This year may be a dumpster fire inside a trainwreck, but at least there’s more fresh, legal, tested fuego for your bubbler than ever before. Amid a global pandemic and historic political division, legal cannabis has become a silver lining deemed essential by authorities. Weed continues to get stronger, more flavorful, more tested, and more legal in 2020 than before.
And the pace of cannabis development is accelerating in 2020, said Kevin Jodrey, cultivation director and owner of Wonderland Nursery in the Humboldt County town of Redway, CA—the epicenter of global ganja innovation.
“It’s reaching a critical mass,” he said. “Growers have to be able to constantly innovate, constantly create, and you’re beginning to see people putting out a lot of interesting work.”
This October, tens of millions of outdoor-grown pounds are coming down from the hilly fields of the Emerald Triangle, Santa Barbara, and Oregon and Washington.
US farmers grow 29.9 million pounds of pot per year, New Frontier Data estimates, with leader California growing 13.5 million pounds, agriculture officials estimate. Sixty percent of the crop is grown outdoors, sewn annually in the spring and harvested through October.
Each year, Leafly talks to farmers about what’s ripening in the estimated $52 billion total US market, and where flavor trends are going, so you can shop the outdoor harvest like a pro.
Our picks stay 100% independent, and close to the plant: We grow it, smoke it, study Leafly search traffic, and interview commercial breeders and growers. Get your grinders ready!
Best Weed Strains of 2020 – Runtz
Runtz is a strain that has become increasingly popular this year. It comes from a combination of two incredibly potent and aromatic modern US strains, Zkittlez and Gelato, so you can expect quite the intense flavor. It’s a 50/50 hybrid that’s capable of producing a ridiculous amount of THC and intense effects. It’s relatively easy to grow, although if you plan on growing it indoors you’re going to need to set up a decent anti-odor system, especially if you have nosey neighbors. Indoors it takes just 55 days to flower, and it should be ready towards the end of September outdoors.
Its flavor is absolutely delicious,has intense aromas that are sweet and fruity, and when it comes to its effect, you might want to be quite experienced for this one. It can produce over 25% THC, producing an active and euphoric sensation in even experienced smokers.
Zensation is another strain that has gained popularity this year for many different reasons. It’s an indica-dominant strain that produces beautiful flowers that are intensely sweet in flavor and pungent in aroma. When grown outdoors it can grow up to 2m tall, producing loads of branches and super shiny leaves. You can harvest up to 1kg from just one of these plants when properly-grown outdoors, and they should take until around mid-end of October to be ready.
Zensation is known for its incredibly high THC rate which helps it to produce its super-intense effect, causing total relaxation. In small doses its effect can be energetic and uplifting. Although in larger doses you’ll be locked to the couch for quite a while.
Don’t let the abbreviation for “Garlic, Mushrooms, and Onions” or its nickname, “Garlic Cookies,” deter you. GMO Cookies is a one-of-a-kind strain, for sure. Often described as a “savory smoke,” when you think about this strain, think sweet cookies drenched in gas – a result of parents GSC and Chemdog.
This strong strain has a classic indica feel that won’t get you moving anytime soon, so don’t count on it. Sweet strain and gas lovers alike usually love GMO Cookies, and with two popular parents, it’s no wonder it keeps stinking up the charts in 2020.
Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake proves that smokers still love sweet strains. Crossing Wedding Cake (last year’s Strain of the Year) with Gelato #33 (a phenotype of 2018’s Strain of the Year), Cookies are in its lineage and dessert strains are still in.
Ice Cream Cake has been popular pretty much since it came out and has been lurking around our list of top strains ever since, eyeing the Strain of the Year trophy. But really, what’s not to love?
It’s sweet and easy, with a creamy flavor and hints of vanilla; plus it’s got a classic terpene profile full of limonene and caryophyllene.
This relative newcomer to the charts has taken the strainosphere by storm. Slurricane crosses Do-Si-Dos and Purple Punch, so it’s got, you guessed it… more GSC in its roots. But deep in that Purple Punch there’s some Granddaddy Purple that shines through with a subtle grape and berry taste.
Extra sweetness comes from its Do-Si-Dos parent, and despite its name, Slurricane has a smooth relaxation that comes on slowly – probably something to do with the OG and Granddaddy Purp deep in its family tree.
This smiley indica will get you relaxed after a long day and make you not want to get up—not like you’ve got a giant stone on your lap, but more like a purring cat you don’t want to bother.
Good ol’ Original Glue, aka Gorilla Glue, or GG4, is alive and well in the strain world. Original Glue co-creator Joesy Wales passed away in 2020, but his legacy lives on and is thriving.
Named for its trichome density and stickiness—lore has it a phone stuck to Joesy’s hand after trimming the stuff, hence “glue”—Original Glue is a workhorse, and breeders have crossed it with anything and everything, including: Superglue, New Glue, Sister Glue, Purple Glue, Cookie Glue… the list goes on.
Original Glue has become a new standard with its sharp, distinctive diesel taste and hints of chocolate seeping into strains all across the spectrum. One-of-a-kind, it continues to stay at the top of the charts.
MAC (Miracle Alien Cookies)
The sweetness of GSC is everywhere, explaining why MAC has been steadily climbing the charts for some time now.
Boasting an impressive ancestry with GSC, Chemdawg, Starfighter, and Alien Technology, Miracle Alien Cookies is known for sending smokers into outer space. This powerful strain’s a solid daytime high, great for feeling euphoric and relaxed, but also productive.
Known for dense, frosty nugs, high amounts of the terpene limonene give MAC a citrusy, orange taste, which mixes with a gassy musk.
These strains didn’t make the top set but weren’t too far behind, so we want to show them a little love, too. Expect to see more of them in 2021.
Breath strains were hot in 2020, and Mendo Breath led the pack. Descended from OG Kush Breath, leave this one for the end of the night.
Granddaddy Purp makes another appearance, buried in the FPOG genetics of Sundae Driver. This relaxing strain is great for chilling out on a Sunday afternoon with not much to do.
Another Purple Punch cross, Mimosa’s been a solid contender for a year or two now. Mimosa stands out because it’s high in the terpene myrcene. Give this one a toke for some sweet citrus and fruit punch flavors.