If you’ve only heard of one cannabis cultivar, chances are it’s OG Kush. Legendary for its potency, this building-block strain has provided the genetics for many other cultivars, many of which carry the letters OG in their name in reference to their parentage.
Despite appearing on dispensary menus for a quarter of a century, these enigmatic initials remain shrouded in mystery. The debate around what exactly OG signifies concerning cannabis continues to rumble on.
OG Kush – A Cannabis Legend
There’s no doubting “OG” first appeared with the emergence of OG Kush in the mid-1990s. A few theories have been suggested as to how this cultivar came about. Some claim it was developed in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and is a hybrid of Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and a Pakistani Hindu Kush landrace strain.
The most widely accepted version is the OG Kush mother plant was first bred in Florida by Matt ‘Bubba’ Berger. He used seeds from a bag of unspecified flower in the early 90s. Not to confuse the Kush landrace, Berger’s cultivar was soon given the nickname ‘Kushberries’ by some of his friends about its sizeable colas. In time, the name got shortened to Kush.
A few years later, in 1996, Berger sent a cutting from this mother plant to Josh Del Rosso – better known as Josh D – in southern California. The following year Kush cleaned up at a cannabis contest in the Bay Area. At this point, its popularity took off. Resulting in an explosion of imitations from other breeders attempting to cash in on the Kush phenomenon.
To distinguish their product, Berger and Josh D added the OG, resulting in OG Kush’s name. According to Josh D, the two letters merely denote the word ‘original,’. Although, some have questioned this account of the genesis of OG cannabis strains.
OG Cannabis – Alternative Meanings
While OG is now commonly associated with cannabis, the term’s roots go way back to the 1970s, when gangs such as the Crips began to become prominent in Los Angeles. Back then, the letters stood for ‘original gangster’ and were used to denote the gang’s founding members. Later, the term OG was expanded to refer to any senior gang member. Or, those that displayed certain qualities such as loyalty or courage.
Before long, the phrase made its way into the rap culture of southern California. Its use increased greatly after Ice T released an album called ‘O.G. Original Gangster’ in 1991.
According to some accounts, the term OG first crossed over into cannabis culture thanks to rapper B-Real from Cypress Hill. He’s sometimes credited with creating the name OG Kush, using the letters to represent the phrase ‘original gangster.’
Another theory is OG stands for ‘ocean grown’ referencing cannabis cultivars that have been bred along the California coastline. According to legend, a coastal grower from northern California was once offered a joint by a stranger who claimed to own high-quality “mountain grown” weed. However, from the smell of the cannabis being offered, the cultivator immediately recognised it as his own creation and responded that the stranger’s weed was, in fact, “ocean grown.”
“OG” will probably always be the subject of some speculation. However, there’s no question about the impact of OG Kush on global cannabis culture. Today, there’s a huge number of popular cultivars utilising the genetics of this famous strain. Among those to have been created using OG Kush are the likes of Tahoe OG, Skywalker OG, Girl Scout Cookies, Headbanger, and many others.