Cannabis can be classified in many different ways. Typically, this resinous flower is categorized as sativa, hybrid, or indica, based on the morphology of the plant. But cannabis can be further categorized through a vernacular defined by the popular culture, such as Kush, Haze, and Purple. These terms refer to types of cannabis characterized by distinct smells, flavors, effects, and/or geographic regions.
What characterizes ‘Kush’ cannabis?
Kush is a particular variety of cannabis that descends from the Hindu Kush mountains. This mountain range spans the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and is one of the few geographic regions where the cannabis plant grows natively.
Having strong Kush genetics usually means a strain will have a few of the following attributes:
- Appearance: Your strain may exhibit deep green colas and leaves with hints of purple. Pistils (hairs) can look orange, bronze, or rust colored. Buds are dense, chunky, and knotted, coming from squat, thick plants.
- Smell: Aroma can vary between earthy, floral, pungent, pine, incense, sweet fruit, hash spice, pepper, citrus, gas, and herbs.
- Flavor: Smoke or vapor should be smooth and herbaceous, tasting of flowers, grape, diesel, citrus, and earth.
- Effects: The effects are typically heavy and sedative. OG Kush crosses are usually coupled with a bright euphoria that puts a smile on the couch-locked consumer. Introspection or internal reflection is a common effect of Kush as well. These cerebral effects make a strong case for Kush as a meditative variety of cannabis.
Keep in mind that these attributes can vary from Kush strain to Kush strain. How a strain is grown and its unique genetic expression (referred to as a “phenotype”) naturally affect a strain’s attributes.
Among strain breeders, Kush varieties are popular candidates for backcrossing and in turn, stabilizing hybrid genetics. As with many landrace strains, Kush genetics present natural resistance to certain elements native to their land of origin. This includes hardy stocks and vegetation that can survive colder, harsher climates and moderate water consumption, allowing the plant to endure somewhat parched terrain. In addition to their natural resilience, many growers choose to grow Kush strains for their heavy yields and manageable height.
What are the most popular Kush cannabis strains?
A simple search of “Kush” will yield hundreds of strains with an Afghani ancestor, but let’s start with the five most popular:
1. OG Kush
The most famous of all Kush varieties, OG Kush hits the sweet spot on the indica-dominant hybrid scale. This strain’s comfortable yet potent sedation coupled with an uplifting euphoria make it the perfect strain to just feel good with.
OG Kush was first cultivated in Florida, in the early ‘90s when a strain from Northern California was crossed with a Hindu Kush plant from Amsterdam. The result was a hybrid with a unique terpene profile that boasts a complex aroma with notes of fuel, skunk, and spice.
The genetic backbone of West Coast cannabis varieties, OG Kush arrived in Los Angeles in 1996 when Matt “Bubba” Berger brought it (along with “The Bubba,” which was later used to create the famed Bubba Kush) from Florida to legendary cultivator Josh D. Since then, OG Kush has become a worldwide staple used to create numerous famous strains like GSC and Headband. There are many different phenotypes of OG Kush, including Tahoe OG, SFV OG, and Ghost OG.
2. Bubba Kush
Bubba Kush is stoney and sedative, weighing the consumer to couch as though they were wearing cement boots with a matching cement tracksuit and stately cement trench coat. Bubba Kush may also ignite your appetite; just try not to fall asleep in front of the fridge while spooning a box of Eggo waffles.
Bubba Kush is an indica strain that has gained notoriety in the US and beyond for its heavy tranquilizing effects. Sweet hashish flavors with subtle notes of chocolate and coffee come through on the exhale, delighting the palate as powerful relaxation takes over. From head to toe, muscles ease with heaviness as dreamy euphoria blankets the mind, crushing stress while bringing happy moods. Bubba Kush exhibits a distinctive, bulky bud structure with hues that range from forest green to pale purple.
Bubba’s stocky plant stature and bulky bud structure suggest Afghani descent, but its genetic origins aren’t certain. The breeder whom this strain was named after states that Bubba Kush emerged just after 1996, when an OG Kush pollinated an unknown indica strain obtained in New Orleans. The mother plant was supposedly Northern Lights, but the genetically ambiguous indica was simply called “Bubba.” Bubba Kush has flourished from its California roots ever since.
3. Purple Kush
Purple Kush has purple foliage and will generally have an earthy, grape flavor, as well as sleepy effects.
Purple Kush is a pure indica strain that emerged from the Oakland area of California as the result of crossing Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani. Its aroma is subtle and earthy with sweet overtones typical of Kush varieties. Blissful, long-lasting euphoria blankets the mind while physical relaxation rids the body of pain, sleeplessness, and stress. Purple Kush will grow wide rather than tall, and will be ready for harvest following an 8-week flowering time.
4. Master Kush
Master Kush is another Kush classic that inherits attributes directly from Hindu Kush. With a mixture of sleepy, happy, and relaxing effects, Master Kush earns its title. This strain is an excellent alternative to Bubba Kush.
Which Kush varieties are your favorite? Share them in the comments section below!
Master Kush is a popular indica cross from two landrace strains from different parts of the Hindu Kush region by the Dutch White Label Seed Company in Amsterdam. The plant produces a subtle earthy, citrus smell with a hint of incense, which is often described as a vintage flavor. The taste of Master Kush is reminiscent of the famous hard-rubbed charas hash. This strain holds a superb balance of full-body relaxation without mind-numbing effects. Instead, Master Kush offers a sharpened sensory awareness that can bring out the best of any activity.