The Hindu Kush mountain range is the western most extension of the Pamir Mountains, known as the Karakoram Range, which is actually an extension of the Himalayan Mountains. Said to be “the geographic center of population of the world,” the area has an incredibly storied history in the production of hashish as well as the cultivation of cannabis. According to Ed Rosenthal, “Indica plants originated in the Hindu Kush valleys in central Asia, which is located between the 25-35 latitudes. The weather there is changeable. One year there may be drought, the next it might be cloudy, wet, rainy, or sunny. For the population to survive, the plant group needs to have individuals which survive and thrive under different conditions.”The specific region known as the Hindu Kush Mountains is estimated to be between 600-1000) miles east west (960-1360 kilometers), with its north south distance calculated to be some 150 -200 miles in length (240-440 kilometers). The central area of the Hindu Kush Mountain range, located near Kabul, are estimated at some 20,000 feet in height(4,500 to 6,000 meters) while the western most area of the mountain range are said to “diminish in height” the further west one travels. The eastern most portions of the Hindu Kush Mountain range are mainly located within the Pakistani boarder, near the “Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces of Afghanistan.” Its this area of the Hindu Kush Mountain range that contain the highest mountain peaks, which endless valleys, passes and glaciers making up the geography of the area. This area is also home to the Chitral District, considered to be “the pinnacle of the Hindu Kush region.” Many outstanding varieties of cannabis have made their way of this area of the Hindu Kush Mountain range, lending the area a reputation as a hot spot for many collectors of fine cannabis seed. Within the Hindu Kush Mountains exist a number of smaller ranges; including Koh-e baba, Siah Koh and Spin Ghar just to name a few. Interestingly, the varieties of cannabis from valley to valley vary from one another, thus opening up the possibility of a number of similar, yet different varieties of cannabis from one another that are the genuine Hindu Kush article.
During the counter culture revolution of the 1960’s Hindu Kush cannabis varieties are believed to have been brought back to the United States from the Hindu Kush Mountain region by Hippies and others who embarked on spiritual quest to that area of the world. However Hindu Kush varieties were prevalent in the Appalachian Mountain range as early as the 1950’s. The close proximity of the United States to areas such as Mexico, Columbia, Panama et cetera has always made the US a prime commercial market for the traditionally Cannabis Sativa cultivators of Central and South America. These varieties often times had grew to immense heights, and proved difficult to cultivate to full maturity in all but the most extreme locations in the United States. While quite of few of these sativa varieties were successfully adapted and grown in many regions of the United States, the introduction of the bench mark indica genetics of the Hindu Kush Mountain range proved to be a fruitful event. These varieties are revered for their relatively fast flowering periods, high resin production and their often short and very squat nature. Incredibly resilient, Hindu Kush and Afghani varieties dominate the American landscape from coast to coast, proving to be hardy and easily adaptable to a number of different locations and growing environments.
The first time I had a chance to set eyes on Hindu Kush, I was visiting a neighbor’s apartment that happened to have a few other friends over as well. From a distance, a young guy I had just met was packing up what appeared to be standard brown commercial Mexican, and offered to instead pack up a bowl of my sinsemilla. I was quickly invited to come have a closer look, and it didn’t take long to realize I was looking at a red phenotype of a very nice example of Hindu Kush. The cannabis was quite resinated, but obviously what stuck out to me the most about it was out of the ordinary color. Quickly my fondness for the cannabis’ aesthetic qualities took a back seat to the realization I was smoking some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever encountered. It wasn’t nearly as powerful as some other varieties, but instead had a surreal nature to its affect that was quite euphoric and pleasing. The taste was very spicy and herbal, earthy to an extent but far sweeter than words could do her justice, something that took you back to a time long sense past. I was lucky enough to be able to acquire nearly an ounce of this cannabis over a brief period of time, with the red phenotype giving way to a more standard sinsemilla appearance, yet still retaining the qualities that I found so respectable with the other Hindu Kush phenotype. It was explained to me at the time that the original red color was the result of a chemical reaction the plant had with the fertilizer, a fact which I took with a grain of salt but which is interesting none the less. This particular line of Hindu Kush I was acquiring is said to have made its way in seed form from Colorado to the East Coast, where an Engineering student at a local University actually dropped out of school for the purpose of growing cannabis full time. I made several attempts to get cuttings or seeds from the guy who was supplying this herb, who happened to be the youngest brother of the grower himself. But unfortunately I was unable to acquire anything remotely close in that department, and since then I’ve been left with a memory and desire to find an equally as impressive Kush line ever since.
Like with so many varieties of cannabis on the market today, the exact origins of many of the ‘elite clones’ from the West Coast of the United States are unknown. Not surprisingly, there exist a number of different versions of the ultimate story on how varieties such as Chemdawg ’91 came to be. One particular version of the story is that an individual known as chemdog purchased a bag of high grade cannabis from an individual known as “wonkanobe” at a Grateful Dead show and subsequently obtained two more ounces from the same source over the course of time. One of those ounces is said to have been seedless, however the second bag of cannabis is said to have contained 13 seeds of cannabis. In 1991 Chemdog is said to have germinated 4 of these seeds, with one male being bulled and three female plants being labeled ’91 chemdawg, Chemdawg A and Chemdawg B. Some ten years later, Chemdog is said to have germinated the three more seeds, which he labeled “c” through “e”. The Chemdawg E seed apparently did not germinate, the chemdawg C seed turned out to be trash and the Chemdawg D is said to have been the keeper. In a union fit for the television show Unsolved Mysteries, after falling out of touch with one another for many years “wonkanobe” and Chemdog are said to have had a reunion via third party from another member of the online forums. The individual known as “wonkanobe” is said to have given Chemdog 4 of the remaining 6 seeds of the original ’91 Chemdawg variety, some 15 years later. Absolutely incredible!
The first time I heard of any of the California ‘elite’ clones you hear so much about now in magazines, cannabis forums and in every day life was approximately 2004(and I wasn’t nearly alone). Prior to that point, varieties such as Blueberry and C99 were widely discussed on popular message boards at the time. There was no mention of strains like OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Grand daddy purple, Sour Diesal, Chem dawg etc. That’s not to say this strains didn’t exist, but they were probably localized to a specific region of the United States and there for were not nearly as commonly known as they are in this day and age. At that point, the ‘elite cutting’ hype was only in its infancy, with varieties such as Trainwreck from California touted as being better than all others. So where did these strains come from? What do we know about them? They seemingly appeared out of nowhere, overnight, and are now discussed among all time greats such as Northern Lights, White Widow, Haze etc.
The truth is much more complicated with the histories of these ‘elite cuttings’ than one would initially be lead to believe, much like with a great deal of varieties on the market today, some of whom are recognized legends in their own right in that respect. It’s not uncommon for varieties to have unknown histories, but for which their smoke does the talking in place of a fantastic and elaborate story. The flip side is also quite common, varieties that come with fantastically imaginative names and elaborate histories but for which the smoke leaves quite a bit to be desired. Today it is common to see many residents of southern California refer to varieties such as Headband, grand daddy purps, og kush etc. as being far better than multiple time Cannabis Cup varieties such as AK47, White Widow and her many hybrids, Super Silver Haze et cetera. It is often said that one mans trash, is another mans treasure. And in my experience the select few ‘elite cuttings’ I’ve had the pleasure to sample was that they were indeed good varieties, but in the same league as heavy hitters such as Ak47, and White Widow? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We’re dealing with varieties generally unavailable to the great majority of the world, for which very few if any have any have any kind of verifiable proof of origin. What makes any of you think varieties such as “The White” or “OG Kush” are not related to Dutch varieties in the first place? Can anyone really say for sure? What most of us are left with is photographic evidence only, which would indicate quite a few of these ‘elite cuttings’ from the West Coast United States may indeed have Dutch origins ultimately.
The first Dutch seed banks catered to the public by the thousands during the mid 1980’s and the industry has only continue to grow as the years have went by. During that time period, hundreds of thousands if not millions of professionally bred Dutch Cannabis has been marketed, sold and distributed world wide. Many of these varieties are Northern Lights, Skunk, Haze and Afghani/Kush hybrids making their particular likelihood of commonality great, especially in countries such as the United States which has served as a haven of eager customers bursting at the seems to purchase quality Dutch genetics to grow in the privacy of their own homes. A great deal of marketing is put into the cannabis seed industry, where it is very common to give varieties captivating and intriguing names in an effort to entice the customers interest in purchasing their particular variety of Thunder Kush 2000. This practice is also common with amateur breeders, who will designate their home brewed varieties with similar titles. Sometimes you will even see these strains given completely made up and false backgrounds in an effort to launch some kind of notoriety for said amateur breeder.
Among the first reports of these varieties appearing on the internet that exist as documentation of where these lines come from is in 2004 at icmag.com (of course, a popular cannabis website operated by a notorious seed broker known as Gypsy Nirvana). A member known as Orgnkid registers on the forum and is marketing his particular varieties of cannabis, among them OGers (OG) Kush and Bubba Kush. Orgnkid is one of many who claimed to have access to these elite clones, but what makes Orgnkids particular story so interesting is the fact he showed up on the website marketing his varieties and had the full support of the website administration (Vapour), whom coincidentally claimed to have “took Orgnkid on as a breeder and I did this after sending out a minimum of a 150 seeds from each of the selections and having them tested,” (quite the validation for a newly arriving member). In perhaps the quickest move from random internet poster that nobody’s ever heard of to seed breeder whose varieties are now for sale among the big boys in the industry, Cali Kush Seeds was soon born offering the then incredibly hyped elite clone varieties brought to the forum originally by Orgnkid. The main forums of quite a few cannabis related websites were bombarded with fantastic tales of the how great these ‘elite clones’ were in comparison to the Dutch genetics, which according to these members, were inferior to the lines of cannabis they possessed and were marketing. Soon stories began to appear of members offering large amounts of cash in exchanged for these elite clones, and quickly many members were all to eager to give up their personal information in an attempt to acquire varieties that were being marketed and hyped on a mass scale by the administration of the site itself. Any attempt to challenge the “official story” as according to those who were in charge of the website were quickly edited or deleted in an effort to reflect the ultimate version of events they so pleased. In essence, what we are looking at ultimately is a marketing ploy developed by the owners of the website in an effort to sell their product.
A great many of you out there reading this will remember Overgrow.com, a website which was dedicated to all things cannabis related that enjoyed a membership easily in the tens of thousands for sustained period of time before it was ultimately shut down in an operation launched by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Not surprisingly a great deal of members from the West Coast of the United States were members at the time, yet again these varieties were scarcely mentioned if at all up until circa 2003-2004 from my memory. I originally joined Overgrow.com around the early part of the turn of the century, and like a great many people who frequent these message boards quickly found myself immersed in the seemingly endless amount of knowledge members of these communities possessed. When I pick up magazines such as Treating Yourself, High times, Cannabis Culture etc. it’s not uncommon at all to see those same personalities I interacted with on a regular basis at those websites all those years ago now. These members have taken their knowledge and spread it globally all in an effort to help those who truly need it, the medical patients and dedicated growers out there who need help applying their trades. These efforts are to be commended; we are all in this together.
The real original gangster Kush is a variety known as Master Kush, which initially won the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1994. Now available at Mr. Nice Seeds (MNS) in hybrid form, the Master Kush x Skunk is described as an “outstanding plant that can be farmed in all ways on all mediums and perform equally well. It has a particular smell, taste, and effect that make it a unique plant for almost any grower’s garden.” The Skunk phenotype expression of this variety yields incredibly large cola’s, easily arm length in size and equally as dense. The calyx to leaf ratio is also very impressive; leaving little needed come harvest time. The cola’s have a resinated appearance; with a distinct lemon flavor that is very easy going on the palate. The Master Kush phenotypes have the typical Kush appearance to them, staying modestly squat and short with a nicely resinated appearance. The yields are very impressive, some 500-600 grams per square meter (per 600 watt light), yielding beautifully red haired laced cannabis flowers. Outdoors it is recommend to tie the cola’s of this variety up, as the shear weight of the cola’s is enough to snap your stems and end your season prematurely. A classic example of what a real Kush variety is all about. One of many varieties from MNS that can trace their lineage back directly to very first Dutch seed bank, which literally would go on to change the cannabis breeding world forever. Varieties such as Northern Lights, Haze, G13 and Hindu Kush can all attribute their popularity in today’s modern folk lure to their introduction to the masses by Nevil in his early catalogs for The Seed Bank in the mid 1980’s. Almost the entire modern Dutch breeding industry today still uses varieties initially marketed, bred and sold by Nevil in the early days of The Seed Bank. Nevil is truly one of the most important figures in modern Cannabis breeding today. The man is nothing short of a living legend.
In today’s society there is no shortage of Kush and Kush hybrid varieties for the consumer to choose from. Many of these varieties come with amazing stories, suspect histories and questionable lineages that make one question their true authenticity. There is no one specific variety of Kush, but rather quite a few that many in fact number into the thousands. When considering making a purchase with any product, it’s advisable to do as much research as possible before committing to the sale. If you’re after a true Hindu Kush representation, it’s advisable to purchase your stock from reputable breeders with a proven track record in the industry. In the modern Cannabis seed market, there are dozens of choices available to the consumer, often times with very little supporting information to help you make your purchase. Choose wisely out there people, not all Kush varieties were created equal and not every distributor has your best interest in mind either. Integrity and honesty are two things hard to come by in the world today, especially in the Cannabis industry. If you’re looking for a quality Kush variety, with an authenticatable track record, the MNS Master Kush x Skunk is quite possibly the best Kush variety on the market today.
"Hindu Kush." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 18 Jan. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/266291/Hindu-Kush>.
“Master Kush Skunk.” 2007. Mr. Nice Seed Bank and Research. 1 Jan. 2009. <http://www.mrnice.nl/dhtml/strains.php?id=28>
Rosenthal, Ed. Marijuana Growers Handbook: Indoor/Greenhouse Edition. Quick American Publishing. 1984.
“Hindu Kush.”2009. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Online. 20 Jan.2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Kush>