In the early days, cannabis was just cannabis. Then, travellers brought landrace strains from different parts of the world back to breeding meccas like Amsterdam and the American West Coast. These new breeds were named after their country of origin.
As more hybrids were created, strain names became more like formulas based on the parents’ names. Some breeders couldn’t bother to think of an interesting name, so they simply went with Northern Lights x Skunk or Afghan Kush x White Widow.
STRAINS NAMED FOR SPECIAL TRAITS
Others were a little more creative. Blueberry x Cheese became Blue Cheese, Critical x Northern Lights became Critical Lights, and Hawaiian Sativa x White Widow became Hawaiian Snow.
How do they come up with these names? Do they mean anything? Or are we basically paying more for the same old weed just because it’s got a killer name?
As selling cannabis seeds turned into big business, piracy turned rampant. As soon as one breeder created a popular strain, the competition rushed to copy them. Or, at least release seeds under the same name. Sometimes they were legitimate; other times, the seed company was selling inferior genetics for a quick profit. However, absolutely everyone claimed theirs was propagated by the original mother or they were gifted a cut.
Wouldn’t it be the most badass thing if a cannabis strain were named after you? We think you’ve achieved the coolest celebrity status if there are people in the world holding a joint with your name on it. While most of us reading (and writing) this will only ever dream of that day, there are many who are already holding that holy grail.
Apparently, geneticists don’t discriminate when it comes to that “field” of work. You can be a musician, an activist or even a sportsperson. If you love the herb and let the whole world know about it, someone will eventually name a strain after you. Here is the cannabis hall of fame, all of those who have the honour of having strains named after them.
1. Snoop Dogg
Surprise, surprise! Snoop Dogg is the first one on the list. Well, he is arguably the most famous stoner in the world right now. This man has been arrested in Sweden on the suspicion of smoking cannabis, has sung about smoking weed every day and even has his own fancy cannabis label “Leafs by Snoop” (one of the strains he sells is Northern Lights!). He earned it. The Snoop Dogg OG and Snoop’s Dream both owe their names to Mr Snoop Dogg.
Imagine that the cannabis world loved you so much that they named a strain of this beautiful herb after you. There are many that have made it to this honourable list. From musicians to activists to comedians, there are strains named after all kinds of marijuana lovers. Keep reading to find out all about the famous people you’ve been smoking.
Ahh, apparently you don’t actually have to do something special to have a strain of weed named after you. You just have to be born to pop music’s most iconic couple. Blue Ivy is the daughter of Beyoncé and Jay Z – and only 6 years old. She’s the youngest one on our list and was the inspiration for hybrid strain Blue Ivy. Does she like this strain? Guess we’ll find out in a couple of years!
White Widow is one such strain. Green House Tolstraat, a Netherlands cannabis company with coffee shops and seed farms, won the Cannabis Cup grand prize when they debuted the White Widow strain in 1995. Their new strain also won the Bio Cup at the same event. However, Dutch Flowers was right behind it, taking the second-place honor for their own version of White Widow.
Some strain names, such as OG Kush and Northern Lights, have such powerful connotations that they’re applied very liberally or used to describe general properties that pop up in multiple strains. They might even be appropriated by growers and distributors whose products are far inferior to the original strain. Specific strain names technically refer only to plants that share genetic qualities with the original strains. However, even if a specific strain is developed and grown by a single person, every harvest doesn’t result in identical products.
Today, White Widow is one of hundreds of popular weed strains that you can find at almost every seed bank. Most claim authenticity, but there’s no universal test that proves your plant is a perfectly pure clone of a specific plant. In fact, this is a subjective criteria that doesn’t even apply to the clones of exclusive strains grown in one location. As old strains are reinforced and new strains emerge through cross-breeding, the only guarantee is an overwhelming variety of choices.
Origins of popular strains
While it’s common for similar names to be applied to products that were grown completely independently, even the original source is often up for debate. The most popular strains also court the most controversy, with breeders and consumers alike making conflicting claims about their origins.
E very bud with purple leaves isn’t Purple Haze, and every skunky sativa isn’t Sour Diesel. However, regardless of a weed strain’s specific name – or that name’s accuracy or origins – each plant’s buds and byproducts have specific properties that make them unique. To paraphrase Shakespeare, a strain by any other name would still have those same properties. So why do most dispensaries and consumers still rely on these names, and what do they actually say about the products they identify?
These two White Widows aren’t even the only contenders for the original name. Others support the claims of a German breeder named Ingemar, who says he discovered the hybrid seeds back in the 1980’s. This is just one example of a story that has repeated itself throughout the years. As different breeders and seed banks try different combinations and manipulate plants to have certain properties, similarities are inevitable.
It turns out the answer is almost as nuanced as weed itself. The differences between strains aren’t always quantifiable, but after decades of selective breeding and marketing, they do tell some interesting tales about the marijuana industry. Learn how the practice of naming weed strains has evolved over time, and why some strain names seem to pop up everywhere.