Choosing your next cannabis strain can be a tricky proposition. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to know where to even begin. But one way of making an informed choice is to check out which strains have had the honour of winning one of the various prestigious cannabis competitions.
The original competition to find the world’s best strains, The High Times Cannabis Cup, has been around since 1988, when the first event was held in Amsterdam and won by Skunk #1 from Cultivator’s Choice. Since then the competition has evolved to cover many different categories, and has spread out across the globe, with iterations of the competition now held in Colorado, California, Michigan, and Jamaica. But not, at least for now, in Amsterdam.
As well as the original Cannabis Cup, there are now a number of other great events that take place in the cannabis world every year, each offering their own awards for genetic excellence. These include Expogrow and Spannabis in Spain, and the Treating Yourself Expo, which took place in Toronto until 2014, when, like the original Amsterdam Cup, it too was cancelled. Other ‘cannabis cups’ take place as far afield as Uruguay and Brazil.
There are now a huge list of strains which can claim to be a cup winner, so to help you out with your choice, we’ve put together a list of the best selling winners across all events and competitions from 2010 to 2015.
2015 Cannabis Cup Winners - Dinafem Purple Afghan Kush
Dinafem’s Purple Afghan Kush proved its worth during its first year of competitions, claiming first prize for best indica at Expogrow, second prize in the Copa Mega Cata Invernal MF, and third prize in the indoor bio section at Spannabis Malaga.
A cross between Purple Kush and Pre ’98 Bubba Kush, this potent strain has a fruity aroma and taste which account in some part for its growing popularity. But this is not a daytime smoke - its purely indica effects are guaranteed to induce a state of deep relaxation. Couch lock is to be expected.
Other 2015 Cannabis Cup Winners
CharacteristicsThc HighCbd LowYield Indoors: 500 g/m2; Outdoors: 600-800 g/plantFlowers 60 days
CharacteristicsThc 27%Cbd LowYield Indoors: 500 - 550 gr/m2, Outdoors: 550 - 600 gr/plantFlowers 8 - 9 weeks
CharacteristicsThc 21.60%Yield Indoors: 450 gr/m2; Outdoors: 500 - 600 gr/plantFlowers 6-8 Weeks
2014 Cannabis Cup Winners - Dutch Passion Desfran
Dutch Passion’s Desfran has been winning awards since 2009, but its most recent award came in 2014, when it was awarded second place in the indoor section at Copa C.A.B.A in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In stark contrast to the Purple Afghan Kush above, Desfran is a 100% sativa strain that will be sure to leave you feeling uplifted and euphoric, and has even been described as psychedelic for the intensity of its high - not surprising given its origins as a cross of Destroyer with Destroyer. The name says it all.
2013 Cannabis Cup Winners - Eva Seeds Missing In Barcelona (M.I.B.)
Another multiple award winner, Missing In Barcelona from Eva Seeds won its first award at the Cannabis Champions Cup back in 2005, and in 2013 secured its most recent prize: coming in second place in the hash category at Copa Natura Verde.
As powerful as Desfran, but with the calming effect of the Purple Afghan Kush, this knockout strain from Eva Seeds could be a considered the best of both worlds. A hybrid that relaxes the body whilst stimulating the mind, not least with its tangerine smell and sweet, spicy flavour.
2012 Cannabis Cup Winners - House of the Great Gardener Haoma
After coming first in the Treating Yourself Expo’s Compassion Club category, and second in the High Times Cup’s concentrate category in 2011, House of the Great Gardener’s Haoma followed up with a third place finish in 2012’s Treating Yourself Expo’s Seed Company Indica category.
This is House of the Great Gardener’s flagship strain, created by crossing Purps with Afghani in order to give the Purps a stronger structure. The resulting phenotypes were distributed to members of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, who got to choose their favourite. The result is an indica dominant strain with (again) a fruity aroma, but without the almost obscenely high THC levels of some of the other strains on this list.
Other 2012 Cannabis Cup Winners
CharacteristicsThc 20%Yield HighFlowers 9-10 weeks
CharacteristicsThc Very HighYield Indoors: 50 to 80 g & Outdoors: 500 g and 1.5 kgFlowers 55-65 days
CharacteristicsYield MediumFlowers 50-65 days
2011 Cannabis Cup Winners - Cali Connection 818 Headband AKA Sour OG
The winner of the High Times Medical Cup in Detroit in 2011, Cali Connection’s 818 Headband AKA Sour OG is the first strain on this list not to be described as fruity. This one is straight out of the Diesel lineage (crossed from the original Sour Diesel cut no less) and has the aroma and taste you would expect of such a plant.
Its strength is legendary, and definitely not for the faint of heart, but it continues to be a hugely popular strain 5 years after its High Times Cup win. Its Seedfinder rating of 9.33 out of 10 should tell you everything you need to know about how universally loved this plant is.
Other 2011 Cannabis Cup Winners
CharacteristicsThc 25%Cbd 1.3%Yield Indoor: 600 g/m2Flowers 60 - 65 days
CharacteristicsThc HighYield Indoors: 40-70 gr/plant & Outdoors: 500 gr-1 kg/m2Flowers 42-45 days
CharacteristicsYield 800+ g/m2Flowers 8 weeks
2010 Cannabis Cup Winners - Reserva Privada OG Kush
Another OG, this time Reserva Privada’s OG Kush, was a second place winner in the Indoor Hydro Cup at 2010’s Spannabis Champions Cup.
OG Kush is about as legendary a name as they come in the cannabis world. Formerly a clone-only plant, since seeds became available it has become one of the most popular strains in the world. Like the 818 Headband, it has an intense diesel smell and a stone that will knock you off your feet if you’re not prepared for it. Unlike the Headband though, this classic strain is slightly more sativa dominant and so produces a little more in the way of a cerebral high, and less couchlock than its cousin.
Other 2010 Cannabis Cup Winners
CharacteristicsThc 21.00%Cbd 0.7%Yield Indoor: 500 g/m2Flowers 60-70 days
CharacteristicsThc 23%Cbd 1.8%Yield Indoor: 600 g/m2Flowers 60-65 days
CharacteristicsFlowers 8-9 weeks