New York might hold Fashion Week once a year in September, but the West Coast’s designer cannabis fashion week runs year-round.
Wiz Khalifa delivers his second legal strain, riding the ‘Mints’ hype. Breeders Capulator and Seed Junky Genetics have fresh, perfect new collaborations on shelves. New flavors of Runtz and Zoap make waves. And boutique grower THC Design enlists all willing smokers in their new Pheno Hunt for 2022.
Leafly News’ experts have hunted the best down, smoked them, photographed them, added them to our strain database, and distilled the news into another Leafly Buzz—our monthly West Coast fire flower round-up.
The future still happens here first, Leafly Nation. So grab your hoverboard and get in the Delorean—we’re going on another THC-fueled adventure to the icy edge of strain innovation. Here comes Leafly Buzz for September.
Fresh on California shelves this fall, Wiz Khalifa’s second strain for his Khalifa Kush brand, Khalifa Mints, pops 58% in monthly strain traffic. The genetics match the hype, too. Khalifa Mints crosses Khalifa Kush with The Menthol, which adds a bunch of mint and more fuel to OG Kush’s smell and taste. Khalifa Mints looks big, icy, purple, angular, and dramatic. The hybrid effect hits uplifting, active, and cerebral without the jitters. Khalifa Mints jars debuted in August in California and sold briskly through Labor Day.
Top exotic indoor brand Alien Labs’ two-year-old Melonade x Biscotti cross Biskante keeps charging. It’s up 32% in strain traffic because it consistently delivers the look, taste, and effect that all-day aficionados love. The smell references Gelato as well as dirty lemon, and extra gas for a loud, lingering smell and taste that hits sativa-dominant. The high-terpene and THC combo can leave some of the highest-tolerance reviewers with a bit of the jitters, so ski at your skill level. But if you want to smoke loud without feeling locked into the couch, Biskante keeps delivering.
Sativa lovers can feel left out of the connoisseur cannabis conversation, where the center of gravity hovers over indica hybrids. We see you, sativa Space Rangers, and so does the California State Fair, which gave Buddha’s Hand, grown outside by Esensia Gardens, the Gold Medal for the Best of California in the Terpinolene category. This Esensia-bred and pheno-hunted, clone-only cross of Lime Juice x an old-school proprietary OG is also a three-time Emerald Cup winner. It’s got this green, old-school look with a floral, citrus medicine smell and taste. Buddha’s Hand goes great with hiking, art, cleaning, or gardening; including chopping down this year’s crop. The rare, low-profile sativa nudged up 5% in Leafly strain page views.
The super-duper-tasty exotic pot contest winner Blue Zushi slips 10% in clicks this month, as the world awaits bigger production runs of the LA boutique strain. Blue Zushi emits undeniable gobs of palate-staining Zkittlez (aka Z) terpenes that earned it 1st Place Best Terps, 1st Place Best-tasting, and 2nd Place overall in the June 2022 Zalympix contest. Breeder PK Farms reportedly crossed Z to Kush Mints, and grower The Ten Co coaxes loud and funky blue raspberry flavor that’s everything we want in a bong hit—with a blue Sour Patch Kids taste and a hybrid sativa high for concerts and parties.
New in the Leafly Database
Two of the world’s most influential breeders Capulator (MAC) and Seed Junky Genetics (Wedding Cake, Ice Cream Cake) dip into their vaults to combine two beloved parents for something super-new and expert-level. Cap Junky unites Capulator’s famous Alien Cookies with Seed Junky’s superstar Kush Mints #11 for a bud that outclasses everything on looks and effect. Cap Junky nugs come sleeted white with trichomes over the pale green buds, and we got huge, sour fruit rind smells that referenced strawberry, pepper, fuel, and skunk. It tastes sweet and pungent with a lingering bite of Pledge lemon or Pine-Sol cleaner. Grown by Capulator’s LA Made, the smoke hit super-smooth and powerful, testing at 31.76% THC. Cap Junky effects come in heavy and heady, relaxing and euphoric. No cap.
You might not know it yet, but Oakland grower Deo Farms changed the game with Zoap—his inimitable, intense OZK breeding project. Deo’s not letting up on the throttle with 2022’s Zoap crosses to The Y. The early stand out for me? Opal, made from Zoap x YBX1 #65. Opal nugs had this iridescent, multicolored hue like the inside of an abalone shell. It smells like grape Sweet Tart candy and tasted like candied grape, pine, and floral baby powder. This super-high THC hybrid makes for a versatile weekend wake and bake treat, all the way to a weekday evening nightcap. Deo Farms might end up being Oakland’s top breeder of the ’20s.
Scratch n Sniff
Refinements to the cookies strain line continue into 2022, with hit strains like Jealousy, and crosses of Jealousy, including Permanent Marker, and now Scratch & Sniff. Bred and grown by top breeder Seed Junky Genetics and launched by one of the most intensely watched exotic brands out there, Doja Pak, Scratch & Sniff bags won’t last long in the store, or your stash. Grown in small batches, Scratch & Sniff offers the platonic ideal of a Sherbert and OG Kush smell. Our Scratch & Sniff tested 30.71% THC, with an indica hybrid effect best reserved for connoisseur seshes. Long after you smoke it all, the terps linger in the bag, making you scratch around to sniff how good weed can be.
Dank blueberry, grapes, and gas, plus a dazzling look earned Compound Genetics’ new Glitter Bomb a spot in the Leafly strain database. Influential grower NorCal IC Mag and Compound crossed Grape Gas #10 to OGKB Blueberry Headband and selected a flawless pheno for 2022. It’s loud, big, blingy, dark, and dramatic-looking, with maximum-THC, indica hybrid effects that’ll sit you down and stoke up some hunger. Watch out for all of Compound’s Grape Gas crosses including GastroPop—they’ve tapped into a gusher.
Fresh in stores
New on shelves
Unicornz by THC Design
Top-shelf California indoor flower brand THC Design recruits you to help pick their next award-winning strain through their 2022 ‘Pheno Hunt’ project. You can buy and smoke six new strains they selected from germinating hundreds of seeds from the best breeders, and picking out the newest flavors in the most gorgeous bud. Leading the pack in the THC Design Pheno Hunt: Unicornz—a cross of Unicorn Poop x (Pineapple Pezz x Project 4516). There’s so many good genes in the mix here: GMO, OG, OGKB, Cherry Pie, and more. According to THC Design, a longtime, underground Southern California breeder created both the Pineapple Pezz (grown by Grandiflora), and Unicornz, and we love that mystery. Unicornz contributes to the 7-11 candy aisle terps trend that rules 2022, and it reminds us of Smarties candy with a bright, powdery, sweet, synthetic fruit smell and taste that lingers on the taste buds. Sativa-hybrid effects give it versatility day or night. Roll it up in a big joint to impress the sesh.
Red Runtz by Ember Valley
Demand for Runtz continues to dominate deep into 2022, and massive indoor grower Ember Valley signs up to serve the people what they want with Red Runtz. Washington breeder Exotic Genetix crossed the weird Red Pop x Runtz to make it. Also known as Faygo Red Pop— databases list it as a reported Afghani crossed with an unknown strain. The cross brings a new, legitimate, red soda pop layer to Runtz, Leafly’s Strain of the Year 2020, and the winner of at least a half-dozen awards in the last three years. You can see Exotic Genetix Mike’s work in Red Runtz—bumping up the size and adding a new pop smell to the sweet, berry, creamy gas off Runtz. Use Red Runtz as the reward for a job well done. Concrete goals can help you power through to the finish.
Wendy by Squintz
Hey, 80s babies? Remember 1993’s “The Sandlot” character Squints? Well, the actor Chauncy Leopardi grew up into a professional weed grower under the brand name Squintz. This year, Squintz adds to its reputation with the hot strain ‘Wendy’—a call-out to the crush in the film, Wendy Peffercorn.
Wendy by Squintz came from Leopardi’s hunt through a 10-pack of Exotic Genetix seeds. He won’t say the exact cross, but Exotic Genetix wins awards for his work with the cookies strain line.
Grown by Squintz at the boutique indoor brand Foreign Genetics facility, these semi-dense buds are a mix of lime and forest greens with patches of rich eggplant purple, gangly burnt orange pistils, and a thick coat of egg cream-colored trichomes. The bag’s smell first hits like a peppermint milkshake, with a sweet, powerful mint and cream. Notes of chalky candy fill out the bouquet. The smoke has a sharp sugary sweetness that flattens out into musty saccharine chalk. The head change hits fast, with a mental uplift that springboards into some overall feel-good energy, while a light tingle trickles through the body, reminding you how good it feels to stretch. Wendy helps get you through the mundane household chores you’ve been putting off. Just throw on some music, get in the groove, and you’ll be done with what you’re doing before you know it.
Ballin on a Budget
Lemon Pastries from Cannassentials, OR
Congrats to Cannassentials for taking first place and runner-up in the Oregon Leaf Bowl 2022 mixed light/greenhouse category for Tangies N Cream, as well as Motorbreath. Ounces of Cannassentials run as low as $90 for small buds of Zweet Inzanity while their award-winning Motorbreath can still hit $300/oz in the competitive Oregon market. Cannassentials’ winning formula? Climate-controlled greenhouses are filled with ‘beyond organic’ living soil, hit strains, and talented grower-owners who aren’t vertically integrated. Instead of doing everything, they focus on the flavors like Lemon Pastries, Modified Macberry Moonshine, Rozay, and Marshmallow OG. They cut no corners with a low-temperature, slow dry, and lengthy cure. Even more fuego flowers this fall like Spritzer, Atreyu, Fried Strawberries, and Skunky Biscuits.
Zawtz crosses from Cannarado, CO
Looking to grow at the vanguard of Z strain development? We’d check out Colorado’s top breeder Cannarado and his line of Zawtz crosses. The maker of Sundae Driver, Fatso, and many others—Cannarado strains flower in many top breeders’ test rooms. Zawtz is Zkittlez x Gelatti x King Louie XIII OG, and some of the tastiest, most potent, and ideal pot involves these mixing three strain families. (See Deo Farms’ above Opal.) Cannarado working the line bolsters our assessment. Out now, Cannarado hit Zawtz to eight other hype strains: Cereal Milk, Gushers, Pyxystyx (Wedding Pie), White Runtz, London Pound Cake #75, Bubblegum Biscotti, Cheetah Piss, and Sundae Driver. You can launch a new cannabis brand off the shoulders of those genes. It’ll test a mile-high, into the 30% range in THC, with 4% terpenes, with heaps of limonene riding on a caryophyllene and myrcene chassis. That’s analogous to the Unicornz (see above), and right on trend to sell through at retail. See also Rainbow Crushers, combining Zqueezit x Zawts.
About Leafly Buzz
Oft-copied, never co-opted—Leafly Buzz is the popular, monthly strain review roundup from Leafly News. We report independently on the connoisseur cannabis conversation, focusing on strain and branded flower of the US west. Reporting includes:
- Review samples
- Dispensary shopping
- Grow visits
- Cannabis Events
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- Staff and reader tips, and more
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West Coast Weed Reviews’ Richard Beck contributed to this story.