History of Cannabis Strains: The Origins of OG Kush

If we go over the most recent cannabis hybrid history, the strain OG Kush definitely holds a spot in the hall of fame of cannabis strains. In this post, we're going to explain why this legendary strain is so special, and its entire background.
historia de la kush

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OG Kush is definitely one of the big names when it comes to the cannabis industry, a strain with highly appreciated qualities that have helped to create a lot of the most popular strains in circulation today.

OG Kush has caused quite the uproar among growers and consumers around the planet thanks to its intense, exquisite flavor. This, plus its potent effect, is the reason it’s been the favorite strain of many artists hailing from the West Coast and is still a best seller at many dispensaries.

As is usual with a lot of other cannabis legends, the legal state of cannabis when this strain was grown makes it hard to establish its origins accurately. However, cannabis history was transmitted by word of mouth during the years it was more underground.

What are the Origins of OG Kush?

The origins of OG Kush are a little bit mysterious due to the previously mentioned circumstances. However, the version that has stuck the most is that this strain comes from a cross between a Hindu Kush landrace strain (a mountainy area between Afghanistan and Pakistan), and Chemdawg.

But..,. How did this Hindu Kush Landrace strain get from Asia to California?

The Hippie Trail and the Introduction of Afghan Strains to Western Culture

In order for that Hindu Kush strain to get to California and become one of the origins of the famous OG Kush, a series of things happened more to do with the hippie cultural movement than with cannabis breeders.

During the decades of the 60s and 70s, a phenomenon called the Hippie Trail or Overland began, which we went over in the second installment of The History of Cannabis. It was a route that many young people set out on from Europe towards South Asia, with destinations mainly in India and Nepal.

kush origens
“Kush” originally meant strains that came from Hindu Kush, a region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which grow strains that are resistant to those particular hard weather conditions, known for producing a large amount of trichomes on their flowers. Pictured above, the strain TNT Kush, which as you can see is a true ocean of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Short Flowering Indicas Changed the Game

On their journeys, some brought home with them seeds of cannabis strains they had found on their trip. Relaxing strains with short flowering periods, resinous and full of different aromas that
were a breath of fresh air and brought quite the change to US growers and breeders.

Back then, in some isolated regions along the West Coast, there were communities of growers that hid away in inhospitable areas such as Humboldt County, where it was easy for them to hide.

These growers, who decided to keep growing cannabis regardless of the so-called war on drugs, found themselves with a few weather-related issues. The strains that they had access to were from tropical and mild areas, long-flowering sativa plants.

These strains came from seeds that were found in cannabis that came into the US from Colombia and Mexico; long-flowering landrace strains that weren’t right for the climate of the region, as the rain and bad weather would often ruin harvests.

When those who had gone on the Hippie Trail came back with these short-flowering indica strains, growers began to cross them and create the first hybrids; strains that came about from the combination of central-American landrace sativas and indica strains.

It’s believed that one of the strains from Hindu Kush was one of the strains used to create OG Kush alongside Chemdawg, another renowned indica created in the West Coast. Although, there are many that believe that this Hindu Kush strain was previously crossed with a Thai landrace plant, and that it wasn’t 100% indica, as landrace strains from Thailand (as well as those from Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica etc.) are usually considered sativa strains.

landrace cannabis strain
There are some strains like certain Skunk strains that have had quite an important role to play when it comes to reducing flowering times and improving the structure and production of some landrace strains from countries such as Thailand or Colombia.

Chemdawg, The Story of a Legend

Now that we know where part of OG Kush’s genes come from, let’s have a look at the other part, Chemdawg, also known as Chem Dog.

While it’s true that, as with all strains created back then, it’s hard to know its exact origins and verify them, this following version is the most widely accepted.

In June of 1991, in Deer Creek Indiana, during a concert by the band Grateful Dead, a grower called Chem bough an ounce of weed in the parking lot of the concert venue from a guy called Joe Brand.

When Chem got home after the concert, he discovered 13 seeds in the buds; keep in mind that sinsemilla cannabis was a rarity back then, and finding seeds in cannabis was normal.

After germinating a few of them, he got rid of one male and he catalogued the three females as Chemdawg 91, Chemdawg A, also known as chemdawg’s Sister, and Chemdawg B. Later on, in 2001, he germinated more and ended up selecting a phenotype that he called Chemdawg D. These are the four pillars upon which many strains have been created; legends such as Sour Diesel, Bubba Kush and OG Kush itself.

How was OG Kush Created?

It’s quite hard to discern who actually created the original OG Kush, as there are a few versions to the story, however many agree that it was two men, Matt “Bubba” Berger, a grower from Florida, and Josh D, a breeder from Los Angeles.

According to the story, Josh D challenged Berger to grow better strains than the growers in Los Angeles, out in Florida; basically, an excuse to exchange clones and diversify their genetic resources.

Berger accepted and sent various clones out to LA of one of his best hybrids, OG Kush, which was called Kryptonite or Krippy back then due to its intense aroma. Out of all of the clones he sent, only one survived.

According to legend, Josh D realized that this strain wasn’t necessarily the easiest to grow, but it was definitely worth the effort as its aroma and flavor were incredibly unique. He preserved the phenotype and distributed it among LA growers, who were fascinated by how dense it was, its strength and its flavors. It could be said that Josh D was in charge of preserving this elite clone and creating the foundations upon which growers learned how to make the most of OG Kush.

However, what really have OG Kush its popularity was a trip that Josh D made to North Cali to visit his friend Ian. This was around 1997, and in San Francisco Bay there was a small cannabis competition happening. Josh D went with his second OG Kush harvest, which did amazingly with the judged, and won a 10/10 in all categories. The race was on and this strain was shooting straight for first place.

As time went on, OG Kush has been used to create hybrids such as Larry Kush, Bubba Kush Pre’98, and Purple Kush. Without a doubt, one of the pillars of the modern cannabis industry.

og kush hybrids
-The story of OG Kush spread throughout California, the US, and eventually, it reached all parts of the world.

What does OG Kush mean?

The true meaning behind OG is another thing that’s been a topic of debate over the years, and the truth is, it’s impossible to know for sure. There are a few theories:

  • Original Gangster: due to being a strain created in LA and considered one of the favorites of a lot of VIPs in the city, it’s believed that the name of this strain could be a tribute to the Hip Hop scene of the 90s. There’s a lot of stories that confirm that these letters mean Original Gangsta, a name coined by one of the members of Cypress Hill.
  • Organic Grown: although this version might not be the most known, it could also come from the eco-friendly culture that was strongly embraced at Humboldt, a region where OG Kush spread like a wildfire.
  • Ocean Grown: this is probably the most popular belief, and it makes reference to being the most popular strain grown on the Californian Coast.
  • others believe that the origins of its name come from a webpage that was quite popular in the cannabis scene during the early 2000s.

What does OG Kush Taste Like?

The quality of the flowers produced by OG Kush is what drove this strain to worldwide stardom. Its flavor and aroma, alongside its potent effect and five star bag appeal made it incredibly popular at dispensaries.

This strain hasn’t made its way to the cannabis hall of fame for its massive yields, such as other strains like Amnesia. In truth, OG Kush doesn’t stand out for offering a large amount of flowers, it’s more average – it actually stands out for reaching such high quality and standards.

Many describe the aroma and flavor of this strain as a combination of berries, with an earthy aftertaste, and citric, spicy tones with a marked Diesel flavor.

aroma kush

What Terpenes are in OG Kush?

Thanks to this particular characteristic, OG Kush has managed to be used in many other strains that end up inheriting its characteristic aroma. Many other Diesel strains also became part of the American Brand, which soon spread around the world, but… What gives OG Kush such a special flavor?

Of course, the answer is terpenes. Specifically, a combination of different terpenes in different proportions, which creates a complex and unique aroma.

The main terpenes found in OG Kush are the following:

How do the Main Terpenes in OG Kush Influence its Effect?

The terpenes found in cannabis are not just in charge of providing flavor and aroma to strains, they also produce their own effect on the body. These properties, which in many cases can be used therapeutically, can be increased or combined with cannabinoids, creating what’s called an entourage effect.

It’s due to this complex synergy between substances and molecules found in cannabis that it can be so hard to replicate its properties. Attempting to synthesize cannabinoids, for example, has lead to the discovery that the effect of compounds made in a laboratory is not as effective as resin from a cannabis plant.

As well as terpenes’ therapeutic potential, it’s also been recently discovered that these aromatic molecules are actually responsible for the effects known as Sativa/Indica.

Which is to say, depending on the terpene composition of a strain, it can be more relaxing or stimulating.

relaxing cannabis effect
The effects of each cannabis strain can be classified generally, although there are some exceptions. For example, Kush strains are considered relaxing, but due to certain elements interacting with receptors in the body, some of these effects may not show the same in every person.

What Properties do OG Kush’s Main Terpenes Have?

The terpenes that can be found in the highest concentrations in OG Kush are Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene, Linalool and Pinene. Let’s have a look at the properties that each of these terpenes offer:

  • Caryophyllene: has anti-inflamatory properties as it interferes with prostaglandins activating. It also has the capacity to imitate cannabinoids, as it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, specifically with CB2 receptors. It also has analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-coagulant anti-anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.
  • Limonene: this terpene has stimulating properties and can be helpful for uplifting moods. It’s also anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, and some studies indicate that it could be used to reduce anxiety.
  • Myrcene: this terpene is known for its relaxing and sedative properties, a compound that can help to fight insomnia and stress. It also acts as a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, and can help cannabinoids be absorbed better.
  • Linalool: just like myrcene, linalool also has calming, relaxing properties. Different studies suggest that it could be an efficient anxiolytic and it’s also shown anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It’s also a good anti-bacterial product.
  • Pinene: Pinene is an efficient pain reliever, bronchi-dilator, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
what is kush
The possible properties or effects given to certain strains has a lot to do with terpenes and their relationship with cannabinoids.

Now that you know more about terpenes that can be found in OG Kush, maybe you’ll understand more about its effects and amazing aroma. However, it’s still hard to define exactly what effect a certain strain will have on someone, as it doesn’t only depend on the composition of cannabinoids found in it, it also depends on each individuals organism. There are some who define the effect produced by OG Kush as a relaxing, nocturnal effect, whereas others find it more cerebral, halfway between relaxing and stimulating.

Whatever it may be, it’s definitely clear that it’s an exceptional strain and it holds (and will possibly continue to hold for years) a high spot on the Best Seller list when it comes to the cannabis market.

Any questions? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Until next time,

Cali Terpenes

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