10 iconic varieties of Canadian cannabis

A brief catalogue of 10 iconic Canadian cannabis strains.

As Canada approaches a future of legalized cannabis for adult use, it’s important to remember some innovative Canadian strains and the breeders who have brought them to us. Breeders in Canada have been selecting traits they favour for decades, often finding new, stable strains that have specific growing and psychotropic effects, from High THC and/or High CBD, to specific physical characteristics like height and flower density.

Many of these strains originated in British Columbia, helping solidify the BC Bud brand around the world, although breeders in from every province are always busy helping refine and create new genetic variations.

Canada’s legal medical cannabis programs have always relied heavily on the genetic seed bank of the illicit market, from seeds brought in from police raids to strains used and refined by MMAR growers, to the importing of many of these strains into the MMPR in late 2013 and early 2014.

An ideal recreational system in Canada will remove the barriers between currently ‘illegal’ strains and the legal market. There’s simply too much amazing, unique lineage to be lost.

These are only a small sampling of the many, many wonderful Canadian strains available on the market.

Island Sweet Skunk

Developed on Vancouver Island, this BC bud was reportedly first bred by Federation Seed Company. It’s descended from Skunk #1 and has strong sativa tendencies, growing tall, slender plants. It has been available from Tilray in the past, and is available in some Canadian dispensaries.

Island Honey

This rare but legendary strain was for a time carried by Thunderbird (now Emerald Health) on Vancouver Island. It’s said to be a Jack Herer descendant bred with genetics brought into British Columbia by a draft dodger in the 70s. It was high CBD and smelled like honey if it was glass jar cured, says Renee Gagnon, founder of Thunderbird.

“It was the planned to be the basis of a BC catalogue, dodging trends in US dispensaries.  We have sufficient genetics in BC without resorting to big box candy.”  - Renee Gagnon

UBC Chemo

This extremely hard to find and often-imitated BC strain is rumoured to have been bred at the UBC Campus by David Suzuki for it’s effectiveness in helping cancer patients cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. UBC Chemo is said to have been developed from a strong indica hybrid, and generally only available via clone cuts. It has also been marketed by Federation Seeds and BC Bud Depot as a stabilized seed.

BC God Bud

A mix of a sativa called Hawaiian and a purple Indica, BC God Bud was first developed by BC Bud Depot. It can be found in numerous BC and Ontario dispensaries, and a few licensed producers.

Barbara Bud

A Shishkaberry/Afghani hybrid cross developed by BC’s House of the Great Gardener is known for fast, easy growth. It has also been available from Tilray.

Jean Guy

Another Canadian staple from the House of the Great Gardener, this strain has made it’s way into the MMPR via Tilray. Bred in Quebec, this sativa-dominant hybrid is known for its high THC and a strong citrus smell.

Mountain Jam

This has become a Vancouver Island staple for some, bred from the Legendary DJ Short Blueberry and Chimera Seeds. The Mountain Jam is a hybrid of the Soulshine and DJ's prized blueberry, blending two colourful and sweet flavoured elites for an outstanding performer. Periodically available from the Victoria Cannabis Buyer’s Club.

The SoulShine has become Chimera Seeds' flagship sinsemilla flower for overall odour, taste, beauty, ease of growth, quality of high and of course yield. It has a multi-angled branching pattern that seems to balance the arms so that the massive tops and tips can almost support their plumpness without assistance. Once turned to a flowering cycle, these beauties will double in size and the arm tops will be ready for a colourful harvest at 53-58 days. With proper techniques, two more harvests 3-5 days apart and you will be amazed at how much ripening will happen on the middles and bottoms, turning the calyxes into little purple candy canes. Pollinated with DJ Shorts selected Blueberry male, should bring a reminiscent smell of grapefruits, overripe mango and wild blueberries when they are ready for harvest.


A recent dispensary favourite, especially on Ontario, Nuken is reportedly a cross between a Shiskaberry and a God Bud.

BC Big Bud

This citrusy, ‘mostly Sativa indoor’ has been stabilized from a Netherlands strain called Big Bud and is available from seedbanks like Jordan of the Islands

(Texada) Timewarp

From Vancouver Island, a legendary strain reported to be descended from a Canadian landrace hybrid that has found it’s way into numerous west coast dispensaries over the years, and from BC’s Broken Coast. Timewarp is also available from Jordan of the Islands, BC Bud Depot and the Next Generation Seed Company.

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