The Origin Of Skunk Cannabis & The Top 3 Skunk Strains

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Skunk Cannabis

Skunk weed is famous the World over. The reputation of this amazing strain precedes it. We journey back in time to explore how the world's first commercial cannabis strain was developed. We also selected three of our favorite Skunk strains. Have a look at the bomb strains below.

The arrival of Skunk was the dawn of the cultivation revolution; we delve through the myths, legends, and disinformation to bring you the true origins of Skunk.

Cannabis prior to the 1970’s was always seeded, in fact, it was totally seeded. Weed was grown almost exclusively from seed outdoors, and virtually nobody knew a reliable method for taking cuttings during vegetative growth.


During the 1970’s in the US virtually all the weed was imported, with the vast majority coming from south of the border, Acapulco Gold from Mexico and Colombian Gold from Colombia.

Since all the weed was seeded the first experiments in US domestic cultivation came from what we call today “bag seed”. Everything was an experiment, and by the mid 1970’s these pioneer cultivators were learning that growing exclusively female plants to maturity would greatly improve the quality and quantity of the weed.

They discovered “Sinsemilla” or seedless weed. In 1976 “Sinsemilla Marijuana Flowers” by Jim Richardson & Arik Woods, a coffee table book was a hit with stoners and served as an early guide book for US growers

“The Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program began funding eradication programs in Hawaii and California in 1979. The program rapidly expanded to include 25 States in 1982” -

In 1983 Sam The Skunkman arrived in Amsterdam with thousands of seeds, some say hundreds of thousands.

Consisting of the legendary cerebral Sativa’s and experimental hybrids including prototype Skunk #1 (Colombian Gold x Afghani #1) x Acapulco Gold, essentially fleeing the US with the crown jewels of the Sacred Seeds collective in the wake of a DEA crackdown or so the story goes.



Collaborations with now legendary Dutch breeders resulted in the Skunk #1 as we know it. To propose that Sam arrived with 100% perfected strains is disingenuous and difficult to believe, not to mention it utterly undermines the contributions of Dutch masters.

Dutch cultivators were experimenting with Indica strains during the same period as the US sativa growers. The fusion of these genetics and most importantly adaptation for indoor cultivation all happened in the Netherlands, not in California.

By the late 1980’s HID lighting was bringing cultivation indoors and Skunk #1 became the World’s first commercial strain. Winning the first Cannabis Cup in 1988 made the strain a legend and it has only grown ever since.

The 75% sativa to 25% indica hybrid blend was to become the benchmark of quality. Growers fell in love with the fast flowering productive plant with the uniquely pungent odour. Easy to grow even for novices and potent in experienced hands.


Entire seed banks were built from Skunk #1, notable examples of the earlier collaborators with Sam the Skunkman are of course Sensi Seeds still stocking their particular version of Skunk #1 and countless hybrids, Mr. Nice Seeds' catalogue is packed with crosses and The Flying Dutchmen have their version called “The Pure” as well as many crosses like the other two seed banks.

Skunk became an instant hit with UK cultivators, and it is from a pack of Sensi Seeds Skunk #1 that the “Cheese” was derived in the early 1990’s. Selective breeding for the extra stinky smell of the Cheese made it a legend in its own right.

These days all high-grade cannabis is referred to as “Skunk” in the UK so synonymous with quality has the strain become. Skunk is to weed what Sellotape is to sticky tape in the UK.


Skunk 1 Sensi


Across the mainstream media in Europe Skunk regularly receives much undeserved bad press. This shabby reporting is not just limited to British tabloids.

Even in Ireland where the strain has been a favourite with growers and smokers since the late 1990’s, broadsheets such as the Irish Independent are filled with 21st Century Reefer Madness.

A recent article by Alan O’Keefe grossly misrepresented the strain “Benzos are mostly used to help addicts to come back down from intense highs which they get after taking drugs such as Skunk - a powerful cannabis drug”- Irish Independent 14/9/16.

The Top 3 Skunk Strains

There are countless Skunk varieties available, considering Skunk is, and has always been, a staple in the cannabis scene in terms of classic cannabis genetics and breeding endeavors. Our in-house cannabis experts have selected their three favorites for you to explore. Have a look at the beauties below!


Skunk XL by Royal Queen Seeds is old-school 1980s classic Skunk upgraded and super-sized for the 21st century. This easy-cropping indica/sativa hybrid royalty can grow as tall as 1.5m and produce a huge, chunky, long-running cola with just 7-8 weeks of standard 12-12 flowering. Beginner growers and longtime Skunk cultivators will appreciate how versatile and rewarding this deluxe Skunk is to crop.

Skunk XL is a solid performer across all three common substrates: coco, hydro, and soil. Outdoors in warmer Mediterranean climates, individual plants in large containers can stretch above 2m and produce 600g+ of fat Skunk buds. Plants are typically ready for harvest early-October. Subtle hints of sweet fruits and a pleasant head-body high makes her a real contender to the Skunk throne. Hail to the Queen.


Paradise Seeds launched a Skunk ICBM when they brought together the most incendiary Skunk cultivars from both sides of the Atlantic. Fusing Californian and Dutch genetics to create Mendocino Skunk, all true Skunk-lovers will find this strain really too good to resist.

Mendocino Skunk has a squat, bushy growth structure and leans a little more to the indica side, especially when it comes to her appearance. A chunky main cola and rock-hard side-branch nugs are to be expected from compact mature plants that rarely stretch beyond medium size. Indoors or outdoors in hot summer weather, Mendocino Skunk will complete bloom in just 7-8 weeks. Smooth, old-school Skunk flavour with fruity berry notes makes this a mouth-wateringly sweet stash. An initial uplifting and euphoric buzz that evolves into a relaxing physical stoned effect will delight both medicinal and recreational users.


If you have been searching for a more robust Skunk that stands a better chance of making it to harvest in cooler climates but still retains the signature attributes of the original, you need to check out Kiwiskunk. Kiwiseeds has successfully endowed Kiwiskunk with improved mould resistance and greater tolerance of cold weather.

At the same time, the notorious stinking Skunk aroma has been preserved, and bud production bulked up to around 500g/m² indoors. Outdoors, the equivalent yield per plant can be ready for harvest in temperate to warm climates by mid-October.

Kiwiskunk is reminiscent of the infamous reeking “Road Kill” Skunks of the past. She still provides a smooth toke, but a richer, more earthy flavour is to be expected. The majority of plants will develop a branchy indica profile. Completing the bloom cycle in 8 weeks indoors, this hardy hybrid is a great introduction to the Skunk family for the beginner grower and packs an uplifting high that’s not too racy.

The list of Skunk’s is endless and will probably only continue to grow and diversify. One thing is for absolute certain: Skunk is here to stay. Debates surrounding Skunks origins, the key participants and their precise contributions will probably also go on forever despite our efforts to set the record straight. Regardless of who gets the credit, the legend continues.

Top-Shelf Grower

Written by: Top-Shelf Grower
Veteran cannabis cultivator originally from Dublin, Ireland and currently on the loose in southern Spain. 100% committed to Top-Shelf reporting until captured or killed.

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