Kush Strain Genetics

What Makes a Kush Strain a Kush Strain?

What are Kush strain genetics, the term gets thrown around a lot. The number of new strains with the term “kush” in their moniker is near overwhelming. Yet, historic cannabis taxonomy basically breaks cannabis plants into two main categories, Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.  It is worth noting that other variants have been acknowledged and recorded, with the most prime example being Cannabis Ruderalis (feral, day neutral cannabis).

So where the heck do kush strain genetics come from then, right?

It’s certainly questionable if all the strains that get tagged with the term “kush” are in fact truly Kush.

The Hindu Kush mountain range is a geographic region that spans nearly 500 miles from Afghanistan to Pakistan and into Tajikistan. While beautiful, the terrain is rough and for the most part sparse with only some natural vegetation.  Lots of rivers and streams appear and recede with the flow of melting ice caps originating from the peaks of mountain tops.  Historically, there have been semi-isolated areas and villages where cannabis was bred, cultivated and selected for high resin content.  Namely for hash making and for thousands of years.

The result is a selection for cannabis plants with very high resin production levels.  Do this for a thousand or more years, with at least two crops a year, and you can understand why some kush strain genetics of today are of noteworthy potency as well as flavor and aroma–people put a lot of love into these cannabis strains for a very long time.  It may also be worth noting that while the climate may be tough, it is likely these strains wouldn’t exist without the help of people, for example irrigation from mountain streams. Perhaps attributing to the fact that kush strain genetics, while very potent, also tend to be more finicky when it come to irrigation and crop feedings.

Much of the kush strain genetics grown today came to North America from hashish smugglers who visited the region to source hash. These early kush connoisseurs took notice of the local plants and buds that grew short and sparse with rounded hard nugs–a stark contrast in every respect to the popular Mexican, Jamaican and Colombian Sativas of the day. And the buzz of course was very different too–much more physical.

Early cross breeding of these imported kush strain genetics helped improve the longer finishing times of Sativa strains, making it easier to grow crops of buds to maturity outdoors at Northern Latitudes in North America.  Naturally, it introduced a whole new array of flavors, aromas, growth characteristics and psychoactive qualities into seeds grown in the US and to a lesser extent, Canada.

Some solid examples of the early kush strain genetics that arrived via hash smugglers in the 1980’s include such powerhouse strains of today like Tuna Kush and Pink Kush.

While the aforementioned Kush strains were only circulating in small circles initially, Hindu Kush was making the rounds with some acceptance.  However, once OG Kush and Bubba Kush hit the scene in the 90’s the kush revolution was born.  These strains and other kush strain genetics have become so widespread since that if a more recent generation is shown a primo sativa bud they aren’t quite sure what to make of it–“round and hard” is what a lot of folks identify with in a cannabis flower of today; the signature of kush strain genetics.

So there you have it–kush is a landrace strain.  However, it has been so widely interbred in North America there are likely few pure examples left in popular circulation.  Whatever the case, it’s been a welcome addition to the modern cannabis world for many.

Here are some tips for growing Kush strain genetics that you may find helpful.

  • kush strains tend to be lighter feeders; go a little lighter with fertilizers, they are used to having to work for it in natural settings
  • if possible, supply higher Calcium levels in you nutrient program for feeding kush strain genetics–otherwise you find you plants unusually “brittle”
  • leaf prune your kush strains; they respond very well to significant defoliation, typically besr performed in the fourth week of flowering
  • cooler temperatures at ripening will really bring out the colorations and intensity terps with most kush strain genetics.