The History of Kush and It’s Place in the Cannabis Community

Kush is a name that means a lot of things to a lot of people. Responsible for creating some of the most cherished and sought after, not to mention potent strains available, it is also responsible for helping shape cannabis culture.  It is one of the oldest and most appreciated strains, its roots traced back to ancient times, however, this is one strain that will never lose its popularity, and instead, gains it as people continue to explore its remarkable genetics/ 

Kush is known for its powerful sedating and relaxing effects. It produces a heavy body high with intense euphoria. A few puffs can induce a mellow, smooth trance-like state that leaves you feeling fully relaxed and happy. In some cases, especially in high doses, it can induce couch-lock, making it a staple Indica. 

Where did the first Kush plants originate from?

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Region is a 3500-km formidable mountain range that traverses eight countries. It stretches across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Considered ‘The Water Tower of Asia’, the mountain range supplies water to some of the biggest rivers in Asia and provides a home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it vital to many countries’ ecosystems. It is also in this immense mountain range – specifically in the regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India – that the landrace strain Kush originated from and flourished.

Ancient people living in what is considered as the cradle of Indica cannabis traditionally used the strain in their rituals and ceremonies, as well as medicine. It is also from them that hashish, a concentrated form of cannabis, came from.

The strains that came from these regions were unique to other cannabis plants found in the world. Owing to their harsh environment, the landrace strains from the Kush region developed a thick and generous covering of trichomes that protected them against their natural environment and predators. The strains also have a muskier, earthier, skunkier, and basically, fuller flavors and aromas compared to the other landrace strains that are sweeter and more floral and herbal.

Because of the copious amount of trichomes and resin glands that it produces, it quickly became a class by itself, and a much sought-after strain. Travelers that reached these regions would bring the much-coveted seeds back to their own countries, spreading the seeds far and wide across Asia and Europe.

When did it arrive in North America?

Young Westerners traveling through Kabul, Afghanistan.

During the mid-1950s and well into the late 1970s, young people from North America looking to expand their minds would travel all around Europe and Asia in search of enlightenment and, of course, fun. The trail often started in key European cities like Amsterdam as well as London, and would eventually take them less traveled countries like Yugoslavia as well as Greece and Turkey. The Hippie Trail would then take many of them to the Middle East, visiting countries like Iran and Afghanistan, before reaching India and Nepal. Many travelers would end their trip there however some even carried on to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam.

While many of these countries were home to some of the strongest hash and cannabis these travelers had ever seen, many of the governments were far from welcoming to the idea of drug tourism. Countries like Turkey laid down strict penalties for those caught with cannabis or cannabis products. However, this did not stop many from doing what they came for.

The main theme for the Hippie Trail was freedom, love, peace, and finding oneself through spiritual enlightenment. The use of psychedelic drugs, including cannabis, typically accompanied their search for higher understanding.

Kush Mountains

Since the Hippie Trail took them near the Hindu Kush mountain range, they were able to sample the pure Indica for the first time. Consider that for a second. As modern-day cannabis smokers, Kush’s are a staple on any menu. Even before the days of legalization, it seemed like every other strain had Kush somewhere in the name. While that was partially just clever marketing on your dealers part, the genetics of the strain have been prominent in cannabis breeding in North America for a long time. It is, at least in part, because of these travelers that the strain and pure Indica genetics are so plentiful now. The travelers had never experienced an Indica like this previously and because it was unique, they smuggled some seeds home. It wasn’t long before the first Kush seeds began growing and flourishing in North America.

At first, the early growers of Hindu Kush tried to keep it a secret. However, it could not be done. If it’s incredibly potent and sticky buds weren’t special enough, the incredible dank smell would have given it away eventually. 

The potent effects and unique aromas and flavors of Hindu Kush quickly made the seeds some of the most popular in the country. Pretty soon, people from regions all across North America began growing and cultivating the strain.

In Modern Cannabis

The strain has a very rich and fascinating history. From a relatively unknown cannabis strain, it quickly dominated the cannabis world, its potent effects making it one of the most sought-after strains. 

One interesting story about Kush is the creation of OG Kush. Arguably the most common strain under the Kush moniker, its exact history is shrouded in mystery and remains unknown. Before this, when people talked about Kush strains, they were referring to Hindu Kush. 

A lot of people say that OG Kush all started with Alec Anderson, a resident of Florida, and the seed he found in his bag of weed in the early ’90s. He planted it and gave a cutting to a friend of his, Matt Berger. Naming their strain The Kush, its potency quickly made it a favorite in Florida’s cannabis community.

However, what catapulted the strain into popularity was when Berger moved to California. He shared it with Josh D, a known cannabis grower. Josh D loved the rare effects and taste so much that he decided to grow his own OG Kush. Through his expertise, he was able to refine and perfect the techniques in growing the strain. By then, OG Kush was a big hit in California.

Josh D

Some of the original OG Kush creators deny that it contained any Hindu Kush genetics. Berger explains that it was an American seed that he and his friends named the Kush and that there was no connection to the Hindu Kush seeds. Regardless, previously rare Kush strains went on to makes massive waves in the California cannabis scene.

In 1998, Kush was further thrown into the limelight when Cypress Hill featured it in one of their songs. In 2000, B-Real and members from other bands formed an American rap metal band and named it Kush. It has been heavily featured in many rap songs since it’s introduction to the West Coast, most notably by Dr. Dre in his aptly named song ‘Kush’. 

Today, Kush strains are sought after and revered, not only for recreational, but medicinal purposes as well. Their rich cannabinoid and terpene profiles also make them popular strains to cross with other genetics, creating award-winning strains such as Death Bubba, Bubba Kush and Master Kush, just to name a few. 

What are some of the best Kush strains?

All this talk about Kush is bound to whet your appetite. So if you’re itching to try some of best, then here’s a list to get you started:


Bubba Kush
Originating in California in 1996, a cross with the newly introduced OG Kush and a mystery strain from New Orleans, Bubba Kush exemplifies all of Kush’s best qualities.

Lindsay OG
A Canadian take on OG Kush. Named after Lindsay, Ontario, this Kush has incredibly rich terpenes and is always in high demand.

Death Bubba
A cross between Bubba Kush and Death Star. This Vancouver strain has made a name for itself as one of the best Indica’s available.

Blackberry Kush
A more balanced take on the typically Indica Kush. The Blackberry adds a delicious fruity note to this near-perfect hybrid.

Zombie OG
A cross between OG Kush and Blackbery, this unbelievably THC caked strain offers an incredibly unique almost lavender terpene profile. The high is certainly deserving of its Zombie moniker.


Final Thoughts

It’s amazing how a simple landrace strain from the Hindu Kush mountain range has traveled and conquered the cannabis world. It has been bred and crossed with other strains to produce numerous strains of exceptional quality. Kush has earned its place in the hearts of the cannabis community and it is not going anywhere.

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