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What’s the Deal with Cannabis Strain Names and Where Do They Come From?

If you’ve ever been to a dispensary or purchased cannabis, you’ve likely encountered a strain name that has stuck in your ear. From topical names like Bob Saget OG (RIP) and Crouching Tiger Hidden Alien, to weed strain names with wordplay like Dopium and Laughing Grass, it may seem like cannabis strain names are just the result of stoner logic. However, a lot of thought goes into the evolution of a strain name as the genetics of that plant change over time.

Once you have a solid understanding of the names’ origins, you can gain more confidence as you explore the incredibly vast cannabis strain landscape. And remember, Cannabolish  has everything you need to enhance your cannabis experience. We create our odor-eliminating candles and  sprays using plant oils, so you can manage weed odor with a natural, fresh essence as opposed to artificial scents.

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What’s the Origin of Popular Strain Names?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of weed strain names, it’s important to take a look into the origin of terms like “kush” and “OG”. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cannabis user, you’ve probably seen both terms floating around dispensaries and even casually mentioned in conversations about cannabis.

Defining 'Kush'

So, what is the origin of the term 'kush'? Well, as its name suggests, a kush variety originates from the Hindu Kush mountains; this region includes Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.

Kush cannabis is usually categorized as a hybrid or pure Indica strain. As we’ve written in the past, the cannabis industry is starting to move away from categorizing cannabis along the lines of  hybrid, sativa, and indica, but generally, kush strains have been categorized as producing the tranquil body high many cannabis users associate with the effects of Indica.

Thus, if you’re looking for a strain to help you unwind during the day or relax at night, you might want to look for a strain that derives from kush. Popular kush strains include Banana Kush, Bubba Kush, and Master Kush.

Understanding 'OG'

Numerous cannabis strain names contain this simple acronym. Now, OG can appear anywhere in a strain’s name, however, what OG stands for still stumps folks. Some claim 'OG' is from  OverGrown.com, a once-popular cannabis website. Others believe it stands for “ocean grown”, and there’s actually a story behind this.

The theory goes, a grower by the name of Kush Dawg, who created the San Fernando Valley strain, was offered 'amazing weed' by a patron at a local bar in Northern California. He obliged and when he smelled the flower he realized the aroma was that of the strain he himself had invented. Bloom Medicinals goes on to report that the stranger at the bar described the strain as being 'Mountain Grown' when Kush Dawg corrected him, stating the strain was actually 'Ocean Grown' or grown on the California coast.

Other theories point to pop culture and the emergence of the term 'Original Gangster' that swept through the West Coast in the 90s with the hip-hop movement. Regardless, 'OG' strains promote alertness, so they’re ideal when you’re pursuing activities that require more energy. Common strains are Fire OG, Larry OG, Tahoe OG, and True OG.

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Naming Cannabis By Color

Some weed strain names derive from the strain’s color. It might come as a surprise, but the appearance of flower can vary and contain a wide variety of colors outside of the synonymous green. Red strains, for instance, are created from combining multiple cannabis types and are considered pretty rare. Panama Red and Red Dragon are among the most well-known red strains.

Then, there are blue strains. Aptly named, blue varieties grow in cooler conditions. Common strains include Blue Dream, Blue Mystic, and Blue Cheese. There are also purple strains. This vibrant change in hue is due to the anthocyanins present in plants. Commonly celebrated picks are Granddaddy Purple, Grape Ape, and–of course–Purple Haze.

Every once in a while, you may even run into an orange strain such as Orange Bud or a white strain like White Widow. If you do want to stick with a classic (and very green) flower, however, you can opt for strains like Green Crack or Green Goblin.

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Cannabis Names & Popular Desserts

Have you noticed that some weed strain names are subtle nods to delectable desserts? That's because some cannabis strain names are inspired by their flavor profile. Cannabis plants are rich in essences and  oils called terpenes.

These aromatic compounds give cannabis all of its wonderful flavors, for instance, limonene terpenes are often described as citrusy and bright. Any cannabis strains high in limonene like Banana OG, Do-Si-Do, and Strawberry Banana may taste citrusy when ingested or smoked.

It goes without saying, then, that some cannabis strains get their name from popular desserts. Names like Cherry Pie and Creme Brulee, for instance, are decadent, sought-after, and perfect for pastry lovers. Additionally, if you enjoy crumbly cookies, Biscotti or Girl Scout Cookies are great options too. Or, if you’re craving a pint of a frozen favorite, you can consider strains like Gelato or Ice Cream Cake.

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Names Stemming from Smells

Just as terpenes are responsible for the wonderful flavors of cannabis, they also create the scent profile — another source of inspiration for many cannabis strain names. Lemon Tree, for instance, offers an invigorating citrus smell, while Lavender boasts floral notes. Additionally, Sour Diesel’s name undoubtedly comes from the flower’s faint fuel smell. Nevertheless, if a strain’s name seems to hint at a pungent smell, its scent will be pretty obvious.

Adopting Names from Iconic Celebrities

While we already briefly mentioned the Bob Saget strain, we can’t help but list some other clever cannabis names. Here are just a handful of celebrities who now share their name with a strain:

  • Barry White ('Berry White')
  • Blue Ivy Carter ('OG Blue Ivy')
  • Frank Sinatra ('Dank Sinatra')
  • Margaret Cho ('Margaret Cho-G')
  • Michael Phelps ('Michael Phelps OG')
  • Snoop Dogg ('Snoop’s Dream', 'Snoop Dogg OG')
  • Stephen Hawking ('Stephen Hawking Kush')
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Name Mash-Ups from Marriage

The saying may as well be the following: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something smooth. Often, cannabis strain names merely combine two different types of weed to form the ultimate hybrid moniker. For example, Blueberry and NYC Diesel combined give us “Blue Diesel”. On the same hand, Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze come together to make 'Super Lemon Haze'. You get the idea!

So, where do cannabis names come from? The short answer is: it depends, as there are certainly trends, but no hard and fast rules. Plus, simply put, there is a strain for everyone, and we just scratched the surface of the types of weed available. The next time you visit a dispensary, consider giving one of the varieties we mentioned a try.

Ready to learn even more? We previously constructed a guide for new cannabis connoisseurs, and we also compiled several  cannabis fun facts that’ll curb your curiosity.

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