow this several times over. OG Kush (DNA Genetics). OG Kush is as special to the Americans as Cheese is to the Brits or Amnesia to the Dutch. There are many versions available, but we recommend this version by DNA Genetics, for its flavourful smoke and cerebral effects. Blueberry (Dutch Passion). Another coffee shop favorite by weed masters Dutch Passion, Blueberry not only looks great but that subtle blend of fruity flavours makes her a joy to smoke. Afghan Kush Special (World of Seeds). Get that true hash feel and smell from this pure indica strain.
As mentioned above, some of the best cannabis strains come from particularly good recrossing of splendid examples of the “foundation” varieties. These rest follow in no particular order!Critical + (Dinafem). More or less a straight cross between Skunk #1 and Big Bud, (in fact one member of the team objected to its inclusion on that basis) I’d argue that Critical + is an example of how good crossing from excellent genos can sometimes prove better than its parents. Critical + (pronounced cree-ti-kall to those of us in Spain) retains the distinctive skunk smell and flavour whilst boosting the production
Original Amnesia (Dinafem). The quintessential Holland smoke available in your own grow room thanks to quality seed breeders Dinafem. Often described as a sativa hit with indica production and speed, Amnesia is not for the faint hearted but should be treated with caution.Mataro Blue (Kannabia). Short and fast flowering blue strain with an amazingly tasty smoke and high THC levels (up to 24% THC recorded). She’s also extremely easy to grow as she will put up with high temps, low temps, over and underfeeding and is mould resistant. Blue Widow (Dinafem). Can’t particularly define why this little plant captured my attention so much, except that I loved growing her (them). She loved the cooler temps under LEDs, coped with pH issues and nute lockouts that others didn’t and just kept drawing my eye to her. Wasn’t sure about the inclusion on a best cannabis strains list though until as soon as I asked for suggestions on the list on Facebook, the first response was: Blue Widow. Someone else loves her too! Zamaldelica (Ace Seeds). Grow something truly exotic at least once. Seriously for the pot snobs out there, Ace Seeds have some supreme genetics which may not suit a commercial grower (or indeed anyone with a time frame in mind) as yield can be low and length of flowering time anything up to 24 weeks. You could pick anything from the Ace Seeds stable, but I’ve plumped for this Madagascan psychedelic herb as one of the gateways to the gods. Go visit them .. Chocolope (DNA Genetics). Ever since 2007 Chocolope has been winning cannabis cups; she’s easy to grow and gorgeous to smoke, leaving you euphoric and happy. You know what they say about chocolate being good to beat the blues – its a typo, they mean “chocolope”. Think Different (Dutch Passion). There are still some of you out there who don’t get autoflowering cannabis. Silly you. If you’ve grown an autoflower badly and ended up with a lollipop size bud, then 1) you didn’t follow our top 10 tips for growing autoflowers and 2) you didn’t grow Think Different from Dutch Passion. Be brave and surprise yourself Critical Yumboldt (Delicious Seeds). On the list because it ticks all the boxes – yield, strength, cold climate grows, easy to grow etc etc . Great all rounder, and one you can add to your pick list just to make sure you get a success. Skunk Haze (CBD Crew). Go on, grow a med strain with proven high cbd levels this year. They make great daytime smokes, easing out stiff joints with a mellow high thats not so high and leaves you free to go about the day as normal. And you may just find that you know someone who would seriously appreciate a little “medicine”.
Now, the observant among you may have noticed that our “top 20 cannabis strains” is lacking a few … that’s partly because the list of almost rans (WOS “NL x Big Bud; Pyramid Seeds, Tutankhamon etc etc) was so closely packed we couldn’t eliminate them to fill the final few places. Its also because we recognise that we have only grown so many (and so many more to try!) and would love your feedback on what you think should make the list .. so go on, please comment: