top strains 2021

Leafly Buzz: 8 cannabis cultivars trending up in 2021

Hundreds of thousands of cannabis lovers and newcomers, coast to coast, have an entire year of mega-flavors and potent, euphoric effects to explore in 2021.

The pace of innovation in cannabis keeps accelerating, and mouthwatering results are just a trip to a licensed dispensary away.

Just like sneakers and watches, different weed varieties and brands trend upward and downward across America—where one in four citizens now live in a legalization state. Search and sales data also agree: Americans show consistent, specific tastes in trendy, top-grade ganja.

For example, many of the national flavors of 2021 started with the Cookies cultivar five-plus years ago on the West Coast. Every strain listed below stands on the shoulders of past greats and reaches up into the future of weed Valhalla. Here are eight of the most well-liked trees in the US forest to try in 2021.


Gushers comes from Gelato #41 crossed to Triangle Kush. In fact, four of the hottest strains going into 2021 are crossed with Gelato. Everyone loves Gelato, and you can’t blame them. Not liking it is like saying you don’t like pizza, because it’s gotten too popular. Don’t be that guy.

Gushers isn’t exactly a new strain—it took a 2018 Emerald Cup trophy—but the California staple continues to migrate across the US at a notable clip. Brand Connected Cannabis Co. in California offers a major source of Gushers, though other folks grow it as well.

Like all hot strains, Gushers packs in the THC. Its amazing smell comes from a hit trifecta of aromatic molecules called terpenes: lemon-smelling limonene, funky beta caryophyllene, and floral linalool.

Fans report getting relaxed, happy, and euphoric to manage stress and depression with Gushers, aka Fruit Gushers, and White Gushers.

And lots of seed breeders are also working the fruity Gushers line:

  • Colorado breeders Cannarado introduced crosses like Jolt (Vietnam Black x Gushers) and offspring like Frumpz (Freshwater Taffy x Grumpz).
  • In Cali, Oakland’s Purple City Genetics made Gusher Pie (Gushers x Rainbow Pie F2).


Like Gushers, Gelonade shows how strains typically debut on the West Coast and over several years become commonplace nationally in markets like Oklahoma and Florida. That’s a huge win for legal customers nationwide, as well as the influential breeders and growers still hard at work on California’s next big flavor.

Over at the highly sought after HENDRX Nursery in Humboldt County, owner Daniel Hendrix agreed Gelonade has got the goods. “It combines a new level of potency, purple, and gas with that intense fruit. It is so, so good.”

Connected Cannabis Co. of California made Gelonade from Lemon Tree crossed with Gelato #41—so it’s got gobs of sweet, thick, syrupy lemon terpenes mixed into the creamy berry and cookies flavor of Gelato.

So far that’s two strains that mention Gelato, and buckle up for more. Why did Gelato break away from the pack? Large-scale commercial cultivation, said Ted Lidie, founder of high-end cannabis brand Alien Labs.

“For strains to hit a certain level of notoriety, they have to have a certain level of supply,” Lidie said in an Instagram Live video, Dec. 29, hosted by Leafly freelancer Jimi Devine. “The reason Gelato #41 became so popular is it was the most widely grown exotic at the time.”


A veritable California relic from the Before Times of 2016, Sherblato gains more national fans in 2021 as Connected Cannabis Co. expands into other states, bringing their stable of thoroughbred pot to the masses.

Sherblato comes from crossing two classics Sherbert and Gelato. (Connected calls theirs “Sherbacio”). It’s got Pink Panties, GSC, and Sunset Sherbert in its lineage. Like its cousins, expect Sherblato to deliver a creamy, berry, fuel smell and flavor. As for the high-THC effects, Leafly readers report Sherblato makes them feeling relaxed, happy, hungry, and calm.

Apple Fritter

Let’s take a Gelato break, and celebrate the apple flavors on the rise in 2021.

Apple Fritter from Northern California’s Lumpy’s Flowers dates to pre-2018 medical marijuana era California, but it’s slowly climbing to the top of the adult-use era. It shows how hot strains don’t just fall out of the sky. They debut standing on the shoulders of past genetics, win over fans, seed the culture, then break out into mass recognition.

Speaking of ancestors, influential breeder/grower “Lumpy” bolted a killer apple smell onto a Cookies chassis—Apple Fritter combines Sour Apple (Diesel x C99) and Animal Cookies (GSC x OG).

Now that America’s Main St. customers are asking for Fritter, weed’s architects are at work on new crosses.

  • Lumpy’s released Lemon Trill (Lemonade x Reckless Rainbow) and Cherry Jane , and soon, LAX (Apple Fritter x LA Snow).
  • Lumpy’s also made Sherly Temple , which is Cherry Jane x Apple Fritter #39; plus, for the sativa heads, Lumpy made Sour Apple Haze (Super Silver Haze x Sour Apple).
  • Portland, OR’s Archive Seeds offers Fritter Licker—Apple Fritter to Face-Off.
  • California-based breeder/growers Compound Genetics sell a Grapple Pie #30 (Apple Fritter x Grape Gasoline).
  • Lastly, California’s Alien Labs grows the perfect strain— Atomic Apple (Triangle Mints x Apple Fritter); now on dispensary shelves.

How do you like them apples?

Kush Mints

2021 is all mints everything, and we’re here for it.

Dominating the strain game like Kobe did the NBA in ‘05-’06, Seed Junky Genetics of LA made Kush Mints by crossing Animal Mints with Bubba Kush. Let’s unpack all this good stuff:

Animal Mints draws on the power of GSC, OG Kush, and even some Blueberry. It’s a cross of Animal Cookies (GSC x Fire OG) and SinMint Cookies (GSC x Blue Power).

Stone-cold classic Bubba Kush comes from Northern Lights and Triangle Kush.

Kush Mints spawned its own minty lineage including LA Kush Cake (Wedding Cake x Kush Mints) and Pancakes (London Pound Cake #73 x Kush Mints #11).

And speaking of minty weed, don’t miss the sub-craze in The Menthol (Gelato x White Diesel x (High Octane x Jet Fuel), the hottest of which is Compound Genetics’ unofficial ‘Baby Yoda’ cut of Khalifa Mints (Khalifa Kush x The Menthol).

Jungle Cake

Los Angeles gets to have its Jungle Cake and smoke it, too, this year. Bred by Seed Junky Genetics, Jungle Cake crosses White Fire #43 aka Wifi43 (Fire OG x The White) and Wedding Cake (Triangle Kush x Animal Mints).

Jungle Cake looks so iced out and good, with light aromas of sugary icing and fuel. Indeed, the highest-THC consumers love Jungle Cake, because it is strong AF. The hybrid strain tests into the 30% THC range, assuring a powerful high; the antidote to life in the concrete jungle.


Colorado breeding kings Cannarado have one setting: beast mode. Their Garanimals have escaped the zoo and are running amok nationwide.

Built for Cookies fans out there, Garanimals infuses Animal Cookies with the cherry and grape flavors of strain Grape Pie (Cherry Pie x Grape Stomper). Garanimals is dark, dense, resinous, fragrant evening weed that pairs well with Netflix and your fridge.

In fact, all the most sought after strains in the US center around this relaxing, happy evening effect—as opposed to some racy, daytime, psychedelic vibe. You can’t blame people for just wanting to chill after 2020.

Ice Cream Cake

Lastly, Seed Junky Genetics strikes again with their indica cross of Wedding Cake (aka Triangle Mints #23) and Gelato #33.

Ice Cream Cake exemplifies when a virtuous cycle turns vicious: popularity leads to wider availability, inducing rampant growing, which eventually erodes quality control. Ice Cream Cake became such a sure bet, every Tom, Dick, and Heidi is having a go at it—with varying results.

At its best, this strain makes total sense, because Gelato crossed to Triangle Kush and Animal Mints makes total sense. They’re all awesome cultivars on their own. The combination is cakey, sweet and high-THC, with a fuel finish.

Still, it takes a master grower to tease out the best from Ice Cream Cake. In 2021, fields of not-so-nice cream cake are destined to become bargain B-buds, or, the horror, oil for vape pens.

As a strain, you either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain to weed snobs.

And with that, we have arrived at the end. You’re probably feeling pretty stuffed on dessert strains, eh? We can already hear haters asking:
When, o’ Lord, when will savory flavors break the stranglehold of the sweet?!’

‘Where are my favorite sativas?’

Will the real old school classics please stand up?!

We got you, fam. Keep clicking on Leafly News, and we’ll keep pointing you to the best.

Padlock your fridge. The 8 hottest strains for the New Year include Gelonade, Gushers, Apple Fritter, and Ice Cream Cake.

Strains & Products

Top 6 Strongest Strains to Smoke in 2021

2020 has been a year that people will never forget. It was a truly overwhelming one, full of many surprises and changes that have been completely unprecedented. To deal with this year, people turned to their favorite stress reliever marijuana, like never before. Even though everyone is wishing for a much smoother year to be in store for 2021, we’ve made a list of the most potent strains on the market, just in case you need to take the edge off.

What is THC?

We all love our beloved herb, cannabis, but do we know what it is and how it works in the body? To begin, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the 100+ known compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC is a cannabinoid, and another one you may know is CBD. THC is one of the oldest hallucinogens known to man and is the compound that provides the cannabis user the psychoactive feelings. THC often has gotten a bad reputation due to these psychoactive properties it possesses, but in recent years with the explosion of cannabis popularity, slowly erasing this stigma.

How Does THC Work on the Body?

THC affects both the mind and body through a little-known system called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates bodily functions and works with homeostasis to keep equilibrium within the body. It is crucial for your body that these two are functioning together, as they keep all of your vitals stable. The ECS helps to regulate memory, pain, motor controls, digestion and inflammation.

There are specific receptors within the system, the CB1 and the CB2 receptor, that are working to keep the above functions at bay. THC has an affinity to the CB1 receptor, found in large quantities in the brain. When THC binds to this receptor, it creates intoxicating effects and also mimics a natural chemical called anandamide, also known as the “bliss” molecule. THC can create feelings of euphoria, altered time and perception, lightheadedness, relaxation and sensory changes.

It is important to realize that receptors are like fingerprints, meaning they are unique for everyone. This explains why everyone has a very different reaction and feeling to THC.

Cannabis Strains with THC > 25%

Royal Gorilla

First up on the list of strains is this indica-dominant hybrid that comes in at a whopping 27% THC. This strain will give the user brief feelings of euphoria, coupled with a nice head buzz before delivering an intense couch-lock experience. The origins of this strain hail from some heavy hitters that consist of Sour Dubb, Chems Sister and Chocolate Diesel. Royal Gorilla possesses long-lasting effects that are great for treating chronic pain and fatigue with flavors that are citrusy, earthy and sweet. The terpenes present in this strain are limonene, caryophyllene and pinene, which are sure to pack a punch and an enjoyable high with a slight diesel exhale.


Next on our list of strongest weed strains for 2021 is this sativa-leaning hybrid, also known as “Lemonhead OG” that normally tests around 22-23% THC, all the way up to even 25% THC. Created from the strain Kush by Royal Choice Farms, expect an intense tingling sensation and a dizzying head high with zesty energy, perfect for elevating the mood. Lemonhead is among the popular strains that provokes a positive social behavior, filled with laughter and smiles that won’t make the user feel overstimulated. Filled with myrcene, limonene and caryophyllene, expect a flavor that is a bit citrusy and dank, with a pine taste on the backend.


This sativa with genetics of Trainwreck, Jack the Ripper and Trinity make Chernobyl debatably the highest THC strain, coming in at over 30% THC. Expect a dreamy, uplifted mood to last for hours that will keep you energetic throughout the day. With citrus and a distinct lime sherbet smell to accompany it, this strain will wash away all stresses and anxiety. High in the terpene terpinolene, this strain will deliver an overall positive experience, without being too much to handle.

Ghost OG

If you’ve been searching for 30% THC strains, this is the strain for you. This indica combines Afghani Indica with OG Kush and brings about a strong tingling feeling throughout the body, giving one a nice numbing feeling. Expect a couch-lock experience, coupled with a nice euphoric attitude in the mind, all while having a very notable citrus smell. With terpenes like limonene and myrcene, this strain is sure to aid in anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.

The White

To round out our strongest and best weed strains for 2021, this often difficult to find hybrid averages around 24-25% THC and will sometimes come in at around 29%. This strain’s genetics are a bit mysterious as well, with origins through to be from the strain Triangle which produces a smooth, dank pine taste with an earthy aroma. This is a great strain for intense focus, with almost no body high to possibly slow you down. High in caryophyllene, this potent strain is not for the novice smoker. If you find yourself in a creative funk, light this strain up to get those thoughts flowing.


Chemdawg/Chemdog is among many of the strains of weed that have much ambiguity and mystery, especially around its origins. This hybrid that contains a massive 28% THC is the parent to a few very well-known strains such as OG Kush and Sour Diesel. Chemdawg will deliver a stinky, almost diesel-like taste that also has some earthy musk and pine odors. Terpenes present here are myrcene, limonene and caryophyllene that will deliver a potent and heavy body feeling and a cerebral experience that isn’t for the faint of heart. This is a great strain for stress, anxiety and even PTSD symptoms.

What is your favorite strain so far in 2021? Have you tried any of the strains listed above? Let us know in the comments below.

2020 has been a year that people will never forget. It was a truly overwhelming one, full of many surprises and changes that have been completely unprecedented. To deal with this year, people turned to their favorite stress reliever marijuana, like never before. Even though everyone is wishing for a much smoother year to be in store for 2021, we’ve