Shooting Star is one of the countless new varieties of cannabis that is being developed by growers. (Courtesy of Jorge Cervantes via "The Cannabis Encyclopedia")

When a master cannabis cultivator tells you his favorite strains, you may want to check them out

Renowned grower Jorge Cervantes will answer readers’ questions and give advice on all things related to the cannabis plant. Got a question for Jorge? Email him at

Editor’s Note: Laws for cultivating cannabis vary from state to state and city to city — before germinating any seeds or planting any clones, take care to learn what your local laws are.


Question: Big fan! What are your 5 favorite strains to smoke?

— Jacob, Australia

Answer: Great question, Jacob! I love so many different varieties of cannabis that it is difficult to narrow them down.

First, let’s distinguish a couple of things: Most cannabis aficionados agree on the general distinction between cannabis indica and cannabis sativa plants. Indicas come from more mountainous areas and grow short and squat. Sativas come from tropical regions and grow tall and lanky. Hybrids are a mix of indica and sativa varieties.

Recent work by Phylos Bioscience in Portland, Ore., has mapped the genome of more than 2,000 varieties of cannabis. By studying this Phylos Galaxy interactive graphic that’s linked here, you can see just how many varieties are related to one another. The galaxy also shows that there are many, many different varieties of cannabis.

Unfortunately, many of these varieties are not stable and will change over time. They are also very difficult to breed successfully. When I give you the names of varieties I like, it is because they are relatively stable and well-known in the United States. Different parts of the world have local varieties that are popular there. Furthermore, cannabis is an outbreeding plant and can have a stunning difference in phenotypes — which traits from the two parent plants are most evident. That said …

Here are Jorge’s top five varieties

No. 5: The often-sedating OG Kush varieties. OG Kush has dubious lineage but we do know that some of the genetics must have come from the Hindu Kush Mountains in Pakistan. The origins of the term “OG” are murky; depending on who you ask, it is said to be short for “Ocean Grown” or “Original Gangster.” There are many derivatives and OG Kush crosses from different regions.

No. 4: Blue Dream, a variety that originated in Santa Cruz, California. The plant is a total star. It produces well, grows big flowers on strong branches and the cannabinoid content on outdoor plants has THC clocking in at 14-18 percent consistently. I also like the smooth mellow taste.

No. 3: I like a new variety called “Sugaree.” I grew it for the first time this year in my garden. Although it produces poorly, the light, sativa-minty taste is outstanding and the high is quite uplifting and energetic.

No. 2: Northern Lights #5 x Haze. This is a great cross that yields well and retains all the essential Haze qualities. Northern Lights is from western Canada’s British Columbia and produces potent, fat flowers.

And … No. 1: My all-time favorite is Haze and now Haze crosses. Amnesia Haze and Super Silver Haze are also very good. Haze is a pure sativa plant with lineage from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Southern India. The high is always uplifting and the taste is minty and fresh.

Your opinion is valuable
Please tell us how which varieties you like and why in the comment section below.