Strains & products

Leafly Buzz: 12 top cannabis strains of December

Published on December 20, 2022 · Last updated March 1, 2023
Leafly Buzz’s premium marijuana strain roundup includes Juicee J, Mega Z, and RS54.
Leafly Buzz’s premium marijuana strain roundup includes Juicee J, Mega Z, and RS54.

December ranks among the most wonderful times of the weed year. Our file cabinets clang with fresh jars of homegrown. The calendar bursts with parties to attend, and people to smoke out. 

The only thing stopping us? One more top-shelf flower report from the latest events—including a big new Z tasting in San Francisco, and the massive Emerald Cup Harvest Ball in Santa Rosa, CA. Over the last month, the Leafly strains team visited grows and dispensaries in LA, Portland, Seattle, and beyond. We scoured strain search trends and menus across the Western US to distill one final list of cheat codes to the best bong loads of December. Here’s 2022’s last Leafly Buzz.

Data grinder

(Sasha Beck/Leafly)
These strains are on the move in Leafly’s 6,000-strains database. (Sasha Beck/Leafly)

Slurty3

⬆ 34.5%

Slurty3 weed strain
Slurty3—grown at Unity Farm Holdings. (Courtesy Unity Farm Holdings)

Sweet, earthy, and flowery, with a giggly, talkative, and happy effect, the Slurty3 cannabis strain from Oakland, CA’s Purple City Genetics jumped 34.5% in the last monthly reporting period in the Western US. The cross of Slurricane x Gelato 33 has the makings of a commercial staple. It’s grown large-scale for budget buyers at Pacific Stone. Farmer and the Felon brand eighths cost $25. The brand Field Extracts has it in concentrate form. Slurty3’s parentage includes the work of the West Coast’s top breeders: Cookies’ Jigga, Mr. Sherbinski, Oregon’s Archive Seed Bank, and Symbiotic Genetics. Purple City Genetics’ ‘Cowboy’ made the Slurricane selection and continues to change the game.

Godfather OG

⬆ 33.4%

The Godfather OG strain. Indica hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)
The Godfather OG strain. Indica hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

The OG Kush wave returns with a 33.4% jump for old-school strain Godfather OG, a pungent, pine, and grape-tasting indica hybrid that’ll leave you sleepy, hungry, and relaxed. Leafly lists it as XXX OG x Alpha OG. Other outlets report a mix of Bubba Kush x LA Confidential x Grand Daddy Purple. You can see how that either could add up to a Godfather OG. Lab tests report a lot of myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene—a great combo to shop for indica-hybrid effects. Smoke some Godfather OG with a Scorcese marathon.

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Modified Grapes

⬆ 10.4%

Modified Grapes strain
Modified Grapes at Coastal Sun Farms. Indica hybrid. (Courtesy Coastal Sun Farms)

Modified Grapes (GMO x Purple Punch) keeps giving growers and shoppers what they need—impressive, big, dense, pungent purple buds that make you feel sleepy, relaxed, and aroused. Symbiotic Genetics’ strain came out in 2018, but it added 10.4% in month-over-month interest. Modified Grapes looks and tastes great from growers like LitHouse and as concentrate from Arcata Fire. Modified Grapes has rooted itself in the West as a commercial staple.

Ice Cream Cake

⬇ 11.3%

Dark Heart Nursery's Ice Cream Cake, 2021. (Courtesy Dark Heart Nursery)
Dark Heart Nursery’s Ice Cream Cake, 2021. (Courtesy Dark Heart Nursery)

Out West, Ice Cream Cake’s become a commodity crop, and interest fell 11.3% in the last month we have data. The vanilla, butter, sweet tooth Ice Cream Cake popularized has led to more flavorful competitors. It’s two blockbusters Wedding Cake x Gelato #33, and some growers like Green Dragon or SOG have perfected it, and good Ice Cream Cake will always stick around. Everyone loves hybrid indica effects that leave you sleepy, relaxed, and hungry. But there’s also a lot of boof I.C.C. out there. … A lot. 

New in the Leafly strain database

(Sasha Beck/Leafly)
The last new-new of ’22.(Sasha Beck/Leafly)

RS54

RS54 weed strain
Wizard Trees-grown RS54 bred by Deo Farms. Hybrid indica. (David Downs/Leafly)

RS54 stands for Rainbow Sherbert #54, aka ‘Studio 54’ for its glam look, and luscious rainbow sherbert gasoline taste. RS54’s a super-strong, high-THC hybrid party weed for unpacking that new Playstation 5 and tackling Horizon Forbidden West. Available in California and grown by LA-based Wizard Trees, RS 54 comes from Oakland, CA breeder Deo Farms. RS54 offers one of two branches for Deo’s main breeding project, based offDying Breed SeedsOZ Kush. Specifically, RS54 combines Sunset Sherbert x Pink Guava #54. Hybrids off RS11 comprise the other branch. RS54 clones sold for $500 per cutting to commercial and personal breeders and growers at The Emerald Cup Dec. 10.

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Coquito

‘What the heck is a Coquito?’ It’s a trendy, Puerto Rican Christmas eggnog that’s creamy and sweet, with coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. And I’ll be damned—Lyfted’s brand Fresca serves it up in finer California weed stores. We’re deep into an era of creamy, cinnamony ‘Horchata’-smelling varieties. It comes from Jet Fuel Gelato x Mochi Gelato. The huge fuel smell inverts into a velvety vanilla aroma. Coquito feels like a hybrid indica and goes great catching up with a buddy this winter break.

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Hawaiian Snowcone

Shrug off the short, cold days with this Tiki Madman-bred strain, grown by Big Al’s Exotics—a boutique, high-end indoor California brand. Hawaiian Snowcone’s nose took us straight back to Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua, Oahu, the blue snawzberry and cherry syrup shave ice, with the snowcap of sweetened, condensed milk. Big Al’s got the exclusive for this Zkittlez and Lemon Cherry Gelato cross to Tiki’s Hawaiian Plushers (Peach Rings x Lemon Gushers). How can weed breeders dare name strains for so much candy, citrus, stone fruit, and creamy goodness? The terpene myrcene, plus differing levels of about four other aroma molecules (limonene, linalool, pinene) can conjure multiverses. Smoke this with a buddy under a tree on a snowy hill and become the Hawaiian Snowcone. Available in Detroit, MI, now, and California by January.

Goofiez

Compound bred and grown Goofiez (David Downs/Leafly)
Compound Genetics-bred and grown Goofiez. Indica hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

Superb rich, thick, creamy, tropical tree fruit and fuel smells and very strong indica-hybrid effect make Goofiez a standout in the next wave of Apples & Bananas crosses for 2023. This fall, we’ve seen gob-smacking Goofiez flower from breeder Compound Genetics, as well as large-scale, high-end indoor growers Ember Valley, and it’s spreading globally. Goofiez crosses Apples & Bananas with Leafly Strain of the Year ’22 Runner-up Jokerz (White Runtz x Jet Fuel Gelato). With genetic roots in GSC, Gelato, and Runtz—we see A+B as well as Goofiez waves building into 2023. 

Picks of the dispensaries

New on shelves

Mega Z

by Hi Tech / Super Dope / Fear of Boof

Log off for the Christmas break and treat yourself to this highly coveted, limited drop of indoor-grown Mega Z from the Super Dope, Hi Tech, and Fear of Boof cultivation crew. While the team keeps all genetics under wraps, the bud reeks of some sort of Zkittlez, maybe even a Zoap variant. We smelled a deft slurry of isopropyl alcohol, soiled linen, and grapefruit dish soap, coupled with a musky funk. Bits of worn rubber and sweet tarts round out the nose. Terp connoisseurs will rejoice as a blast of spoiled cream and nutty butane gas hit on the inhale. The exhale throws some unscented bar soap into the mix, while the retrohale brings a lovely note of candied pomelo dryer sheet. A thick spacey fog and heavy headband pressure remind the user that this flower is more than just flavor. Light muscle relaxation and body buzz creeps up to aptly appropriate this to the hybrid category.

Burning up the charts

Juicee J #2

by Kaleidoscope, WA
Juicee J #2 bred by seed Junky Genetics with Capulator. Selected by Kaleidoscope, WA. (Will Hyde for Leafly)
Juicee J #2 bred by seed Junky Genetics with Capulator. Selected by Kaleidoscope, WA. (Will Hyde for Leafly)

Two titans of modern cannabis breeding—Capulator and Seed Junky Genetics—bless Washington State with their rowdy collaboration, Juicee J, selected from seed and grown by the hitmakers at Kaleidoscope, WA. Juicee J #2 looked frosty and ripe sitting in the jar labeled Herbal/Creamy at the store. The perfectly cured, fresh flowers come hand-trimmed for maximum trichome frosting and emit a creamy, gas aroma accented by earthy pine that mingles with sugary notes from Jealousy’s Gelato and Sherb lineage. This one hits mellow and stoney—a very comforting vibe, like a warm hoodie fresh out of the dryer. Juicee J is a Cap Junky x Jealousy cross that lives up to the label. Cap Junky crosses Cap’s Alien Cookies x SJG’s Kush Mints #11. Jealousy is the Leafly Strain of the Year ’22—Gelato 41 x Sherb Bx1. I’m saving the last of this jar for next weekend’s wake and bake. Then I’m going to pour up a big old bowl of cereal and binge-watch cartoons.

(Sasha Beck/Leafly)
(Sasha Beck/Leafly)

Best-sellers

Ballin’ out

Lemon Maraschino #6

by Tao Gardens, OR
Lemon Maraschino #6 grown by Tao Gardens, OR. (Will Hyde for Leafly)
Lemon Maraschino #6 grown by Tao Gardens, OR. (Will Hyde for Leafly)

Move beyond the Lemon Cherry Gelato craze with a real one: Lemon Maraschino #6 from no-till, biodynamic Tao Gardens in Oregon. The best part of shopping for flower in Oregon—the budtender shoved the jar of Lemon Maraschino in my face, deli-style. Sweet, fresh authentic lemon and cherry smell had me flying like Toucan Sam on some Fruit Loops. The picturesque little nuggets are frosty and inviting with a sweet and sour citrus aroma that reminds me of a cherry limeade. Grind it down to roll it up and a pungent gas undertone is exposed, finishing with a touch of spice. The Lemon Maraschino smokes well as a joint with a near-perfect oil ring sitting just behind the cherry. The smooth flavors and balanced effects are forceful without overwhelming and once it settles in a bit, Lemon Maraschino has a nice heady buzz beaming with cerebral bliss. The elevated mood and smile plastered across my face make me want to save the rest of this jar for my next dog walk around the neighborhood. Tao sprouted some Swamp Boys SeedsCherry OG x I Smell Lemons and loved the #6. They grow her in their nutrient-dense living soil, which elicits all the nuances in flavor and effect (as opposed to it all smelling like bottled nutrients and rockwool growth medium.) Shop Tao all across Oregon with this link.

Ballin’ on a budget

Peach Preserves

by Speciale, CA
Peach Preserves. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)
Peach Preserves. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

Ball on a budget this Christmas break with 7 grams of affordable, greenhouse-grown Peach Preserves from the Speciale brand in Oakland, CA, distributed statewide. Peach Preserves’ creator, Napro Research/Molecular Farms placed twice in the 2021 Emerald Cup. The team tests and maps cannabis genes to their smells to precision-breed strains that push the entire industry forward. Dislike all the GSC hybrids out there? Put dollars behind your discontent with this funky, fruity, gassy, floral bud that gets your mind working. Legacy and woman-owned Speciale grows at the Phytologie greenhouse in Oakland, CA. LA terp explorers can tap into true exotics like this at LA PCG, or CBCB in Oakland, CA, or Abatin in Sacramento, CA.

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High Note

(Sasha Beck/Leafly)
High note: Do not mix with alcohol. Do not drive. (Sasha Beck/Leafly)

Zoap infused pre-rolls

(David Downs/Leafly)
Authentic Zoap pre-rolls with Holy Water live rosin. Sheesh. Hybrid indica. (David Downs/Leafly)

The strongest, most flavorful pre-roll of 2022? Deo Farm’s Zoap HolySmokes—infused with 70-120u bubble hash made from fresh frozen by the award-winning team at HolyWater. Leafly Strain of the Year ‘22 runner-upZoap has a bunch of Zkittlez, OG Kush, and Sunset Sherbert genes making for thick, tropical, creamy guava, candy, and fuel smells. HolyWater doubles the loudness and party hybrid effects with their infusion. HolyWater’s HolySmokes line comes in a useful hard-cover flip-top pack that protects the joints and lets out little whiffs of terps to signal other heads to congregate. Look for them in stores by January. You’re gonna get zooted.

Do not mix with alcohol. Do not drive. 

Thanks for much for the phenomenal year of flavors and trippy experiences. We’ll see you in January for the top strains to watch in 2023.

About Leafly Buzz

Oft-copied, never co-opted—Leafly Buzz is the popular, monthly strain review roundup from Leafly News. We report independently on the connoisseur cannabis conversation, focusing on strain and branded flower of the US west. Reporting includes:

  • review samples
  • dispensary shopping
  • grow visits
  • cannabis events
  • Leafly search data
  • staff and reader tips, and more

Read back issues of Leafly Buzz

Freelancers The Fire Scale and Will Hyde contributed to this report.

Growers, breeders, brands, stores—got buzz for Leafly? We’re all ears. Email us at david.downs@leafly.com

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David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
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