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Modern Breeding Strains

A new breed of genetic material is being used to create flavorful strains for an increasingly discerning marketplace.

Cannabis breeding started thousands of years ago in Central Asia when seeds from the best plants were chosen every harvest year after year. The resulting plants spread throughout the world via human migration and eventually acclimated to different altitudes and environments. These became the original landrace Afghan, Indian, Southeast Asian, African and South American varieties used for flower and hash production over millennia. 

In the U.S., crackdowns on imports of marijuana spurred aspiring farmers back home to plant their own seeds. Hippie travelers collected magic heirloom beans to bring home and used those plants, as well as various bag seeds, to create the original building blocks of the modern Cannabis gene pool including Skunk, Northern Lights and Haze. 

Further law enforcement operations forced a few enterprising bud breeders to the relative safety of Amsterdam, where the first seed companies were born in the 1980s using just a few distinct bedrock strains to create the hybrids that fueled the indoor growing revolution. The descendants of those strains became the building blocks of our present-day poly-hybrids, but an ever-more-sophisticated clientele of connoisseurs, aficionados and medical patients demanded new and improved terpene profiles, flavor palates and potency levels. 

These days, a new breed of genetic material is being utilized to create flavorful strains for discerning palates and a marketplace constantly chasing the new heat. Whether gassy or fruity, the breeders of today are taking things to the extreme–making new and improved varieties using the following modern breeding strains. 


Lineage: Sunset Sherbet x Thin Mint Cookies

Photo by Justin McIvor, Lochfoot @sun_grown_cannabis_book

Gelato #33 a.k.a. Larry Bird is a Bay Area Cookies/Sherbinski staple named for its sweet and creamy scent and flavor. This strain is relaxing yet uplifting, and those effects along with the bright orange hairs and unique frosty purple tint make it perfect for breeding new berry-flavored varieties with euphoric qualities. 

Dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Limonene, Humulene    

Parent of: Runtz, Biscotti

GSC (Formerly Girl Scout Cookies)

Lineage: OG Kush x Durban Poison F1

A balanced hybrid boasting a long-lasting high, GSC is the parent to a wide swath of popular pot strains. The unique flavors of vanilla and mint cookie dough, plus a light lavender scent, are passed on to the offspring resulting in many beloved crosses. 

Dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene

Parent of: Sherbet, GMO Cookies, Orange Cookies, Do-Si-Dos, Birthday Cake, Oreoz, Grease Monkey, Thin Mint Cookies, Platinum Cookies


Lineage: OGKB Cut of GSC x Face Off OG Bx1

Photographer: Justin McIvor, Loc @sun_grown_cannabis_book

This amazing indica-leaning strain from Archive Seed Bank has a calming effect and provides pain relief for people with migraines and nausea. My friend, the Cannabis expert TH Caeczar, describes the singular scent as “freshly-baked lemon curd and mint pastry aroma with shortbread cookie undertones.” Do-Si-Dos and her descendants tend to pair well with a couch or bed. 

Dominant terpenes: Limonene, Caryophyllene, Linalool

Parent of: Dolato, Peanut Butter Breath, Dosi Sherbet, Whoa-Si-Whoas


Lineage: (Grapefruit x Grape Ape) x Mystery Male

Photographer: Justin McIvor, Lochfoot @sun_grown_cannabis_book

Bred by 3rd Gen Family, Zkittlez burst onto the scene with a lemon, grapefruit and ice-cream-esque bouquet, producing a tropical punch. Anecdotal evidence shows the indica-dominant effects help treat PTSD and depression. As a forerunner of the Runtz line, Zkittlez’s legacy as a wellspring of wonderful weed is undoubted. 

Dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Linalool, Humulene

Parent of: Runtz, White Runtz, Melonade


Lineage: (Sour Dubb x Chem Sis) x Chocolate Diesel 

Photographer: Justin McIvor, Lochfoot @sun_grown_cannabis_book

Bred by the late great Josie Wales of GG Strains, the award-winning GG4 (formerly known as Gorilla Glue #4) tests at an astonishing 30 percent THC! The earthy and piney buds announce themselves with a pungent and tangy smell that fills the entire room. A few puffs of these greasy nuggets is perfect for light sleepers and insomniacs seeking a full night’s sleep. 

Dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene

Parent of: Zookies, Grease Monkey

Wedding Cake

Lineage: Triangle Kush x Animal Mints

A powerhouse cross coming from the breeding wizards at Seed Junky Genetics, Wedding Cake a.k.a. Triangle Mints #23 or Pink Cookies, is an indica-dominant strain known for relaxation and appetite stimulation. A stunner when it emerged on the scene–so wildly popular it earned Leafly’s 2019 Strain of the Year–think movie marathons and well-stocked munchies when smoking on this tangy, creamy chronic.

Dominant terpenes: Limonene, Myrcene, Caryophyllene 

Parent of: Ice Cream Cake, Wedding Crasher

Face Off OG

Lineage: OG Kush pheno

Another Archive legend, this indica-dominant strain has been known to make beginner tokers dizzy with a psychedelic power and a strong body buzz. The lime green nuggets sparkle like diamonds but it’s the unparalleled diesel fuel funk that make this such a prolific producer of prominent progeny. 

Dominant terpenes: Myrcene, Limonene, Caryophyllene 

Parent of: Do-Si-Dos, Animal Mints, Hellraiser OG


Lineage: Skunk #1 x Cali Orange

A multiple award-winner and breeding legend, Tangie from Crockett Family Farms tends to impart its citrus orange aroma and acidity on offspring. The effect tends to creep up on you but once it takes hold, Tangie supplies a blissful and euphoric impact. Sativa-dominant, with no ceiling to the buzz, you can keep smoking and continue getting higher.  

Dominant terpenes: Myrcene, Terpinolene, Pinene

Parent of: Tropicana Cookies, Forbidden Fruit, Pu Tang 

Cherry Pie

Lineage: Grandaddy Purple x Durban Poison F1

Another award-winning Cookie Family hybrid strain, Cherry Pie made its name in the Bay Area with an earthy-yet-sweet berry scent and flavor. The effect is uplifting and giggly, perfect for a day in the park with friends or a night out at a comedy club. Several noteworthy varieties inherited their strong genetics from this stalwart species. 

Dominant terpenes: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Pinene

Parent of: Forbidden Fruit, Birthday Cake, Animal Cake

About Dan Vinkovetsky @dannydankoht

Dan Vinkovetsky (formerly Danny Danko of High Times) is a Cannabis writer and editor at Northeast Leaf Magazine since July 2020. Previously, He was the Senior Cultivation Editor at High Times Magazine since 2002. Danny is the author of "The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains" (2011) and "Cannabis: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Marijuana" (2018). Danny hosted the podcast "Free Weed from Danny Danko” from 2011-2018 and currently hosts the podcast "Grow Bud Yourself!".

This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue of All Magazines.

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