We’ve scoured the planet in search of the best marijuana varieties that have connoisseurs, aficionados and medical patients buzzing. Behold our list of the year’s 10 best Cannabis Cup winners, high-THC testers and flavorful new pot strains. By Danny Danko and T.H.Caeczar

Black Lavender
Lineage: Garberville Lavender x (Blackberry Kush x Purple Mr. Nice Guy)
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks
Island Mountain Seeds

This beautiful specimen was bred by Kevin Emery in the heart of NorCal’s marijuana country. The indica-dominant Black Lavender smells sweet and floral, with notes of pomegranate and plum, and provides serious pain relief and couch lock for those seeking rest and relaxation. “Around week five,” Kevin advises, “she starts exhibiting an array of colors, including purple and lavender hues set around dense, dark green buds.” Growers should keep in mind that she’s a moderate stretcher, so trellising helps to shape the plant and increase yields.


Lineage: Girl Scout Cookies (OGKB Cut) x Faceoff OG Bx1
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks

Contact: @archiveseedbank

This was one of the first OG Kush Breath crosses available in seed form, and she originally sold for $900 per pack of seeds! There’s been so much hype surrounding this strain for most of the last two years, and for good reason: She has incredible bag appeal and an intoxicating aroma of freshly baked lemon curd and mint pastry, with a sugary, doughy shortbread-cookie/ladyfingers undertone. The flavor is similar to other Girl Scout Cookie strains available today, but there will be some slight differences depending on the F1 phenotypes that emerge from the seeds. Expect her to grow slow and stretch very little, but with high overall quality and resin production. This plant is also great to grow if you don’t have much space to work with.



Mendo Breath

Lineage: OGKB x Mendo Montage
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks

Contact: gageoriginals.com or gagegreen.org

Mendo Breath has been building momentum since its release a couple of years ago. She was bred by Gage Green Group, who describe her scent and taste as “an assortment of vanilla, caramel and mint chocolate mixed with fresh berries”—and we wholeheartedly agree. The buzz from this old-school/new-school hybrid is meditative and trance-like, perfect for aiding creativity and calming anxiety and insomnia. Some phenotypes may take as long as 10 weeks to finish, but they’re well worth the wait and turn purple as they ripen. The result is a perfect spear-shaped dark nugget that glistens with frost and provides a deeply healing feeling.

’92 OG
Lineage: OG Kush
Flowering time: 8 to 10 weeks
3rd-Place Indica Concentrate, 2016 SoCal Cup
Contact: @theebubbakush, @TheRealOGKushStory

This was one of the first OG Kush strains to appear on the scene, and if you follow JoshD @TheRealOGKushStory on Instagram, you’ll see that he’s one of the important pieces in the OG Kush puzzle. This particular cut was discovered in Florida by Matt “Bubba Kush” Berger and his crew in 1992 and made its way to California in ’96, where it blew up in popularity. It’s believed that many other watered-down “OG” varieties came from bag seeds or an S1 (selfed version) of the ’92 OG, so this one is truly the original super-potent strain that cannabis connoisseurs know and love.

Colorado Bubba
Lineage: Bubba Kush (’92 OG x NL #5) (Clone Doctor Cut)
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks
1st-Place Indica, 2014 Cannabis Cup

Contact: The Vault Genetics/MMJ America, mmjamerica.com

With her super-stony high, incredible flavor and amazing bag appeal, the Colorado Bubba beat out a formidable series of competitors to be voted Best Indica at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam in 2014. This Bubba Kush cut tastes like a fresh bowl of Fruity Pebbles and is available for purchase in seed form at all MMJ America locations in Colorado. Growers will appreciate this one in particular, since she’s quick to germinate, easy to root and solid to the finish line. This is the Bubba that has stood the test of time.

Goji OG

Goji OG

Goji OG

Lineage: Nepali OG x (Afgoo x Blockhead)
Flowering time: 8 to 10 weeks
1st-Place 2014 Non-Solvent Hash, SoCal Cup. 3rd-Place 2013 US Hash, Seattle Cup
Contact: Bodhi Seeds @HeadieGardens, @Incanlama & @SeedVaultOfCA1

The Goji OG isn’t like most of the OGs currently on the market. She has a distinct taste and scent reminiscent of white wine or white grapes, with hints of tart berries and earthy spice, in the Snow Lotus–dominant phenos (Afgoo x Blockhead), and some big, chunky, OG-esque tastes and scents in the Nepali OG–dominant phenos. Expect a decent (medium-size) yield but superior, connoisseur-grade aroma and flavor. If you’re looking for the clone-only versions, keep your eyes out for the Pinesol or Purple Goji phenotypes.


Lineage: OG 18 x OG 18

Flowering time: 9 to 11 weeks
1st-Place Sativa, 2014 Michigan Cup

Contact: arborside.com

Another Michigan stalwart, Catfish originated as an accidental backcross by Midnight Roots of Reserva Privada’s OG 18. The first thing you’ll notice about her is the pungent aroma, with scents of lemongrass and “sweet, swampy fish,” as Arborside’s Rhory Gould describes it. She grows tall and lanky, stretching into week six of flowering, but will bless the patient grower with a large and dense yield. This one will definitely give you the munchies, which means it’s great for treating appetite loss and nausea in those undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from anorexia, Crohn’s disease, or other stomach issues. Catfish is also highly uplifting—perfect for a camping or fishing trip or an excursion to the beach.


Star Dawg

Star Dawg

Lineage: Chem 4 x Tres Dawg

Flowering time: 9 to 10 weeks
2nd-Place Indica, 2013 Seattle Cup. 3rd-Place Sativa, 2013 Denver Cup
Contact: topdawgseeds.com

This Chem 4 x Tres Dawg cross is sanctioned by Chem Dog himself (unlike some of the other Chem-family-based breeding projects out there today), and she ranges in flavor and aroma from sweet to astringent, with notes of diesel fuel and garlic. There have been four releases of Star Dawg seeds over the years, which means there are many phenotypes to choose from, but a few of the most popular are Corey Haim, Guava, Illuminati and Kate Upton. They all have similarities, but all are slightly different in terms of taste, smell, effect, structure, flowering time, resin content and color. Corey Haim and Illuminati are the hardest hitters, Guava is the sweetest and heaviest producer, and Kate Upton is almost purple.

Gorilla Glue #4

Lineage: (Sour Dubb x Chem Sister) x Chocolate Diesel

Flowering time: 9 to 10 weeks

1st-Place Hybrid, 2014 Michigan Cup. 
1st-Place Hybrid, 2014 SoCal Cup. 
1st-Place Hybrid, 2015 Jamaica Cup
Contact: gorillaglue4.com

Gorilla Glue #4 has been turning heads for several years and has finally earned her rightful place on our illustrious list. Bred by Josey Wales, Gorilla Glue (or GG for short) is an accidental cross between Sour Dubb, Chem Sister and Chocolate Diesel. Earthy and piney, the strain is very pungent and hard-hitting as well as super-sticky. Patients report that this variety “glues them to the couch,” making her perfect for light sleepers and insomniacs. Growers appreciate the above-average yields, and extract artists rave about the quality and flavor of the oil they produce from Gorilla Glue #4.

Lineage: Sunset Sherbet x Thin Mint
Flowering time: 8 to 10 weeks
Contact: @Sherbinski415 @Jigga415

The Cookie Fam had the brilliant idea of conducting a group taste test to narrow down the different phenotypes of the Sunset Sherbet x Thin Mint. Out of all the different phenos, the five that stuck around were the Gelato #1 (Guno), #25 (Barry Bonds), #33 (Larry Bird), #41 (Bacio Gelato) and #45. Our favorite was the #33: solid, chunky, sticky purple buds that have an aroma similar to hashy Grape Crush soda. The visuals will grab your attention, but the aroma and flavor will tell you why it’s so popular right now. Each Gelato phenotype has something different to offer, so try them all to determine which one best suits your palate.



The Top 10 Strains of 2016 were compiled by Danny Danko and T.H. Caeczar.


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