Green Family Trees: The Twisted Roots of Weed's Favorite Strains

A genealogy researcher details how your favorite strains came to be.

There’s a reason all the Baldwin brothers have faces full of frowning eyes and mouths poised to eternally cool down hot soup. It’s the same reason why the hairlines of England’s beautiful princes, William and Harry, have already begun receding like the shorelines of lakes in California’s drought. I’m talkin’ about genetics, baby! Family Trees! We all got ‘em, and we’re not the only ones. I mean literally every organism above and below us has genes, but I’m here today to turn your attention towards one very special friend. Ladies and gentleman, weed! Behind each and every sweet lil’ nugget—with their diverse aromas, tastes, and highs—is a rich, globe-spanning genetic history waiting to be told. 

I researched two different famous strains and their ancestors, because earlier generations deserve some respect for cryin’ out loud! What’s so special about Blue Dream and Sour Diesel anyway and where do they get it? Thanks to the expansive cannabis strain database on Leafly, which is like the Ancestry.com of marijuana, these answers weren’t too difficult to find.

The acclaimed hybrid known as Blue Dream is the sweet child of two famous parents, the indica known as Blueberry and the sativa known as Haze. Blue Dream (Supplied By 1964 has a pretty dope reserve we should add) is like one of the Pinkett-Smith kids, just incredibly talented and cool and liked by everyone. I guess that makes Blueberry the Will Smith of this weed family with a really long career (beginning in the 70s) that screams, “I am legend!” Blueberry won the 2000 Cannabis Cup for best Indica which was the same year Will was relishing in the ridiculous success of Wild Wild West and probably filming Ali so I think I’m definitely onto something here. Blue Dream gets its relaxed laid back attitude from its dad, Blueberry, and its energy from its mom, Haze (Jada Pinkett, obviously… You know she was in a nu metal band, right?). As the name indicates, Blue Dream definitely favors dad Blueberry in its sweet berry flavor. Haze is more spicy and earthy-sweet. One trait everyone in this family has is a feeling of pure euphoria and relief from stress. They are truly blessed. Side Note: Haze has countless children and grandchildren of renown including the sativa heavy Jack Herer known for producing creativity and bliss and the high-energy throwback Purple Haze. Since you asked I think Blue Dream is Jaden and Purple Haze is Willow. 

Going back another generation to discover the parents of Blueberry, it became very obvious to me that unlike humans, a cannabis strain can have multiple parents. Blueberry was lucky enough to have one dad, Afgani Indica, and two mothers: Juicy Fruit (a Highland Thai) and Purple Thai. I think its very clear from these names that Blueberry got its fruity taste and its bluish hue from its mothers. If we’re still comparing weed to famous families, well, at this point we are no longer in the territory of the Pinkett-Smith family but somewhere that echoes the family dynamics of one of my favorite movies, The Birdcage. Anyway, Juicy Fruit was very tropical tasting and would give a long lasting, intense high. Purple Thai was the daughter of a Highland Oaxaca Gold and a Chocolate Thai. If we were dating, I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to meet her parents.

Getting back to Haze (Jada), her lineage is less documented than Blueberry’s but apparently the strain was first cultivated in Santa Cruz in the 1960s from a mix of four different world spanning Sativas: Thai, South Indian, Mexican, and South American. And just FYI, Purple Thai and Haze are the parents of that Purple Haze I mentioned earlier. So, yeah, Blueberry caught his lady Haze kissing his own mother, Purple Thai. Gasp! It’s just weed ya’ll, calm down.

Switching gears to a new lineage, Sour Diesel—the widely available stress and depression curing sativa known for its potent fuel scent—has been around since the early '90s. Sour D’s parentage has been hotly debated, some even calling the strain’s birth “a mistake." Most seem to agree that this child was born to parents Chemdawg, Northern Lights, and Skunk No. 1. Given the names in this family, one might mistake this for a conversation about Ukrainian outlaws, but no it’s just our stinky ol’ pal marijuana. Sour Diesel’s incredibly pungent fragrance was inherited from the diesel scented Chemdawg and the sour smelling Skunk No. 1.

The high-energy hybrid Skunk No. 1 dates back to the late 1970s and blends the genetics of Afgani, Acapulco Gold, and Colombian Gold. The uplifting Colombian Gold is likely where Skunk got its scent. Northern Lights, Sour Diesel’s second parent, is a pure indica—born of Afgani landtrace strains around 1985 in Seattle—and is sweet, earthy and piny in taste. Pretty straightforward genetics so far. 

Well, not Chemdawg, Sour Diesel’s third parent. Chemdawg’s beginnings are even more mysterious than Sour D’s.

Chemdawg is the Darth Vader of weed: a powerful lord and ruler of organic origin who reeks of fossil fuels (Vader has the well-oiled version of the tin man’s body under that cape) and has no idea who his father was. Permeating throughout the Internet’s cannabis centric forums are debates full of those who were and weren’t in attendance at that fateful Grateful Dead concert in 1991 where what became known as Chemdawg (Anakin at this point, if you follow me) made its first appearance. Genetically, Chemdawg appears to be a euphoric indica-leaning strain from Nepalese and Thai origin. The stress relieving OG Kush is said to be another offspring of Chemdawg, making OG Kush and Sour Diesel very chill siblings. Try these at home and decide who’s Luke and who’s Leia. Actually, while you're sparking things, why not just fire up the original Trilogy because there’s a new Star Wars movie you need to prepare for! Oh and don’t forget the popcorn, because these buds are definitely going to stimulate your appetite.