Kush is a term synonymous with cannabis culture and cemented into the lexicon, but decades of misuse and confusion have detached the word from its origin. Kush has become so diluted by slang, it is often used interchangeably as a generic term for cannabis, specifically Indica strains.
Kush History and Genetics
Kush refers to a pure Indica cannabis strain originating from the Hindu Kush Mountain region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kush is considered a landrace strain – one of the rare varieties of cannabis that evolved in one isolated geographical region of the world over thousands of years. Because landrace strains are naturally-occurring, they had to adapt to their sometimes harsh environmental conditions to survive. These conditions, combined with selective breeding by native populations, gave rise to these very stable plants. Today, landrace varieties like Kush are considered the building blocks of most modern Indica strains.
Kush quickly became one of the most popular landrace strains because of its potency, resilience, and shorter flowering time. It is also the catalyst for hundreds of hybrids such as Bubba Kush, Master Kush, and Purple Kush.
Kush genetics found their way from the mountains of Afghanistan to the beaches of California in the 1960s as artists, wanderers, and others seeking a break from everyday life began traveling to what was known as “The Hippie Trail” - a scenic route through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. It wasn’t long before Kush was discovered, and word of the mythical plant motivated opportunistic Westerners and cannabis breeders to travel east. Members of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the group considered to be solely responsible for manufacturing and distributing millions of doses of the infamous Orange Sunshine LSD, made regular trips to The Hippie Trail and sent Hindu Kush genetics back to North America for aggressive cross-breeding.
No one really knows if the original landrace Hindu Kush genetics exist, but many of its characteristics are still present in the perpetually-expanding Kush hybrid catalog.