We asked strain expert David Downs about what strains have been making waves in 2022. He gives us the lowdown on hot trends and the Game of Thrones-like drama of the rise and dominance of the most popular strains in California.
At Leafly, we’re keeping an eye on Jokerz from Compound Genetics and that one has won an Oregon Cannabis Cup and is proven to have some legs because it’s White Runtz to Gelato. And Gelato is like the Barry Bonds of cannabis—all of his crosses also hit homeruns. You don’t have to like him, but he hit a lot of homeruns.
The Z in Rainbow Beltz is doing what we thought it would do in 2022, leading the pack of Zkittlez crosses.
I like Archive’s Z to Dosidos, which was our Strain of The Year in 2021. We wanted to make the point like the Dosi’s in everything. It’s in Rainbow Beltz. Rainbow Beltz is killing it this year.
Zs in general are just rocking. So excited for Z plus anything really. Maybe not Z to GMO. GMO can overpower Z.
But when I talk to growers and I tell them that I’m growing ZCube by Terphogz, that’s always the strain of Z they are growing. ZCube is Zkittlez to Hindu Kush. I think TerpHogz was trying to improve the agronomy of Zkittlez.
In contrast to these, people are often like, “Where are the freakin Sativas, man?” I like Sativas. I have seen Hella Jelly pick up, like we thought it would, begining in 2020.
If you like Sativas, you see all this traffic for old school strains like Super Lemon Haze, Pineapple Express and a lot of stuff that actually often looks like reggie right now. But if you want to know what like 2022 looks like, it would be like super warped, “sativa leaning” hybrids with all the terps and all the power that can stand next to the craziest newest strains then I would shout out to Seed Junky’s Pineapple Fruz. That one is a real gift to Sativa lovers from the Seed Junky. The most pineappley beautiful pungent one around.
Apples and Bananas.
Capulator’s genetics from MAC are doing its thing.
I got Cap Junky from Capulator at the Transbay and that’s for the Capulator Seed Junky project. Cap Junky is future tech, for sure. Capy Junky is Alien Cookies to Seed Junky’s Kush Mints 11. And it is, I mean, those are just the two biggest heavyweights in LA, so it’s like two of the biggest fault lines in Cannabis grinding against each other and that earthquake is like 8.0. It’s just icier and stronger and more aggressive than almost thing else out there. And when you wonder what these guys are driving at, like what’s the ideal in their mind’s eye, you see versions of it in something like a Cap Junky right now. Not for the faint of heart. None of it is.
Oreoz is slamming this year. Michigan-based Third Coast Genetics, crossed the Cookies and Cream and a Secret Weapon. And it’s Girl Scout Cookies, but it’s black and it’s frosty. If you grow it wrong, it smells like cardboard. Nobody cares because it looks so good on Instagram that it’s spawned backlash, an Oreoz backlash in 2022, with everyone saying it doesn’t smell like anything, it’s cardboard terps, it’s air terps. They’re saying, “We already discovered this, Blackberry Kush years ago.”
Other people counter by saying, “Well, you’re just growing it wrong.” I’ve seen it grown wrong a lot. It seems like it can be grown wrong as much as it’s grown right. It speaks to the Instagramitization of cannabis culture. Like, if it doesn’t have that bling, then it’s not going to swing. And it’s a war of your eyes versus your nose. What something looks like versus something smells like.
Oreoz makes you want to start the ugly weed movement. Just like the ugly vegetable movement. There’s a lot of amazing terpy, strong life-changing pot that doesn’t Instagram very well and should not be discounted. Oreoz is on the other side of that argument. It’s saying, “I look perfect. You guys are just haters.” And the name is obviously super problematic.
We see GMO crosses going off. First Class Funk is just killing it right now.
Everyone wants more savory. The Burgers – check out Donny Burger and Han Solo Burger.
I think the modern inheritors are people who said they like Skunk, like something really pungent and strong. Like, these weedheads that smoke a lot get bored, and GMO and the crosses are novel to them because of how, frankly, rancid they can smell, in a good way. Like blue cheese on a bacon cheeseburger or tequila body shots for your sidepiece–you know, sometimes it’s so wrong, it’s right. And GMO is there for you on that front. I mean, ThugPug is still working GMO and Peanut Butter Breath in Michigan.
Lemon Cherry Gelato: everyone is revolted by how popular it’s become. And it’s a testament to its success. Whether it’s just Gelato or pheno Gelato, I don’t fully know the Lemon Cherry Gelato story. I don’t know if there is an official one, or if everyone just named their Gelato, Lemon Cherry Gelato, but holy moly, it’s all Lemon Cherry Gelato all the way down. And I want to hold place for that.
Because again, Gelato works if you have good Gelato. In Washington, they just did this consumer pheno hunt, this brand, Freddy’s Fuego, put out all this fresh weed and let the people choose and the people chose Gelato. Because fuck, it’s great. Pretty creamy and gassy afternoon/evening weed, pretty versatile, not offensive to pretty much anyone. Shout out Sherbinskis, shout out Sunset Sherbert.
If you look at these graphs of how like sub variants of Coronavirus takeover and just crowd out every other variant because they’re more ecologically fit or environmentally fit to replicate and succeed. That’s Gelato. Gelato is Omicron. It’s just a Gelato world. And to be mad about it is to howl at the moon.
Gelato to Zkittlez, which was Runtz, right? We’re getting ready to do a Rainbow Runtz guide. We love that there’s White Runtz, Red Runtz, Purple Runtz, Blue Runtz. Shout out to everyone going out there and getting their dollar by putting a new name on Runtz on a bag.
If it’s not just a rename, we’re talking about differences within differences, right? Like, if you have a Purple Runtz versus a White Runtz, and it’s like a look. I mean, the effect and the flavor is sustained over the same center of gravity, you know? There’s no like, Bizarro Runtz that’s like the inverse of Runtz. I don’t see that happening.
Back to Zkittlez, Archive dropped the Moonbow #113 IX or #116 IX. It was a really intense Zkittlez work. We’re refining what Zkittlez can be, we’re driving toward the platonic ideal of Z, Z Terps.
Zooming out on that 50,000-foot view, close your eyes, imagine walking into a 7-Eleven, there’s the dessert section and there’s the candy section. The dessert section has got your cookies and your muffins and your cakes and your fitters and your pancakes and your… you know? And then the candy section’s got your Skittles, literally, and your Oreos and all that stuff. If you want to look at like, the Rosetta Stone to Terps today and where they’re going, walk into a 7-Eleven.
It’s a lot of cakes and cookies with Z in the mix and then old school ones. But Z’s relatively the newest in terms of how it’s starting to crowd out less fit strains.
Gelato is so popular like Berry Bonds. I don’t think the Z ‘s gotten there. This is a testament to how popular it is, Jay Z is on DJ Khaled’s new album God Did. And his verse mentioned how, “You new kids can have the Zaza. I want the OGs for the OG,” like he’s sort of throwing down that he’s on team OG versus Zkittles. And we’re seeing that now.
So, it’s like the 26th year but dates are smooshy, and so you could say is on the 25th year of OG Kush. And a typical rejoinder in the cannabis community is like, “Oh, well, I wish I could get some real OG Kush again. I used to grow OG. I don’t have OG. There should be more OGs. I just want OG. I just want gas.” The same person a month later can be like, “I’m on this fucking Zkittlez bus.”
And honestly, personally, OG times Zkittlez, I just want that all day. OGZ, like OZK, OZ Kush, the Cali-X Zlime, the DEO Farm’s Zoap is an OZ Kush project. I really think that uniting the lime, pine, fuel, gas of OG with syrupy tropical candy Terps of Zkittlez is the best. And it’s often green weed. There’s a green weed versus purple weed war going on. And that’s like, OZK and OG times Zkittlez alone is reason to join the green weed mafia or the green weed side of the battle.
Read David Downs reporting on Leafly News. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.