The US influence on current cannabis strain trends is undeniable. Visit any US dispensary and you will be treated to a wide selection of new, stronger, more potent hybrids that have been created from both classic strains and contemporary favorites.
Tastes change, and data from US dispensaries show that today’s consumers are favoring sweeter strains that mix fruit and gas flavors in varieties such as Gelato and Zkittlez. Whereas in years gone by, the focus was on predominantly on savory, gas/diesel flavors such as OG Kush and Sour Diesel.
Whilst some classic strains have remained, the demand for new, stronger “on trend” flavors means that the menu of most dispensaries will feature strains that are relatively unheard of and the result of intense cross breeding in an attempt to further influence current trends and market demands. By making these, super hybrid, boutique and artisan strains of cannabis the US genetic companies are trying to create the “holy grail”, the champion of strains! In doing this the legal cannabis market is ever changing, improving and evolving.
Trends and strains that occur in the US market gain popularity and become the stuff of urban legend, via the world wide online community of smoking and Growing forums, dispensaries and online seed distributors. As with any trend, before long, consumer tastes are influenced and trends are capitalized on and are replicated. This results in many new strains, with similar qualities entering the international market for widespread sale.
We have already seen this happening with the whole “Cali phenomenon” dominating the market in the wake of legalization and raising the bar in terms of quality and prices, prices that the industry just keep pushing up, so how do they do this? If Cali bud was the new black, what’s the new, new black? The new Cali, if you will?
Here are some of the newest and hottest genetics from the USA currently creating a buzz and taking the USA by storm.
A perfect example of the market power and development of US genetics. Runtz is a cross between 2 of the most recent hybrid giants, “Gelato” and “ Zkittlez”. Given the 2 strains individual popularity it seems a no-brainer to combine them and create a super hybrid!
Runtz is a colorful one, ranging from shades of purple and blues all nestled in between the orange pistils and shades of green. Taste wise, like its parentage it has a sugary-sweet, fruity flavor and scent.
There are several phenotyoes available featuring both Sativa and Indica dominant hybrids and for this reason the THC levels can vary. As it is such a new young strain, there is not much solid info on its THC and CBD levels but it has been a hit with consumers and reviewers who love its taste and effects.
Runtz induces a high that gives you everything, a euphoric high in the head and a relaxing hit to the body. It is reported to be helpful in treating anxiety and stress along with providing mild pain relief.
2.Ice Cream Cake
The sweet dessert flavor trend continues with Ice-cream cake. There are several strains doing the rounds but the most desirable is the cross bred creation of “Wedding Cake X Gelato no.33” which individually are already popular strains on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ice Cream Cake is an Indica dominant strain (75%/25%) coated in frosty trichomes, layered on top of light green buds with dark purple flecks swirled throughout and thick orange pistils piercing through. The flavor is just as the name suggests a creamy sugary cake flavor with tones of sweet nut and vanilla.
The aroma is a pungent mix of creamy, nutty tones but with less sweetness and a more earthy scent. It gives a strong typically indica effect on the body, from its high THC levels of 20-35%, leaving you very relaxed. A great strain for relieving insomnia, depression and more severe pain conditions.
This one is being lauded as the new “Blue Dream” which of course has been one of the best selling strains of cannabis across the legal US states since it emerged in 2014.
Purple punch is a mouth watering cross of 2 high quality Indica dominant parents, Grandaddy Purple and Larry OG that produces high Indica levels of 90% to 10% sativa. A very rare and expensive find outside of North America, the buds are heavily laden with trichomes, so much so that Purple Punch belongs to the category of brilliantly termed “Dankenstein” strains. This is where 2 already “dank” strains are crossed to create an even danker monster with stronger taste and potency!
Purple punch has high THC levels of 18-25%. In appearance it ranges from light fresh green to a bright yellowish green, accentuated by Grandaddy Purple’s signature violet hues that indicate the volume of terpenes, oil and resins within the buds. The aroma of grapes, blueberry muffins and candy is strong with an underlying sharp fruit fizz.
A strong tasty Indica, the effects are potent, calming, relaxing and great for medicinal use. It hits you in the head first before trickling down into you limbs and sentencing you to a long spell on the couch. Purple Punch is great for managing all kinds of stress, anxiety, nausea, depression and chronic pain.
This one has seen a soar in popularity in the US since winning first place Sativa at the 2018 “Sacramento Cannabis cup” Another sweet, fruity and potent hybrid with high THC, Melonade is the love child of Watermelon Zkittlez and Lemon Tree no.11. With an expected fruity and sour profile, that is surprisingly more subtle, than the pungent scents of both its makers, its overall characteristics make it a more desirable product than either of its parents. This watermelon dominant phenotype is unique in the way the melon flavor cuts through everything else, a real point of difference when set against the background of strains with a lemon terpene profile (limonene) currently dominating the market. This strain is the result of a worthy effort by the Breeders to find a watermelon dominant phenotype. They popped 30 seeds of Melonade before finding this winning one!
Melonade buds look fuzzy in appearance due to the dense cloak of trichomes layered upon them. So thick is the layer of trichomes that it makes the light green coloring look even fairer with only the bursts of bright orange pistils to break up the frosty scene.
A Sativa dominant hybrid with high THC of over 25% the effects are reported as being mainly cerebal, encouraging a calm, focused and happy mind. Melonade is great for creating an uplifting mood, with relaxation but without a negative impact on physicality. Medicinally it is great for relieving symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress as well as mild pain and inflammation.
5.Garlic cookies (or GMO)
This one is important as it bucks the current trend for the “dessert strains”. Although it indeed has cookies in the title it is far from a sugary treat! Garlic Cookies does indeed have an undeniable strong, gassy, garlic, savory and diesel smell, a refreshing reminder of the gassy strains of years gone by, proving that these strains still have a place in the new evolving Cannabis market.
A hybrid of the Classic Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) and Chemdawg with a Chemdawg dominant phenotype. Garlic cookies is a heavily potent Indica dominant (90%/10%) hybrid with a THC content that has tested at as high as 31%. The bud itself is fluffy with burning orange hairs and sandy colored trichomes layered over yellowy green popcorn Nugs.
The aroma is strikingly savory and pungent with notes reminiscent of its ancestral lineage, such as petrol, coffee, curry spices, musk and incense originating from the Chemdawg and a slightly sweet but mainly earthy diesel tone from the Cookies heritage. Think of a food market in the heart of India and you will start to get the picture. The flavor is heavy and follows suit having throwback hints to both parents, giving you an overall, classic sharp, diesel, skunky taste that those Sour Diesel and Chem Dog fans amongst you will love.
The high is full and body buzzing, hitting body and mind without having a heavy couch lock effect. Medicinally this strain is advantageous as it has a high THC level that can help with chronic pain and psychological conditions without putting you out of action physically.
Although most of these strains are pretty much confined to the USA for the time being and may not be around for long before “the next big thing” moves in, their existence does help to give you an idea of what we can expect to see emerging in the wider European and UK cannabis market. The legalization and commercialization of cannabis in the US has seen a rise in brands whose products, although only available to buy in legal states, have gained celebrity like status through online seed and review sites.
This trend has lead to an international awareness and demand for these must-have “boutique” cannabis strains. These strains are grown in big money professional, clinical and legal set-ups by experts, funded by millions of dollars, and the quality and results reflect this. These strains are more potent, smoother, better tasting and most importantly, consistent. These are conditions that struggle to be replicated in many countries where the growing and use of cannabis still remains illegal. As long as current legislation remains unchanged, then the USA will continue to be the leader in new international cannabis genetics and market trends.