Retro Weed: 10 Strains From the ’90s You Don’t See Anymore

It’s officially 2015, and weed strains nowadays are as plentiful and colorful as those retro Jordan sneakers of yesteryear. There’s all kinds of Kushes here: Purple this and blue that, that hypebeasts salivate over whenever they hit the open market. But the truth of the matter is that I’m an old-school cat who lives for that OG shit. Sure, I love today’s genetically modified and engineered strains of ganja whose single purpose is to leave us coma-toasted and in a haze for days, but I’m a Kings County Viking (that’s Brooklyn, to the rest of the world). I still light my “branches” with matches. That’s just how I do. And while I do live off that new-age leaf and appreciate what it brings to the table, I also miss the taste and smell of some of the original ’90s bud. Here’s a list of the traumas I would love to see retro’ed in my hood for nostalgia’s sake…


Made famous by the legendary Dr. D-R-E, Chronic weed was considered top-of-the-line tree stumps at a time when the only kind of weed that was available in my hood was stem-and-seeds-filled skunk, a.k.a. regs (as in “regulars” or oREGanos”). That Chron-Chron had us coughing up lungs to the extent where we swore we were able to breathe easier afterwards. Now that was the original medicinal marijuana.


This bittersweet bud would simply melt in your mouth and leave you with sticky hands. An absolute must for date nights, Chocolate Thai was known as an aphrodisiac amongst the stoner community. We’d puff on the Hershey to get some shotgun kisses from the missus and end the night with a Snickers to her kisser. It almost never failed.


Puffing on Buddha used to bring peace and tranquility to the wildest of men. The thick yellow smoke of clarity was a sight to behold. Philosophies were thought up in project hallways, and stoners wrote all kinds of street rules to abide by. Legend has it Biggie wrote the 10 Crack Commandments while high on the Buddha lye.


This was legendary simply because the weed was compressed and shaped into the form of a single dice. It was sold for one year in Do or Die Bed-Stuy before that spot got raided (a hex on the house of thy snitch! A hex, I say!). There were times when newbies would enter the Tyson cipher and weren’t ready for what was about to hit ’em. Straight one-hitter quitter types. Rival spots tried to counter with “Holyfield,” but it was nowhere near as potent as the Champ.


The original “Oh shit! There’s orange hairs and tiny crystals on the weed” weed. Until then, every single bud I’d ever seen was purely green or brown. So when Hydro hit the hood with the force of a tidal wave it left everyone wet, if not drenched, in its wake. We used to walk 10-deep to the spot for a single dime bag just to make sure no one pinched it on the way back to the block. That’s how fiended out we were for this product.

White Widow

No lie, I remember back in high school heads copping this specific kind of bud whenever they went to hookup with a certain shorty. She made men of boys, and boys of girls—she was wild. Not to mention that only one cat had White Widow in that hood, and thanks to that young lady, he was able to push a Land Cruiser by the end of that school year. Talk about burning rubber(s).


Shout-outs to my Dominicans in Washington Heights who made this one of their signature products in the ’90s. There was always debate as to whether or not Pu-ree was just Hydro renamed due to its similarities in both physical and “psychological” properties. Either way, it was a great product.

Northern Lights

The fuzzy fix. This was very hard to find, and if you did, the dimes were so skimpy you didn’t want to share because it was like having a few squares left in a public bathroom. You wouldn’t want to spare a single square if you had to get yourself right, would you? Neither did we. You’d have to have at the very least $5 on it if you wanted to enter the cipher and even then it would be a tough decision to make.

Mango Pina

As best as I can recall, this was the first fruit-flavored ganja strain in the mid ’90s. It wasn’t particularly strong, but it delivered a mellow and relaxing state of mind whenever it was burned down.


The stuff legends wrote about. And when I say legends, I mean hip-hop legends. Notorious B.I.G., Redman, Rakim, etc. would spit a few bars about weed from Branson here and there in their cuts. I can’t say I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting this legendary herb, but I do know that if it was good enough for hardcore hip-hop stoners to big-up in their songs, then this strain must have been off the charts!

  1. Quote: ..make us different in configuration although our biological system is the same..
    in that sense, we have the same ‘biological system’ as a cow. We both have lungs, hearts, brains, breathe air, drink water, etc..
    The beginning of your article tries to dismiss the genetic differences between the strains, emphasizing local growing conditions as most responsible for the variations between strains. Foolishness I think. Yet later, almost every breed is referenced to a famous black person who has promoted the strain in question. Racial distinctions when you need them, but discounted enough so you can dismiss them. Stop playing both sides of the fence.

  2. Branson is not a weed strain are you guys serious Brandon was a dude who sold dispensary quality weed and hash in nyc in the 90s and he’s still around
    I WOULD EXPECT HIGH TIMES MAGAZINE TO KNOW THAT Fire whoever wrote this article

    1. One of my favorites in the 90s we called Christmas bud. Skunky pine Terps with a heavy couch lock effect.

    2. High times aint what it used to be my guy. They know Hydro isnt a strain its a type of growing set up.. And now days people have figured out you can have stuff that looks “Hydro” grown in dirt. Also – Mike Tyson sells cannabis stuff now.. so technically you can still get that… White widow also.. Almost everyone is just stuck on some cookie pie BS and green and orange buds that are done flowering in 8 weeks max. For maximum profit.

  3. HOW THE HELL DOES HIGH TIMES NOT KNOW WHO BRANSON IS? He’s a famous DEALER known for having tip top shelf shit back in the day.

  4. Man there was nothing better than watching summertime get grounded forever and still telling you how their parents can still smell a skunk in the bathroom 2 weeks later….that sticky icky (yes it had some seeds usually fat black seeds and stems) that left you melded into the couch… the 80’s and 90’s skunk was the absolute best……i dream of a strain like that……sure the weed today is good and its smells and i get “skunkish” smelling weed….but i swear there’s nothing that truly smells like that old skunk……..its cool though….weed us legal almost everywhere so let’s keep getting rid of the stank….😂….what a joke…..bring back that weed that leaves you unable top move and makes your grandparents never want you back in their house because it took a month to get rid of the smell

    1. you got that right what the helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll they cooking up is it crack weed I grew up in the 70,s with the real deal this got to be a plank right

  5. Hydro isn’t a strain, it’s a means of production, Buddha isn’t either, at least it wasnt back then, it’s just slang for weed, Tyson is just a metaphor for higher grade of product, nor was Branson. PurRee aka Puday aka NYC PIFF, Frankie’s incense Haze, Church, Washington Heights Golden Haze, Redline Haze, Manhattan/Uptown Brown, Cuban Black Haze was a phenotype of Neville’s Haze(Northern Lights #5 x
    Original Haze) that was actually from Miami shipped up I95 by Dominican Gangs. Bandaid Haze #7 x Piff s1 courtesy of Bohdi seeds and Top Dawg Seeds(JJ NYC) is about the closest thing to it currently or
    maybe G13 Haze or Super Silver Haze(yes the SSH soapy incense pheno does exist)from Mr Nice Seeds(ShantiBaba) in EU if you sprout enough seeds for a big enough Pheno Hunt. Seriously tho HT, what FuxkBVcket got paid to write this piece of trash. O thought I’d raised BUZZFEED from the dead for a minute. Do y’all even smoke weed anymore? Did you EVER?!?!

  6. If your from New York, you know what this guy is writing about. Folks in the comments are correct in that a lot of the names for the weed were not the actual strains but at the time nobody actually did the research. We just went with what the dealer called it. Back then the internet was not as prevalent as it is now and we had no cell phones. This was a great read. I laughed and enjoyed it.

  7. So yea I remember the days of made up names to sell weed. Lob, loud, dro, headies, remember beasters? Then of course you had the skunk, sour diesel, bc nugs, AG, northern lights, etc. While some are actual phenotypes the names were misused widely. But I do want to throw out there if anyone is experienced in growing you would know that a lot of what is “desired” super couch lock shit. While genetics play a part, the couch lock comes from THC degrading to cbn once the trichomes becomes amber instead of milky. You can take any strain, indica or sativa, and get a more body buzz/couch lock, or more energizing inspiring, uppy kind of high which comes from more thc and little to no cbn. CBD plays a role in the entourage effect but research still needs to be done. My advice, get a skunk #1 photo pheno and grow it a little past its prime if you want something that will stink to high heaven and lay you out, on hitter quitter style. Fact is there are some many phenotypes that are similar if not almost identical with very different names. Most of its marketing. But with more research comes the ability to make strains that are truly specific to specific needs. The future is at hand. Is the form of a bong!

  8. In NYC, just so you guys know, there’s a difference between a cipher, a cypher, and the cyph. A cipher is a puzzle, a cypher is a rap circle, and the cyph is a group of homies passing the dutchie to the left hand side. Just noticed it was referred to as a cipher in this article and had to say something because my name is Cyph. Thanks.

  9. Branson was a dial up delivery service. With many strains, some terrible, and some amazing strains. You had to know what to ask for. Brings me wayyy back thinking about it. Definitely one of the biggest delivery services of it’s time, and their business model of doing what they did, was a whole new game at the time!
    Represent to all my NYC mid 90’s hustlers… One yo!

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