Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 26, 2022

These days, you’ll come across the acronym OG everywhere – from social media to pop culture, and you probably know what it means. In a broader sense, it conveys the meaning of being authentic or even “old school.” According to Urban Dictionary, OG used to mean “original gangster” and it originated in the early 90s gang culture, but nowadays it’s just an abbreviation for “original.”

However, in the cannabis community, the term OG is primarily linked to the legendary cannabis strain OG Kush and all its phenotypes. OG Kush is known for its unique taste, aroma, and high THC content, whose popularity hasn’t waned for decades and it’s still on the top shelf in any dispensary. 

However, its exact origin is shrouded in mystery and urban legends, including the actual meaning of the abbreviation OG. We did some digging and in this article, we’ll present you with what we discovered.

The OG Kush Strain and Its Mysterious Origin

In case you’re not too familiar with this cannabis strain, let us introduce you to OG Kush. It’s a potent strain with THC levels consistently measured between 20% and 25%. 

OG Kush is known for its resinous and sticky buds with bright orange pistils. Due to the unique combination of terpenes, it has an earthy and skunky smell with some citrusy notes, while the taste is a combination of citrus, spice, and fuel. It offers a blend of head high and body high and it’s best enjoyed when you want to relax at night. OG Kush is also commonly used as medical marijuana due to its therapeutic effects.

The genetics of OG Kush has been a mystery. While it’s known that it’s a hybrid strain, many cultivators would agree that it’s an Indica strain, but many would also speculate that it’s actually a Sativa-dominant hybrid. Maybe, it depends on where it’s cultivated.

There is one theory that it was created when a cannabis strain from Northern California was crossed with Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and a Hindu Kush strain brought from Amsterdam. And according to another theory, the OG Kush strain emerged as a phenotype of a different undocumented strain.

Then, What Does OG Mean?

There are many theories going around about not only the origin of OG Kush, but also about the meaning of the term OG, and they’re all interconnected. Some theories are more believable than others, so we’ll start with the most likely one.

Original Kush

The most likely theory about what OG means and how OG Kush was created involves former grower and now dispensary owner Matt “Bubba” Berger and Josh Del Roso or Josh D, a founder of Josh D Farms.

The story goes like this: in the early 90s Bubba cultivated a random strain in Florida that he got from a friend. The strain had developed some very good-looking colas that his friend started calling “kushberries.” The name somehow stuck and they shortened it to just Kush, without knowing that the landrace strains found in the Hindu Kush region were also named Kush.

Then, Bubba and Josh D became roommates and started growing some weed together in Los Angeles. They planted three different strains, among which the Kush strain, and perfected them. It’s thought that one of them became the Bubba Kush strain we know now. 

Quickly after, the Kush strain was in high demand and many copy-cats emerged on the market. In order to distinguish their product, they added the abbreviation OG to signify that theirs is the original Kush.

The 1990s were a decade where hip-hop culture thrived and OG Kush became the strain of choice of many west coast rappers, including Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill’s B-Real. 

Ocean Grown 

Another story of what the term OG means involves a cannabis cultivator from Northern California who had been growing a pretty potent Kush strain that was originally bred in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. 

One day he met a fellow weed enthusiast who offered him some dank weed. He couldn’t stop talking about the weed and praising it, claiming that its amazing properties were because it was “mountain grown.” 

Once he saw the buds, the cultivator recognized that they came from his own garden and corrected his new friend by saying that they were, in fact, “ocean grown” on the Pacific coast. According to the story, the term “ocean grown Kush” somehow stuck, and it remained a popular description of OG Kush.

Original Grower

There is a 2018 Netflix documentary series called Murder Mountain that explores marijuana farms. In one episode, there is a story about a Californian cultivator in the old days who flew to Afghanistan in order to smuggle a few cannabis seeds with Kush genetics, as pure Kush varieties are native to Afghanistan. He planted the seeds in the Emerald Triangle, which is a region in Northern California known for its abundance of cannabis farms. According to what was said in the documentary, OG refers to the original grower who cultivated the Kush strain there.

OverGrown Dot Com

Another theory going around that’s the least likely of all, but it’s still mentioned nonetheless, is that OG stands for OverGrown.com. The website was one of the first and largest online cannabis growing forums which gained huge traction in the early 2000s but was unfortunately closed by Canadian authorities around 2006. According to the theory, OG is a tribute to the website because it was the inspiration behind naming the strain OG Kush.

Popular OG Strains You Have to Try Sometime

As a highly popular strain, OG Kush was used to create similar phenotypes because cannabis growers wanted to borrow some of its genes and expand them. Below we selected a few phenotypes of the OG Kush strain that are well-worth trying as they’ve been bred from the best:

  • Tahoe OG
  • SFV OG
  • GSC
  • Headband
  • Ghost OG
  • Larry OG
  • Fire OG
  • Bubba Kush
  • True OG

The Takeaway

OG Kush is one of those cannabis strains that have endured the time and have even cemented their place as a classic. Its origin is a mystery, as is the true meaning behind OG, but when you smoke some OG Kush flower, it’s doubtful that you’ll be concerned about its lineage. 

Nonetheless, there are some interesting stories behind it that reveal a little about how cannabis strains can be developed, and even broader – how cannabis culture became what it is today. What else can we say except to get yourself some OG Kush or some of its phenotypes the next time you go cannabis shopping.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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