Hundreds of thousands of cannabis lovers and newcomers, coast to coast, have an entire year of mega-flavors and potent, euphoric effects to explore in 2021.
The pace of innovation in cannabis keeps accelerating, and mouthwatering results are just a trip to a licensed dispensary away.
Just like sneakers and watches, different weed varieties and brands trend upward and downward across America—where one in four citizens now live in a legalization state. Search and sales data also agree: Americans show consistent, specific tastes in trendy, top-grade ganja.
For example, many of the national flavors of 2021 started with the Cookies cultivar five-plus years ago on the West Coast. Every strain listed below stands on the shoulders of past greats and reaches up into the future of weed Valhalla. Here are eight of the most well-liked trees in the US forest to try in 2021.
Gushers comes from Gelato #41 crossed to Triangle Kush. In fact, four of the hottest strains going into 2021 are crossed with Gelato. Everyone loves Gelato, and you can’t blame them. Not liking it is like saying you don’t like pizza, because it’s gotten too popular. Don’t be that guy.
Gushers isn’t exactly a new strain—it took a 2018 Emerald Cup trophy—but the California staple continues to migrate across the US at a notable clip. Brand Connected Cannabis Co. in California offers a major source of Gushers, though other folks grow it as well.
Like all hot strains, Gushers packs in the THC. Its amazing smell comes from a hit trifecta of aromatic molecules called terpenes: lemon-smelling limonene, funky beta caryophyllene, and floral linalool.
Fans report getting relaxed, happy, and euphoric to manage stress and depression with Gushers, aka Fruit Gushers, and White Gushers.
And lots of seed breeders are also working the fruity Gushers line:
- Colorado breeders Cannarado introduced crosses like Jolt (Vietnam Black x Gushers) and offspring like Frumpz (Freshwater Taffy x Grumpz).
- In Cali, Oakland’s Purple City Genetics made Gusher Pie (Gushers x Rainbow Pie F2).
Like Gushers, Gelonade shows how strains typically debut on the West Coast and over several years become commonplace nationally in markets like Oklahoma and Florida. That’s a huge win for legal customers nationwide, as well as the influential breeders and growers still hard at work on California’s next big flavor.
Over at the highly sought after HENDRX Nursery in Humboldt County, owner Daniel Hendrix agreed Gelonade has got the goods. “It combines a new level of potency, purple, and gas with that intense fruit. It is so, so good.”
Connected Cannabis Co. of California made Gelonade from Lemon Tree crossed with Gelato #41—so it’s got gobs of sweet, thick, syrupy lemon terpenes mixed into the creamy berry and cookies flavor of Gelato.
So far that’s two strains that mention Gelato, and buckle up for more. Why did Gelato break away from the pack? Large-scale commercial cultivation, said Ted Lidie, founder of high-end cannabis brand Alien Labs.
“For strains to hit a certain level of notoriety, they have to have a certain level of supply,” Lidie said in an Instagram Live video, Dec. 29, hosted by Leafly freelancer Jimi Devine. “The reason Gelato #41 became so popular is it was the most widely grown exotic at the time.”
A veritable California relic from the Before Times of 2016, Sherblato gains more national fans in 2021 as Connected Cannabis Co. expands into other states, bringing their stable of thoroughbred pot to the masses.
Sherblato comes from crossing two classics Sherbert and Gelato. (Connected calls theirs “Sherbacio”). It’s got Pink Panties, GSC, and Sunset Sherbert in its lineage. Like its cousins, expect Sherblato to deliver a creamy, berry, fuel smell and flavor. As for the high-THC effects, Leafly readers report Sherblato makes them feeling relaxed, happy, hungry, and calm.
Let’s take a Gelato break, and celebrate the apple flavors on the rise in 2021.
Apple Fritter from Northern California’s Lumpy’s Flowers dates to pre-2018 medical marijuana era California, but it’s slowly climbing to the top of the adult-use era. It shows how hot strains don’t just fall out of the sky. They debut standing on the shoulders of past genetics, win over fans, seed the culture, then break out into mass recognition.
Speaking of ancestors, influential breeder/grower “Lumpy” bolted a killer apple smell onto a Cookies chassis—Apple Fritter combines Sour Apple (Diesel x C99) and Animal Cookies (GSC x OG).
Now that America’s Main St. customers are asking for Fritter, weed’s architects are at work on new crosses.
- Lumpy’s released Lemon Trill (Lemonade x Reckless Rainbow) and Cherry Jane, and soon, LAX (Apple Fritter x LA Snow).
- Lumpy’s also made Sherly Temple, which is Cherry Jane x Apple Fritter #39; plus, for the sativa heads, Lumpy made Sour Apple Haze (Super Silver Haze x Sour Apple).
- Portland, OR’s Archive Seeds offers Fritter Licker—Apple Fritter to Face-Off.
- California-based breeder/growers Compound Genetics sell a Grapple Pie #30 (Apple Fritter x Grape Gasoline).
- Lastly, California’s Alien Labs grows the perfect strain—Atomic Apple (Triangle Mints x Apple Fritter); now on dispensary shelves.
How do you like them apples?
2021 is all mints everything, and we’re here for it.
Animal Mints draws on the power of GSC, OG Kush, and even some Blueberry. It’s a cross of Animal Cookies (GSC x Fire OG) and SinMint Cookies (GSC x Blue Power).
Stone-cold classic Bubba Kush comes from Northern Lights and Triangle Kush.
2020’s Cannabis Cup winners, and where to buy them
Kush Mints spawned its own minty lineage including LA Kush Cake (Wedding Cake x Kush Mints) and Pancakes (London Pound Cake #73 x Kush Mints #11).
And speaking of minty weed, don’t miss the sub-craze in The Menthol (Gelato x White Diesel x (High Octane x Jet Fuel), the hottest of which is Compound Genetics’ unofficial ‘Baby Yoda’ cut of Khalifa Mints (Khalifa Kush x The Menthol).
Los Angeles gets to have its Jungle Cake and smoke it, too, this year. Bred by Seed Junky Genetics, Jungle Cake crosses White Fire #43 aka Wifi43 (Fire OG x The White) and Wedding Cake (Triangle Kush x Animal Mints).
Jungle Cake looks so iced out and good, with light aromas of sugary icing and fuel. Indeed, the highest-THC consumers love Jungle Cake, because it is strong AF. The hybrid strain tests into the 30% THC range, assuring a powerful high; the antidote to life in the concrete jungle.
Colorado breeding kings Cannarado have one setting: beast mode. Their Garanimals have escaped the zoo and are running amok nationwide.
Built for Cookies fans out there, Garanimals infuses Animal Cookies with the cherry and grape flavors of strain Grape Pie (Cherry Pie x Grape Stomper). Garanimals is dark, dense, resinous, fragrant evening weed that pairs well with Netflix and your fridge.
In fact, all the most sought after strains in the US center around this relaxing, happy evening effect—as opposed to some racy, daytime, psychedelic vibe. You can’t blame people for just wanting to chill after 2020.
Ice Cream Cake exemplifies when a virtuous cycle turns vicious: popularity leads to wider availability, inducing rampant growing, which eventually erodes quality control. Ice Cream Cake became such a sure bet, every Tom, Dick, and Heidi is having a go at it—with varying results.
At its best, this strain makes total sense, because Gelato crossed to Triangle Kush and Animal Mints makes total sense. They’re all awesome cultivars on their own. The combination is cakey, sweet and high-THC, with a fuel finish.
Still, it takes a master grower to tease out the best from Ice Cream Cake. In 2021, fields of not-so-nice cream cake are destined to become bargain B-buds, or, the horror, oil for vape pens.
As a strain, you either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain to weed snobs.
And with that, we have arrived at the end. You’re probably feeling pretty stuffed on dessert strains, eh? We can already hear haters asking:
‘When, o’ Lord, when will savory flavors break the stranglehold of the sweet?!’
‘Where are my favorite sativas?’
‘Will the real old school classics please stand up?!’
We got you, fam. Keep clicking on Leafly News, and we’ll keep pointing you to the best.