The Mystery of OG Kush and What Does OG Stands For?

So you’ve probably noticed a lot of cannabis strains contain the letters OG in the name. You know, that Sour OG, Alien OG,  Tahoe OG, Larry OG and more.

OG Kush is a renowned marijuana strain known for its unique medical benefits and rich flavor. It is arguably believed to have originated from Southern California, and has been used to create many phenotypes passing on the unique bud structure we see in many strains today.

Commonly referred to as OG Kush (Ocean Grown Kush), it has grown in popularity since the late 1990’s. Because of its rapid growing recognition, this very potent and unique medical-grade strain has traveled the world resulting in many OG strain varieties with different phenotypes. It’s mostly a leaves users with long-lasting psychoactive effects.

People seek it out mainly because of its unique taste, scent, look, feel and euphoric high – which is definitely not for the faint of heart. The compact buds are almost neon green in color, with heavy crystallization that will leave your fingers extremely sticky after handling. When grown properly, the strain is a delicacy that deserves a spot on every cannabis enthusiast’s wish list.

While many websites and dispensaries list OG Kush as an indica, many people argue that the strain is in fact a sativa, or some sort of sativa-dominant hybrid. We can’t exactly argue with them considering the genetics are, for the most part unknown, and stem from purely myth. The thing to remember is that most of the different types of OGs are phenotypes of the original OG Kush plant from the 90’s.

OG as “Original Gangster”?


According to Wikileaf, The strain draws its name from “Original Gangster,” due to its “status as an old-school building block strain.” Though some interpretations refer to OG Kush as “ocean grown,” in reference to its origins on the coast of California.

Popular origin story for the term OG, or Original Gangster (sometimes old-school gangster) in this context, has its roots in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. With a number of MCs (such as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube of NWA) coming from neighborhoods rife with gangs, guns, and drugs, OG implied status and stability in a chaotic world, particularly among the Crips, one of LA’s most notorious gangs.

After being made popular by Ice-T with his album Original Gangster in 1991, it wasn’t long before the expression permeated Southern California’s rap culture and the broader American zeitgeist.

The term was then tagged onto the kush being grown to distinction by cultivators in San Fernando Valley, by Cypress Hill’s crew according to some versions of the story. The assertion is supported by Amsterdam-based cannabis seed bank DNA Genetics, which developed seeds for the strain that had previously only been available as a clone.

“Ocean Grown”

Seedfinder lists OG Kush as indica, with a family tree stemming from Chemdawg (Chemdawg x [Lemon Thai x Old World Paki Kush]). However, a number of debaters argue that OG Kush is simply a phenotype of Chemdawg that is a result of years of stabilization and finding the perfect fertilizers.

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Kailua Kid from the Sierra Seed Company believes that in the latter part of 1993, a grower in northern California got his hands on the famous Chemdawg strain. He goes on to say (summarized from Seedfinder), that this was shared with a fellow grower from Sunset Beach who claimed he had a male that was the, “secret ingredient” for breeding. The male was a cross of Lemon Thai and an Old World Paki Kush (possibly where the ‘Kush’ came from), and was an ideal mix for the Chemdawg. The buds became wildly popular in Los Angeles by 1995.

The urban myth is that the original grower of the new strain was handed a bowl when his friend mentioned that the Kush he was about to smoke was “so good because it was mountain grown.” Upon further inspection, the grower detected the recognizable scent of his own crop and corrected the man by saying, “This Kush isn’t mountain grown, its Ocean Grown Kush, Bro!” From that point on the name Ocean Grown Kush caught on and was shortened to OG Kush over time.

“Overgrow” the Government?


Another possible origin for OG holds that the initials refer to, a website that hosted cultivation advice and a seed-swapping platform while advocating for an “overgrow” of the government. It was one of the earliest online forums for pot growers, launching in 1999. It was shut down by Canadian police in 2006, however, and they seized the platform’s servers and arrested several of its operators.

Another theory about the origin of the term OG in reference to pot was recently popularized by the 2018 Netflix documentary series Murder Mountain. In this version of the story, one of the old school Humboldt County growers said the term was coined after an early cultivator in the area flew to Afghanistan to smuggle back seeds with prime kush genetics. The resulting harvests, with terpene-rich buds nourished by the Emerald Triangle’s unique terroir, were dubbed OG Kush to indicate they had been cultivated by the strain’s original growers.

But That’s Not All…

There are even more meanings for the initials OG outside the cannabis world, too. Probably one of the most commonly used definitions of OG is simply: “original.” Similar to that connotation, OG means original gangster, indicating a veteran or the first in one’s field — someone who’s been doing something for a long time.

One delightfully British definition for what OG means maintains that the initials stand for “old git,” meaning an annoying, unpleasant, incompetent, silly, or senile person. An example of this use of the term in a sentence might be: “I can’t believe what the OG in the White House is up to this time!”



The OG debate is a fun to talk about, but I wouldn’t get too hung up it. I think it’s fair to allow OG to mean different things to different people.

Whatever the strain’s family tree may be, after nearly three decades on the market, OG Kush has spawned literally dozens of offspring varieties as breeders blend its superior traits with other genetic lines. Many of these strains with OG Kush parentage carry the OG sobriquet, including Sex OG, Comatose OG, Zombie Killer OG, and more. OG Kush also supplied the genetics for popular strains including Headband and Girl Scout Cookies.

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