America’s tens of millions of monthly weed smokers, prepare yourselves for transcendence.
Fresh, new cannabis flavors and effects hit store shelves over the coming weeks and months. We’re talking thousands of metric tons of jelly donuts, tropical candy fuel, rich dessert, icy mint, stanky gas or garlic, tangy tangerine, and more.
At this very moment through winter, America’s outdoor weed harvest finishes flowering, drying, curing, and moving out to dispensaries in 15 states. Fresh and classic varietals stand ready to power your afternoon chillax or a neon daydream. Roll up and bust open those doors of perception. Create. Make out. You name it—weed assists.
Leafly’s 12 strains of harvest embody everything trending and best-selling in the $60 billion weed industry in 2022. Tens of thousands of cannabis farmers plant the fast-growing annual in the spring and harvest its potent flowers each fall. Global cannabis culture rides waves of innovation emitted from the western US.
We polled dozens of growers, walked the fields, crawled the Hall of Flowers, and got our hands sticky during trimming.
Inside America’s ganja heartland—the Emerald Triangle of Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino Counties—the annual outdoor weed harvest is pungent, plentiful, and cheap, experts report.
“Herb out of Humboldt County is undervalued, and it’s a very good buy,” said Sunshine Cereceda, founder of Sunboldt Grown in Humboldt County.
Let’s dive in.
Jump to a ’22 harvest strain
Our 2022 harvest list begins in the dispensary-ruling Runtz family, celebrating the fresh hybrid Jelly Donutz from leading breeder Humboldt Seed Company. It’s a bigger, blingier, more exotic version of our 2020 Leafly Strain of the Year.
“It’s going to be fire,” said Nathanial Pennington, CEO of Humboldt Seed Co. “I’ve been working on it for a really long time.”
Nat’s team mixed the modern sativa hybrid Hella Jelly into the 2019 Emerald Cup-winning Runtz grown by Ridgeline Farms. The result smashes Runtz’ tropical gelato cream to Hella Jelly’s cherry, blue cotton candy. It tests at a cracking 34% THC, plus it dumps hash at up to 6% yield. New varieties have to hash well or they’ll never make it to the top.
“Solventless is huge right now,” said Nat.
There’s way more to the Runtz wave in 2022. Just steer clear of the counterfeits and the boof.
See also: Ridgeline Lantz and Ridgeline Runtz at Cookies stores and beyond.
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Zkittlez to Gelato powers the Runtz wave in 2022. But we’re personally more stoked for the current generation of Z x OG Kush crosses. Don’t sleep on flavors like Rainbow Belts, RS11 (aka Rainbow Sherbert 11), and Zawtz. The lime, pine, and fuel of OG unite with the syrupy tropical candy terps of Z to create something more versatile than Runtz. You can smoke Zawtz for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only downside? You run out sooner.
Eli Melrod, CEO of Solful dispensaries, the world’s best shops for outdoor, said he’s stoked for Z x OG projects for fall. “It’s such a happy high,” he said.
Colorado’s top breeder Cannarado worked the Z into Gelatti and King Louis XIII OG to make Zawtz. Major California cloners Phinest touted Zawtz at Hall of Flowers, the industry’s leading sellers event this October. Zawtz thrived in greenhouses this growing season.
See also: Rainbow Belts, RS11, Booney Acres OGZ x Strawberry Meltshake; or Biovortex-bred Orange Valley Sun (Orange Zkittlez x (SFV OG x Black Dog).
America’s winning weed Strains of Summer 2022
Both the parents of Garapples went on a tear in ‘22. Cookies’ strain Gary Payton—named for the NBA player—took over coast to coast. And Compound Genetics Apples & Bananas helped define the look and smell of zaza in 2022. So we’re stoked GP x A&B slayed it outside for Farmer and the Felon brand flower bags. Just look at this stuff—it looks provocative. It gets you going. Then you smell it and it’s pungent, loud, and sweet like A&B, plus more gas from the Payton. Garapples makes a great first impression, then delivers for those cookies fans. Dessert weed types, including GSC, Gelato, Cakes, and Pies sit on the throne of modern cannabis. Garapples stands on their shoulders while looking flossy, no less.
See also: Sherbinski’s Gello; Grapes & Cream.
Leafly Buzz: 12 top cannabis strains of October
Wedding Cake remains a top-selling flower nationwide, and metric tons of cake will soon flood shelves.
A guaranteed banger—Banana Cake from True Mom and Pop, a Sun+Earth Certified outdoor farm in America’s pot heartland, Humboldt County, CA. Besides their actual children, True Mom and Pop’s pride and joy of 2022 in their Banana Cake, a cross of Banana OG and Wedding Cake. True Mom and Pop’s hunted through In House Genetics Banana Cake seed packs and then refined the cultivar at the farm to add gas along with a calming, relaxed high.
America’s cannabis breadbasket, Humboldt County, nurtured a phenomenal harvest this October, said Pennington.
“In the 25 years I’ve been growing weed on the North Coast, I’ve never seen a better ripening season for outdoor.”
Nat Pennington, CEO, Humboldt Seed Company
“In the 25 years I’ve been growing weed on the North Coast, I’ve never seen a better ripening season for outdoor.”
LA’s Seed Junky Genetics designed the parent Wedding Cake. All the Cakes crush it for an evening glass-off of mental calmness. Wedding Cake also takes the cake in the bedroom in 2022.
See also: Decibel Oregon’s Tiramisu; and Copperstate Arizona’s Cake Mix.
Kush Mints represents another noble line helping to rule the 2022 harvest, it’s just a question of finding quality and novelty in the offspring. We’re shouting out Mango Mintality, which looks thrilling in the above photo.
Oakland breeder Purple City Genetics took its famous Kush Mints cross, Gush Mints, and applied some Mango Haze pollen. The result? A unique, modern sativa that’s lime-green and tests near 30% THC. Sun+Earth Certified Nice Day Gardens reports that their massive Mango Mintality patch indeed smells “very minty.”
Seed Junky Genetics’ Kush Mints started the mints wave, and they built it into the Mintz brand under the Cookies umbrella. Outdoor mints keep on bangin’ in ‘22.
The value and quality of outdoor-grown weed needs more emphasis, said Cereceda at Sunboldt Organics.
“Outdoor is ital,” she said, using the Rastafarian word for living in union with nature. “Indoor is overrated and you’re paying too much for it.”
See also: Garlic Mints, Gush Mints.
We hold a spot each harvest for an OG Kush, or something similar in the Sour Diesel, or Chemdog lines. In 2022, it’s Cali Gas, a cross of P-Star OG x Lemon Crush bred by award-winning, industry-rocking Napro x Molecular Genetics. The breeder team has a fat catalog of cannabis strain genes matched to their aroma profiles. Napro x Molecular precision-breed to target smell, effect, and novelty. A lot of OG Kush genetics are played out, watered-down distant cousins of the real thing that rocked LA beginning in the late ‘90s. Napro created Cali Gas as an exemplar of OG, giving it a pungent lemon and gas nose, some subtle cookies, and bass notes of classic OG. Cali Gas tests at an explosive 35% THC and 4% terpenes. CannaCraft’s Lake County Grow produced it for Farmer and the Felon. True OGs are hard to find in our age of counterfeits and diluted genetics, but they’re out there.
See also: Rebel Grown Double OG Chem; First Cut Farms Road Trip.
Let’s get weird for a minute. GMO Cookies has spawned entire lines of acrid, biting, savory, garlicky, nutty, skunky weed that clap back at the sweet strain craze. Look at Skunk House Genetics’ ‘Burger’ line or Compound Genetics’ First Class Funk.
Humboldt Seed Co’s GMO project Garlic Budder had a banner season for flower and extract. It’s creamy, buttery, pungent, and nutty. Outdoor farmers will tell you: it’s a big, stanky, dumper—meaning the yields are as massive as the aroma and hash yield. Those factors have become table stakes in modern pot.
Why would anyone want weed that’s so rowdy? In a word—boredom. Like a blue cheese bacon cheeseburger, or tequila body shots, intense experiences punch through your modern malaise. You can’t doomscroll if you’re too high to find your phone.
Pink Boost Goddess
Hey, hey sativa fans—don’t sleep on Emerald Spirit Botanicals’ annual run of sungrown Pink Boost Goddess, probably the biggest sativa of the year in California. Mendocino County’s Emerald Spirit Botanicals keeps winning awards, and they keep refining the cultivar to do what it does best—look fantastic, and produce the novel cannabinoid THC-V.
Pink Boost Goddess smells of floral, strawberry mint plus a hint of peppery gas. The high feels like a daytime, neon, soul-calmer. That’s the THC-V suppressing appetite and anxiety—similar to coffee and valium. You can work out, game, create, or meditate on Pink Boost Goddess. Just don’t try to use it for sleep. Limited batches of it mean that when it’s gone, it’s gone.
See also: Mass Medical Strains’ Super Silver Pupil; Esencia Gardens‘ Maracuya
Get stuck on Original Glue—October’s Leafly HighLight strain
Let’s round out the flavors and effects of 2022. Put some respect on Crockett Family Farms’ Tangie weed family—which always crushes outside and also works daytime or night.
Tangie gave us the more grapey Forbidden Fruit, which Lost Paradise Organics’ bred to make Forbidden Muffin. This devilish cross bolts the purple and citrus of Forbidden Fruit onto the smash-hit Blueberry Muffin by Humboldt Seed Co. Blueberry Muffin smells like the breakfast pastry itself, and grows perfectly outside. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t access Lost Paradise’s custom cultivar. Buy some tangie, add some blueberry muffin, and toss together a salad bowl of Forbidden Muffin to call your own.
See also: Watermelon Mimosa
The popular medical marijuana-era strain Blue Dream has climbed back into the top 10 charts in the western US in ‘22, and we’re proud of it. For a more current cross, check out Blue Tint, a mix of Blue Dream x Lemon Kush Mints from The Bank Seed Hub. It’s got Blue Dream’s blueberry note, but they swapped out the grassy Haze flavor for bubblegum, and a musky lemon finish. Blue Dream grows vigorously outside, and crosses like Blue Tint do, too. It makes for more affordable, potent, and flavorful flowers for all.
See also: Sunboldt’s Loopy Fruit (Willie’s Wonder x Blackberry Kush)
Do high-THC strains give you the sweats just by looking at them? That’s fair—not everyone has Snoop Dogg’s tolerance. CBD heads can smoke super-legit and hype just like the THC boys using Sapphire Tsu, grown here to astounding size by female-run Moon Gazer Farms of Mendocino County.
Sapphire Tsu tests out at a ratio of 2 to 1, CBD to THC, and hits as a sativa-dominant hybrid. It’ll calm you down without knocking you out or making you spacey. It’s a great pre-game for some Ganja Yoga, and a brain break during family visits.
Super-hot Humboldt breeder Biovortex made Sapphire Tsu out of the bedrock CBD hybrid Harle-Tsu (Harlequin x Sour Tsunami). It’s Sapphire Harle-Tsu x Sapphire Scout. It smells of a sparkling fresh pine forest and clove spice. The effect? Sparkling clarity, inspiration, and a sense of well-being. The dominant terpenes myrcene, caryophyllene, and terpinolene show up in a lot of sativas.
Apple Fritter keeps gaining fans nationwide, but it’s also a nearly decade-old Sour Diesel cross. Refresh your fruit bowl with Gravity Apple, an heirloom cross of the ‘Apple Custard’ variant of the Sunset Sherbert OG, crossed to MAC. Gravity Apple comes from a collaboration by Humboldt dry farmers Alluvium Organics and Happy Dreams Genetics, creator of Vanilla Frosting.
Apple Custard unites Sunset Sherbert, Triple OG, and Apple Frosting. MAC is a breeder Capulator’s game-changing Miracle Alien Cookies. Together, Gravity Apple hits delicious and soothing, mixing Apple Custard’s super-sweet and creamy sour apple flavor with a touch of woody pine, plus MAC’s dank, sour citrus, and a spicy earthiness overtone that sweetens upon exhale. Gravity Apple bonks you on the head for nighttime rest.
Are you not entertained? Because that’s a wrap for Leafly’s 12 best cannabis strains of the 2022 harvest. At 6,000-plus types in the Leafly database, your tastes will vary. But let us know if we hit the spot—or not—in the comments below. Thank you to all the farms who sent in photos and notes. Your excellence overflows our bowls.
Now get out there and smoke the weed you want to see in the world.
12 best strains of the 2022 harvest recap
Leafly’s 12 best cannabis strains of the 2022 harvest season are:
- Jelly Donutz
- Banana Cake
- Mango Mintality
- Cali Gas
- Garlic Budder
- Pink Boost Goddess
- Forbidden Muffin
- Blue Tint
- Sapphire Tsu
- Gravity Apple
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