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Understanding Kush Cannabis

If you’re an avid marijuana consumer, you’ve probably heard about “Kush” at one point or another. In fact, you may have purchased a Kush strain from your local dispensary.

But, what exactly is Kush? Is it a strain of marijuana or is it a slang word for potency? The answer lies somewhere in between the two, and the term Kush has taken on multiple meanings over the years.

Today, we’re going to demystify Kush and talk about what Kush means, where it comes from, and what kinds of strains of cannabis make up Kush.

What is Kush?

To accurately describe Kush cannabis, we need to separate Kush into two categories — the actual strain of cannabis and the classification.

As a strain of cannabis, Kush originates from the Hindu Kush mountains — a mountain range that spans Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not only are the Hindu Kush mountains a center of cultural and religious significance to Buddhists, but it was a significant source of Cannabis during the height of the “war on drugs” in the 1970s. Hindu Kush strains were shipped and smuggled throughout the United States from the early 70s, and these same strains continue to permeate cannabis culture in almost every state in the U.S.

As a classification, Kush (probably due to the specific strains that were being smuggled to the U.S.) refers to a particular suite of smells, textures, and appearances. You can classify cannabis in a few different ways. Some people refer to cannabis specifically by the strain. Some people choose to identify cannabis by its effect or morphology — like Sativa or Indica. And, others choose to classify cannabis by its characteristics using words like Kush, Purple, Haze, etc. that have spawned from popular culture.

So, Kush is both a strain of marijuana as well as a popular characterization for marijuana.

Understanding the Kush Strain

Let’s start off with this — no two Kush strains are exactly alike. The phenotype (or genetic makeup) of each Kush strain will be particular to that strain. This is especially true in the modern era of breeding, where backcrossing and hybrid breeding are creating new and exciting strains of cannabis every day.

However, almost all Kush plants do share some commonalities (after all, they are landrace strains), especially when it comes to their genetic resistance. Since Kush originates from the harsh mountainous climates of the Hindu Kush mountains, where the climate is harsh and frigid and water sources vary from area-to-area, most Kush plants have incredible resistance to the elements and require only moderate water intake. This makes them particularly valuable to breeders since they can be bred rather easily in most climates.

Kush strains also have a few other unique characteristics that make them highly valuable to growers (which is a major reason why they are so prominent in the U.S. and abroad).

  1. Kush plants typically have a high yield. Strains like Strawberry Kush can yield a massive 600 grams per square meter — making them one of the highest yielding strains in the world.
  2. Kush plants don’t grow extremely tall. For many growers, managing the height of cannabis plants is a difficult task. It requires additional headspace and square footage — as well as additional pruning — to maintain strains that grow too tall. Kush generally grows to a medium height, which puts it in that golden zone of manageability.
  3. Kush plants can survive indoors and outdoors. This duality makes them suitable for many different growing setups, which has attributed to its popularity.
Understanding the Kush Characterization

It’s a little more challenging to pinpoint Kush as a characterization. You might have bought, smoked, or heard about Kush at some point. But, it might not have been the Kush strain. Since Kush is such a large part of marijuana culture, it doesn’t only refer to a strain; it can refer to specific characteristics of any strain.

The tricky part is identifying what those characteristics are. Since the term Kush is so widespread — from Canada to the US to the UK — it can mean different things to different cultural regions. To some, Kush is potent and skunky. To others, Kush may be mellow and sweet.

The specific combination of smell, effect, flavor, and appearance that makes up Kush as a characterization are location-specific. Like Haze and Purple, Kush has impacted many of our vernaculars and the way that each of us pictures Kush may be entirely different.

Kush Strain Characteristics

Again, all Kush strains are different. But, let’s look at some broad characteristics of Kush strains. Since they originate from the same area, many of them share some commonalities. Of course, hybrids have made pinpointing specifics more difficult.

Appearance: Kush strains can come in a variety of colors. Most commonly, Kush buds are rich and green with purplish hues. Almost all Kush strains will have pistils, though these can come in a variety of colors (e.g., purple, pink, orange, etc.)

Aroma: While Kush strains may be most widely known for their pungent smell, there are many strains that are sweet, spicy, earthy, and herby as well.

Taste: Again, there are a few varieties of Kush, and each of them has a distinct flavor. But, for the most part, Kush strains should be smooth. You can certainly find one that has a taste that suits you, as some taste of ripe strawberries and others of flowers and earthiness.

Effects: The THC level varies between strains, but most Kush strains do have a heavy, relaxing effect – perfect for those with insomnia or sleep issues. Most notable for their sleepy state, Kush strains will have many users on the couch in nap mode.

Indica or Sativa?: This question could spark a massive debate. Many dispensaries list Kush strains as Indica-dominant hybrids, but there are certainly strains of Kush that are Sativa-dominant. It really depends on the strain.

Some Notable Kush Strains

Let’s look at some of the more popular Kush strains:

  • Afghan Kush
  • Hindu Kush
  • Bubba Kush
  • OG Kush
  • HulkBerry
  • Critical Kush
  • Master Kush
  • Skywalker OG

Remember, new strains are continuously being introduced as the world of cannabis and plant science continues to evolve and mature.

Final Thoughts

Marijuana can be classified in multiple different ways. You could talk about the strain itself, the effect (e.g., Indica, Sativa, etc.) or even popular characterizations. Kush itself is both a strain and a characterization. As a strain, Kush has a lengthy history and incredible market reach. As a characterization, Kush can mean smelly, sweet, strong, or mellow depending upon where you’re from. But, one thing is certainly clear, Kush strains produce some of the most beautiful, sweet, and potent buds on the planet.

Are you looking to try out a Kush strain for the first time? Come by and visit us at a nearby Euphoria Wellness location. Our staff is incredibly knowledgeable about each strain on our menu, and they can help guide you through the process of finding the perfect strain for your unique situation. So, what are you waiting for? Stop by and give it a try.

Have any questions? Contact us. We’re always happy to help!

Today, we're going to demystify Kush and talk about what Kush means, where it comes from, and what kinds of strains of cannabis make up Kush.

The History Of The Kush Cannabis Plant

Original Landraces

Like every other strain of cannabis seeds that is available nowadays, land races are responsible for the original genetics. Many countries host different types of marijuana landraces and in parts of the world where the weather is hot and mountainous regions can be found, fields upon fields of landrace cannabis plants grow naturally. Due to the productivity of the cannabis plant, you can find hundreds, if not thousands of years of natural backcrossing within these fields. The original Kush strain comes from one of these regions and has since paved the way for commercial medical marijuana.

The fact that Afghanistan is one of the biggest producers of cannabis and poppy worldwide is often forgotten until pictures like this pop up.

Some of the most common Kush varieties known today are Hindu Kush, Master Kush and Afghan Kush. These are all original landraces taken from these locations and back crossed to find the ultimate phenotype for cannabis cultivation. After its introduction in Amsterdam almost 30 years ago many seed banks now offer a wide selection of landraces and hybrids, many of the original landrace strains can also still be found.

Kush Cannabis Plant Characteristics

Due to years of breeding, we know the Kush cannabis plant very well here at Spliff Seeds. Kush has many pros and few cons in terms of growing difficulty and is a strain that is known by connoisseurs as high grade medical marijuana. Growers love Kush because the buds that grow on this cannabis plant are well known for being very dense and potent. Most Kush strains will grow to medium height with Christmas tree-like side branching. The fan leaves on an original land race will be thick, wide and almost counter productive in terms of how much light they block from the lowest parts of this indica variety cannabis plant.

Kush varieties are usually short, stocky plants with huge leaves like the one in this picture.

The Aroma, Taste And Effects

This is what gives Kush such unique selling points from a coffee shop’s perspective as well as a grower’s. The smell of this medical marijuana is unmistakable, it is often associated with jet fuel and can be described as pungent, dank and lemony. The Kush smell is often so potent that even the smallest dried bud can really stink out a room. The taste of a well grown Kush is similar to the aroma but with a jet fuel mouth wash after taste that can be tasted at every puff.

Afghani farmers are very familiar with the unique taste and effect Kush varieties have to offer, which is why they have been growing this cannabis plant variety for hundreds of years. Afghani hashish is traditionally smoked while eating melon, which is said to increase the high and decrease any negative effects.

Ocean Grown American Kush

Whilst the Dutch breeders were working hard on releasing back crossed Landraces to the public, American breeders were also working on elevating the Kush genetics to their liking. Several Kush hybrids taken from the seeds brought back from the Himalayas have circulated through America. The name ‘Ocean Grown’ was quickly given to an amazing phenotype that came from one of these projects, giving rise to the O.G. Kush cannabis plant that is so popular today. The exact origins are difficult to figure out even with lab research and the terpene profile is very different from its supposed landrace parents.

Kush has made quite the journey from its original home in Afghanistan. It is most likely that O.G. Kush was first bred in Florida and then found its way to California.

O.G. Kush is well known for its aroma and and potency but this is only part of the reason that the buds of this strain can be very expensive. Despite being a massively popular plant, the yields are small and the plants are finicky. Other popular relatives of O.G. Kush include a phenotype from the San Fernando Valley (SFVOG) and Girl Scout Cookies, which is a hybrid of the Florida O.G. Kush and Durban Poison F1.

The famous O.G. Kush strain is enormously popular, which becomes very clear if you check the amount of known crosses on sites like leafly.com.

Medical Marijuana And Kush

Many medical marijuana patients in the States and all over the world find that using Kush provides strong pain relief. When smoked or used in edibles, the effects of a Kush strain are considered very medicinal and almost narcotic. Insomnia, appetite loss and anxiety are easily treated with Kush. Patients suffering from pains associated with bone, nerve and muscle can also find relief when using Kush. Medicating with Kush and a number of other indica strains has proven to be invaluable to patients with M.S., Parkinson’s and numerous other illnesses. Cancer patients also enjoy the relief that Kush offers compared to pharmaceutical resources and can often eat, sleep and have normal bowel function when treating themselves with this cannabis plant.

Sativa strains are probably a better choice for patients who require increased energy levels and motivation, but many patients still find Kush ticks all the boxes when it comes to anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. For this reason many breeders, including Spliff Seeds, are now developing Kush crosses that attempt to retain its unique potency as medical marijuana while reducing its strong couch-locking effect. Spliff Blue Medi Kush was developed together with medical marijuana users for exactly this purpose.

Kush In Amsterdam

Kush is huge worldwide but especially in Amsterdam and California. You can expect to buy a gram of the strongest kushes in Amsterdam for around €15 and the buds will not be the biggest either, if you are used to large sativa buds. There was a time when haze was the main attraction in Amsterdam’s many coffeeshops. The flowering time of these haze varieties was so long that growers could ask for a higher price. With the rise in popularity of Kush, the same prices are being paid for a relatively fast-flowering strain. Growers can nearly grow two full crops of Kush in the same amount of time it takes to harvest a single Haze grow. This led to Kush being as popular amongst growers as it is amongst users.

Spliff Seeds Kush Strains

Since Spliff Seeds started in 1995 we have always been evolving and breeding new strains to meet the demands of the market. We have recently created 4 new Kush strains including a CBD rich Kush strain. These newly developed Kush strains are our Moon Walker Kush, Gold Bar Kush, Purple Berry Kush and CBD Medi Kush. The first three of these strains were developed to add onto the potency and unique flavour of O.G. Kush through crosses with some of our tastiest strains. CBD Medi Kush was specifically developed for medical marijuana and has a cannabinoid content of 8.5% THC / 8.5% CBD.

We are proud to say our feminised Kush strains contain the original O.G. Kush lineage that goes back to the old school Dutch Kush plants that have been floating around Amsterdam for the last 20 years. You can expect heavy sticky pungent buds which will meet every expectation you may have!

Moon Walker Kush: This hybrid is a cross of Blue Medi Kush x Skywalker O.G.. This cannabis plant stays short and bushy in the vegetative state but stretches quite a lot in flower. The Spliff team had fun making this strain as the buds are thick and chunky whilst the plants grow with a purple hue as this cannabis plant flowers. A lemony, dank Kush strain that can easily yield over 500 grams per square meter and finishes between 56-60 days. Growing this strain outdoors can also reward you with huge yields, this is best done in warmer climates due to its natural flowering time. Moon Walker Kush has excellent medicinal properties and a strong narcotic effect that can almost be overbearing to a novice smoker, this is definitely one of the favourites in the Spliff team.

Spliff Moon Walker Kush is a Blue Medi Kush cross with Skywalker O.G., which makes for great taste and a fast flowering time!

Purple Berry Kush: This hybrid of Spliff Strawberry x O.G. Kush is our highest yielding Kush strain. The lowest parts of this cannabis plant will be as productive as the top half, producing bud sets all over in thick clusters. Its strong side branching character and thick stems make this a great strain for anyone looking for a very reliable plant with sweet berry flavours and a Kush edge. You can expect this strain to finish flowering and be ready to harvest within 60 days, with large fruity fluffy crystal soaked buds. Growing Purple Berry Kush outdoors is also extremely productive in warmer climates. Purple Berry Kush combines the best effects from both parents and will have you energetic and very relaxed at the same time. We spent years looking for the best phenotypes and we’re very excited we’re finally able to offer this wonderful strain to our customers.

Purple Berry Kush combines the sweet taste and clear high from Spliff Strawberry with everything we love about O.G. Kush.

Gold Bar Kush: This strain was developed for the connoisseurs out there and produces pure gold in terms of the high, flavours and smell. If you love Tangie or Diesel then you will love this hybrid of Medical Kush x Orange Bud, as this strain has a very prominent sour apricot taste and produces smaller buds of the highest caliber. This strain is one of our lowest yielding Kushes and takes around 65 days to finish, but the unique flavour and balanced effect are well worth it. Gold Bar Kush was developed with a focus on quality and taste, making it ideal for real cannabis connoisseurs. Smoking this strain provides a mix of an intense high and medium stone that keeps you smoking this one all day long.

Gold Bar Kush has a unique sour apricot aroma and balanced high. Its unique terpene profile makes this Kush variety very popular in the extract community..

CBD Medi Kush: Spliff Seeds created our first ever CBD medical marijuana strain to keep up with the ever changing scene and the numerous medical benefits of CBD. We crossed our Blue Medi Kush x Amnesiac x CBD Afghan to create a wonderful strain of medical marijuana. The result is a Kush strain with a perfect 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD that is perfect for smokers who are seeking a relaxing stone but not so much THC. CBD Medi Kush provides all the medical benefits of marijuana without the racing thoughts or anxiety associated with high THC levels. With good yields of fruity, dense nugs that finish in 60-65 days, we like to think we’ve developed one of the best medicinal marijuana strains on the market!

CBD Medi Kush was developed to have equal amounts of THC and CBD, making it the perfect medicinal marijuana strain.

Enjoy Your Kush!

At Spliff Seeds, we like to know as much as possible about our strains and enjoy sharing the history of the cannabis plant with anyone that might be interested. We hope you enjoyed this backstory and that you have as much fun with the Kush cannabis plant as we do!

Like every other strain of cannabis seeds that is available nowadays, land races are responsible for the original genetics. Many countries host different