History of marijuana strains

History of the most renowned cannabis strains. It is always useful to know more about the strains we are growing or willing to grow. In this category you will find info on the most grown varieties worlwide.

Cannabis in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a landlocked country in central Asia, wedged between the western foothills of the Hindu Kush and the deserts of Iran, is a country with one of the greatest traditions of cannabis cultivation and, more specifically, of hashish production. Since it is believed that cannabis originated thousands of years ago on the slopes of the Himalayas (home of the largest mountains in the world), today it seems obvious that this was one of the first places where this plant was cultivated in a controlled manner, although even now there is still some confusion as to what kind of varieties have been traditionally grown in this area, as well as the “emergence” of the Afghan genotype, or in other words, what we now refer to as Afghan varieties.

What is clear is that Afghanistan is one of the cradles of cannabis and especially of hashish, with a tradition that today represents what would probably be the world’s oldest in terms of the development of hash. In addition, and according to the UNODC, in recent years Afghanistan has become the world’s largest producer of this resin concentrate, surpassing Morocco and seeing the cultivation of cannabis gradually displace that of another traditional crop in the Golden Triangle area, that of opium.

Cannabis is grown in many valleys in Afghanistan

Cannabis is grown in many of Afghanistan’s valleys

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Origins of cannabis cultivation

Where did cannabis originate?

Mankind and cannabis have maintained a close relationship throughout the History. Although scientific and archaeological evidence allows us to estimate the date and place where it originated, it is difficult to establish its exact place – and time – of origin.

Foto 1 - The Yangtzt River, one of the possible zones of origin of cannabis

The Yangtze River, one of the possible areas of origin of cannabis

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Critical Mass by Mr. Nice, a legendary cannabis strain

Mr. Nice Seedbank, a project by Shantibaba, Nevil and Howard Marks

Almost 20 years have passed since Mr. Nice Seedbank was founded in 1998 by Scott Blakey, Nevil Shoenmakers and Howard Marks. Scott and Nevil, former partners of Arjan Roskam in the Green House Seed Company, decided to share their strains by creating a new seed company that quickly earned its place in the market and which got the name of the alias of the third partner, Howard Marks. At the time when feminized seeds were entering the market and demand was increasing every day (in countries like Spain and thanks to grow shops people were starting to grow their own pot), Shantibaba (Scott) and Nevil developed some of the most popular genetics of that time, like Black Widow (their own version of the White Widow), Neville’s Haze, La Niña or the renowned Critical Mass.

Mr. Nice Seedbank

Mr. Nice Seedbank, creators of Critical Mass

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The origins of Haze

What?s the story of Haze?

Haze is, probably, the most grown and renowned 100% sativa hybrid throughout the world. Its origins date back to the early 1970’s in the region of Santa Cruz, California (USA).During this time, two brothers known as the “Haze Brothers” (R. Haze and J. Haze) cultivated and crossed different cannabis lines using seeds of the best imported sativa strains, most times offered by their friend and neighbor Sam “The Skunkman”.It all began with a hybrid between a landrace sativa from Mexico and another landrace from Colombia. One year later, the best females selected from this hybrid were crossed with a landrace strain from southern India. Finally, the female offspring of this new hybrid was crossed again with a landrace male from Thailand.

Super Silver Haze Indoor

Super Silver Haze Indoor

Super Silver Haze Extra

Super Silver Haze Extra

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The Origins of Diesel

Origins of Diesel cannabis strains

In recent years, Diesel strains have become, by their own merits, one of the most popular cannabis genetics, seeked by growers and users both for its intense and special taste and for its strong effect, mainly caused by THC contents which can exceed 20% in most specimens. As it often happens in the world of cannabis, the exact origin of this genetics is uncertain, although one of the most commonly accepted theories tells us that it’d be directly related to the Chemdog and, later, also to the OG Kush marijuana.


Sour Diesel develops spectacular calyxes

Therefore, to clarify the origins of Diesel we need to know more about the mythical Chemdog strain – often called Chemdawg – and how it reached the East Coast of the United States.
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The origins of Skunk

The Skunk gene pool


Skunk from Sensi Seeds

The Skunk is, doubtless, one of the most widely known and grown cannabis strains worldwide. The Skunk marijuana is a poly hybrid between two Sativa landraces – Colombian Gold and Acapulco Gold – and an Afghani Indica purebred.

This legendary cannabis strain was developed during the early 70’s in California by a group of growers and breeders known as Sacred Seeds, leaded by Sam Skunkman.

During this glorious time, selections of thousands of plants were usually performed outdoors. In this way, the best traits of the gene pool were detected and stabilised over the years, according to the criteria that has made the Skunk to become a truly impressive marijuana variety: nice yields, early flowering, nice branching, dense and resinous flowers with few leaves and extraordinary scent.

During the 80’s Sam Skunkman brought the Skunk to Europe (Netherlands) and sold some seeds under the name of Cultivator’s Choice. The remaining stock of seeds was then bought by Neville Shoenmakers, owner of The Seed Bank, later to become the Sensi Seed Bank.

Today, the Skunk#1 is considered a stable and homogeneous plant, what explains why it is so oftenly used to develop new hybrids such as Haze x Skunk or Seedsman’s Hawaïan Skunk. Continue reading

The origins of Northern Lights

The history of Northern Lights

The Northern Lights cannabis strain is, probably, one of the most renowned and appreciated Indicas around the world. Winner of countless awards and born as pure Afghani for the first years, it seems like some Thai Sativa genetics were added to its genepool at some time, what probably accounts for the fruity taste and intense cerebral high for which this variety is known. In this way, and despite it is a mostly Indica strain, Sativa phenotypes are found from time to time, rare individuals with spectacular features.

According to most sources, it is believed that it was created on the 70’s by a breeder known as “The Indian” on an island near Seattle, WA, although others claim that the strain originated in California before The Indian started growing it. The story goes that there were 11 Northern Lights plants (labeled #1-#11), being #5 and #1 the best ones, all of them truly Afghani plants with strong Indica features: resinous, compact, dark green and very stable.


Nortthern Lights plant bred by Neville for Sensi Seeds

Somehow, in 1985 the 100% Indica Northern Lights arrived Europe – Netherlands – from the Pacific North West – ending up in Neville Schoenmaker‘s hands, owner of Holland’s first marijuana seedbank, known as The Seed Bank (later renamed Sensi Seeds by its new owner). It is told that all plants given to Neville were females, but The Seed Bank soon had Northern Lights seeds available in its catalog, so…how did Neville create his NL lines? Continue reading

The origins of Blueberry

About the Blueberry cannabis strain


Blueberry cannabis plant in Jamaica (Photo: cannabisculture.com)

The renowned Blueberry cannabis strain – and the Blue family created from it – was developed in the USA sometime during the 70’s by breeder DJ Short.

This genetics is a blend of different strains. Firstly, DJ Short was tasting some landrace Sativas from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Panama. Two very special plants stood out over the rest: a Highland Thai – also known as Juicy Fruit for its sweet and tropical flavour – and a Purple Thai from Oregon – hybrid between Highland Oaxaca Gold and Chocolate Thai.

On the other hand, he had a very special Afghani male from California that, while not havieng the exquisite features of his Sativas, was perfect to cross with them and achieve more easy to grow plants than those pure breds, allowing the grower to have more control.

After  a hard work of breeding, DJ Short finally developed his two best known strains:  the Flo and the Blueberry. The Flo is a hybrid between Purple Thai and the Afghani male, while the Bueberry ia a cross between the Flo and the Highland Thai “Juicy Fruit”. In this way, the Blueberry has genes from the two best Sativas that he found and also genes from the valued Afghani male. Continue reading

Dutch Passion’s Think Different auto

Dutch Passion Think Different auto grow review

Dutch Passion have seen their automatic ‘Think Different’ variety become one of their best sellers, more popular even than some of their established photoperiod varieties which have been on sale for years.  It has been surprising to see how quickly the best automatics have become so popular so we followed a Think Different grow review by European grower ‘Tang’ to find out more.

Think Different from Dutch Passion

Think Different from Dutch Passion

Think Different is a sativa variety based on genetics from an exceptional phenotype of AK47.

“This Think Different is the second biggest auto I’ve grown.  The biggest was Dutch Passion’s AutoXtreme but that had more than twice the light above her.  The Think Different was very low odour until the last few weeks when she smelt of citrus and fresh grass….lovely.  The next time I grow this strain I will make sure I have more light available. The dry yield on this Think Different was bang on 6oz at 168 grams. She was grown under 200W of LED, LED is the only indoor grow technology which allows me to maintain cool grow room temperatures in the hot summer months.  Its also less expensive to run than an HPS, which makes it worth the extra purchase cost”.

“Think Different germinated and was grown in a 15 litre soil container containing Plagron Light soil. The nutrients were Sensi Grow and Sensi Bloom from Advanced Nutrients. Every day I gave her 20 hours of light and 4 hours of darkness, this was the same for 75 days from start to finish.   Autofem genetics can flower under 20 hours of daylight, this gives them bigger colas than a photoperiod variety can achieve in the same time.  My Think Different grew like a normal cannabis seedling, automatics look and seem like traditional cannabis at first.  I saw the first female flowers after 25 days.  It is strange to see cannabis blooming under 20 hours of daily light, but somehow automatics manage it.  Think Different grew one dominant bloom and was surrounded by slightly smaller blooms.  Under 20 hours of light it takes about another 40-50 days to finish, so in total from seed to harvest is about 70-75 days, 10-11weeks”.

Main bud detail

Main bud detail

“Automatics use the 20 hours of daily light to grow faster than they could under 12 hours of daily light.  Week by week you can see the difference, the roots grow quickly and the plant development is surprisingly fast.  Growth of the side branches is rapid, they search out the light and you can see the plant expand with vigour.  The resin production starts to gradually increase from day 40-50.  On Think Different the smell odour and aroma were not too intense, I would say for the last 2 weeks you need to pay attention to the carbon filter.  By the end the hairs were starting to turn orange and the blooms had finished growing.  Feeding is easy, just understand when your plant is ready for stronger feed and slowly increase the nutrient concentration.  Its just like feeding a photoperiod variety, follow the same rules”.

“I can see why this strain has become one of their (Dutch Passions) customer favourites.  The yields are well above average, it’s a killer smoke and it’s easy-to-grow. Its easy enough for a new starter wanting a tough plant or an experienced grower wanting to push a strain to the limit. This is the second time I’ve grown Think Different so I know a spicy taste will evolve in my curing jars over the next few months, she packs a punch and tastes good now but I know it will get even better.  If you are going to give this strain a run be careful – she will get large in bigger pots, this one was grown in a 15L Airpot in soil.

All about Orange Bud from Dutch Passion

Orange Bud is still at the top of Dutch Passions best seller list 25 years after she was introduced, you will still find her in the coffee shops of Amsterdam and she remains a favourite Orange Skunk selection.  How does a variety remain iconic for so long?  Alchimia took a trip to Amsterdam and met the Dutch Passion team to ask them for some inside information.

Orange Bud indoor crop

Orange Bud indoor crop

From the beginning, what is Orange Bud and how did you develop her?

Dutch Passion.  In the early days of the Dutch cannabis seed breeding programs there were 4 main cannabis varieties which were to become the foundation of many of todays varieties.  There were Haze, Blueberry, Northern Lights and Skunk.  All of these were stable, true breeding varieties and, as one of the original Dutch seed companies, we were lucky enough to have special genetics lines of them all.  The Skunk selections were of great interest to Dutch Passion in those days, offering top class yields of frosty and highly potent cannabis with those unique aromas and taste.  Our contacts and connections allowed us access to some remarkable Skunk cultivars and one particular Skunk selection was exceptional.  The Skunk had an unusual scent of oranges, if you rubbed the buds on your fingers you could still smell the orange zest 10 minutes later.  The buds were often draped in rich golden orange hairs and the yields were much higher than most of the other Skunk selections.  It was a one-in-a-million variety which the whole team adored with a wonderfully smooth and powerful anti anxiety high. This Orange Skunk was worked on extensively for a few years to stabilise and was released in the 1980’s.  We gave her the name ‘Orange Bud’ and knew this was unlike anything else in our seed collection.  Our customers immediately told us they loved the variety and before long she was in the coffee shops and she is still there today.

Orange Bud main cola

Orange Bud main cola

You have developed many different cannabis varieties, what is the one thing that is so special about Orange Bud?

For a variety to remain so well loved for decades there needs to be several really special aspects to the variety.  In the case of Orange Bud the main reason people grow her is simply because she is so strong and powerful.  A small amount in a joint or vaporiser is all you need to get stoned, we are convinced that many of our customers are repeat growers simply for that reason.  Other grow Orange Bud because she is a reliable producer of top quality cannabis; many of our customers grow cannabis once or twice a year and they don’t want to take risks with new unproven genetics when they know that a variety like Orange Bud will not let them down.  And then there are the connoisseur home growers who demand an original authentic Orange Skunk which has not been crossed or hybridised.  These connoisseur growers are not growing for cash, they just want the best quality pot that they can grow, complete with the Orange aroma, rich skunky taste and devastating high.  Orange Bud is special in several important aspects, quality, reputation, consistency, taste, aroma and effect. We don’t think there is any ‘single’ reason for her success, we think its a combination of reasons that make her popular.

Orange Bud close-up view

Orange Bud close-up view

Is the Orange Bud variety ever going to be hybridised?

No, our Orange Bud is based on the original and best 1980’s genetics and therefore we will not change her.  Lots of customers have written to us requesting that this variety is never changed and of course we agree.  However we have recently created Orange Hill Special , which is a cross of original Orange Bud and our Californian Orange.  This means we have 3 members of the Orange family, each offers a slightly different type of experience and high.  Orange Bud remains the same as she was in the 1980’s and we are sure that is part of the reason for her continued popularity.  Orange Bud is available in both feminized seeds and regular seeds, around 97% of our sales are feminized and just 3% of sales are in regular (non-feminized).  The regular Orange Bud seeds are popular with old-school growers and also with smaller seed banks that like to use our ‘Orange’ genetics for their own breeding experiments.

What type of grower does Orange Bud most appeal to?

Orange Bud appeals to all kinds of growers, and that has to be part of the reason for her popularity.  Orange Bud is a tough, robust variety, its easy for new growers to produce above-average harvests of strong cannabis from her.  Orange Bud also has possibly more repeat growers than any of our other varieties, for some people its the only variety they need.  And of course there are plenty of experienced home growers that like to grow Orange Bud every year or two.  Its an easy variety for indoor and outdoor growing, she grows strongly and needs no special care or attention.  Indoors she typically reaches 1.5 meters and outdoors she can reach 3-4 metres tall with unrestricted root space, plenty of sun and good quality conditions.  Orange Bud is one of those varieties that everyone should try at least once.