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Mar 4, 2022

Cannabis Cultivars: Variety Families 

Strains vs Varieties

In plant breeding, the terms “variety” and “strain” are often used to describe different types of cultivated plants. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, there are subtle differences in their meanings.

A variety refers to a distinct and identifiable group of plants within a species. It is typically characterized by specific traits, such as appearance, growth habit, or disease resistance, that distinguish it from other varieties within the same species. Varieties are usually created through selective breeding and can occur naturally or be created by humans.

On the other hand, a strain is a term commonly used in informal settings, particularly in the context of cannabis cultivation. In this context, a strain refers to a particular genetic lineage or cultivar of cannabis that has certain distinctive characteristics, such as its chemical composition, flavor, or growth pattern. Cannabis strains are usually named to reflect their unique combination of traits and are often a result of intentional breeding or selection by growers.

While “variety” is a widely used term in plant breeding research and formal agriculture, “strain” is more commonly used in casual conversations and niche markets, particularly within the cannabis industry. The choice of using one term or the other can depend on the context and the particular field of plant breeding being discussed.

Include linked images from Ryan Lee, credit RL too.

The OG Family

The OG family of strains originated with the classic strain “OG Kush.” Known for its earthy and fuel-like aroma, the OG Kush strain has become legendary in the world of cannabis. It is often associated with relaxing body effects, euphoria, and a sense of calmness. One of the most common colloquial uses of the term OG is to refer to any variety with a fuel or gas nose.

The term “OG” cannabis can also refer to a particular line or lineage of cannabis strains that are considered classic or original. What is OG and where did it come from? Some also say that OG is an abbreviation of “Ocean Grown,” which originally referred to cannabis grown in the coastal regions of Southern California. The other story of the origin of OG, according to DNA Genetics, is that the “OG” in OG Kush stands for “Original Gangsta,” a term coined by the crew of the popular hip-hop group, Cypress Hill. The story goes that during the 1990s, they came across the OG Kush strain while attending a Grateful Dead concert.

OG varieties are often characterized by their dense, sticky buds and resinous trichomes. The exact genetic makeup of OG strains can vary, as they have been around for many years and have been subject to hybridization and selective breeding.

Some popular OG strains include:

  1. OG Kush: Considered one of the most famous and influential OG strains, OG Kush is known for its strong, euphoric effects and distinct earthy, pine, and citrus aroma.
  2. Tahoe OG: This strain is known for its relaxing and sedative effects, often inducing a state of deep relaxation. It has a complex flavor profile with hints of earthiness and citrus.
  3. SFV OG: SFV OG (San Fernando Valley OG) is noted for its powerful sedating effects and is often recommended for treating pain, insomnia, and stress. It has a pungent aroma with hints of pine and lemon.
  4. Fire OG: Fire OG is recognized for its high potency and is known to produce a strong, uplifting cerebral high followed by deep physical relaxation. It has a distinct aroma of fuel and citrus.

OG cannabis strains have had a significant impact on the modern cannabis industry and have been used in the development of many other popular strains. They are highly sought after by cannabis enthusiasts for their potency, flavors, and effects.

The Thai Family

Thai strains have a rich history and are known for their potent sativa effects. Originally hailing from Thailand, these strains are often characterized by their soaring cerebral highs, energizing effects, and vibrant flavors. Thai strains tend to have long flowering times and are associated with floral, citrus, and spicy aromas. Popular Thai varieties include Thai Stick, Thai Haze, and Chocolate Thai.


The Afghan family of cannabis strains is renowned for its rich history and distinct characteristics, as it is classically the most famous area in the world for hash production. Originating from the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, these strains have a deep-rooted connection to the landrace varieties found in the region. Landrace strains like Afghan Kush, Hindu Kush, and Mazar-i-Sharif have been cultivated for centuries in Afghanistan, creating a genetic foundation for numerous modern cultivars. These strains are known for their robust growth, resinous buds, and potent effects. Afghan genetics have had a significant influence on the development of popular cultivars worldwide, such as Northern Lights, Skunk #1, and Blueberry. The Afghan influence can be recognized through their earthy and spicy aromas, powerful sedating effects, and dense bud structures.


Haze strains are renowned for their potent sativa effects and unique aroma. Originating from the combination of various landrace strains, Haze strains typically produce cerebral and uplifting effects. They are beloved for their spicy, citrusy, and floral aromas. Haze strains often have long flowering cycles and are highly sought after by connoisseurs. Some well-known Haze strains include Super Silver Haze, Amnesia Haze, and Neville’s Haze.

Cookies & Cakes

The Cookies family emerged with the popular strain “Girl Scout Cookies” (GSC). Known for its sweet and earthy aroma, The Girls Scout Cookie strain quickly gained a loyal following. This family of strains is characterized by their potent effects, often inducing deep relaxation, euphoria, and a blissful mental state. Various hybrids and crosses have been derived from GSC, including Platinum Cookies, Thin Mint Cookies, and Gelato, each offering its unique twist on the Cookie lineage.

The “Cake” cannabis family has gained significant popularity in recent years, primarily due to the emergence of the famous strain “Wedding Cake.” This family of strains is characterized by its sweet and dessert-like flavors, often reminiscent of cake or baked goods. Let’s explore the Cake cannabis family in a bit more detail:

  1. Wedding Cake: Wedding Cake, also known as Pink Cookies or Triangle Mints, is the strain that started the Cake trend. Known for its sweet and tangy flavor profile with hints of vanilla and earthy undertones, Wedding Cake offers a well-balanced high that combines relaxation and euphoria. It has dense, trichome-covered buds and is highly regarded for its potency and uplifting effects.
  2. Birthday Cake: Inspired by Wedding Cake, Birthday Cake strains have gained popularity for their similarly sweet and creamy flavors. These strains often feature a combination of fruity and vanilla notes, providing a delightful sensory experience. Birthday Cake strains are cherished for their euphoric and relaxing effects, making them a favorite among cannabis enthusiasts.
  3. Ice Cream Cake: Ice Cream Cake is another member of the Cake family known for its sweet dessert-like flavors. This strain commonly exhibits a creamy vanilla taste with undertones of sweet berries. Ice Cream Cake is cherished for its potent effects, which often induce deep relaxation and blissful euphoria. The strain’s dense, colorful buds and high resin production make it visually appealing as well.
  4. Mochi: The Mochi strain, also known as Gelato 47, is a Cake family member that combines the genetics of Wedding Cake and Mochi Gelato strain. This strain often features a creamy, sweet taste with notes of citrus and pine. Mochi is celebrated for its balanced effects, offering relaxation coupled with an uplifting cerebral buzz, making it a popular choice among both recreational and medicinal users.
  5. London Pound Cake: The London Pound Cake strain has gained attention for its sweet and doughy flavors. With its lineage rooted in Sunset Sherbet and an unknown strain, London Pound Cake showcases a unique blend of fruity and minty undertones. The effects of this strain can vary, but it often provides a relaxing and euphoric experience to its consumers.

These are just a few examples of strains within the Cake cannabis family. Each strain offers its own distinct flavors, aromas, and effects, but they all tend to provide a sweet and enjoyable experience that has captivated cannabis enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, creativity, or simply a delectable flavor profile, exploring the Cake family of strains can be a delightful adventure.


The Cheese family encompasses strains with a distinctive, pungent aroma that resembles strong cheese. Originating from the Skunk family, Cheese strains are known for their heavy, sedating effects and euphoric sensations. Some popular Cheese strains include UK Cheese, Exodus Cheese, and Blue Cheese strains, each with its own variations of the signature cheesy aroma and relaxing effects.


The Gelato family is recognized for its sweet, dessert-like flavors and potent effects. These strains offer a combination of relaxing body effects and euphoric cerebral stimulation. Gelato strains often have colorful buds and produce a range of flavors including fruity, creamy, and cookie-like notes. Notable strains in the Gelato family include Gelato 33, Gelato 41, and Gelato Cake.

Purples & Blueberries

Strains that fall under the category of “Purples” or “Blueberries” are characterized by their vibrant purple hues and berry-flavored profiles. These strains often exhibit relaxing body effects, sometimes indicated by their deep sedation and calming qualities. Popular strains in this family include Purple Kush, Grape Ape, Blueberry, and Purple Punch strains, each offering a unique twist on the purple or blueberry lineage.

Skunk / Chem

Skunk and Chem strains have a reputation for their pungent, skunky aroma and potent effects. These strains often deliver a combination of both physical relaxation and cerebral stimulation. Skunk and Chem strains are known for their skunk-like scent and earthy flavors. Notable strains in this family include Skunk #1, Chemdawg, and Sour Diesel, each featuring its interpretation of the characteristic skunky or chemical aroma.


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