About Old School Marijuana Strains
The marijuana industry is continually evolving. Breeders create new and improved strains, sending THC levels off the charts and highlighting all sorts of specific characteristics for growers and consumers.
Sometimes, however, the originals -- the ones that got us started, to begin with - are what we want. They remind us of a simpler, more classic time. Luckily, there are still plenty of classic marijuana strains out there; it’s just a matter of knowing which ones are which. This collection features some of the cult classic marijuana strains that we think are the best.
What’s Different about Classic Marijuana Strains?
If you’re new to marijuana, you might wonder why there is such hype around classic old school marijuana strains. What is it about them that makes them special? Many classic marijuana strains differ in two key areas: terpenes & potency and landraces vs. hybrids.
Terpenes vs. Potency
Today’s strains are bred and refined to increase potency; however, during the “golden years,” classic strains were bred for flavors, aromas, and interesting effects. Exotic strains from faraway lands intermingled their genes to create the classic strains we know and love today.
More recent versions of the classics have embraced those genetics while also keeping things relatively potent. The primary substance in question when it comes to flavor -- and strength of flavor -- is terpenes. Many different terpenes impact flavor. Different strains have different terpenes; increasing the strength of a strain’s terpenes will bring out those specific flavors.
Flavors and terpenes are a little different than potency in marijuana. While terpenes affect flavor, potency has to do with the THC levels. However, terpenes still impact the effect that marijuana has on the user. This is part of why classic marijuana strains are so unique and still very popular; they have flavors and effects that other strains often can’t live up to.
Landraces vs. Hybrids
These days, most of the seeds and strains we see on the market are hybrids. Many of these hybrids are even the offspring of two hybrid parents -- and the hybridization might even go further back than that. This leads to the big question of what marijuana plants started it all?
Landraces are strains that form the base of today’s hybrids (and the parents of today’s hybrids). These are specific strains that are well known for their excellence. They have consistent characteristics and high genetic diversity, leading them to be hardy and healthy plants. Some of the best-known landraces include Thai, Colombian Gold, Durban Poison, Jamaican, Panama Red, and Afghani. These are the original classic old-school marijuana strains.
Award-Winning Flavor and Effects
One of the best ways to identify the best flavors and effects is to check out award-winning strains. One of the top competitions (if not the top competition) is the High Times Cannabis Cup. Founded in 1988 in Amsterdam, the annual festival takes place every year.
Strains compete in various categories, such as the best new product, the best indica, the best sativa, and the best hybrid strain. The Cannabis Cup is held elsewhere nowadays and introduces the best strains of the year to the world.
Strains from a Different Era
Selecting the best strains is not always an easy task, as many people enjoy aspects of different strains. That said, some cult classic marijuana strains have a clear ‘leg up.’ The following four strains are some of the best.
Maui Wowie relaxes those who are stressed and makes everyone feel a little more upbeat. It works great for daytime smoking because it doesn’t lead to couchlock and keeps you awake and energized in the most refreshing way.
This landrace strain hails from Hawaii and produces tall plants and a pine-like scent. Just like its name suggests, one taste of Maui Wowie and you’ll feel like you’re on a tropical island; the pineapple sweetness makes it very popular among many.
A mix of strawberry, lemon, and earthiness are what make up OG Kush’s flavor profile. People who smoke this high-THC (20-26%) landrace hybrid are going to get a mad case of the giggles in the most relaxed, uplifting way.
OG Kush comes from a mix of some unknown strain in California with Hindu Kush from the Netherlands. First bred together in the 1990s, it is currently a parent strain of a wide variety of newer seeds. Despite its long history, this delectable strain still wins awards today.
Afghan, also known as “Afghani,” is an indica that tells you exactly where it’s from-- the country of Afghanistan. This is a pure indica that sedates you right away. Because of its powerful genes, Afghan is often used as a parent strain of lots of different hybrids, including Northern Lights, Blueberry, and LA Confidential.
Afghans flavors are delightful -- earthy, herbal, sweet, and a bit of spice. Besides relaxed and sleepy, you will also get the munchies from smoking this strain.
Super Silver Haze
This popular strain is a sativa-dominant strain (80%) that is best enjoyed in the morning or during the day. Super Silver Haze is loved by recreational users, but it also has therapeutic benefits. It can affect both the body and the mind in interesting and social ways, motivating them to get up and do stuff (but not in the most focused manner).
Towards the end of the high, it starts to calm down, leading to a satisfying sense of physical relaxation. Since it doesn’t turn you into a couch potato right away, it can be used during the day.
Other Popular Old School Strains at ILGM
In addition to these classic strains, several other old school strains are worth your time. These days, anything can be found on the internet -- and the best strains of weed are no exception.
This 90% indica, Cannabis Cup winner is easy to grow and a joy to smoke. It has THC levels of up to 18% and is naturally mold resistant, growing best in a Mediterranean or indoor environment. Its flowering time is 9 weeks and, while the plants aren’t compact, they’re not gigantic either.
People love Northern Lights for its effects and its flavors. It is an easygoing high that won’t lock you on the couch but will still relax you until you feel happy, carefree, and eventually sleepy. It works best as an evening strain. The flavor and aroma of Northern Lights are as easygoing as its effects. Pine, earth, lime, and citrus are all intermingled in this delightful bud.
Another highly indica strain (this time 80%), Blueberry is often chosen for its effects, but people keep buying it and growing it for its flavors. It has THC levels of up to 16% and isn’t too challenging to grow (though it’s also not the most beginner-friendly). It flowers in 9 weeks and gets quite tall, though it is best grown indoors. Like many of the others on this list, it has won the Cannabis Cup.
People who smoke Blueberry will obviously expect the pleasant smell and taste of berries that washes over them. Other fruits are mixed in as well, plus a bit of pine and earthiness, to round it out. When you smoke Blueberry, you will feel happy, euphoric even, relaxed, and finally sleepy.
Sour Diesel is the type of strain people love to use at parties because it’s just that much fun. This hybrid, 60% sativa, has THC levels of as much as 20%, although it’s worth noting it is rather difficult to grow. The plants get quite tall, and the flowering period takes 10 weeks. Grow this one indoors, although some outdoor climates might also do the trick (including Mediterranean, Continental, and Steppe climates).
Sour Diesel is known for its diesel tastes and smells, of course, but it has many other flavors that should not be ignored: earthy, sour, lemon, and herbal are just a few of them. It will hit you with a ton of energy (which is why its name is so fitting), and it will hit you fast. You’ll feel euphoric, social, and happy, as well as relaxed in the most fun, chill way.
Durban Poison has its origins in South Africa and is a pure sativa- that’s right, it’s got 100% sativa genes. It has quite respectable THC levels, at 20%, and it produces average-sized plants that will be ready for harvest in 8 weeks.
As a pure sativa, this strain will energize and uplift you in a euphoric way. Expect to feel exquisitely relaxed and then nicely sleepy at the end. The first taste you’ll likely notice is cheese, followed by a bit of skunk cooled off by some sweet, fruity, earthy tones. It grows best outdoors if you have a sunny grow environment but indoors will work fine as well.
There are multiple types of White Widow strains these days- White Widow Autoflower, White Widow CBD, White Widow CBD Autoflower… But let’s just focus on the classic White Widow feminized strain. It is a hybrid (60% indica, 40% sativa) with relatively high THC levels (19%). It is very easy to grow and does well in all sorts of climates and conditions. The flowering time is 9 weeks. This beloved strain is a real classic -- it won the Cannabis Cup in 1995.
People love White Widow not only because it’s easy to grow, but because it gives them a creative, happy, uplifting high that relaxes them into feeling utterly content. Its taste and smell are also pleasant, including woody, sweet, earthy, spicy flavors.