Meat Breath by Michigan breeder Gromerjuana is a strain of the summer 2020. (Courtesy Deschutes Growery)
et’s be fair—whatever is in your bowl right now is the Strain of the Summer, for you. Cannabis is so personal.
But beyond you doing you, there are definite, massive trends abloom in cannabis flower culture. We can see Runtz grown by the acre for the early summer light-dep harvest. We have search data on Glues, and sales data on Cakes and Cookies that backs up what expert growers and dispensary buyers in the field say is happening. And we have our own subject matter experts staying close to the plant—donning PPE to shop in legal stores and walk the weed beat for our readers.
Amid a heated, maddening summer, millions of cannabis lovers turn to the plant for sleep, healing, lifting mood, opening the mind, and as a form of travel. Cannabis can help generate empathy.
Cannabis in 2020 is also a respite from all the craziness of the year—a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory-esque riverboat ride of colors, textures, smells, tastes, and effects that shows no sign of slowing.
So here it is, Leafly’s definitive, market-making, 10ish Strains of Summer 2020—the perfect compliment to however you’re going to be spending it: sheltering, loving, living, chilling. Probably a little of all of it, let’s be fair.
Runtz up yo’ life! This purplelicious, sweet, chill, candy strain from the minority-run Cookies has been surging the past three years to hit a new high note with the ‘Obama Runtz’ meme of 2020.
Look for acres of the pretty, runty indica-dominant hybrid of Zkittlez and Gelato to tumble down the Humboldt hills this summer as light dep; plus, more from the national indoor scene: White Runtz, Pink Runtz, Insane Runtz.
“A lot of Runtz and a lot of MAC. A lot. A lot,” said Neil Dellacava, a leading dispensary buyer, and indoor farmer at Gold Seal. “And I’m really wondering who’s going to label it with Papaya Runtz and Peach Runtz and whatever they label it these days.”
A 2019 Emerald Cup win, plus the hip-hop and social media marketing masters at Cookies have driven a frenzy of Runtz interest.
“Shout out to the kids making the Runtz wave happen in the streets,” said Ned Fussell, operator of the Farmer and the Felon flower brand in Santa Rosa, CA. This summer, Farmer and the Felon is laser-focused on harvesting mucho Runtz and Lemon Kush Mints, two of the hypest flavors of 2020.
“I think Runtz is great, but it really comes down to the cultivator,” said Anna Willey, CEO of the four-time award-winning CAM indoor farm of Sacramento, CA. “It’s tough to grow and yields small.”
Wedding Cake and Ice Cream Cake have created a new Cake dynasty atop the Cookies family of strains. Ganja farmers are growing so much of Colorado’s Cannarado Genetics’ Lava Cake this year, Dellacava advises startup nurseries to move on.
“I’ve seen a lot of it lately—it’s the first thing you shouldn’t grow, because everybody has it.”
And everybody has it because it’s fire. We love Lava Cake for its cakey, OG, gorgeous deliciousness—white-like frosting, purple, dense, and nodular. It’s a cross of Thin Mint GSC and Grape Pie—you got purples in there, OGs, and Cookies. Of course it’s going to crush it.
This year, super strong, chocolate-fuel-smelling Original Glue became the first strain to beat Blue Dream in terms of global popularity on Leafly, and so it returns to the Strains of the Summer winner’s circle, reprising its 2018 appearance.
“It’s so beautiful and it’s got that specific smell, and it’s such a heavy hitter,” said Willey.
No summer would be complete without a few OGs.
We give it to Fire OG, from midsize, Santa Cruz, CA, growers Fire Cut, for their fairly priced, widely available flame. But you’re almost guaranteed to find your own great OG, like Mazar ‘Skywalker’ OG from Emerald Family Farms, and don’t forget Josh D Farms’ OG projects.
See also: CBD OG from C.R.A.F.T. in Oakland.
When you’ve onboarded to cannabis with Blue Dream, it’s time to explore the approachable, middle-THC Tangies and citrus flavors. And what a great year it is to explore.
Acres of 2019’s award-winning Orange Creamsicle are coming in, plus the likes of Orangeade by Cream of the Crop, and Orange Push Pop from Minntz.
Gelato really broke open the ‘creamy dessert’ sector of cannabis flavors and it’s thrilling to see it meld so well with orange terps.
“I’m seeing a lot of names changing and realizing, ‘Oh shit, that’s just Orange Creamsicle,” said Dellacava.
See also: Blackberry Creamsicle from Glasshouse Farms.
That’s right. Meat Breath. As divisive as it is trendy.
The counterweight to all this dessert and candy is savory flavors made for grown-ass adults. That includes the Breath family of strains.
It starts back with OGKB (OG Kush Breath), which gave us Do-Si-Dos. That drove interest in Mendo Breath, as well as Motorbreath. Now it’s 2020 and we’ve spotted Larry’s Breath and Meat Breath—a cross of Meatloaf and Mendo Breath from Michigan breeder @gromerjuana aka Thug Pug Genetics.
Aficionados bored with trendy, approachable flavors are exploring all these pungent, dank, funky cultivars.
And make no mistake, all this stuff packs a maximal, racy/sedative high; for high-THC consumers only. If you’re an old school lover of Hashplant, or crazy ‘ghanis, and can navigate double black diamond THC scores, fire up the Meat Breath.
Not only can weed smell like fuel, earth, grapes, or berries—it can have this uncanny apple stone fruit aroma.
CAM CEO Willey concurs—there’s an ‘apple’ trend a-brewing in cannabis. Keep an eye out for it.
A pioneer in the apple terp space is Lumpy’s of Northern California, currently running Lumpy’s Cup-winning Apple Fritter, and Sour Apple Haze. CAM is running an Apple Pie. Over in Oregon, Compound Genetics’ is pushing out Apples and Bananas, and don’t miss Caramel Apple, from A Golden State.
These are deeply hybrized, backcrossed strains that may have started with elemental pineapple terps, but the mystery is part of the fun.
Supporting Last Prisoner Project, Farmer and the Felon brings truckloads of Lemongrass (Lemon Kush backcross x Gelato) to the market, and it’s got us juiced for lemon strains this summer.
And that’s it for now. We all know there are so many more strains out there—more rare sativas like Red Congolese, or shameless classics like Trainwreck. We all know the strain of the summer is whatever you love putting in your bowl, joint, vape, rig, or backyard garden. So go puff it and grow it with pride this summer.