When 2018 began with the opening of California’s regulated adult-use market, many people in the cannabis industry worried that the quality of cannabis would be degraded by the realities of all the new regulations. The logic: That the new phenomenon of mega farms popping up in the Central Valley would force true craft cultivators out of the market because suddenly we would all want to buy mids.
While there were plenty of examples of corporate mids or worse in 2018, the people who have been crushing for a while proved they could still produce fantastic marijuana in the legal market. Plenty of those who carried their accolades of the medical era into this year reminded Wall Street what they are going to have compete with in the future.
Here are the strains that blew us away in 2018:
Gelato #41 – Connected Cannabis Co/Alien Labs
It’s tough to pick something that had a bigger year than Gelato #41. While many on the list may have flown under the radar a bit, that certainly wasn’t the case for Gelato #41. After taking home the coveted best indica prize at the first legal Cannabis Cup in Sacramento, it was off to the races for the strain. Due to the excitement around it, Connected Cannabis Co. crossed it with over thirty different strains. Some of our favorites included pairings with Gelato 33 and an epic cut of SFV Kush.
Cali Berry – Lumpy’s Flowers
According to the team at Lumpy’s, Cali Berry looks awesome and smells great like famed actress Halle Berry. While we loved Berry’s classic 2002 film “Monster’s Ball,” if she really smelled this good she would surely have taken home an Academy Award for each film in the X-Men franchise. This strain has a nice cerebral kick with a relaxing edge that won’t put you down. Lumpy’s was also one of the big winners in this year’s competition circuit.
Tropical Fruit Bomb – Greenshock Farms/Mendo Dope
Tropical Sleigh Ride took home the prize for the most terpenes at the 2017 Emerald Cup, and this year’s offerings from Greenshock Farms and world record Backwoods rollers Mendo Dope — primarily the aptly-named Tropical Fruit Bomb — gave us flashbacks of all that terpy hype. This strain truly smells like a slushie with half strawberry flavor and half cherry flavor. The flavor profile is matched by a pleasant uplifting high that won’t be too racey for jittery people.
Cherry Punch – Symbiotic Genetics
As Emerald Cup MC, Netflix’s weed expert and Cannabis Now contributor Ngaio Bealum noted at this year’s Emerald Cup, the age of the fruit-gas is upon us. No strain we’ve come across embodies this more than Cherry Punch. Bred by Symbiotic Genetics, Cherry Punch pairs Symbiotic Genetics’ famed Purple Punch F2 with the famous Cherry AK cut that’s been making its way around Northern California for the better part of a decade. What you get in the end is a smell that’s roughly three parts fruity, two parts fuely. Numerous cultivators — including from The Village, half of Symbiotic Genetics and from the folks at C.R.A.F.T. Cannabis — have produced incredible phenotypes of the Cherry Punch this year. On all occasions, Cherry Punch took our breath away, as it did the Emerald Cup judges who put in on the podium in 3rd place this year in the Personal Sungrown Category.
Animal Mints – Seed Junkie Seeds
We first came across Animal Mints when the killer cultivators at Fig Farms showed us a batch they were able to whip up. We were definitely taken by surprise when we opened the jar. The complex aroma felt like someone put a bunch of different Girl Scout Cookies in a blender and then drizzled a pinch of gasoline on top. We’re positive you’ll see plenty of Animal Mints in the not-too-distant future and we recommend you get your hands on it as soon as possible!
Green Lantern – Ridge Line Farms
Any best cannabis list without the most recent Emerald Cup winner is a mess and should be thrown away.
Melonade – Midwest Best/Alien Labs
Bred by Midwest Best and pheno hunted by Alien Labs, plenty of people make a valid argument that Melonade was the sativa of the year.
Gelatti – The Cookie Fam
Jigga, Berner and the rest of the team at the Cookie Fam have been perpetually crushing for the better part of a decade. When they put their chips down on a new pheno, it tends to be a banger.
Wedding Cake – Seed Junky Genetics/The Jungle Boys
Wedding Cake has been popping off the last few years, and our favorite version is definitely courtesy of the Los Angeles legends the Jungle Boys. Apart from the Jungle Boys, others also used the Wedding Cake to get on podiums this year.
Lava Cake - Cannarado
Get ready fam-a-lam, there is about to be a ton of Lava Cake in the wild in 2019. A lot of the world’s best cultivators are currently popping various Lava Cake seeds in search of great phenotypes. We know Cannarado isn’t technically from California — congrats to Colorado’s Cannarado on winning the race on this one, a worthy feather in their cap — but we’re likely to see it around California next year.
Banana Jam – Woodman Peak Farm
The Banana Jam strain from Woodman Peak Farm provided of the most memorable jars we smelled this year. We’ll dive into the whole story next week.
TELL US, what was your favorite strain of 2018?