A few of our favorite strains: 25 ranked reviews from our critics

The Cannabis Cup has become synonymous with ranking strains of cannabis. Some blogs assemble click-baity lists of the BEST MARIJUANA STRAINS IN THE WORLD! And High Times magazine’sannual strongest-strains issue is among their most popular every year.

This list is not about being comprehensive, though it is well curated.

What you’ll find in this list and slide show: 25 top strains our three marijuana critics — Jake Browne,Brittany Driver and Ry Prichard — reviewed in the first five months of 2014. These strains propelled us to movement and soothed our most prominent aches. They’re old standbys, trendy new hybrids and old-school classics known by our parents. These strains helped ring in legal recreational sales in Colorado, and they’ll soon do the same for our friends in Washington state.

So from our living rooms to yours, here are 25 of our favorite strains in mid-2014:

No. 25: Flo (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)
No. 25: Flo (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

25. Flo

Jake: “For me, Flo is the “Eh, let’s just order pizza” of strains when you’ve seen too many jars and need to walk out with something. If it were a re-run on TV, it’s an episode of “Friends” that’s all Phoebe. Sure, it’s fun and light, but you really wanted a good Chandler zing. Why do I keep buying this? … Next to Blueberry, it’s arguably the biggest strain that DJ Short has ever produced. He’s never spun a record professionally — although I’m not sure DJs still do that — but he is an extremely influential cannabis breeder who takes great pride in this Purple Thai and Afghani sativa hybrid. Available through online seed banks and basically anyone who sells clones, it has taken over the Denver market.” Read the full review

No. 24: Larry OG (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)
No. 24: Larry OG (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)


24. Larry OG

Ry: “Larry OG is a hybrid consisting of the Lemon Larry OG mother plant and a SFV OG Kush F3 male that was created by The Cali Connection Seed Company. The Lemon Larry cut is a famed Southern California OG clone which is known for having more of a sativa effect than many OGs as well as a very citrus-heavy flavor palate. This particular sample consisted of a single nug that I eyeballed as weighing somewhere near five grams, which is somewhat unusual for an OG variety, as they normally produce smaller, compact, dense flowers. This nug was pretty gorgeous and seemed well-grown; there was a generous coating of well-preserved trichomes all over the minty green surface and it also had a wonderful texture with the appropriate amount of moisture.” Read the full review

No. 23: Golden Goat (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)
No. 23: Golden Goat (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

23. Golden Goat

Brittany: “The first of the week is when we collect our green, and this time I wanted something completely different. Hoping only for a cool sativa, I got a strain I’d never heard of — Golden Goat. In the zodiac, Capricorn (the goat) is said to represent practicality and reservation. I could only hope this strain would not live up to its name … Golden Goat hits on a flavor that I refer to as “planty.” I’ve heard others use the term “earthy.” There are no fruity notes, and no sweet overtones. There is just a delicious and rich herbal taste. Smoking my chillum it went down without a single cough. I’m glad I took the extra day to cure it.” Read the full review

No. 22: Green Crack (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)
No. 22: Green Crack (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

22. Green Crack

Jake: “Everyone loves a good weed story, even if they tend to be really, really long. So when Snoop Dogg smoked some herb so intense he dubbed it “Green Crack,” it became a legend overnight. Being zoned out for a few days as some recent dental-health issues started to affect my mental health, I thought an energy boost might be in order for the NoCo Hemp Expo. Meeting and greeting drains me as an introvert, but Green Crack was over-the-top in terms of what I needed. It’s the go-to strain if you want to make fun of the silliness inherent in the naming conventions we use. Clearly, it’s not good to name anything after crack cocaine. At the end of the day, I could care less what they call it, as I don’t think “Cush” — the original monicker — is that much better. Names are important, however: calling it Marijuana #2943 tells me nothing about the lineage or expected effects. At least when the word crack is involved, I can guess it should be energetic.” Read the full review

No. 21: Triple Diesel (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)
No. 21: Triple Diesel (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

21. Triple Diesel

Brittany: “If Sour Diesel, NYC Diesel and Strawberry Diesel had a ménage a trois, Triple Diesel would be their debilitatingly dank lovechild. Triple D is a sativa that in small doses can produce a focused and attentive high for both the medical patient and recreational user. But if one chooses to indulge it can absolutely be used for some serious relaxation. This makes it a very versatile strain that can be ideal for both daytime and nighttime consumption.” Read the full review


20. Grape Skunk

Brittany: “This hybrid has a very subtle grape taste to it. Whenever a strain is named after a flavor or fruit I sort of expect the Kool-Aid Man (yes, that’s his official mascot name) to burst into the room and slap me in the face with whatever flavor that may be. With Grape Skunk, the Kool-Aid Man just politely knocked on my door … Something I did get slapped with was pain relief. My back was loose and it was so apparent that I didn’t even have to stand up to test it, or stretch or twist. Grape Skunk had completely eliminated all irritation in less than 20 minutes.” Read the full review

19. Skywalker OG

Jake: “Skywalker OG, as it is a staple of the California collective scene. I fell in love with this cut when it was introduced to me in 2010 by a caregiver from Los Feliz, grabbing QP (quarter-pound in the bud business) after QP to stock our jars … Most find the bud structure to be a turnoff, as these plants aren’t typically suited to grow those forearm-length High Times cover shots you see. My budtender seemed apologetic that the nugs ranged from popcorn to mini-marshmallow in size, but it was precisely what I was expecting. And that doesn’t sound like a half-bad snack right now.” Read the full review

18. Oaktown Crippler

Brittany: “Oaktown Crippler isn’t the world’s most intense high, but it does provide a good degree of focus … Oaktown Crippler is great. It’s not crazy strong and removed any social anxiety. My agility remained intact throughout my experience and dry mouth was nowhere to be found.” Read the full review

17. Super Lemon Haze

Jake: “Super Lemon Haze definitely has a place on my Mt. Rushmore of marijuana. It’s my Lincoln, although it would have been perfect had Rutherford B. Hayes had a more distinguished presidency. Stemming from genius breeding of Super Silver Haze and Lemon Skunk by Greenhouse Seeds, it’s the Swiss Army knife of sativas in that I can count on it for a boost in mood, energy, or creativity. Pretty much anything but sleep. The key to a good SLH is all in the nose. Sure, you’ll get the eponymous lemons up front, but what I’m always smelling for is a faint buttery aroma. It’s like a marijuana movie theater with clean floors.” Read the full review

16. Stevie Wonder

Brittany: “Stevie Wonder, the well-known R&B songster who spans decades, has his very own namesake strain of cannabis. Who needs another Grammy, right? Spying the THC count it had (20 percent) I jumped at the chance to review some kind of wonderful. I was going to smoke this Stevie and listen to that Stevie and see where it took me … Stevie Wonder worked for me because it didn’t change the way I perceive time. Some strains can make time fly while others make it stand still. Four hits in and time was still passing as per usual. The mental high is mild to moderate. Stevie isn’t going to dumbfound you when consumed in a reasonable amount.” Read the full review

Ultra Sonja (marijuana review, Strain Theory)
An example of Ultra Sonja (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

15. Ultra Sonja

Jake: “This strain has been popping up left and right as Tierra Rojo’s genetics continue to proliferate throughout the scene. The Sonja had always been a favorite of mine as a budtender, as the unique smell and name fit for a Street Fighter character made it an easy sell. There just isn’t a lot of ganja like this out there. A cross of U.K. Cheese and Tang Tang, there’s a mix of that dairy dankness with fruity bubble gum that’s harmonious and complementary as you crack it open. Having a wine and cheese party? It’ll pair well.” Read the full review

14. Girl Scout Cookies

Jake: “To make the cookies, you start with a pretty potent Durban Poison — a landrace strain that grew with little interference or breeding in Africa — which is one of the few 100 percent sativas out there on the market. Combine that with a heavily indica-dominant OG Kush cut that most agree originated in south Florida, and you end up with the Jekyll-and-Hyde of marijuana. The cerebral high of Durban with the body-numbing Kush … what could go wrong? The nug I wound up with has all the olfactory awesomeness of cracking open a box of Thin Mints. Durban Poison tends to smell like generic pine cleaner mixed with simple syrup, while the OG is more on the earthy end of the spectrum, albeit a similar profile. This iteration is an amplification of the candy traits that each subtly possesses — with a structure that leans heavily OG. Look for purps on the sugar leaf, but always against the traditional light green background of the Durban.” Read the full review

13. Super Silver Sour Diesel Haze

Brittany: “There was no coughing and no overt taste — other than smoke. I’ve read it can taste spicy and peppery, or light and floral. Those seemed to be competing descriptions. I had no problem with the taste I was getting, so I continued on … I experienced no paranoia and it aided my appetite again. I enjoyed an optimistic experience that was mildly intoxicating for an hour before the mental part of the high wore off and it became only a body relief aid. SSSDH is one you can definitely go out in public on, and I recommend you do so.” Read the full review

12. Bruce Banner #3

Jake: “Density is one of my favorite traits when you’re getting a kush phenotype, as they tend to be compact, almost popcorn-sized buds, perfect for smoking on the go. It’s the herb you’d get back in the day and immediately feel like your “dude” had shorted you. This BB3 was no exception, as the nug itself clearly leans to the OG Kush genetics externally as the diesel-esque rounded calyxes are noticeably absent. The same goes for the nose, with big notes of burning rubber as opposed to refueling the car. I’m starting to wonder if anyone bothered to invite Strawberry Diesel to the party.”Read the full review

11. Blueberry

Brittany: “Only part way through the blunt and I decided that was enough. I put that sucker out and saved it for another time. At this point a sort of weightless sensation had set in and I recognized that I was feeling supremely tranquil. This is a pretty great effect for medical patients with severe pain … The next morning I drank coffee and took a few small tokes. This left me ready to tackle my day. The Blueberry really energized me. The undeniable optimism of the high remained with me throughout the day and it seemed to filter into everything I encountered.” Read the full review

Pure Power Plant marijuana review (Cannabis Cup edition)
A sample of Pure Power Plant from Good Meds – Lakewood (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

10. Pure Power Plant

Ry: “Pure Power Plant is a Dutch-bred strain that possibly derives from Durban Poison (the official lineage from the seed companies Nirvana and White Label) says “South African sativa and a chunky US Indica”), and may also include Skunk #1 or White Widow genetics depending upon the version. It was originally created simply as “Power Plant” by Dutch Passion and espoused as a pure African sativa line, but has since been released by countless other companies under slight name variations, usually with an increasing indica presence in an effort to continually push down flowering times … I crammed the approximately 0.8 gram nug into a slim cone using organic Raw papers and got down to business. The first few hits surprisingly weren’t so tasty, but it bloomed as the joint burned down and started to really reflect the quality that was seen in the aroma.” Read the full review

9. Afgoo

Jake: “Afgoo (sometimes Afgooey, which sounds somehow worse) is old school, combining Afghani indica roots with Hawaii’s own Maui Haze. In spite of the Haze roots, this almost always comes out as rock-hard nuggets that have distinctly dark-green sugar leaf contrasting against the more island-like light-orange hairs. There’s also a lot to like in the resin department, as this consistently produces an abundance of trichomes like a rapper somehow made it snow instead of rain on them. Usually, I’m pulling a lot more of a sugary pine note off of Afgoo — almost like a rosemary olive oil cake — but Euflora’s cut is like that cake topped with macerated bing cherries. Also, can you tell it’s good for appetite?” Read the full review

8. Death Star

Jake: The genetics in play are Sour Diesel, an old favorite that’s anything but the kind of sedative I’m looking for, and Sensi Star, an indica that can be surprisingly energetic as well. In other words, indica doesn’t always mean indica, and I don’t always have to smoke something Star Wars themed … It actually looks fine, with the density you’d expect from a Sensi cross and tons of the amber trichomes that tell me they did a great job on the cure. I always look for a good contrast in Death Star; mostly lighter green nugs that are marked by a much darker leaf and almost burnt orange hairs. Once again they’ve nailed it, even if the trim job leaves a little to be desired.” Read the full review

7. MK Ultra

Brittany: “As I broke up some MK Ultra, I noticed it was a little hard to handle, because it was very sticky. That’s typical of MK Ultra and I was glad that what I was holding was textbook. The smoke was pretty on point as well. No harshness, which was welcomed as I’ve been sick lately and any added coughing is not a desire of mine. It tasted fairly earthy, and I didn’t get the expected citrus taste MK is noted to have. No big deal … Did MK Ultra give me the brain bending it suggested? Totally. I wouldn’t use it during the day, but its ability to lay out anyone it comes in contact with makes it a perfect sleep aid for those who suffer from insomnia and might need a little help hitting the hay.” Read the full review

6. Agent Orange

Jake: “I love showing someone with relatively little marijuana experience a sativa-dominant hybrid like Agent Orange because it’s one of the best illustrations of how varied these genetics are. I could have just as easily started peeling a Cuties clementine tangerine. Smelling it after a jar of Durban Poison, there’s no doubt these are distinct plants. Sure, there’s a little spice and skunk underneath, but if you’re not smelling a California cash crop, you’ve been had … People are always asking for recommendations for good daytime smoke that won’t knock them out, and this definitely delivers in that regard. It even does a decent job with pain management, as my back felt loose after tightening up during yardwork over the weekend. For a hybrid they tout as a 60/40 sativa-leaning split, though, I didn’t get much of the indica vibe.” Read the full review

Headband marijuana review (Strain Theory)
An example of Headband (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

5. Headband

Jake: “Headband is a cross of a high-flying sativa with some heavy indica. Think the Ultimate Warrior coming off the top rope and landing on Andre the Giant. In stoner math, that equates to Sour Diesel X [OG Kush X Master Kush] if I still understand how the order of operations works. They list it as a sativa-dominant hybrid, something I’ve always felt swung the other way, but genetics can vary so I’ll have to trust them.” Read the full review

4. Strawberry Cough

Brittany: “Strawberry Cough goes down way more smoothly than it sounds like it would. It tasted sweet and after the first hit I was struck with a significant fruity flavor. I wasn’t thinking specifically about the strain when I hit it, but the residual taste made me remember — Strawberry Cough! … So, after my sesh with the hybrid (although my jar was marked “indica”), I was on the move. Beds, made. Carpets, vacuumed. Dishes, done. Jim Croce was spinning on the record player and I was dressed head to toe with a full face of makeup. Even better — it was only 10 a.m. I had the rest of my day ahead of me.” Read the full review

3. Tahoe OG

Brittany: “The nugs were super dense, compact and had visible trichomes. The buds weren’t huge, but they weren’t tiny either. Goldilocks herself might describe them as just right … Tahoe OG is strong, friends. Really strong. One way I discern an intense strain from a more mellow one is by the degree of perma-smile attained. Sure enough, after a few minutes of consumption I could not get the grin off my mug. I felt super goofy and my partner in crime was even goofier.” Read the full review

2. Blue Dream

Jake: “I’m not sure which I’ve recommended more over the past five years: Blue Dream or “Breaking Bad.” The former is seemingly ubiquitous in Colorado, and there’s something fitting about such an active, uplifting strain bearing our standard. The latter is a cable show and not marijuana, for those of you too cool to own a television but who can still afford a giant rock to live under … Blue Dream is what I always refer to as “workout weed.” I’ve jogged about as many times as Ron Burgundy, but I’ve been told on many occasions Blue Dream simulates runner’s high for those familiar with both. Zone out and crush reps, bro!” Read the full review

Ghost Train Haze, marijuana review (Strain Theory, Cannabis Cup edition)
A sample of Ghost Train Haze from Green Man Cannabis (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

1. Ghost Train Haze

Ry: “I am acutely familiar with the Ghost Train Haze strain, as I remember receiving some of the first seeds of this now-legendary hybrid from Scott Reach (founder and head breeder at Colorado-based Rare Dankness Seeds) all the way back in 2011. Scott said he was working on a special project using nearly all of his super-rare OG Kush mothers, and the Ghost Train Haze series of releases that followed were the result of that work. Using a selected Nevil’s Wreck male (another RD creation, a very sativa-dominant hybrid of E-32 Trainwreck and Neville’s Haze), Scott pollinated each of his mothers, including the Ghost’s OG Kush that became the namesake for the series of GTH releases. The Ghost is my personal favorite OG and I also love Haze weed, so this was a match made in heaven.” Read the full review

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