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Leafly Buzz: 10 trending cannabis cultivars of ’22


America’s high-THC weed-loving masses—prepare to enjoy some truly phenomenal smoke in 2022.

From Cali to Maine, countless acres of the rowdiest, mind-meltin’-est strains ever conceived are flowering; destined for the top shelf of your local store. Growers big and small are standing on the shoulders of breeding giants like Compound Genetics or Seed Junky Genetics, delivering near-perfect buds.

These breeders in select hotbeds like L.A., the Bay, Humboldt, Portland, and beyond, are rapidly evolving the exotic pot genome before our eyes. Seed and clone sellers then distribute these remixed varietals nationally and internationally. From one-light garage tent growers, all the way up to corporate mega-grows—the breathtaking buds flood our social feeds first, then store shelves.

So how did we select the 10 trendiest strains of ’22? We looked at US search and menu data, crawled The Emerald Cup Dec. 11, interviewed growers, studied Cup-winners lists, seedbank newsletters, and smoked, like, hundreds of strains.

Trendy means new, hot, and often limited in supply: like the ’22 Tesla Model S, or the PlayStation 5s of weed. Here’s the heat that’s burning up our feeds—these are Leafly’s 10 trending strains of ’22.


A close up of a purple and green, dense, icy Jokerz nug — Compound Genetics Jokerz #31 (David Downs/Leafly)
Sweet gas, and smashing THC scores—Compound Genetics Jokerz #31. (David Downs/Leafly)

Jokerz is best-in-class, fruity, spicey, gas that’ll make you grin. Its maximum-THC indica-hybrid effects deliver what connoisseurs demand. Share this elite indica hybrid with a fellow heavyweight and enjoy it along with a fine film.

California-based exotic breeder leader Compound Genetics mixed the parents White Runtz x Jet Fuel Gelato, and selected Jokerz #31 to first bring to market at The Emerald Cup. Lines ran long all day.

Jokerz is the platonic ideal of exotic cannabis in ‘22. It’s icy, dense, dark, and massive— smelling of purple candied pine trees drenched in fuel.

The people have voted with their cash and hashtags—they demand pot that pairs with getting off work, kicking back, trying to relax, eat, love, and sleep. In a world gone mad, Jokerz offers top-flight respite.

Rainbow Belts

A close up of a light green and yellow-haired nug covered in trichomes. (David Downs/Leafly)
Archive Seeds Rainbow Belts, grown by LA Family Farms, via Greenwolf Zalympix 2021. (David Downs/Leafly)

Got S.A.D.? Add sunlight, nature, and puffs of this neon hybrid to your routine ASAP. An olfactory array of syrupy tropical fruit and uplifting hybrid effects awaits.

2022 will surely include a slew of new Z crosses (formerly called Zkittlez). Leading them—Archive Seeds’ cross of Z x Dosidos, which is not recommended for beginners.

Rainbow Belts looks so amazing and smells outrageous that it’ll make you mad at your other weed for being so basic. Archive Seeds describes the nose as “a wonderful Zkittlez-dominant potpourri purple Zkittlez candied lime sugar-coated OG Kush skunk funk.”

Exactly. Yes, please.


Cannabis Cup 2021 winners and where to buy them

R.B. showed off in the influential L.A. Zalympix exotic pot contest twice in ‘21. Archive Seeds pumps out seed packs of crosses, and other breeders work the Belts line heavily.

Rainbow Belts bloom all across the US: from CRU, Kingpen, and Artisan in Cali; to The Heights Co. in Oregon; as well as Seattle’s Private Reserve. The Belts are poppin’ in Michigan from Pure Options; and Sira Naturals in Mass.

Guess life just looks better behind rainbow-colored glasses.

Hella Jelly

A branch and bud shot of a thicc green and orange Hella Jelly flower top. Humboldt Seed Co Hella Jelly (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Co.)
Don’t be jelly: Humboldt Seed Co Hella Jelly. (Courtesy Humboldt Seed Co)

Cap an epic surf sesh with this sweet rush of blue cotton candy, strawberries, and grapes.

Humboldt Seed Co. did the sativa world a solid when it wedded a Very Cherry to a Notorious THC. Hella Jelly looks, smells, and feels like sativa, but flowers fast—like an indica. You can grow greenhouses of it easily and flawlessly, and America has started to, thank God. We still love our classic Durban or Jack. But Hella Jelly has the potential to make classic sativa heads envious.

Hella Jelly won us over with its superb pedigree, hella early finish, and terps like standing next to the blue cotton candy machine at the fair. So, we made it a Harvest Strain of 2021, only to see it revealed as the coveted strain for The Grow-Off contest in California.

Agronomically optimized, Hella Jelly also makes fabulous extract, and Humboldt Seed Co is a major seed seller in multiple states. If you’re not hella stoked yet, you will be once you get a taste.

Apples and Bananas

A close up of a purple, orange and green nug covered in trichomes.(David Downs/Leafly)
Fruity hues show in this Cookies+Compound project. (David Downs/Leafly)

Space out to the sounds of beat-God Madlib on this powerful, creative hybrid. Its fruity, soft, dank gasoline taste and 30% THC scores will ensure you stay one of America’s most blunted on the map.

When rapper Berner debuted this collaboration with Compound Genetics at Berner’s on Haight in late 2020, heads braved a raging pandemic with no vaccines to stand on lines for two hours. German tourists tripped out: “You’re waiting in this line? For weed?”

Heads fed: The Cookies dome at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by Hannah X Clover; Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
Heads fed: The Cookies dome at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by Hannah X Clover; Courtesy The Emerald Cup)

Well, the lines continued again at the Cookies dome at The Emerald Cup in December 2021, where seeds of new Apples and Bananas crosses fetched hundreds of dollars per pack. Cookies and Compound Genetics mixed (Platinum Cookies x GDP x Blue Power) x Gelatti for Apples and Bananas—a perfect example of the quality buds the Bay Area exotic scene has to offer the world. As breeders work A&B crosses, seedbanks retail even more A&B, and Cookies opens stores across the country, ensuring plenty of Apples and Bananas to smoke, smoke, smoke, nationwide in 2022.


A macro of MAC V2 from L.A. Made just sleeted with trichomes over a greenish purple, orange-haired nug. — MAC V2 from L.A. Made (David Downs/Leafly)
All CAP when you spell the man’s name: MAC V2 from L.A. Made. (David Downs/Leafly)

Return of the MAC? Pfffth. It never left.

Capulator’s Miracle Alien Cookies (MAC) made legions of fans by delivering on the promise of a maximal-THC hybrid indica smackdown. MAC is big, white with trichomes, dense, and complex-smelling—a crushing kaleidoscope of sweet, biting, hashy, herbal mint. Prepare for take-off, because you are about to be abducted by some out-of-this-world terpenes.

Capulator crosses Alien Cookies x Miracle 15 genetics for MAC V2, which he sold in person at The Emerald Cup, via the boutique, new, high-end indoor flower brand ‘L.A. Made.’ You can see how ‘Cap’ is driving at this particular weed aesthetic and effect with his selections: impossibly big, chunky, iced-out indoor alien weed; devastating even to the connoisseur.

Cap got kicked off Instagram in 2021, but only got stronger on his grower forum The Bean Basement, adding a newsletter, and now the licensed affiliate L.A. Made. MAC V2 is for sale in seedbanks. Grow rooms have fired it up. We expect Cap, MAC, and his grower army to smash it this year.

  • See also: MAC Cap’s Cut; Dinosaur Food

Layer Cake

A Layer Cake nug shot—greenish purple and caked in white THC. (Courtesy Talking Trees) copy
Wedding Cake lovers—meet your side piece: Layer Cake. (Courtesy Talking Trees)

No strain trend list would be complete with a nod to Wedding Cake—a top-searched strain of 2021. Alas, Wedding Cake fans have started looking for a side piece.

Enter Swamp Boys SeedsLayer Cake—that is Seed Junky’s Wedding Cake crossed to their famous GMO x TK Skunk.

Layer Cake smells like sweet vanilla icing layered atop biting, savory skunk.

My food tasted better, and everything was funny to me. That was after one hit….no joke.

Leafly reviewer, Layer Cake

Pre-game your brain with this intense, layered trip before an adventurous return to in-person dining. After the initial rush, it’ll take the stress out of stress-eating.

“Within 10 minutes, tiny vibrational sounds were louder, colors were more vivid, and my body felt numb,” a reviewer states. “It was intense and almost scary. I’ve tried many substances in the past, and this reminded me of an MDMA buzz at first. Very cerebral. It mellowed out nicely after about 45 minutes, then I was just pleasantly buzzed. My food tasted better, and everything was funny to me. That was after one hit….no joke.”


A bud and branch shot of icy black and green Oreoz grown by CAM Photo by The High Red Beard (Photo Courtesy of CAM)
Oreoz is back in the rotation in ’22 at the artisanal California grower C.A.M. (Photo by The High Red Beard, Photo Courtesy of C.A.M.)

Oreoz is creamy sweetness atop chocolatey dankness that’ll get the whole squad lit. Treat the team to this dessert-encouraging hybrid from Michigan-based 3rd Coast Genetics.

3rd Coast Genetics’ ‘Max Yields’ crossed a Cookies n Cream to Secret Weapon—adding some much-needed novelty into the aging GSC line. It’s one of several cultivars with near-black leaf that sets off that white THC frosting.

With 50% hybrid effects, reviewers report stuff like: “Fire strain. Helps me see the field in Madden better.” Fair.

“Hooolyyy fuck. Jesus Christ. This shit had me in another galaxy within 15 minutes. I was literally seeing stars.”

—Leafly reviewer, on Oreoz

Others note the teeth-clenching THC levels: “Hooolyyy fuck. Jesus Christ. This shit had me in another galaxy within 15 minutes. I was literally seeing stars.” Indeed.

Oreoz is on shelves nationwide: in San Francisco from Lyfted; in Oregon from The Heights Co. at Archive; from Cloud9 at Have A Heart in Seattle, WA. It’s in Colorado and Arizona, and Lil Wayne’s GKUA brand has Oreoz in Detroit.

The popular name might pose problems, so look out for ‘Secret Cookies’ in some parts.

Garlic Breath

An icy purple and orange-haired nug macro of Garlic Breath flower top. — Hava Gardens Garlic Breath (Courtesy Hava Gardens)1
Hava Gardens Garlic Breath (Courtesy Hava Gardens)

Carbo-load your brain on this comfort food, then embrace a nap as an end in and of itself. Garlic Breath offers a savory, pungent, umami contrast to prevailing terps. It is high-THC sabor for your Cali Sober lifestyle.

Influential Michigan breeder of Peanut Butter Breath, Thug Pug, purportedly bred this GMO x Mendo Breath cross. That sounds like his M.O. because this stuff reeks.

“No less than five people asked me if I was holding it because it was that strong of a scent,” wrote one reviewer.

“I was ready for it all, just was hella stoned to the bone.”

—Leafly reviewer for Garlic Breath

Thug Pug’s not currently selling seeds of the Garlic Breath (he’s working on his Meat Breath line). But existing crops of Garlic Breath are dialed in, and stinking up the nation: from San Francisco as shatter; to Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. Even better—Garlic Breath hash by The Greenery in Colorado, or fresh flower from Veritas, or Hava Gardens.

Expect a relaxing mood lift, reviewers agreed. “I was ready for it all, just was hella stoned to the bone.”

Black Cherry Punch

Oregrown Black Cherry Punch (Courtesy Oregrown)
Oregrown Black Cherry Punch (Courtesy Oregrown)

Netflix and chill with The Witcher all winter on this heady indica hybrid. The sweet, citrus, grape-cherry dankness punches with a velvet glove, leaving you relaxed, happy, and tingly. Perfect with the spooky vibes.

Black Cherry Punch trends into 2022 because it’s awesome and widely available. Key breeder In-House Genetics mixed the modern classic Symbiotic Genetics Purple Punch, with a very hype flavor—Black Cherry Pie. It’s not exotic per se, but still irresistible to everyone from the backyard grower, to Oregon mega-grower Oregrown, to Oklahoma medical farms, to big Midwest and east coast legal grows.

As of press time, anyone could tap in with Black Cherry Punch seeds on Neptune Seedbank. It’s za-za for the people.

“You could be picking up dogshit, and on this stuff, you’d be having the time of your life,” one reviewer states. “Every inch of my body is burning relaxed and I feel like a huge Sour Patch Kid.”

Kush Mints

An icy, velvety Kush Mints nugshot. (Courtesy Cookies)
Kush Mints returns to the Leafly Buzz annual forecast. (Photo courtesy Cookies)

Kush Mints returns for the second year in Leafly Buzz’s trending annual forecast, thanks to its uniquely minty dankness and towering THC scores. Pair this queen of L.A. with blunts and bass—it’s perfect for a chill afternoon or evening.

Keep in mind, we tried to exclude it, but Kush Mints didn’t care. In 2021, it made so many more fans, took over so many more farms, and stayed so influential—we’d look silly leaving it out.

Seed Junky Genetics of Los Angeles’ cross of Bubba Kush and Animal Mints has changed the game the way Zkittlez has.

The ’22 forecast: next-level Mints crosses for the cannasseur, plus gorgeous bargain Mints for the masses.

Here comes Seed Junky Genetics’ The Menage (Zkittlez x Triangle Kush x Gelato 41 x Kush Mints 11), or Tiki Madman’s Apple Mints or Gelatti Mints.

Claybourne Co. Kush Mints (Courtesy Claybourne Co.)
Claybourne Co. Kush Mints (Courtesy Claybourne Co.)

Meanwhile, $25 bags of Kush Mints from California’s Pacific Stone are about to flood in like a king tide. The company harvests 27,000 plants per week in Carpinteria, CA.

We could go on and on—and we will all year—but this brings us to the end of Leafly Buzz’s 10 trending strains of ’22; for now.

We’d proudly pack you bowls of any of these, and stand by their quality. And we hope we can make good on that offer soon.

💸 Shopping list 💸

Search for and buy Leafly Buzz’s 10 trending strains of ’22 near you with these links.

How did we do? What strains do you think will shine in 2022?
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David Downs's Bio Image

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for He’s written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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