Over recent years, Diesel strains have become exceptionally popular on a global basis – both in terms of cannabis consumption and among those engineering entirely new hybrid strains. Diesel is known for delivering not only an incredibly powerful hit, but also for its uniquely intense and characteristic fragrance/flavour. Diesel cannabis strains earned their name on the back of the unmistakable gassy and pungent fragrance that can be detected by connoisseurs from a mile away. What’s more, with THC concentrations that can go far in excess of 20%, it’s also renowned for its superior strength and potency. Diesel has paved the way for the creation of some of the most extraordinary strains ever to hit the market, earning widespread acclaim among recreational and medicinal cannabis communities alike.
As is the case with many popular cannabis strains, the specific origins of Diesel remain something of a mystery. There are countless theories involving everything from accidental cross pollination to the aftermath of a Grateful Dead concert back in the day. All theories with plenty of cogent arguments, but with no conclusive proof as to where Diesel originally came from or how it came to be. Nevertheless, some remain adamant that Sour Diesel is simply a phenotype of Chremdawg, while others believe that it originates from a combination of Chemdawg, Super Skunk and Northern Lights with an additional unknown Skunk phenotype thrown in for good measure. However it came to be, the results were and are impressive to say the least.
Therefore, to clarify the origins of Diesel we need to know more about the mythical Chemdog strain – often called Chemdawg – and how it reached the East Coast of the United States.
Grateful Dead and Chem cannabis
On the 6th or 7th of June 1991, during a concert of Grateful Dead at the Deer Creek Amphitheater in Noblesville, Indiana, a young breeder called Chemdog met Joebrand (alias Wonkanobe) and Pbud in the parking lot, who sold him a 500$ bag of a pot called Dog Bud (grown indoors near the California-Oregon border). Surprised by the quality of the buds, Chemdog asked them for their number, and they later agreeded that they would send him a couple more bags to the East Coast. According to Chemdog himself, one of these bags contained only sinsemilla, while he found 13 seeds in the other bag, to the surprise of Pbud and Joebrand, who had been buying these buds for more than a year without ever finding any seed. The male parent of these seeds remains unknown, and even the possibility of a self-pollination has been considered.
That same year, Chemdog germinated 4 of these seeds; one of them was a male that was discarded (Chemdog was still very young, 17 years, and didn’t notice the potential of this plant) while the other three – which were females – were labeled as follows:
Chemdog (today known as ’91 Chemdog)
Chemdog “a” (today called Chemdog’s Sister)
10 years later, in 2001, Chemdog and his girlfriend tried to germinate 3 more seeds, labeled as “c”, “d” and “e”. The “e” never sprouted, the “c” turned out to be mediocre, while the “d” has been preserved until today, known as Chemdog D or Chem D.
In 2006, Chemdog and Joebrand met again and Joebrand got 4 of the last 6 seeds. He labeled them from #1 to #4 and kept the #4, which he called “Reunion pheno” since he considered it the most similar phenotype to the original genetics. If we are to believe this, Chemdog would be still keeping the last 2 seeds today.
Chemdog and his friends – most of them were underground breeders – developed several hybrids from the Chemdog marijuana. These ones became especially popular:–
Giesel (Chem D x Massachussetts Super Skunk)
Bubble Chem (Chemdog’s Sister x Sag’s Blueberry)
Chemhaze (Chem D x ’93 NL#5/Haze, also called Dawg Daze)
Super Snowdawg (Bubble Chem x Super Skunk/Oregon Sno)
Chemdog D x Pbud (variedad old school de Colorado)
OG Kush and Diesel cannabis
In 1992, JJ and Weasel met in New York City’s Central Park, and shortly afterwards Weasel obtained the Massachusetts Super Skunk and the ’91 Chemdog from Chemdog, although he didn’t like this name and changed it for Diesel or New York City Diesel. Just a couple of years later, in 1995, the Original Diesel came in – also known as Underdawg, Diesel #1, Headband or Daywrecker Diesel – a hybrid developed by Weasel from the ’91 Chemdog and a Massachusetts Super Skunk x Sensi Seeds Northern Lights cross.
Soon, the famous Sour Diesel – also called East Coast Sour Diesel, or simply ECSD – was created by accident when a whole crop of ’91 Chemdog was pollinated by DNL (Northern Lights x RFK Skunk/Hawaiian) or by Massachusetts Super Skunk (JJ-NYC).
There seems to be no relationship at all between the American Diesel lines and the New York City Diesel from Soma (so popular in Europe thanks to the Mandarin Cut), neither in relation to the organoleptic traits nor to the effect, which is milder than American Diesel genetics.
We cannot tell this story without mentioning the OG Kush strain . There are several theories about its origins: for some people, it is simply a sister of the Sour Diesel. For others, it is a self-pollination of the ’91 Chemdog selected in the Lake Tahoe area in 1996. Finally, the third and most widely accepted theory (Kailua Kid from Sierra Seed Company) tells that it’d be a cross between a Chemdog clone and a Lemon Thai x Old World Paki Kush hybrid developed in Northern California; this theory would explain the “Kush” in the name of the variety, while the “OG” would probably mean “Ocean Grown” (grown near the ocean).
From here, different clones of the popular OG Kush were selected, kept and shared, such as the Tahoe Cut (introduced to the community by Swerve in the nineties), the San Fernando Valley or SFV cut (coming from the area with the same name) or the Raskal’s OG cut (also from the San Fernando area) among many others.
Today, we can find a large number of hybrids developed from Diesel and OG Kush genetics, which gives us a hint about the quality of these strains, characterized by a very intense cerebral effect and an unmistakable blend of diesel, earthy, piney and citric notes.
JJ-NYC is one of the breeders that has developed different varieties from the original genetics. He performed different tests with Hindu Kush and Afghani seeds from the Sensi Seeds Bank, developing a backcross called Double Dawg (Chemdog D x Afghani) which he backcrossed again, thus creating the Tres Dawg. Tres Dawg has been used for developing numerous hybrids of excellent quality, like Star Dawg (Chem 4 x Tres Dawg), White Dawg (The White x Tres Dawg) or Original New York City Diesel (’91 Chemdog x Tres Dawg). Rez from Reservoir Seeds has also used this genetics in his breeding projects, offering extraordinary versions like Sour Diesel IBL, mother plant of the renowned Riri cut, selected in France by Riri in 2006.
The characteristics of quality Diesel
While the exact effects to expect differ significantly from one Diesel strain to the next, there are certain quintessential aspects to the high that remain relatively constant across the board. Here at Seed Supreme, we have a market leading collection of more than 70 incredible Diesel strains to choose from – each with its own unique properties and points of appeal. Nevertheless, Diesel as a strain in its own right is known for delivering the kind of high that makes you feel alert, energetic and pleasantly light-headed to say the least.
Diesel is the kind of strain you can count on for an early morning hit the likes of which will have you feeling awake, alert and ready to face the day. The high that accompanies most Diesel strains is almost exclusively cerebral – absolutely no heavy body feeling to worry about and pretty much zero chance of couch-lock. Some have likened the effects of Diesel to the way a dog reacts when he sees you taking the leash out of the closet before taking him on a walk. Anything that was holding you back suddenly becomes irrelevant and all you’re bothered about is putting your energy and enthusiasm to good use. Creativity and motivation come naturally, though it’s also true to say that a heavy hit of Diesel can also make it quite difficult to focus on one task at a time.
Perfect for an early morning pick-up, not to mention a great way of kicking just about any social occasion into high gear.
When you come across a quality batch of Diesel, it’s pretty hard to mistake it for anything else. The aroma should be borderline overpowering and immediately intoxicating, with that heavy hit of dank fuel and often an undertone of sharp citrus. It shouldn’t leave anything to the imagination – it should essentially slap you in the face and tell you exactly what it is.
As already mentioned, THC concentrations vary from around 15% right up to 25% or more, depending on the specific strain you go for. One hit of a stronger batch is usually all it takes to feel as if you’ve been buzzed in the brain with a taser – though entirely in a positive way! Far from a slow burner, Diesel is the kind of cannabis strain that immediately gives you both barrels and sets you up for whatever it is you have planned.
On the medical side of the equation, Diesel strains have gained extraordinary popularity on a global basis in the treatment of anxiety and depression. If looking for something to immediately relax your mind and reduce the feelings of sadness, Diesel ticks all the right boxes – without the typical feelings of sluggishness and lethargy that typically accompany treatments for these kinds of conditions. Diesel isn’t only about alleviating symptoms, it’s also about feeling great at the same time.
Growing Diesel cannabis strains
Anyone looking to grow Diesel cannabis where cultivation has been legalised will need to have at least a moderate amount of experience to succeed. It is far from forgiving in terms of its resistance to common problems and demands controlled indoor growing conditions in anything less than a warm Mediterranean climate. Flowering times of between 10 and 12 weeks can be expected as standard, while yields for indoor growers are comparatively modest compared to those that can be achieved outdoors. Nevertheless, the potency of quality Diesel means that a little goes a long way.
If planning to go ahead and cultivate Diesel cannabis, it’s important to be aware of the fact that the plants themselves give off the most spectacularly pungent and far-reaching fragrance throughout the flowering stage. Meaning that if you need to keep you project under wraps for any reason, you are going to need to invest heavily in odour removal hardware.