The Top 10 Strains of 2014

Senior cultivation editor Danny Danko compiles our list of the best marijuana varieties we’ve seen over the past year, from the tasty and potent winners of the High Times Cannabis Cups to the phenomenal strains that wowed connoisseurs and medical patients alike throughout 2014.

Laplata Labs

The DGOG (short for “Durango OG”), from our 2013 Seed Bank Hall of Fame inductees Laplata Labs, is coated in resin from the stalks and branches to the tips of the fan leaves and, of course, the nuggets. Laplata took an F1 hybrid developed by Eclectic Genetics and worked it into an F3 by selecting for their favorite phenotypes, resulting in a super-frosty Kush plant that puts many others to shame. The breeders describe the aroma as the enticing smell of “new rubber, like a fresh pair of shoes or a can of tennis balls — along with that OG funkiness!”

Her relatively short flowering time means the DGOG is very forgiving as far as feeding is concerned and doesn’t have much time to develop pests or mold. The breeders at Laplata recommend lots of topping and defoliating as well as a little extra vegetative time for increased yields. Also, the DGOG is a very fibrous plant and doesn’t require staking or trellising in order to stay upright throughout flowering.

Lineage: Alien OG x Alien Bubba
Flowering time: 7 to 8 weeks

Alphakronik Genes

Hybrids made using Chem Dog genes don’t always reflect the best qualities of the lineage, but relative newcomers Alphakronik Genes have found a way to pull it off. They’ve crossed Chemdog D with their Sin City Kush (Afghani), and the resulting, slightly sativa-dominant variety has all the tongue-tingling signs of a proven winner. Spicy, with a complex scent and taste, the Dawgfather offers notes of diesel fuel among the usual musky Kush and Chem odors.

Growing the Dawgfather will require some staking and pruning to achieve a decent harvest without too much space between internodes, and she’s a heavy feeder to boot (particularly nitrogen). Some phenotypes of this strain have very nice CBD ratios, and the effects are well worth the extra work, with medical users touting the Dawgfather for relief from Crohn’s disease, nausea and anxiety.

Lineage: Chemdog D x Sin City Kush
Flowering time: 8 to 10 weeks

Quantum Kush
Home Grown Natural Wonders

A new division of TGA Genetics called Home Grown Natural Wonders has created a strain that boasts both a very high THC level and a complex terpene profile. The result is a long-lasting high with virtually no ceiling as well as an interesting set of flavors and scents. Break open a nugget and you’re immediately hit with the Kush side of this hybrid, but linger with it a bit longer and the sweetness from her Timewreck side comes out.

Quantum Kush grows tall and will continue to stretch, so breeder Subcool recommends topping her early to spread the branches out. Using smart pruning techniques, you’ll get a great yield of big, beautiful buds. Medical users suffering from bodily aches and pains, insomnia, loss of appetite or depression all report benefits using this strain.

Lineage: Sweet Irish Kush x Timewreck
Flowering time: 9 weeks

Whitewalker OG
Gold Coast Collection

This medical marijuana collective based in the Los Angeles area have won a bunch of Cannabis Cups recently for their flowers and concentrates. Their commitment to excellence shines through in their Whitewalker OG, the first-place indica winner at our 2013 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. These ridiculously frosty buds sparkle in the light like diamonds.

Expect an above-average harvest from the Whitewalker OG, particularly for a Kush phenotype. The plants grow tall, lanky branches that will keel over as they approach ripeness, so staking or trellising is a must. The sugar leaf and nuggets produce absolutely incredible concentrates — another specialty of the Gold Coast crew. They’ve assured me that a limited release of these seeds will be coming in early 2015 for growers who simply must have this strain in their arsenal.

Lineage: Rare bag seed of San Fernando Valley OG Kush
Flowering time: 9 to 10 weeks

Hellraiser OG
Archive Seeds

Few clone-only strains inspire the reverence given to the Fire OG cut made famous in online forums by OG Raskal. Now ThaDocta, the acclaimed breeder for High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame members Archive Seeds, has crossed that esteemed specimen to his infamous Face Off OG to create the next generation of Kush hybrids. Strong, flavorful and smelling like the funkiest of Kushes, the Hellraiser is sure to add a few more Cannabis Cup trophies to Archive’s collection in the near future.

Growers will need to use staking of some sort, because the Hellraiser OG tends to stretch between nodes. Use fertilizers cautiously and never at full strength, because this plant is a light feeder, but she’ll make up for it with decent-sized harvests of perfect lime-green nugs that sparkle like gemstones and deliver an amazing taste.

Lineage: Fire OG x Face Off OG (Bx1)
Flowering time: 10 weeks

Sin Mint Cookies
Sin City Seeds

With all the recent hysteria surrounding Girl Scout Cookies, you’re right to be skeptical of any outsize claims being made for a GSC-related strain. But the breeders at Sin City Seeds are gambling that they’ve found a real winner. A perfect combination of their flagship Blue Power strain and the GSC “forum cut,” Sin Mint Cookies — with the intense smell and taste of mint-cookie dough and a potent high to match — legitimately lives up to the hype.

Farmers will love the relatively short flowering time and bulked-up profile of this strain, but go easy on the nutrients for the best results. This is an easy-to-grow version of a hard-to-find clone-only cut. The breeders at Sin City tell me: “The offspring show great vigor and do very well in various growing mediums and conditions, but they perform best when given extra support during flowering, as even the lowest branches produce rock-solid flowers.”

Lineage: Girl Scout Cookies “forum cut” x Blue Power
Flowering time: 9 weeks

True OG
Elemental Seeds

This five-time Cannabis Cup winner simply had to be on this list. The sheer power of the True OG, as well as the way she represents all the best of OG Kush genetics, makes this strain a keeper for any grower looking for the real deal in seed form. She’s an indica-dominant hybrid that can yield over two pounds per 1,000-watt light with CO2 supplementation.

Elemental’s breeders acknowledge that the True OG “is very finicky for cloning, as well as very sensitive to over- watering and stress.” They also note that in addition to her astonishing potency, she tests very high in the terpenoid myrcene, which is known to help THC and CBD act more quickly and effectively — something casual tokers and medical patients can both appreciate. They’ve been holding the genetics for over 10 years and have a very limited release of feminized True OG seeds, as well as several True OG crosses, planned for September.

Lineage: The origin of the True OG is both a “mystery and a secret.”
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks

BC Bud Depot

Growers and patients searching for a CBD-rich strain that can work wonders should look no further than the CBD God. After discovering a God Bud phenotype with 4% CBD, the breeders at BC Bud Depot pollinated it with a male Harlequin backcrossed four times to produce a wide range of phenos — some of them high in THC with a small amount of CBD, and others high in CBD but with much less THC. Some of the phenos are even balanced 1:1 for THC to CBD — a highly sought-after ratio.

Breeder Matt tells me that CBD God is a heavy feeder and a big yielder, adding: “Her fat indica leaves and purple hues show she’s taken on the dominance of her God Bud parentage.” Patients interested in growing their own medicine will find what they’re looking for with the CBD God, and the indica-dominant nature of this plant makes it easy to cultivate, even for beginners.

Lineage: An insulated pink-pistil high-CBD God Bud x Harlequin (Bx4)
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks

Big Buddha Cheese, version2 (Cheesex Cheese Reversed)
Big Buddha Seeds

For the 10th anniversary of Big Buddha Seeds’ groundbreaking win at the 2004 Cannabis Cup (when the relatively unknown Cheese took third place in the People’s Cup), breeder Milo decided to celebrate by creating a funky new Cheese. He hit his famous female Cheese clone with pollen from a clone that was forced to reverse to a male, producing a pungent new Cheese 2.0 that truly improves on the original.

Even though she’s a 100 percent pure indica, the Cheese has unusually thin leaves and a lighter lime-green color. The buds grow compact and tight and reveal their Afghan origins in their unmistakable scent and taste. The powerfully narcotic indica body stone aids in sleep for those suffering from insomnia and also relieves deep muscle aches and other bodily pains.

Lineage: Original UK Big Buddha Cheese clone x Original UK Big Buddha Cheese reversed clone
Flowering time: 8 to 9 weeks 

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