If you’re an avid marijuana consumer, you’ve probably heard about “Kush” at one point or another. In fact, you may have purchased a Kush strain from your local dispensary.
But, what exactly is Kush? Is it a strain of marijuana or is it a slang word for potency? The answer lies somewhere in between the two, and the term Kush has taken on multiple meanings over the years.
Today, we’re going to demystify Kush and talk about what Kush means, where it comes from, and what kinds of strains of cannabis make up Kush.
What is Kush?
To accurately describe Kush cannabis, we need to separate Kush into two categories — the actual strain of cannabis and the classification.
As a strain of cannabis, Kush originates from the Hindu Kush mountains — a mountain range that spans Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not only are the Hindu Kush mountains a center of cultural and religious significance to Buddhists, but it was a significant source of Cannabis during the height of the “war on drugs” in the 1970s. Hindu Kush strains were shipped and smuggled throughout the United States from the early 70s, and these same strains continue to permeate cannabis culture in almost every state in the U.S.
As a classification, Kush (probably due to the specific strains that were being smuggled to the U.S.) refers to a particular suite of smells, textures, and appearances. You can classify cannabis in a few different ways. Some people refer to cannabis specifically by the strain. Some people choose to identify cannabis by its effect or morphology — like Sativa or Indica. And, others choose to classify cannabis by its characteristics using words like Kush, Purple, Haze, etc. that have spawned from popular culture.
So, Kush is both a strain of marijuana as well as a popular characterization for marijuana.
Understanding the Kush Strain
Let’s start off with this — no two Kush strains are exactly alike. The phenotype (or genetic makeup) of each Kush strain will be particular to that strain. This is especially true in the modern era of breeding, where backcrossing and hybrid breeding are creating new and exciting strains of cannabis every day.
However, almost all Kush plants do share some commonalities (after all, they are landrace strains), especially when it comes to their genetic resistance. Since Kush originates from the harsh mountainous climates of the Hindu Kush mountains, where the climate is harsh and frigid and water sources vary from area-to-area, most Kush plants have incredible resistance to the elements and require only moderate water intake. This makes them particularly valuable to breeders since they can be bred rather easily in most climates.
Kush strains also have a few other unique characteristics that make them highly valuable to growers (which is a major reason why they are so prominent in the U.S. and abroad).
- Kush plants typically have a high yield. Strains like Strawberry Kush can yield a massive 600 grams per square meter — making them one of the highest yielding strains in the world.
- Kush plants don’t grow extremely tall. For many growers, managing the height of cannabis plants is a difficult task. It requires additional headspace and square footage — as well as additional pruning — to maintain strains that grow too tall. Kush generally grows to a medium height, which puts it in that golden zone of manageability.
- Kush plants can survive indoors and outdoors. This duality makes them suitable for many different growing setups, which has attributed to its popularity.
Understanding the Kush Characterization
It’s a little more challenging to pinpoint Kush as a characterization. You might have bought, smoked, or heard about Kush at some point. But, it might not have been the Kush strain. Since Kush is such a large part of marijuana culture, it doesn’t only refer to a strain; it can refer to specific characteristics of any strain.
The tricky part is identifying what those characteristics are. Since the term Kush is so widespread — from Canada to the US to the UK — it can mean different things to different cultural regions. To some, Kush is potent and skunky. To others, Kush may be mellow and sweet.
The specific combination of smell, effect, flavor, and appearance that makes up Kush as a characterization are location-specific. Like Haze and Purple, Kush has impacted many of our vernaculars and the way that each of us pictures Kush may be entirely different.
Kush Strain Characteristics
Again, all Kush strains are different. But, let’s look at some broad characteristics of Kush strains. Since they originate from the same area, many of them share some commonalities. Of course, hybrids have made pinpointing specifics more difficult.
Appearance: Kush strains can come in a variety of colors. Most commonly, Kush buds are rich and green with purplish hues. Almost all Kush strains will have pistils, though these can come in a variety of colors (e.g., purple, pink, orange, etc.)
Aroma: While Kush strains may be most widely known for their pungent smell, there are many strains that are sweet, spicy, earthy, and herby as well.
Taste: Again, there are a few varieties of Kush, and each of them has a distinct flavor. But, for the most part, Kush strains should be smooth. You can certainly find one that has a taste that suits you, as some taste of ripe strawberries and others of flowers and earthiness.
Effects: The THC level varies between strains, but most Kush strains do have a heavy, relaxing effect – perfect for those with insomnia or sleep issues. Most notable for their sleepy state, Kush strains will have many users on the couch in nap mode.
Indica or Sativa?: This question could spark a massive debate. Many dispensaries list Kush strains as Indica-dominant hybrids, but there are certainly strains of Kush that are Sativa-dominant. It really depends on the strain.
Some Notable Kush Strains
Let’s look at some of the more popular Kush strains:
- Afghan Kush
- Hindu Kush
- Bubba Kush
- OG Kush
- Critical Kush
- Master Kush
- Skywalker OG
Remember, new strains are continuously being introduced as the world of cannabis and plant science continues to evolve and mature.
Marijuana can be classified in multiple different ways. You could talk about the strain itself, the effect (e.g., Indica, Sativa, etc.) or even popular characterizations. Kush itself is both a strain and a characterization. As a strain, Kush has a lengthy history and incredible market reach. As a characterization, Kush can mean smelly, sweet, strong, or mellow depending upon where you’re from. But, one thing is certainly clear, Kush strains produce some of the most beautiful, sweet, and potent buds on the planet.
Are you looking to try out a Kush strain for the first time? Come by and visit us at a nearby Euphoria Wellness location. Our staff is incredibly knowledgeable about each strain on our menu, and they can help guide you through the process of finding the perfect strain for your unique situation. So, what are you waiting for? Stop by and give it a try.
Have any questions? Contact us. We’re always happy to help!