Original Cannabis Strains And Their Creators
6 min

Top 7 Original Cannabis Strains And Their Creators

6 min

In this article, we take a close look at the origins of 7 of the most iconic cannabis strains to ever hit the market. These include GG#4, Amnesia, Blueberry, Cheese, AK-47, Skunk, and Northern Lights.

A handful of cannabis strains have been so successful that they’ve built up prestige among users. These include Northern Lights, AK-47, Amnesia, and a few more.

Unfortunately, tracking down the origins of these strains is far from easy, given the fact that the cannabis industry has long been built on secrecy. In this article, we’ve handpicked 7 of the most iconic cannabis strains to hit the market and try our best to clarify where they came from. Remember that this information is based on hearsay and rumours, and should therefore be taken with a grain of salt.

1. GG#4

GG#4 Cannabis

GG#4 is a potent hybrid strain with a big reputation. While there are many versions of this strain currently floating around the market, we’ll be focussing on the origins of the original GG#4.

This strain was first created by Josey Wales (AKA Jackie Don Peabody), co-founder of GG Strains in 2012. The strain was created by accident after one of Wales’ plants turned hermaphrodite and pollinated another. Wales threw out the resulting seeds, but his friend Lone Watie (co-founder of GG Strains) luckily saved some from the trash and germinated them at home.

He was left with 4 plants, each a unique cross between Chem Sister and Sour Dubb (the two strains Wales crossed by accident), and the 4th plant in the batch was deemed the best by both Wales and Watie. They took this phenotype and eventually crossed it with a Chocolate Diesel. Then, while working on his new plant, Wales received a phone call. He recalls his hands were so sticky from the plant’s resin that they stuck to the phone.

And that’s how GG#4 was born, named after an iconic brand of adhesive. Since then, GG#4 has become a household name among cannabis enthusiasts and has won multiple awards, including:

  • 1st place, 2014 Cannabis Cup Los Angeles
  • 1st place, 2014 Cannabis Cup Michigan
  • 1st place, 2015 World Cannabis Cup
  • 2nd place, 2016 Cannabis Cup Colorado

Given the success of the strain, many seed banks began offering their own line of GG#4, Royal Queen Seeds, FastBuds, and Zamnesia Seeds, to name just a few. GG strains began selling their genetics and collaborating with other seed banks both to protect their brand and the quality of their product. One of the few seed banks licensed to sell and grow GG#4 is Dark Horse Genetics.

In August 2017, GG strains itself came into legal troubles after The GG#4 Company (makers of adhesive products such as GG#4, Gorilla Epoxy, and Gorilla Tape) sued the company for alleged trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, and cybersquatting.

In order to comply with The GG#4 company and avoid a potentially devastating legal battle, GG strains remarketed its strains GG#4, #1, and #5 as GG#4, GG#1, and GG#5. The companies are apparently in the process of hashing out a settlement deal instead of going to court.


Amnesia (Super Strains)

Amnesia is a classic Dutch strain and a staple in coffee shops all throughout The Netherlands. Usually a sativa-dominant strain, Amnesia is renowned for producing a powerful, uplifting euphoria. The strain first hit the market in the late 1990s after a particularly good summer hit The Netherlands in 96 or 97.

The original Amnesia was grown by Super Strains (a Dutch seed bank working with genetics from all over the globe) and quickly became the company’s flagship. The plant was grown outdoors; the team at Super Strains were working with a strong sativa which they expected to get very large.

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The Origin Of Amnesia Cannabis And The Top 3 Amnesia Strains

They planted their Amnesia on a small hill and, by the end of winter, the plant was already at least 1m tall and 1m wide. When it came to finally testing the strain, the grower at Super Strains described the buds as so thick that they couldn’t be crumbled, and claimed there was enough resin on his/her hands from handling the buds to “easily fill another joint.”

After taking the first toke, the breeder felt a strong euphoria and clarity that allegedly brought on tears. From that moment on, the team at Super Strains knew they had created something wonderful. “I knew it. There’s a new kid in town. She will conquer the world,” the mystery breeder wrote, describing the day he first tried Amnesia.

Today, Amnesia is an icon. A full-bodied sativa that takes 10 weeks to mature and can reach heights of up to 250cm, this strain is a legend among legends. Many a seed bank has an amnesia strain of their own in their seed vault. Examples are the Vision Seeds and Dinafem varieties.


Blueberry Cannabis

Blueberry is an A-list cannabis strain. A powerful indica, this iconic strain has become a household favourite among smokers from all across the world in recent years. The history of this strain, however, dates back to the 1970s.

Blueberry was created by DJ Short, a legendary cannabis breeder who was apparently working with a variety of landrace strains at the time. DJ Short, unfortunately, is somewhat of a mystery man and very little is known about his whereabouts or history. He apparently gathered seeds from around the world and grew in a wide variety of locations, including California, Oregon, Canada, Amsterdam, and Spain.

He also worked with a variety of seed banks, which means many of his prized genetics have been passed around and elaborated on by other breeders. Rumour has it that DJ Short bred a “crinkle” deformity into his seeds, which was apparently lost after a single cross. This is all based on hearsay, however, and there is no one to confirm whether this is true.

Blueberry eventually came to fame after taking the top prize for Best Indica at the High Times Cannabis Cup in 2000. Since then, countless other breeders have come to sell a version of Blueberry, including Dutch Passion, Zamnesia Seeds, and more.


Cheese Cannabis

Cheese strains are fascinating to any cannabis enthusiast, boasting an extremely pungent and sour aroma that almost any smoker can identify from a mile away. Unlike some of the other strains on this list, the origins of Cheese are pretty straightforward. The first Cheese varieties stemmed from a pack of Skunk #1 seeds. Skunk #1, as we’ll see later, is a cannabis strain created by Sam The Skunkman.

Many growers complained about Sam’s original Skunk, especially those in The Netherlands. While it was incredibly potent and resilient, it also produced a strong aroma (something illegal growers are always looking to avoid). So, to meet the demand of his customers, Sam began breeding out the aroma from his original Skunk #1.

A group of growers in the UK working with a batch of Skunk seeds realised that one of their plants was completely different to the other plants in the grow. It produced a very unique, pungent aroma and produced big buds. The growers immediately saw the potential of this plant and began cloning it.

In 1995, one of these clones got into the hands of Exodus, an alternative community living near London, who eventually gave it its name and continued selling/breeding the strain. Cheese became an instant hit across the UK and thus, around the world. Today, there are hundreds of Cheese varieties out there, like Sweet Seeds' Sweet Cheese and Royal Cheese Fast-flowering by Royal Queen Seeds. Some seed banks, like Big Buddha for example, even specialise in Cheese varieties.

5. AK-47

AK-47 Cannabis

AK-47, despite its intense name, is treasured by cannabis users for its strong effects that leave users calm and mellow. A sativa-dominant hybrid, this strain is known for producing a strong euphoria characterised by cerebral stimulation as well as a nice, underlying physical buzz.

AK-47 was first developed in 1992 by Simon, head breeder at Serious Seeds, a Dutch seed bank. Rumour has it that the strain was created by accident after Simon took a simple stab in the dark crossing some of the plants he’d been working with.

While he never openly revealed how he created the strain, he has mentioned that it contains Colombian, Mexican, Thai, and Afghani genetics. Every few years, Simon is rumoured to be partly rebuilding the strain. He is said to do so by manipulating the same genetics and creating a new parent plant with the same genotype but a slightly different expression.

This means that growers who consistently buy AK-47 seeds from Serious Seeds will notice a slight change in the phenotypes of the plants every few years. Since its creation in 1992, AK-47 has won numerous cannabis cups for its potency, and has become another staple of coffeeshops in The Netherlands.

The strain is beloved for its potency, complex flavours, and short flowering times. Growers from other seed banks have created their own AK-47 version or devised closely related cannabis strains, such as AK-420 by Zamnesia Seeds and Auto AK by Grass-O-Matic.


Skunk Cannabis

Skunk cannabis strains are arguably some of the most commonly found around the world. They are renowned for their resilience, making them ideal for growing in a wide variety of climates. The original Skunk was created by a legendary cannabis breeder known as Sam The Skunkman.

Sam apparently arrived in The Netherlands in the early 1980s and brought with him a huge collection of cannabis seeds from far flung corners of the globe. Sam immediately began working together with head breeders at some of Holland’s biggest seed banks and began perfecting his strains.

This collaboration eventually gave birth to Skunk #1, a powerful cannabis strain born from a curious mix of Afghani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombian Gold varieties. The result was a robust strain that could easily be grown indoors and out, while producing big yields of potent, sticky weed.

The original Skunk #1 was first sold via Sacred Seeds, who worked closely with Sam The Skunkman after his arrival in The Netherlands. This strain is often labelled as revolutionary in the grow game, being one of the first varieties suited to indoor conditions.

Since then, countless other seed banks began offering their own twist on these genetics, Nirvana Seeds, and Royal Queen Seeds.


Northern Lights Cannabis

Last on our list of classic cannabis strains is Northern Lights, a big indica strain adored for its big buds, heavy harvests, and fast flowering times. While Northern Lights has become a household name among cannabis users, its exacts origins remain mysterious.

There is a general agreement that Northern Lights was discovered by Neville Schoenmaker, a Dutch-Australian cannabis breeder renowned as the father of The Seed Bank, the first commercial seed bank founded in The Netherlands in the 1980s. Neville apparently found the strain being grown on an island near Seattle, Washington. Here, a grower known as The Indian was rumoured to have grown 11 plants from pure Afghani backgrounds, which he named Northern Lights #1-11.

When the plants came to flower, Northern Lights #5 apparently produced the best crop, followed by Northern Lights #1 in a close second place. Neville is believed to have brought back clones of all of the plants to The Netherlands, where he continued working with them either by inbreeding or crossing them with other varieties.

Eventually, Northern Lights hit the shelves of The Seed Bank, and has revolutionised the cannabis industry ever since. Other major seed banks eventually ran their own lines of Northern Lights, such as Ministry of Cannabis and Genehtik Seeds.

The original Northern Lights #5, however, is rumoured to have never been sold in seed form and was instead used to breed other hybrid classics, some of which are still available today.


So, there you have it; an in-depth rundown of some of the most iconic cannabis strains and their origins. All of these strains and many more are available via the Zamnesia cannabis seed shop.

Disclaimer: Remember, the information here isn’t 100% factual. Unfortunately, much of the information about specific strains and their creators is based on lore and word of mouth. While we’ve done our best to stick to the facts, make sure you reach out to us if you disagree with any of this information or have something to add!

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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