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What is Kush cannabis and why is it so popular?

Kush, a cannabis genotype that originated in the Hindu Kush mountain range, is praised by medical and recreational users alike. Here’s all you need to know

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    You may have heard Kush being mentioned in many popular hip-hop songs. Time for an education on everything there is to know about the strain.

    Hindu Kush—historically grown only in the mountain range of the same name, which mostly runs along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan—is one of the most potent landrace strains available. The Himalayan slopes gave birth to the strain, which over time, brought about many other strains that inherited part of its name—Kush.

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    What does the slang Kush mean?

    In the last decade or so, the word “Kush” has become synonymous with premium cannabis strains; high-quality street cannabis is often called Kush among users. Kush became the go-to term for high-quality cannabis in the U.S., quickly replacing its contemporaries.

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    What is Kush?

    Kush is primarily a cannabis indica strain, which has risen in popularity in the last decade, and played a pivotal role in creating dozens of modern-day hybrid strains. One will rarely see a Kush strain that is a purebred sativa, although this can occur with proper growing conditions, combined with relentless cross-breeding.

    Macro view of the Black Lotus Kush bud. Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

    When Kush is grown under specific conditions, its unique phenotypes come out in a different light. Kush plants are known to evolve and acclimate in order to survive. Nowadays, Kush is grown all around the world, but its tough Himalayan genetics endured and continue to follow the strain, giving it both durability and potency.

    It is most likely true that Kush is a lost strain and that its precise genetics are unknown. That said, the next best thing is available, namely OG Kush, also known as Ocean Grown Kush.

    The rise of OG Kush

    OG Kush first appeared in California during the 1990s, right around the time Dr. Dre dropped his The Chronic album, which took the cannabis community by storm.

    There are two stories that explain the strain’s mysterious genetics. The first is that a breeder claimed to have gotten the seed from a bag of Chemdawg 91 strain, in the Lake Tahoe area in 1996; the second goes that it was brought to California from Florida, by a grower who now operates a company known as Imperial Genetics. He reports the parents of this strain were a male cross of Lemon Thai and Old World Paki Kush, and a female Chemdawg plant.

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    Unfortunately, OG Kush is a clone-only strain and, at that time, one couldn’t simply plant a seed of this strain. Rather, a cutting from an existing plant is needed.

    There is a lot of confusion about the origin of the name, and what OG exactly stands for. Given that it was bred in California, many users thought it meant Original Gangster, or just Original Kush. However, the truth is the grower who first bred OG Kush in California was asked by a consumer if it was mountain-grown, complimenting the quality of his buds. The grower responded with a simple, “This Kush is ocean-grown, bro.” The rest is history.

    Quickly after that, cuttings of various OG Kush plants began making the rounds around Los Angeles and the rest of California. Those cuttings made way for new, closely-related strains.

    Hindu Kush—historically grown only in the mountain range of the same name, which mostly runs along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan—is one of the most potent landrace strains available. Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

    The strains that came from these plants all gained popularity, and developed into Cannabis Cup winners themselves, including Bubba Kush, West Coast Dog, Larry OG, Tahoe OG Kush, Triple OG, Ghost OG, Diablo OG and so forth.

    What does the Kush high feel like?

    Kush strains are known to have the utmost relaxing effect, all while making the user giggly and joyous. These traits aren’t common among the different cannabis strains that came from Kush.

    Kush strains with strong ties to their indica roots are very hard to come by these days, as the cannabis community moved towards growing highly resistant hybrids. However, those who still grow Kush with a higher indica presence are known to produce flowers with potent cerebral effects that “tranquilize” the user, and these buds are frequently recommended as a way to battle insomnia.

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    Popular Kush strains

    There are 100-plus strains containing the word Kush in their names, and many more that came about by cross-breeding Kush strains with other strains. As previously mentioned, landrace Hindu Kush is known for its resilience and the ability to grow just about anywhere, a useful trait that made Hindu Kush one of the most sought-after strains by growers and breeders.

    As it now stands, there are overwhelmingly more hybrid and indica Kush strains than sativa Kush strains. Additionally, most of the Kush strains aren’t pure indicas and sativas, but rather hybrids whose one trait is more dominant than the other.

    With that in mind, here are picks of some of the best Kush strains by three separate categories. The most popular indica-dominant Kush strains include Kosher Kush, Bubba Kush, Critical Kush, Afghan Kush, Platinum Kush, Hindu Kush, Super Kush, Sin City Kush, Alien Kush, Purple Kush, Purple OG Kush and Master Kush; the most popular hybrid Kush strains include OG Kush, Pink Kush, Lemon OG Kush, Cali Kush, Royal Kush, Mango Kush, Pineapple Kush, Holy Grail Kush and Big Kush; and the most popular sativa-dominant Kush strains include Mickey Kush, Silver Kush, Quantum Kush and Heisenberg Kush.

    What is the best Kush strain?

    OG Kush is widely viewed as the best Kush strain because of its legacy. That said, it’s somewhat difficult to classify one strain as the absolute best, mostly because each crop varies in quality and cannabinoid and terpene levels. There are also many variations of a more or less same strain.

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    Given that OG Kush was originally a clone-only strain, growers named clones of different potency different names. This has produced confusion since, at one point, a person might have smoked the exact same weed from two different growers marketed under two different names.

    If the best strain is characterized as “the one with the highest level of THC,” then the Oscar goes to Ghost OG. This strain is, without a doubt, the strongest Kush variety, at least so indicates Washington State I-502 data.

    In that testing sample, Ghost OG, which is a cutting from the original OG Kush mother stock, consistently came in at a colossal 28.7 percent THC content. On the same test, OG Kush results came in significantly lower, averaging around 19.4 percent THC content.

    In a study conducted by scientists Nick Jikomes and Michael Zoorob, they found OG Kush isn’t topping its competitors, at least as far as THC levels go. In their study, Gorilla Glue #4—now usually known as Original Glue—came in first place with an average of 21 percent THC. The researchers concluded that there’s still a lot of test result manipulation going on and that retailers often display cannabinoid levels much higher than they actually are.

    With that in mind, THC levels should not determine which Kush strain is “best”, because the delicate balance of minor cannabinoids and terpenes also plays an important role in the effects of each particular strain. There is much more to a strain than just numbers on a piece of paper.

    Greencamp.com is an educational website dedicated to shedding the light on many unexplored sides of medical and recreational cannabis. Aside from informing people of safe cannabis use, Greencamp also provides technology for finding optimal cannabis treatment. You can download their app from Itunes or the Google Play store.

    Want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world of cannabis? Subscribe to the Cannabis Post newsletter for weekly insights into the industry, what insiders will be talking about and content from across the Postmedia Network.

    Kush originated in the Hindu Kush mountain range, is praised by medical and recreational users alike. Here’s all you need to know.

    What Does “Kush” Really Mean

    With a name like Kush21, we feel it’s appropriate to dive into the terminology behind our brand. Some people mistakenly think the term “kush” refers to weed in general, but this is not true. Kush is a specific term for plants originating from the Hindu Kush mountains.

    THE HISTORY OF KUSH

    The Hindu Kush mountains are a range that spans 500 miles from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. When you hear the word “kush”, you can be sure that it originated from this area.

    Over time, strains native to specific areas can adapt and evolve to survive in a variety of rough conditions, from diseases and insects to a lack of water. These strains are never bred with others, making them an original plant. They’re referred to landrace strains. Hindu Kush is a landrace strain and a purebred Indica. It’s known for its sweet scent and sedative effects and is now used to make a number of different hybrid strains. Since plants sourced from original environments have strong genetics, they are hardy and resilient, making for a strong parent strain that can adapt to many conditions. Cultivators like to use Hindu Kush because it can help stabilize plants that otherwise wouldn’t survive.

    On its own, Hindu Kush can be hard to find. You’re more likely to find hybrids with a Hindu Kush parent if you’re shopping around. Some strains tied to Hindu Kush include:Via Leafly

    OG KUSH

    OG Kush is a very popular strain for its relaxing effects as an indica-dominant hybrid. It tends to have high THC levels and can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings thanks to the resiliency of its Hindu Kush genetics.

    OBAMA KUSH

    This variety comes from the pairing of OG Kush and Afghani. It’s a strong relaxant with some pleasant cerebral effects. This strain also grows well both inside and outside due to its strong genetics.

    Basically, if you see kush in the name, it’s safe to say Hindu Kush played a part in the genetics somewhere down the line.

    THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A KUSH STRAIN

    There are many kush-derived strains out there so the effects will not be the same across the board. However, there are some features of kush strains that are exhibited throughout most varieties.

    SEDATIVE EFFECTS

    One thing is true of most kush strains: they’ll knock you out if you’re not careful. Heavy sedative effects are one of the most commonly reported experiences with kush. These strains are typically best for evening use, though they can be cerebral enough to spark creativity or motivate some. Others may find themselves kush-ed out on the couch.

    GREEN AND PURPLE

    Kush strains are typically covered in frosty trichomes, letting users know they’re in for a potent treat. They’re also usually dark green or purple, with orange-colored pistils. If you see kush strains in their growth stages, you’ll notice the plants are stocky and shorter than other varieties.

    SWEET AND NATURAL

    Kush varieties tend to have a very sweet and natural, earthy scent. Some compare the smell to pine. When smoked, it smells earthy with hints of sweetness.

    NOT JUST ANY WEED

    There you have it. Kush is not just a term referring to weed. It is a landrace strain from the Hindu Kush mountains that has made its way into our lives mostly through hybrid strains, including kush genetics.

    We’ve got plenty of kush varieties at Kush 21, so come check it out.

    With a name like Kush 21, we feel it’s appropriate to dive into the terminology behind our brand.