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Top 8 cannabis strains of 2021

The Leafly Strain of the Year for 2021 had some seriously stiff competition! Here’s an in-depth look at eight other greats that were in the running.

Weed trends are fascinating to track as they rise and fall over time and move around the country. This year, sales of classic strains blossomed in newer legal states (what’s up, Oklahoma? You really love your White Widow!), while crowd-pleasers like Gelato and Purple Punch fell off in established markets. Other indomitable strains like Blue Dream, Zkittlez, and last year’s winner Runtz stayed strong across the board.

As always, the Leafly team used a combination of field research, editorial expertise, and data to sniff out what was trending around the nation this year. We looked at what people spent their money on, and sampled plenty of bud to come up with this comprehensive list. Our findings are independent and have not been influenced by any outside parties or the Leafly sales team.

Read on for our eight leading strains of 2021!

Related
The Leafly Strain of the Year 2021 is Dosidos!

GMO Cookies

GMO Cookies weed strain nug
GMO dominates in new crosses like this ‘ZMO’ from The Original Z. (David Downs/Leafly)

A strong contender for Strain of the Year, this heady strain originated by Mamiko Seeds is massively popular, and it’s easy to smell why. An indica-dominant hybrid made from crossing GSC with Chemdawg, GMO Cookies has a sweet stink of gas and garlic. The pungent smoke has a spicy, musty funk, kinda like your high school locker.

GMO provides a deep body high that feels like a classic indica, with the uplifting cerebral vibrancy of its Chemdawg parent. This strain can lock you to the couch, so plan accordingly—prep snacks, pour yourself a glass of water, and settle in for deep relaxation.

Peanut Butter Breath

Peanut Butter Breath weed strain nug
Peanut Butter Breath terps—so hot right now. (David Downs/Leafly)

East Coast heads smoked a ton of Peanut Butter Breath in 2021. A cross of Dosidos and Mendo Breath (hot in Florida this year!) developed by ThugPug Genetics, Peanut Butter Breath has a terrific nutty, earthy taste. (Dosidos is also the parent of a 2020 top strain, Slurricane.) PBB’s creamy, potent smoke offers an uplifting high with an enjoyable body stone.

It’s easy to see why PBB is so popular—it’s not going to take you anywhere you don’t want to go. Perfect for a daytime hang with good friends.

Cereal Milk

Cereal Milk weed strain nug
2021—Cereal Milk in every bowl. (Courtesy Cannabiotix)

Dessert strains like Wedding Cake (the #1 most searched in the US this year) and Ice Cream Cake (a top seller, even in Ohio) continue to be wildly popular, and Cereal Milk is lining up next to them at the bud buffet. A hybrid from Cookies, Cereal Milk has GSC on both sides—its parents are Y Life (GSC x Cherry Pie) and a sativa-dominant GSC variety dubbed Snowman.

Cereal Milk lives up to its name, with frosty nugs and a creamy, gassy smoke. Its genetic lineage comes through in the sweet flavor and balanced, potent high, thanks in part due to its Durban Poison grandparent (the #5 strain in Colorado in 2021). A bowl of Cereal Milk makes a great start to a Saturday.

Apple Fritter

Apple Fritter weed strain nug
Lumpy’s Apple Fritter: mythical, undeniable. (David Downs/Leafly)

Apple Fritter made its way across the country from Northern California and is currently blowing up in Michigan. The closely guarded genetics behind this hybrid from Lumpy’s Flowers are thought to be a cross of Animal Cookies and Sour Apple. This strain has a fruity tartness reminiscent of an apple pastry, with notes of sugar and earth when you grind up a nug. The savory smoke is deliciously funky and herbal.

Apple Fritter is one of those hybrids that offer a perfectly balanced blend of relaxing and uplifting effects—great for working on a meditative project, like organizing under your kitchen sink. When’s the last time you really got under there?

Kush Mints

Kush Mints weed strain nugs
Kush Mints powered a lot of great new crosses in 2021. (Courtesy of Cookies)

SoCal heavies Seed Junky Genetics are behind a ton of powerhouse strains—Leafly’s 2019 Strain of the Year Wedding Cake, Animal Cookies, LA Kush Cake—and Kush Mints is no exception. A cross of Animal Mints (the #1 strain in Florida in 2021) and Bubba Kush, Kush Mints has a delightfully sweet, minty flavor with the underlying earthiness familiar to kush lovers. It’s an easy smoke that won’t take you to the couch…unless that’s where you want to be, in which case it will do just that.

London Pound Cake

Another tasty offering from the Cookie fam, London Pound Cake a.k.a. Pound Cake has an interesting makeup. A cross of Sunset Sherbert (GSC x Pink Panties) with a potent unknown indica, London Pound Cake has a rich berry flavor cut with a zing of citrus. The seemingly ubiquitous GSC parent gives this flower a robust quality with a high THC level and deeply relaxing effects. This is a solid strain to lie down with for a blissful nap.

Grease Monkey

Industry stalwarts Exotic Genetix created Grease Monkey by crossing GG4 with Cookies and Cream (again with the GSC!). GG4 was 2020’s top-selling strain in the US, slipping to third place this year. Grease Monkey gets its sticky-ickiness from the Original Glue with major trichome density, while Cookies ‘n Cream shines through with sweet, earthy notes and a touch of diesel.

Grease Monkey sounds like a workhorse, but it’s really made for a day off—this potent bud has majorly sedating effects. Put on your PJs and grab the remote.

MAC

MAC weed strain nug
MAC1 from LOWD. (Photo by Resinated Lens; Courtesy of LOWD)

Miracle Alien Cookies a.k.a. MAC is a hybrid that originated with an elusive breeder named Capulator about a decade ago. MAC made Leafly’s list of top strains of 2020, and it’s still on top, blowing up in Florida this year. This flower is a terrific combo of genetics: the legendary Starfighter crossed with Colombian and Alien Cookies. Its dense, frosty nugs have an intense citrus aroma with a touch of gas, and the smoke is nice and spicy.

The high is happy and productive—crank your favorite album, and throw yourself a dance party!

We told you—Leafly Strain of the Year Dosidos is just the beginning. Celebrate another banner year for cannabis—and stay off that bammer weed—with these greats.

Mary Jane Gibson's Bio Image
Mary Jane Gibson

Mary Jane Gibson is Leafly's Product Specialist in Southern California. She wrote and edited for High Times for over a decade. Currently based in Los Angeles, she writes about cannabis culture, entertainment, products, and cutting-edge trends. Mary Jane also co-hosts a podcast, Weed + Grub, with comedian Mike Glazer.

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