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Classic Cannabis Strains
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Top 10 Classic Cannabis Strains

9 min
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Cheese. Skunk. Sour Diesel. These are names that almost every stoner knows, from seasoned cannabis veterans to fresh-faced novices. There’s a reason these strains have reached every corner of the cannabis world. They were created using exotic landrace genetics, feature unparalleled traits, and offer incredible stability. These are the classics.

Many popular modern strains have inherited their genetics from this pantheon of legends. Although smoking these progenies offers a glimpse into their forefathers, it’s not the same as burning the classics first-hand—something every smoker should do before their time is up.

Here are the top 10 classic cannabis strains to try before you die. Explore our "Classic" category to find the seeds to all these strains.

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1. AMNESIA

Amnesia

Amnesia is one of the most renowned sativa-dominant hybrids. This classic cultivar remains a firm favourite throughout the cannabis world, occupying the shelves of both North American dispensaries and Amsterdam coffeeshops. Amnesia genetics have been around for quite some time, and thus many breeders have harnessed them to create novel variants of their own.

The original Amnesia is the progeny of fellow legends Bubble Gum and Super Silver Haze. Bubble Gum is a much-loved indica-dominant cultivar that has won a total of four High Times Cannabis Cups. Ambitious breeders created the original BG in Indiana using Blueberry and Sour Candy. Impressed with their work, they passed on subsequent generations to breeders in New England and Holland. After a rigorous process of coaxing out her best traits, the modern version of Bubble Gum provides a euphoric body high and delicious sugary tastes.

Super Silver Haze brought enough sativa genetics to the table to counteract the indica profile of Bubble Gum. This award-winning variety has been a hit since the 1990s and is loved far and wide for her stimulating properties. Breeders created her using Northern Lights #5, Original Haze, and Skunk #1.

As a combination of these two impressive cultivars, it’s easy to see why Amnesia has been so successful. She produces a striking sativa high reminiscent of Super Silver Haze, with her large buds providing a THC value of 18% that hits hard and fast. As her name suggests, her potency might impact short-term memory. However, she’s high in the terpene alpha-pinene, which is thought to counteract some of these effects. Speaking of terpenes, Amnesia offers tantalising tastes and aromas of wood and spice.

She’s a productive strain that rarely disappoints growers. Indoors, she’ll grow to a height of 150cm and yield 500–600g/m² after a flowering time of 65–70 days. Plants cultivated outdoors can grow to a massive height of 350cm and produce a hefty harvest to suit. Prepare to trim these monsters in mid-October.

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2. NORTHERN LIGHTS

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is an undying classic that has occupied the hearts of breeders, growers, and smokers for decades. She gained notoriety for her powerful—and at times, overwhelming—indica body high. Her stoning and euphoric effects have won her numerous awards, and also make her a useful therapeutic variety.

The exact genetic lineage of this 100% pure Indica has yet to be confirmed. Legend has it that its story began in the US, on an island near Seattle, Washington, with 11 seeds of Afghan origin. Nevil Schoenmaker then brought clones of these natural specimens to the Netherlands, where he crossed and refined them. Northern Lights eventually returned to the US and is now very popular on the West Coast and in Colorado.

Northern Lights makes a superb smoke during the evening. Her weighty and stoning high slams the body almost immediately. The effects render the body heavy and glued to the couch. The high works well to diffuse stress and tension at the end of a long day, and does wonders for pain and anxiety. What starts as stoning euphoria slowly tapers off into calm sleepiness. Prepare yourself for severe munchies during the tail end of the high.

Northern Lights produces small and compact flowers that churn out high quantities of terpene-rich resin. They provide high levels of myrcene, a terpene that offers aromas of earth and adds a touch of sedation to the high. These buds also put out high levels of humulene, a terpene that produces musky and spicy aromas.

Northern Lights follows an indica growth pattern. She’ll ascend to a height of 120cm indoors and yield around 500g/m². Outdoor plants peak at 250cm and produce plentiful harvests at the end of September.

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3. GORILLA 4

Gorilla 4

The birth of the original Gorilla Glue 4 was a stroke of luck; in fact, it was an accident. When a hermaphrodite Chem's Sister pollinated a female Sour Dubb, the breeder decided to throw the seeds away. Fortunately, his buddy rescued them and planted them the following year. This resulted in four different phenotypes, of which #4 turned out to be amazing. Today, many varieties carry Gorilla or Glue in their name. This modern blend of Chem's Sis and Chocolate Diesel from BSB Genetics has taken the industry by storm.

Gorilla 4 is an ultra-potent indica variety that stones the body into oblivion. With an almost unrivalled cannabinoid profile, this cultivar has set the bar high in regard to THC levels. Laboratory analysis has revealed quantities as high as 32%. Her flowers produce insane amounts of sticky resin, a trait that influenced the “Glue” part of her birth name. This phenom has impressed the cannabis world with her might time and time again, and has placed first at numerous High Times Cannabis Cup events.

Chem’s Sister contains THC levels as high as 28%, and drills her sativa effects deep into the mind within seconds of inhalation. Her energetic and creative high have made her a popular choice among sativa lovers. Her flowers offer contrasting tastes of sweetness and citrus—each toke brings the taste buds to life.

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Chocolate Diesel is another superior choice. Although she produces a moderate THC level of 18%, her diverse terpene profile makes her a fitting selection. Her flowers emit scents of hash, musk, pine, and petrol, all of which have rubbed off on Gorilla 4.

Gorilla 4 isn’t for novice smokers or those who like to take things easy. This indica will blow you away almost immediately. Several tokes in, and it will feel as though someone has cast a heavy comfort blanket over your entire body. She’s not a particularly social strain. Smoke her in the evenings when it’s time to zone out and let worries and stress melt away.

Her tall, full, and tapered colas ooze a resin that will stink out your grow room. The primary terpenes—caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene—converge to provide tastes of earth, pine, and, of course, chocolate!

Gorilla 4 produces an average yield both indoors and outdoors. She’s not the most substantial producer, but the potency of her flowers makes up for it. Indoor growers can expect plants to reach a medium height and pump out 500g/m² of sticky buds. Prepare to harvest after a flowering time of 7–9 weeks.

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4. BLUEBERRY

Blueberry

Blueberry is perhaps the most flavoursome classic cultivar in existence. This indica-dominant lady was created to please the taste buds. She’s been bringing flavour to bowls and blunts for decades, and exploded in popularity after winning the High Times Cannabis Cup in 2000 for Best Indica.

The terpene profile within her tall and frosty flowers will dominate the scent of your garden. These molecules work wonders at attracting beneficial insects that’ll keep the bad guys away. But she’s not all scent. Blueberry also packs heat with a THC level of 24%.

Blueberry is the work of legendary breeder DJ Short—a High Times Seed Bank Hall of Famer and pioneer of pot since 1978. He is responsible for other masterful creations such as Azure Haze, New Berry, and First Light. Short created Blueberry in the ‘70s using an Afghani indica, a Thai sativa, and Purple Thai.

Zambeza seeds created a variant of this strain using Northern Light, Blueberry, and an Afghani indica. This cultivar shares similar genetic roots and the same stunning flavours as the original.

The indica-dominant effects of Blueberry are fast-acting and sedating. You won't want to smoke this strain before work or any other commitments for that matter. She’ll bathe you in a calming euphoria and have you longing for food and rest.

Her fruity flowers bring sensory pleasure to every hit, but they don’t only shine in smoke. Blueberry is an excellent strain of choice when it comes to creating edibles. Use her to make cannabutter and add it to sweet dishes along with some fresh fruit. You won’t be disappointed. Terpenes caryophyllene, humulene, and myrcene are responsible for such delicious flavours.

Blueberry will be ready to harvest after a relatively brief flowering time of 9 weeks. Indoor plants will peak at a height of 150cm and yield 300–500g/m².

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5. CHEESE

Cheese

Cheese put the United Kingdom on the cannabis map. Restrictive laws and poor weather have prevented the UK from competing with the likes of California and Spain, but Cheese changed that. This legendary strain took the global scene by storm and laid the foundations for many well-known varieties.

Cheese is a well-balanced cultivar that features 60% indica genetics and 40% sativa. Cheese genetics are said to have originated in the UK in 1998. She was created using a rare phenotype of Skunk #1, along with Afghan, Mexican, and Colombian genetics. The original strain is now only available as a cutting.

Zamnesia Seeds’ variety is the offspring of Skunk and Northern Lights; she’s the equivalent of cannabis royalty. She generates a THC level of 20% and provides a functional and balanced high. The experience begins in the head, stimulating creative thoughts, enhancing focus, and inspiring physical activity. Later down the line, the indica elements come through and manifest as a soothing, muscle-melting sensation.

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As her name suggests, Cheese stinks! Her terpenes have the potential to gas out your house. Her sparkling nugs are high in linalool, alpha-pinene, caryophyllene, and humulene, which equates to a scent of lemon and lavender alongside her trademark musk.

Cheese’s yield won’t disappoint. Indoor plants grow to a height of 150cm and pump out up to 550g/m². You won’t be waiting long to taste the fruits of your labour; she has a flowering time of 8 weeks.

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6. AK-47

AK-47

Breeders named AK-47 after a malicious firearm, but don’t let this fool you—she spreads more peace than war. However, her powerful effects earned her the reputation of a weapon. Handle with care.

AK-47 is a sativa-dominant hybrid variety that stems from a vibrant blend of landrace genetics from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and Afghanistan.

Colombian, Mexican, and Thai landraces exert stimulating effects and are tall in structure. This is where AK-47 gets her buzz. In contrast, Afghani landraces unleash stoning indica highs. The addition of this trait takes the edge off of AK-47 and adds a soothing body effect.

AK-47 produces somewhat polarising effects. The high is primarily cognitive and places users in a creative mood. However, at the same time, the body becomes heavy and relaxed. She’s a great strain to smoke indoors while honing in on creative projects and work tasks. This strain will likely cause dry mouth, so keep a glass of juice nearby.

AK-47 is also a delightful cultivar to the cannabis connoisseurs out there. She provides a rich sensory experience with lingering flavours of herbs, pepper, and pine.

This award-winning strain does well both indoors and outdoors. Indoor plants yield up to 500g/m² after a flowering time of 53–63 days. Plants cultivated outdoors in the elements yield an average return and will be ready to harvest during the second half of October.

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7. SKUNK

Skunk

Skunk is an indica powerhouse that boasts extremely stable genetics. She produces towering colas and high THC levels without fail. Her landrace ancestors gave rise to a strain with little phenotypic variation, so growers know exactly what to expect come harvest time.

Original Skunk (Skunk #1) was created using Afghani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombian Gold over a long breeding process. She was developed in the Netherlands in 1978 and continues to be a favourite in the coffeeshop world and beyond. Skunk #1 has been used as genetic stock to create many different hybrids over the years. Many big seedbanks have put their unique spin on this strain.

These monolithic colas produce a THC content of 22% and a physical high that hits the body with waves of euphoria. Experienced smokers will recognise Skunk by scent and flavour alone. Her signature blend of sweet citrus and pepper notes triggers nostalgia after the slightest whiff.

Skunk provides a high yield in both grow tents and gardens while maintaining a medium height. You’ll be smoking these buds after a flowering time of only 45–50 days.

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8. BLUE DREAM

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a unique variety forged on a foundation of legendary genetics. It’s the product of true classics Blueberry and Haze. Blue Dream was carefully crafted over generations to harbour only the best qualities of each parent. At first glance, Blue Dream might not seem like much. Its spherical flowers aren’t massive, but they are dense, and it’s what’s inside that matters.

These neat nuggets overwork their resident trichomes, pumping out large quantities of resin swimming with high levels of THC. Blue Dream offers a hard-hitting and electrifying sativa high, primarily influenced by its pure sativa parent strain Haze. Seconds after smoking a bowl, energy rushes toward the cranium. The effects are well-suited to daytime use and kindle creativity and motivation.

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It's Blueberry genetics become apparent when smelling the fresh flowers and inhaling their smoke. The complex terpene profile generates tastes of berries, sweetness, and fruit. These tantalising flavours make Blue Dream a favourable candidate when cooking up edibles.

Blue Dream is regarded as an easy strain to grow and is an excellent introductory photoperiod plant for beginners. Plants cultivated indoors maintain an easily manageable height and yield in the region of 350g/m² after a flowering time of 9–10 weeks. When cultivated outdoors, Blue Dream provides an average return and will be ready to harvest at the end of October.

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9. DR. GRINSPOON

DR Grinspoon

Dr. Grinspoon is a classic variety popular among cannabis connoisseurs, seed collectors, and unconventional breeders. This pure sativa looks nothing like your standard modern cultivar. That’s because it’s an heirloom variety—a product of many generations of inbreeding via open pollination. This genetic isolation has kept it pure and has resulted in a unique morphology.

The stem of this strain looks extremely thin and brittle in comparison to other varieties. Its flowers look alien, too. Instead of bulbous buds, Dr Grinspoon produces small, bead-like flowers. It’s easy to underestimate these blossoms by their appearance, but they create a THC content of 25%! Such potency, combined with a pure sativa genetic profile, makes for an explosive experience. The effects take hold with little warning and blast the mind into an altered state for hours on end.

Are you wondering where this unique strain gets her title? The breeders decided to name the variety after Lester Grinspoon, late Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Grinspoon gained notoriety throughout the cannabis community for his activism and research. He became interested in the herb during the 1960s and soon saw through the propaganda peddled at the time. He went on to pen “Marihuana Reconsidered”, a review of the history and physiological effects of cannabis. It fitted to name this award-winning classic after the legend himself.

The strain is an advanced photoperiod plant to grow. Indoor plants grow to 160cm in height and deliver 300–400g/m² after a flowering time of up to 100 days. Plants cultivated outdoors produce a rewarding return and will be ready to harvest in early November.

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10. SOUR DIESEL

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is a classic that can be found all over the world, from American dispensaries to Dutch coffeeshops. Striking sativa morphology, a unique taste of fuel, and extreme potency are the traits that “fuelled” its rise to fame. It stems from the sunny cannabis mecca of California, home to some of the best genetics on the planet. The creators of Sour Diesel must have been super blazed because what they attempted was genuinely ambitious. They set out to cross two superstar strains of the time: Diesel and Northern Lights.

Their efforts were a success. The fruit of their labour was a sativa-dominant specimen that churned out compact, THC-laden flowers. Today, its powerful high is still a hit among recreational and medicinal users, and its strange yet satisfying tastes of sour, spice and petrol leave users begging for more.

Do you ever have those days where you have one hundred things to get done? These are the days when Sour Diesel comes to the fore—considering you can handle the high. The fiery sativa high is like a back-handed slap to the face—in the best way possible. The effects purge procrastination and replace it with a hunger for productivity.

Sour Diesel has a moderate growing difficulty and is suited to cultivators with some experience. Plants raised indoors reach up to 130cm and produce a rewarding yield of 450–600g/m². Outdoor plants are hardy and independent. They’ll grow tall and provide a medium return.

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Luke S

Written by: Luke S.
Luke S. is a journalist based in the United Kingdom, specialising in health, alternative medicine, herbs and psychedelic healing. He has written for outlets such as Reset.me, Medical Daily and The Mind Unleashed, covering these and other areas.

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