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What Does “OG” Stand For? Cannabis Origin & History

OG cannabis is among the most popular and most storied of family strains in the entire world. Where does Kush originate? Why is it called OG? Let's dive into some cannabis history as we discover the origins of OG Kush.
December 29, 2022
Est. Reading: 7 minutes
Table of Contents

Cannabis history is as colorful and diverse as the plants themselves. There are anecdotes, myths, legends and an endless amount of stories about weed and how it has impacted peoples’ lives since the earliest recorded histories of ancient civilisations. Since we could pass down stories from one generation to another, we’ve seemingly been dabbling in dabs, pontificating about pot and waxing tales of weed’s benefits.

Because there is so much rich history surrounding cannabis like a smoke haze, we thought we’d start a new series of articles about the origins of weed. In these blogs we’ll toke on some myths, legends and folklore about cannabis in all its glory while we dig for the truths about our puff-puff-past. Our relationship with ganja likely stretches back hundreds of thousands of years past what we know of our own human story, but we figure there are many nugs of truth to be found along the way.

The first article in this new history & origins series is going to put some emphasis on the “original origin”: OG strains. What does OG stand for? Is OG and Kush the same? Who created OG Kush? Where does OG cannabis come from? What are the best og strain names and where did they get their monikers from? Let’s dust off some old tomes of lore and turn the pages to the origins of the infamous OG kush strains.

What Does OG Stand For?

To understand the meanings behind OG strain names you need to know about the origins of one of cannabis most regal, royal families: kush. Is OG and kush the same? Not exactly, but they usually go together like peanut butter and jelly - they’re a perfect combo brought to life by random acts of nature, or they’re of ingenious human design. The history of kush is a lot more far-reaching than that of “OG”, but we’ll cover both origin stories and theorize when/how they come together in perfect hash-harmony.

We’ll start with kush cannabis because like we mentioned earlier it has a long and storied tradition on this planet. Kush cannabis has been around for thousands of years - so long, in fact, we don’t really know how old this famous landrace strain truly is. Found in one of the cradles of cannabis - the Hindu Kush mountain range - kush cannabis strains have been used as medicine & spiritual enhancement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for generations.

Not to be confused with the kingdom of Kush, which reigned for almost 1500 years in Northern Africa, kush weed was fruitful and multiplied all over the Middle East, becoming synonymous with famous hashish from the same area. Some say these particular og kush strain names are fashioned after the mountains they grew around - obviously - while others suggest it has something to do with the kingdom of Kush itself, who were known to cultivate this particular cultivar. The leading theory is that kush cannabis is one of the progenitor landraces of cannabis, meaning it is as “original ganja” as ganja gets. Speaking of OG kush strains…

What does OG stand for? Is it “Original Ganja”? It certainly can be, because OG strains are among the most iconic cultivars in the world. It’s difficult to get stoners to agree on everything, but something they don’t mince words on is quality weed. Everyone who lights up, dabs, drops edibles or rubs on THC is in sync when it comes to their love for OG kush strains. Where the haze comes in is when you ask the questions: Is OG and Kush the same?... Where does OG cannabis come from?... Who created OG Kush?... What does OG stand for?!

Here are some more theories that all have their own following to this day:

OG - Original Gangster/Gangsta

This is the most obvious meaning for OG cannabis. If a strain is truly original, one-of-a-kind or unique when compared to any others - a feat that is truly difficult to realize in a world of such vibrant cannabis diversity - then it can call itself “OG”.

Original gangster is an homage to the 1990’s when this kind of strain came into prominence in the California cannabis scene (more on that later). Hip hop culture was riding as high as the smokers of its time, and references to this combination of suave-defiance permeated every facet of stoner culture too.

There are, however, two rival claims to who is responsible for where OG cannabis comes from. The “Original Gangster” crew believes in a more egalitarian theory for the origins of OG. They put forward that the term OG was made by the people, for the people - aka no one person or group came up with “Original Gangster”, it was simply a title that gained traction and stuck as part of the 90’s hip-hop movement.

The “Original Gangsta” supporters can point to a very specific group - or trio in this case - in Cypress Hill. As the legend goes, Sen Dog, B-Real and DJ Muggs smoked some incredible kush at a concert and they were blown away by how unique and potent this particular cultivar was. This “original gangsta” ganja story spread like wildfire and thus the term came to prominence.
Further support for this origin story comes from the Amsterdam-based DNA Genetics, a cannabis cultivation & breeding organization that started marketing OG Kush after hearing this story, and replicating a similar OG kush strain that made them famous throughout the 1990’s-2000’s.

OG - Ocean Grown

OG strain names could very well have ties to coastal cannabis, because many of the most prolific growers in California, British Columbia, Mexico and more are found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. This particular OG kush strain story centers on California, in the San Fernando Valley area. The tale goes that a mysterious grower, referred to as ‘Kush Dawg’, bred a unique new kind of kush that he was extremely proud of. Weeks after growing this potent, colorful and incredibly aromatic cultivar, Kush Dawg was at one of his local haunts when a fellow patron came up to him and offered him “some of the dopest dope you’ll ever smoke”.

Kush Dawg opened the bag, took one whiff and smiled from ear-to-ear: he’d recognize his new kush anywhere. The enthusiastic patron and Kush Dawg rolled a doob and smoke it together, remarking on how incredibly delicious this strain was. The patron said “it must be mountain grown” to which Kush Dawg corrected him, “No… this is Ocean Grown”. Hence, OG strain names have used this Ocean Grown moniker ever since in Cali.

OG - Original Grower

Whether you’re “old school” and have been growing for decades with your own DIY set up, or you’re an innovator that always finds new ways to cultivate new kinds of cannabis, the term “Original Grower” makes a lot of sense for where OG cannabis comes from. During the 1970’s, a wave of cannabis pioneers sought out strains from all over the world in their attempts to hybridize new, potent and flavorful cultivars.

Many greenthumbs made a pilgrimage of sorts to the holy land of kush - Afghanistan, India and along the Hindu Kush mountains. Here they found the landraces of kush buds and brought seeds back to the west coasts of North America, dubbing themselves “Original Growers” of some of the most iconic strains of their times.

The Potfather of OG Kush Strains

When you really get down to the nitty gritty and try to decipher who created OG Kush, there’s really only one correct answer. The ‘original gangsta’ himself is held in the highest esteem. Cannabis folklore still tells tales of certain figures or groups that first bred this king of all kushes, and although some might argue that others coined the term “OG” before this iconic grower, it’s tough to find evidence that supports these claims.

True OG strains didn’t surface until the 1990’s when a grower by the name of “Bubba” created his namesake strain: Bubba cannabis. Bubba - aka Matt Berger - was a Floridian of impeccable cultivation skills & experience. This greenthumb was known for his Kryptonite strain, which many called “krippy” or “kushberries” because of its kush strain parentage.

Bubba took his growing prowess to the heartland of cannabis at the time - California - where he and two friends put their skills together to create several legendary strains: Bubba Kush, KY and OG Kush. They never really explained the “OG”, but avid smokers of this and their other potent strains filled in the blanks with tales of their own. These “original gangstas” are not only responsible for bringing OG strains to the forefront, but also for making kush strains extremely popular during this epic time in cannabis history.

Whether you refer to Ocean Grown cannabis, Original Gangster strains or have your own Original Grower cultivar that you’re proud of, cannabis owes a lot to the OG family of pot. OG kush strains are among the most popular buds in the entire world, and they’ll continue to be amongst the ‘bloom boom’ as long as expert growers like Bubba push the limits of cannabis potency, quality and diversity.

Not familiar with many OG strains? Here’s a few of the hottest sellers and highest reviewed OG cannabis products you’ll find at your favorite online weed shop, Haute Health:




Frequently Asked Questions

Where does OG cannabis come from?

OG kush cannabis strains originate from the Hindu Kush mountain range - spanning from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. OG cannabis strains are believed to be hybrids of Chemdawg and Kush strains, but these genetics are almost impossible to confirm without having past data on their parentage.

Who created OG Kush?

Matt Berger, aka Bubba, is thought to be the original grower of the first OG Kush strain. Hailing from Florida, this famous grower of the 1990’s came together with some of his friends in California to create several famous strains, including Bubba Kush, KY and OG Kush.

Is OG and Kush the same?

OG and Kush strains are commonly combined into strains like OG Kush or varieties of this iconic strain. However, their cannabinoids and terpenes contents are quite distinct under normal cultivation circumstances. For instance, OG strains typically contain higher values of myrcene, pinene and guaiol whereas Kush dominant strains show concentrations of camphene, terpineol and linalool.


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What Does “OG” Stand For? Cannabis Origin & History
December 29, 2022
OG cannabis is among the most popular and most storied of family strains in the entire world. Where does Kush originate? Why is it called OG? Let's dive into some cannabis history as we discover the origins of OG Kush.
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