Push off those negative vibes, like shoo—there are plenty of reasons to put some amazing weed smoke in the air this summer.
We’re in a verified golden age for weed breeding and enjoyment. Champion-grade ganja blankets the country in 2022. Nineteen states have legalized it. The $25B legal industry ranks as America’s 5th largest cash crop. Modern weed blasts out designer flavors never before tasted, with higher, deeper effects never before felt.
Leafly’s annual Strains of Summer for 2022 includes new crosses of all-stars like Wedding Cake (Dream Cake) and Runtz (Red Bullz, Apple Tartz). It’s a summer of nostalgia, with ‘90s OG gas (Double OG chem), grapes (Alien Labs’ Y2K), and catatonic Hindu Phunk from Cypress Hill rapper B-Real. Their grower Kenji Fujishima has seven different OGs in their South LA flowering room.
“Word on the street is that gas is coming back—so green weed; a lot of OGs,” said Fujishima.
Lock the fridge—this summer, scrumptious new dessert strains like Cookies’ BernieHana Butter and Seed Junky Genetics Georgia Pie will be in every pantry. And it’s a summer of guaranteed gobstopping, candy-aisle, connoisseur terps—check the Zkittlez crosses like Zoap, Team Elite Genetics’ Pearadise, and Karma Genetics’ Zowahh.
Below, Leafly sniffs out the best-selling, award-winning, on-trend, dozen-ish hit strains for your summer. We looked at search and sales data, and interviewed top breeders, growers, brands, and stores across the US. Most importantly, we smelled and smoked file cabinets full of flavors. So pull up a chair and join the zaza conversation. Delivery services stand ready to take your order.
A summer of OGs
Double OG Chem
Break out the ripped denim—late ‘90s OG Kush, Sour Diesel, and Chemdog have roared back, baby. Rebel Grown Seeds’ Double OG Chem swept up at the Emerald Cup Awards 2022 in downtown LA, May 14. The all-star industry judges could not deny the classic lemon, pine, and fuel bite of OGs, and that heavy, high-THC, after-work, blast-off effect.
Double OG Chem is “two-thirds OG, one-third Chem with a dash of Sour,” says Rebel Grown breeder Dan Pomerantz, and will make you hungry, giggly, and relaxed. Exactly what we need amid the grim realities out there. Rebel Grown’s breeder carries forward the legacy of Humboldt County greatness into the legal age. Four of the top 10 strains at The Emerald Cup featured Dan’s work. “It felt great,” he said. “I felt really honored and validated.”
Woody Harrelson’s new weed shop in LA opened with Double OG Chem, and dozens of other Cali stores have it, too. Double OG Chem seeds are in commercial gardens big and small across the US—sometimes under a different name. So if you love OGs, Chems, Sours, and Glues, follow your nose to those terps and take home a bag.
Sometimes you need to orbit the earth so high you can only hear heavy breathing and your pulse in your ears. Lunatics smoke Animal Face and go beast mode in a gym. Us mortals can enjoy this winner alone on the couch when ready to take our faces off for the night.
Animal Face crosses Face-Off OG to Animal Mints, and we’ve celebrated the Seed Junky Genetics strain since it jumped out of the bag and bit us in December. The Leafy Buzz strain grew into a Leafly Strain of 420 ‘22 and stays hot into summer, thanks to a first place finish in the indoor flower category at The Emerald Cup 2022.
Winning grower Fig Farms says they have a bunch of it this summer, so all of us mere mortals can bask in the glow of the judges’ favorite: expert-level, maximum fuel bite, dank-cookie back notes, and scorching high-THC effects.
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Take home a new Wedding Cake or Ice Cream Cake cross this summer for a guaranteed good time. Stoners keep Wedding Cake in the top 5 most searched this summer because the strain looks so icy, smells so inviting, and feels so yummy. People get relaxed, aroused, and hungry on Wedding Cakes—three feelings we could all use more of in the tense, hot months.
The easiest win? Order up Dream Cake (Wedding Cake x Sunset Sherbert) from Foxy Cannabis for delivery in LA and across California. Foxy’s team picks out and jars up only the most unique, iconic, fresh, small batches of LA indoor hydro; like, 100 pounds of each strain, or less.
Prepare to be stoked when the delivery arrives, instead of furious at a year-old jar of cardboard terps. “Everything is hand-curated. We pass on more than we’d like to,” said CEO Ryan Littman. Fashion never stops advancing, so when a Foxy flavor runs out, it’s gone.
Another guaranteed win: Zkittlez crosses in 2022, especially to other champion strains like OG Kush and GSC. Go straight to the peak with Zoap. While everyone else iterated on Gelato, Deo Farms went a different way and got much farther ahead.
Like David Bowie in the Ziggy Stardust phase—it’s awe-inspiring. The secretive Oakland group dug deep into OZ Kush (Zkittlez x OG Eddy Lepp) to make a Pink Guava; then added Sunset Sherbert to make a Rainbow Sherbert—then combined those. If that just sounds like algebra, focus on Zoap’s inimitable look, and the smashing tropical-candy, creamy dank smells, and high-voltage, high-THC hybrid effects.
Zoap’s took home Best Overall at the 2022 Zalympix Championships in downtown LA, June 11. Find your snobbiest weed friend and wash their mouth out with Zoap.
See also: Cali Kush Farms Zowahh—Karma Genetics’ Zkittlez x Karma Sour D Bx.
Sticking with Zs and OGs, Team Elite Genetics’ Pearadise may win the High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal People’s Choice 2022 for sativa flowers. It’s new, different, and well-made enough to go up against the champ, Gelonade.
LA remains the global epicenter of designer weed; they know peachy Zkittlez OG goes great with daytime fun—like disc golf or a chill hike. Pearadise fuses Peach Oz with Kosher Kush for a paradisiacal, pear-fuel smell, and daytime hybrid sativa effects.
See also: Wonderbrett Pink Picasso (Candyland x OZ Kush), which comes to Michigan this summer.
Apple Fritter has clawed its way into the top 20 most popular strains in the US through sheer genetic power. Runtz won Leafly Strain of the Year 2020 and became a national top 10 flavor. Get them on their own this summer, or even better, together: Check out Apple Tartz from legacy, small-batch indoor growers, SF Cultivators.
Apple Tartz has the bright green of Fritter and the deep purple of Runtz and hits the sweet spot between tart, sweet, and creamy gas. It’s bred by highly respected Clearwater Genetics and leans more Cookie/Diesel, with Zkittlez adding loudness. Pair this high-THC hybrid with some chillaxation, like watching the local game with a craft brew.
See also: Colorado’s Veritas Apple Fritter (Sour Apple x Animal Cookies)
Listen up, Runtz nation. Leading breeder Compound Genetics has begun running Red Bullz for the California legal market, and drops Red Bullz flower at the Zalympix Championships awards ceremony, June 11. Few breeders chase the platonic ideal of perfect pot harder than Compound.
Red Bullz smashes Grape Gas to White Runtz and smells like preternaturally strong grape candy that’s also tropical, spicy, and fuel-like. Effects hit like a super duper high-THC hybrid, for a concert crossfade or a gaming marathon.
The Compound flower brand officially launches with Red Bullz, plus Mellowz #8 (Spritzer x Grape Gas), Grapple Pie (Apple Fritter x Grape Gas), Jokerz #31 (White Runtz x Jet Fuel Gelato), and Rainbow Cheddar (Zkittlez x Cheese). For the growers, Compound pushes Pave (Paris OG x The Menthol)—a project with Migos’ Quavo, plus Cookies. Gangsta.
This summer, America has developed a distinct craving for Seed Junky Genetics’ Georgia Pie (Gellati x Kush Mints). The crew at Real Eve Farms in Oregon are making a name for themselves on this cultivar alone. At this year’s Oregon Leaf Bowl, their Georgia Pie took home the gold in the mixed-light category.
With big fruit flavors and a fresh-baked bread scent, it’s easy to see why. A rough trim shows the dense trichomes coating both the buds and sugar leaves. The origin of the fruity peach scents? Anyone’s guess. But there’s certainly plenty of those bright and sweet scents to go around.
Lighting up a J is the best way to enjoy the big kush notes on the inhale and a pronounced effect that left us as baked as a pie fresh out of the oven.
See also: Cereal A La Mode from Powerzzzup—a new Cookie cross of Cereal Milk x Georgia Pie won Best Looking at the LA Zalympix Championships of ‘22.
There are more potential weed terpene combos than could be smoked in a lifetime, so leave room for butter and dough aroma amid funk, floral, berry, and gas. Smoke the same as weed and rap mogul Berner this summer with BernieHana Butter—a crazy, intense GSC family cross (Jet Fuel Gelato x Guava) x (Blue Cookies x Oreoz).
Since surviving cancer, Berner’s made “no time for negative energy” a mantra, and this strain protects your peace with a calm, relaxing body high, that’ll help you go easy on yourself.
See also: For more GSC royalty—Blueprint Triple Lindy in CA, Decibel Farms’ Macaroon #31 (MAC x Cookies and Cream).
Some folks will not buy weed unless it’s purple—and those folks buy a lot of weed; a lot of weed from leading breeder/grower Seed Junky Genetics. Shocker, the LA gang has a purple on tap this summer—their Purple Octane.
It’s got a tank full of GSC genes that grow out grapey, gassy, and cookie, hitting purple gas lovers right in the nostrils and pinning them to the back of their seat with maximum THC scores. “This is a strain that’s been picking up a lot of traction in the market due to its coloring as well as its nose,” the SJG team tells us. “We’ve had it on our menu here and there, but expect to keep the volume up through the summer.”
See also: Lithouse’s Emerald Cup ’22-winning Modified Grapes (GMO x Purple Punch).
If the late ‘90s are back, then that means prepping for Y2K—the day the world didn’t end. This Y2K promises to be more climactic.
Alien Labs’ Ted Lidie launches “An ode to the real Bay Area grapes” this summer with Y2K, which smacks of purple candy terps that set ya back like an old school Bay Area indica should. Alien Labs hunted down an ancient purple strain and fattened it up with Alien Labs’ signature Dosidos x Gelato #41. “We found a dope Purple Urkle S1 from [breeder] CSI Humboldt and crossed it to our Planet Dosi—selected exclusively for the artificial grape terp and indica-style power,” he said.
Hindu Phunk (aka Hindu Kush)
We’re seeing a lot of breeders hunting deep in their genetic libraries, digging out a classic, and polishing it up for today’s heads. For example, rapper B-Real’s brand Insane popped an ancient seed of deep indica Hindu Kush and found a 2022 winner in Hindu Phunk. It’s big, icy, dark, hashy, and minty, with insomnia-crushing indica effects.
“We’re definitely getting a lot more requests for it, so we’re bumping up production of that one,” said Kenji Fujishima.
The legacy cultivation licensee has a 400-light indoor farm in South LA pumping out the Phunk, and lots of OG crosses, so stay on them. Hindu Phunk crushes regular insomnia or something spicier; like when the molly starts wearing off.
And a GMO to go
Speaking of heavy indicas, we saved a GMO Cookies cross for last. Chemical Compound comes from Nevada flower brand Pistola, via the Thrive Cannabis Marketplace. Pistola’s flagship strain crosses GMO Cookies x Otter Popz for a weird, singularly heady, intense hybrid that pairs with Amazon’s new season of The Boys.
See also: Freddy’s Fuego of Washington’s Dante’s Inferno #4 (Devil Driver x Oreoz); bred by Clearwater Genetics and Tiki Madman.
Oregon freelancer Ryan Herron contributed to this story.
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