modified kush seeds

So he set up a 16-square-foot closet grow and began to breed his own strains, mixing sativa and indica varietals and scrupulously smoking the results until he produced not just Blueberry, a marquee strain with the hue and aroma of fresh berries, but also Flo , Blue Velvet , Azure Haze , Whitaker Blues , Vanilluna , and many other varieties that have collectively changed the game—as has DJ Short’s tireless research into cultivation and breeding practices, a lifelong pursuit he continues today.

According to a lengthy 2013 Grantland profile titled “The Willie Wonka of Pot,” DJ Short—the legendary, nearly mythical cannabis breeder behind Blueberry and many other classic strains—is part of a long line of plant medicine workers. His great-grandmother “used to grow pot, opium, tobacco, sage, and lavender in a backyard garden. The curtains in his grandmother’s house were made of hemp. His family used to joke, ‘If the house catches on fire, stay in for a little while and breathe.’”

Watson’s journey began in Santa Cruz, California in the 1970s, where he was linked to two of the earliest cannabis breeding outfits to ever gain notoriety—the Haze Brothers and Sacred Seed Collective—both of which were instrumental in developing the early hybrid strains that helped transform American “homegrown” cannabis from a ditchweed laughingstock to the envy of the world.

In nature, those seeds form in the late autumn—when the male plants pollinate the females. Each time such pollination takes place the result is a genetically unique seed—one that contains DNA from both of its parents—but without the direct involvement of human beings, the amount of genetic diversity seen from generation to generation is practically pretty limited.

Colombian Gold (“The smell was that of sandalwood incense, almost frankincense, and the flavor was that of a peppery incense cedar … truly psychedelic, powerful and long lasting”), Chocolate Thai (“deep, rich, chocolate, nutty, woody/spicy”); Jamaican (“Too damned strong and speedy! … It is a heart-lifting herb and I have a sensitive heart. So I am careful with the samples of the commercial J-ganga that I try”).

DJ Short.

Don and Aaron (the D and A of DNA Genetics) met in Southern California and initially enjoyed the symbiotic relationship of weed dealer and customer. Then they became friends. And finally business partners.

More recently, they’ve moved their operations back to California, where they’re firmly established among the largest and most respected cannabis brands in the game today.

There was never any question that they’d enter the cannabis business, as both men share a true and abiding passion for the plant. But rather than try to compete in the still grey market medical cannabis industry developing in the United States at the time, in 2004 they decided to pull up stakes and open up shop in The Netherlands.

Before humans began actively breeding cannabis strains for desired traits, the plant produced much less THC than it does now, and lots more CBD—perhaps even a 1:1 ratio of its two best known and most plentiful cannabinoids. But because CBD isn’t intoxicating like THC, underground breeders seeking higher highs for decades unwittingly bred CBD out of the cannabis gene pool.

Only the most successful cannabis hybrids will be stabilized and grow popular enough to earn a permanent place in the hearts of cannabis enthusiasts.

In the late 1960s, Netherlands native Ben Dronkers sailed on merchant ships to exotic ports of call, where he initially sought out fabric to start his own clothing company, but eventually began collecting local cannabis seeds instead. In time, his collection was truly unparalleled and boasted genetics from throughout Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. He then used those landrace strains to breed his own hybrids.

C annabis—like asparagus, dates, mulberry, ginkgo, persimmons, and spinach—is a dioecious species, meaning that the male and female reproductive structures involved in propagation are typically found on different individual plants, rather than on a single plant (as in a monoecious species). Cannabis is also an annual, so it dies off each winter, but not before dropping seeds that will sprout the following spring, allowing the cycle of life to continue for another year.

One of the most fascinating and controversial figures in cannabis history, Dave Watson (far better known as “Sam the Skunkman”) is lauded by some and vilified by others, but nobody can dispute the outsized role he’s played in the once very small world of cannabis breeders.

But that’s just all the more reason to properly identify and honor the amazing cannabis breeders of yore who performed the alchemical feat of bringing into the world all-new, genetically distinct cannabis varietals that truly changed the game.

Sour Tsunami —bred by Lawrence Ringo of Southern Humboldt Seed Collective—was the first stabilized CBD-rich strain they found in California, a discovery that led to a revolution in medical cannabis.

Ben Dronkers.

GW has since created “the first cannabis plant-derived medicine ever approved by the FDA,” but at the time, the company was in its earliest stages and still looking for cannabis seed stock to use in developing its pharmaceutical preparations.

In 1985, Watson was reportedly arrested on cannabis charges in California. A month later, he landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, allegedly with a box of 250,000 seeds that included Skunk #1 , Original Haze , and Afghani #1 —all of which had been bred or stabilized by his cannabis compatriots. Watson met immediately with emissaries from Amsterdam’s burgeoning cannabis scene, which at the time relied largely on imported hashish to supply its coffeeshops.

Sour Tsunami, bred by Lawrence Ringo, was the first stabilized CBD-rich strain found in California—a discovery that led to a revolution in medical cannabis.

“#DjShortNewberry #DjShort. The red hue is from unintentional light bleaching. Photo and grow cred goes to: @secondgenerationgenetics” (@secondgenerationgenetics/Instagram)

As new kids on the block, Don and Aaron brought with them not just enthusiasm and youthful energy, but also a whole new generation of prized California genetics which they used to create next-level cannabis hybrids like LA Confidential , Chocolope , Tangie , and Kosher Kush .

In 1985, Dronkers formed Sensi Seed Bank and began offering for sale the strains he’d collected and hybrids he’d created, including after crossing his own discoveries with recently arrived American varietals.

Eventually he began collecting cannabis seeds from the bags of cannabis he bought as a teenager, carefully logging them and making detailed notes, as much later related in his own 2003 book Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis: An Expert Breeder Shares His Secrets :

Dave Watson (a.k.a. “Sam the Skunkman”)

In theory, each time two unique varieties are crossed in this way, the result is a wholly new strain. But in practice, only the most successful of these hybrids will be stabilized and grow popular enough to earn a permanent place in the hearts of cannabis enthusiasts. Adding to the complexity (and potential confusion) of this process is the fact that until relatively recently, all of this breeding still took place in the underground, so the documentation of who created what and how is often unknown or in dispute.

In 1973, he bought a box of cereal that came with a seed sprouter as the prize inside. That inspired him to try growing the seeds he’d collected.

Among his most endearing and enduring contributions: Jack Herer , one of the all time most popular cannabis strains, named for one of the all-time most influential cannabis activists.

Then one day, in 1973, after moving to Oregon, he bought a box of cereal that came with a seed sprouter as the prize inside. That inspired him to try growing the sativa seeds he’d collected as a youth, but he found they took too long to mature and yielded too little. Next he tried smoking some indica , but found it didn’t stoke his inspiration or spark his imagination the same way as sativa .

Well aware of CBD’s therapeutic potential, however, in 2010 a non-profit organization called Project CBD formed to boost research into the compound, and help identify and proliferate what few CBD-rich cannabis varietals remained in circulation. From its inception, Project CBD partnered with California’s commercial cannabis testing labs to flag any bud testing high in CBD, in order to build up a breeding stock of high-CBD strains.

Along with Robert Colonel Clarke (Author of Hashish! and Marijuana Botany ), he would go on to form Hortapharm , a company dedicated to collecting cannabis seeds from around the world, both to create a stable genetic library and to breed new hybrids with desirable traits. By the late 1990s, they were doing business with Dr. Geoffrey Guy, founder and chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals , which is now licensed by the British government to cultivate cannabis for use in making “whole-plant extracts” with specific ratios of THC and CBD for use as prescription medicines.

The move put them in direct contact with Amsterdam’s legendary cannabis scene, which had been serving as a center of breeding and seed banks since the days of Dave Watson and Ben Dronkers back in the 1980s.

Ringo himself had begun growing as early as 1971, though he remained largely in the underground until 2010 when he founded his seed company. That’s also when he had his crops lab tested for the first time, and discovered the unique medicinal properties of Sour Tsunami were due to its high CBD content (around 11%). From then until the end of his life in 2014, he focused on developing additional CBD-rich strains, including Harle-Tsu , Canna-Tsu , Swiss-Tsu , and ACDC .

In the meantime, marijuana cultivators appear to want to both craft the greatest strain but do it in a way that isn’t quite what Big Ag does, even if the only difference appears to be one of scale. As Marijuana Business Daily recently reported, a partnership between an Oregon outdoor cannabis farm and a Portland, Oregon-based clearinghouse of cannabis genetics went sour after the former became upset at the latter—and for a reason that may not be intellectually sound or even consistent.

“All Monsanto or Dow have to do is go to a dispensary and buy everything that everyone’s buying,” said Reggie Gaudino, a PhD and longtime cannabis industry genetics researcher who now serves as vice president of research and development at Front Range Biosciences, a Colorado-based company, in an interview with MJ Biz Daily. “They can sequence it themselves, and they’re home free.”

As MJ Biz Daily recounted: “The uproar underscores the cannabis industry’s unease over Big Ag companies eventually entering the space and controlling the means of production and genetics—a fear bred out of precedents set by the commercial agriculture market.”

Carefully breeding crops or animals in order to reduce or eliminate certain traits and magnify others—in pursuit of a fast racehorse; a particularly cute (or thicc) dog; a fruit that’s very tasty, with high yields and good resistance to bugs and blight—is something that’s been done “for centuries,” as the Federation of American Scientists observed in its official entry for “genetically modified crops.”

Selective breeding is absolutely happening right now in the marijuana industry. We know this because it has always happened—this is what breeders and seed banks do. And for the past few years, you have been able to search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database to find patent applications for proprietary cannabis strains. This means there are plant scientists, botanists and garage-level growers alike trying to find the killer strain, and using whatever means necessary to do so.

But at the same time, cannabis genetics have been available all along for anyone—including Big Ag—to swipe and to improve upon, in a lab if necessary.

All of this touches a very sensitive nerve in the marijuana industry, which has for years been haunted by the specter of GMO weed. It’s been enough of a thing that both Snopes and Monsanto felt the need to address—and dismiss as an “internet rumor”—the allegation that its scientists were working on GMO marijuana. (Whether this is an honest denial or an exercise in nominalism—perhaps Monsanto is working on something that’s cannabis sativa, AKA hemp, which would make their statement correct—only company insiders know).

And since cannabis sativa, the taxonomic definition for both recreational marijuana as well as the source material for CBD, is America’s hottest agricultural commodity, the obvious answer to the obvious question—”is there GMO weed?”—is almost certainly yes, and if not now, then there will be very soon. The second quandary, then, is to figure out what to do about it.

To do this, the farm partnered with Phylos Bioscience, a genomics firm that has, for at least four years, been crowdsourcing cannabis genetics to build a database of all the cannabis plant’s various tones. The growing experiment was well underway until a video of Phylos’ CEO Mowgli Holmes speaking highly of partnering with Big Ag to breed plants surfaced. That led East Fork Cultivars to publicly break with Phylos.

East Fork Cultivars’ stated goal was to grow more and better CBD-rich varieties of both hemp and marijuana. (The difference is legal, not botanical: cannabis sativa with 0.3 percent or less THC is hemp; anything more is marijuana, under federal law.)

One main difference between what, say, the Amish do and what’s done in corporate labs—and what freaks certain people out and leads to certain countries, like in Europe, to ban GMO crops, while others, chief among them the United States, to heartily embrace lab-honed foodstuffs—is that you can breed a certain gene in or out “in one generation rather than 20.” (Whether the main risk is genetic instability leading to food insecurity or the subsequent dumping of patented pesticides and herbicides on fields of GMO corn or soybeans—the praxis for farmers purchasing, for example, RoundUp Ready products from agribusiness giant Monsanto—can depend on whom you ask.)

The perceived risk for most cannabis cultivators is that they’ll wake up one day and find out that the strain they’ve been perfecting or even selling to dispensaries for years is suddenly the intellectual property of somebody else. Power plays like this are de rigueur in business and are often fought out in the courts, for years—but are nonetheless an abstraction for most consumers. As corn and soybeans and other agricultural commodities demonstrate, consumers don’t really seem to care if their end product was perfected in a field, in a garage or in a lab—just if it’s affordable and good and does the trick.

The ancient art of selective breeding is practiced by almost everyone who grows crops or husbands livestock for a living. Those who don’t are both willfully putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage and breaking with an established norm.

So is there GMO cannabis right now? Depends on your understanding of the term. Will there be? Almost certainly yes—the only questions are who will produce it, will it be any good and will anyone care enough to stop it?

True OG has a more skunky and piney type aroma than the earthy OGs before it. It’s an excellent strain to dab. The hash really brings out those super loud skunky and piney flavors followed by a super stoney high.

Like Tahoe OG, SFV can hit you with that “Wow, I am outta there” type of high that is best suited for experienced consumers. If you’re new to weed, but want to give it a whirl, maybe ease into it with a vape pen as vape effects tend to be lighter and shorter-lived than flower or dabs.

Out of any strain that has come from OG Kush, or been influenced by its genetics, GSC has had the biggest impact on modern cannabis culture.

Fire OG buds kick off a complex mix of chemmy, piney, and lemony scents and appear flooded with red and orange hairs, hence the name.

San Fernando Valley Kush OG, or SFV OG, is another well-known phenotype of the legendary OG Kush. It should not be confused with SFV OG Kush, a cross of a Kush and an Afghani landrace.

True OG.

Fire OG is one of the lesser-known Kush hybrids, but you’re probably familiar with what came from it: White Fire OG, also known as WiFi OG.

SFV OG gives off a strong lemony and piney aroma that you can hear from a mile away. Ya know, cause it’s loud. Another potent Kush phenotype, the top reported effects are relaxed, euphoric, and giggly.

As with most historical cannabis strains, the exact history and genetics of OG Kush are hard to confirm. Is it a Chemdog cross? Did it come from some random bagseed long ago? Did someone hike up the Hindu Mountains and pull it directly out of the ground? No one knows the What of OG Kush, all we know is the Who and Where.

Though an OG descendant, the indica genetics in Bubba’s lineage gives a totally different look and feel. Instead of the citrusy and earthy Kush flavors, Bubba nugs give off a sweet, almost grape-like aroma that transfers into a sweet earthy flavor that many describe as a hashish taste.

Tahoe OG nugs are flooded with orange hairs, white trichomes, and appear a bit darker and denser than the Original. Still, that classic earthy citrus smell of Kush remains intact.

We’ve rounded up seven of the strains every savvy cannabis consumer who likes OG Kush should know about.

Matt “Bubba” Berger and Josh D brought OG Kush to fruition. At some point in the 1990s, Bubba brought the strain to Florida from Amsterdam, and after working it for some time, he flew out to California with the seeds and gave OG Kush to supreme grower Josh D to maximize the plant’s potential. Josh D worked his magic and the rest is history.

Bubba Kush is probably the most well-known Kush strain not-named OG Kush. We can thank breeder Matt Berger, rappers, and pop culture for that one.

OG Kush is perhaps the first strain to reach both mass popularity in the mainstream and legendary status within cannabis culture. Which is why OG Kush has been used to breed other strains that furthered the culture and industry.

Headband is an OG Kush x Sour Diesel hybrid with a reputation for providing heavy cerebral effects that wrap around the head like a — you guessed it — Headband. Its top reported effects are: euphoric, focused, and relaxed.

SFV OG.

Fire OG crosses OG Kush with an SFV OG Kush variety. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid whose top reported effects are: hungry, relaxed, and sleepy.

Original Kush, best known as OG Kush, is the don dada of cannabis. It’s the #1 most popular strain on Weedmaps, the reigning Strain Madness champion, and the true backbone of West Coast cannabis culture today.

In the world of weed, strains come and strains go, but the strains that develop legacies find ways to keep giving back to weed culture over the years — OG Kush is one of those strains.

Tahoe OG is the most notable OG Kush phenotype, meaning it came directly from the seeds of the parent strain; it’s not a hybrid of OG Kush and something else. Think of phenotypes in terms of kittens. A litter could have 5 kits from the same parents, but for some reason they all look and act differently. The same applies to weed.

This strain is an absolute staple in California, and now you see Cookies hybrids in dispensaries all around the world. Its impact on the cannabis world is undeniable, so is the fact that it wouldn’t exist without the Original Kush.

The result of accidental pollination of a Kush strain by an alleged Northern Lights, Bubba Kush is an indica-dominant powerhouse. Its top reported effects are euphoric, relaxed, and happy, so expect to be chillin’ on the couch with a full Netflix queue.

Since OG’s birth in 1992, the strain has gained worldwide notoriety and has been instrumental in creating some of your favorite weed strains of today.

Headband.

Headband looks like the other OG strains with its green and orange-colored buds; however, the smell is more distinguished as it gives off a funky cheese scent and a little bit of a diesel undertone, showing off those Chemdog and Skunk genetics from Sour Diesel.

Tahoe OG will get you high as hell. Straight up. It’s top reported effects are relaxed, euphoric, and hungry, which is cannacode for “my god, you are about to be absolutely stoned.”

True OG is as OG as they come when we’re talking Kush hybrids. It was bred by backcrossing OG plants over and over until the result was the perfect indica-dominant OG Kush hybrid. Its most reported effects are: euphoric, focused, and relaxed.

Originally known as Girl Scout Cookies, this cross of OG Kush with Durban Poison produces bulbous nugs that are absolutely blanketed by white trichomes. We could get into effects, but the Girl Scout legacy goes way past consumption.

Find hundreds of strains and where to buy them on Weedmaps Strains .