From East Coast nostalgia nugs to Leafly Strain of the Year picks, find out which weed strains New Yorkers were looking for throughout 2022, and see which names are riding waves into 2023.
New York’s legal stores and growers are coming online fast. And it’s clear the state’s legal market will be a weed tastemaker’s paradise. The law ensures that quality brands and diverse products will win the day over mass-produced corporate boof. So what are New Yorkers smoking right now, and why?
With day one of legal sales around the corner, tentatively December 29, Leafly hit New York streets, farms, and our strain database through the year to learn what flavors New Yorkers swear by. As we exit 2022, here’s a look back at the 10 most popular strains in New York in 2022.
11 reasons why real New Yorkers love Leafly
#1. GG4 (aka Original Glue or Gorilla Glue)
The undisputed King Kong of New York’s 2022 strain charts: None other than GG4, aka Original Glue or Gorilla Glue. This beast of a bud started on top for the first quarter of the year. But it fell as low as #3 this summer before climbing back to #1 to close the year. In October, Leafly Highlight reviewed the rich history of Original Glue, with help from master growers like the NJ Gas Man, Nick D’Amelio who calls it an all-time great.
What makes New York love this Gorilla Glue descendant so much? It’s the wild combination of couchlock and euphoria. Courtesy of caryophyllene-rich terpenes that can transport smokers in any habitat. From the concrete jungle of NYC, to rich upstate wilderness, or long beaches on the coast, GG4’s earthy terps cut through the noise with sharp diesel undertones.
And it’s famously sticky trichomes make breaking buds down into a full blown arts and crafts project. GG4’s lovable traits were inherited from its parent strains—Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel. As far as accolades, GG4 won the Michigan and Los Angeles 2014 Cannabis Cups. It also took the the High Times Jamaican World Cup the same year.
The Runtz gang continues to reign from the West Coast. The Leafly 2020 Strain of the Year is a staple exotic of the current era. Thanks to a combo of delicious terps, charming bag appeal, and truly exquisite smoke.
But a traits sets Runtz apart from the field. First, heavenly genetics from two of the 2010s most legendary Zazas: Zkittlez and Gelato. The result is a shockingly fruity smell, sweet taste. It’s known to deliver an intense head high that keeps smokers of all experience levels satisfied for long stretches.
Growers say this strain has resin-drenched buds that range in color from rich purple to lime green. The optics help bags fly off the shelves based on appearance alone. Runtz and its many children is beloved for its creamy, welcoming taste. Plus, Runtz’ boasts a rep for euphoric and uplifting effects, which can last hours when the plant is prepped correctly.
28 grams of game: How Runtz’ Yung LB smoked the industry
#3. Ice Cream Cake
Dessert strains have set the standard in recent years. It’s hard to argue with a sugary smoke that puts you to sleep like your granny’s signature baked goods. In 2022, the Big Apple and beyond stayed baked off of this comfort strain, along with others like French Toast, and a handful of delicious cakey goodness.
The frosty nugs on this Ice Cream Cake set it apart, and the deep relaxing effects are a favorite for Leafly reviewers. Expect sweet hints of vanilla and sugary dough if you get your hands on some. Medical marijuana patients in particular have raved about the calming effects, as well as help with pain, sleep, and anxiety.
#4. Wedding Cake
While talking to New Yorkers in April, Leafly met an old school smoker near Wall Street who swore by Wedding Cake. He had a pack of Birthday Cake on him, but said Wedding Cake delivered the soft and sweet combo he expects from great New York buds, every time.
Wedding Cake is one of three Leafly Strain of the Year winners to crack New York’s top 10 list this year. The 2019 champion, also known as “Triangle Mints #23,” is a potent indica-hybrid cross of Triangle Kush and Animal Mints genetics.
In Canada, this strain is known as Pink Cookies. Whatever you call it, you’ll never forget the relaxing and euphoric body and mind effects. These plants offer a rich and tangy flavor profile with undertones of earthy pepper driven by caryophyllene. Whether you’re treating pain, insomnia, or just New York-induced stress, Wedding Cake has the high-THC punch you desire.
#5. Lemon Cherry Gelato
Gelato remains one of the most coveted strains in cannabis. Mostly due to its rich bloodline, the legendary genetics of this fruity Zaza keep it in high demand from coast to coast. In early December, legacy and legal growers at the Emerald Cup in California were pushing $150 ounces of LGC after a bountiful Croptober. The high yield and standard Exotic profile make it a hit in both dispensaries and traps. So bet the house that East Coast legacy and licensed sellers are already loading up to meet an incoming surge of demand for Lemon Cherry Gelato in 2023.
Search data says this strain fell off the charts for a moment this summer. But it climbed back into the Top 5 by year’s end thanks to great agro-economics and undeniable aesthetics. A key to naming your Zaza is making it sound appetizing. And honestly speaking, who is turning down lemon-cherry-flavored anything?
This strain has huge bag appeal, but an understated smoke. Blame the fat, fluffy dark nugs that are visibly frosty and sticky to the touch for causing love at first sight. Many moderate smokers love the mellow effects this strain is known to carry, providing a modest buzz that lasts. The name is inspired by the s’mores-esque aroma of chocolate, pine, and gas that radiates from these dense dark nuggets of joy.
Along with Runtz, Zkittlez, and Cookies (GSC), Gelato is among the landmark exotics in modern cannabis. This highly-terpy, THC-rich strain is considered by many to be the best bud ever bred. Its descendants include the world/famous Runtz (#2 in the rankings). But this original G still enjoys the same ole demand and genuine love it got when it debuted in 2014. Thanks to sharp genetic differences, its seeds are known to pony up loud vigorous yields. That makes a great value prop for growers, sellers, and buyers.
Gelato is a cross of Sunset Sherbert and Thin Mint GSC that tastes like a hashy grape-flavored ice cream cone without the calories. Born in 2014 from Cookie Family members Mario Guzman (Mr. Sherbinski) and Jai Chang (Jigga), Gelato usually produces dense, purple-accented flowers with orange hairs wrapped tightly around the nug.
#8. Gary Payton
Hall of fame basketballer Gary Payton doesn’t smoke weed. But he earned histhe nickname, The Glove, by applying heavy defensive pressure to greats like Michael Jordan on the court. Today, Payton is namesake to one of Cookies’ most popular strains. GP is a heavy pressured gas cultivar that will trap your brain in a full court press and stay stuck on your noggin for days. Like the sweaty headband Payton’s son, Gary II, now wears while playing for the Golden State Warriors, these nugs will funk up the room.
The Paytons’ story proves the power of genetics. And this strain does too, combining the Y and Snowman breeds a potent, flavorful, and colorful genes to the delight of smokers everywhere. GP has high amounts of THC and almost no CBD, and middle-of-the-road effects that provide an even-keeled experience.
Leafly’s 2022 strain of the year is gaining steam on the charts as it spreads East from California. And there are already New York farmers, both licensed and unlicensed, growing their own batches of this multifaceted strain. Read Leafly’s Strain of the Year 2022 breakdown to see why everyone wanted to experience Jealousy.
Weed strains like Jealousy—Leafly Strain of the Year 2022
#10. Apple Fritter
Another sweet tooth strain for the Big Apple and surrounding areas, Apple Fritter will fry your brain with warm gooey vibes, producing many cherished effects. According to a Leafly reviewer, “The effects started from the head and worked itself down the body into a full body relaxation… I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something new to try!”
Thank Lumpy’s Flowers, the breeders behind Apple Fritter, which is a cross of Sour Apple and Animal Cookies. Enjoy the heavy stone of GSC along with the energy infusion of a classic diesel, set off by sweet, earthy, cheesy terpenes that carry a hint of apple.
These strains didn’t make the top 10, but they made noise across New York in real life, according to Leafly users and subject matter experts.
Just when you think you’ve had enough Mob Boss, this strain pulls you back in for another unforgettable buzz. One New York woman told Leafly in April, “I think Mob Boss is gonna be a favorite of mine,” she said. “It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid, very cerebral. But a lot of medical consumers use it for quick relief of muscle tension, which is something I think is really interesting. Mood relief, appetite stimulation, keeps you energetic, talkative, happy.”
East Coast smokers rejoice—According to growers out West, gas and diesel fumes are coming back in a major way in 2023. So go ahead. Pass some gas. Because skunky, beta-caryophyllene-packed Sour is en vogue yet again. Enjoy the high octane rush, along with hints of myrcene and limonene which have helped Sour Diesel secure a 4.3 score out of 5 after 8,264 Leafly reviews. The strain was actually one of the first ever to be reviewed on Leafly in 2010, and it continues to live up to its name with pungent, diesel terps that provide an uplifting and invigorating high.
Backed by Cookies, GUMBO is one of the most recognized brands in the country. The Gumbo strain itself is offered by many companies, along with variants that build on the earthy collage of terps that define this mystery cultivar. And with products like Madison Square Gumbo flying off shelves in California and other states, New Yorkers are clearly eager to enjoy their own homegrown batch of Gumbo soon.
Madison Square Gumbo is a cross of Cookies & Cream x Secret Weapon. GUMBO brands founders Karim “Luka Brazi” Butler and Alexis Major help carry the banner for New York cannabis culture into the legal era. The bag we tried was wild, cakey, and cookie-like. Plus, it put us right to sleep upon ignition when we tried some from Berner’s on Haight in SF earlier this month.
Marathon OG was bred to the strain specifications of late rapper and Kush connoisseur Nipsey Hussle, this flagship offering from The Marathon Cultivation brand is one of the most dominant OG strains around. The pungent smell and powerful head high take even heavyweight smokers back. Back to the days when THC count was a mystery. When the terps spoke for themselves as soon as you opened the bag. Modern OGs like Marathon are the rare reboot that works. Modern breeding breakthroughs have maximized Kush’s legendary effects. Deep relaxation, concentration, and creative clarity are all to be expected for heavyweights. Along with intense pain and anxiety relief for medical users
Still, not all Cereal Milk is the sweet creamy goodness you crave for wake and bakes. After buying some Cereal Milk in New York’s illicit market (a Brooklyn bodega that is posing as a licensed dispensary), Leafly’s Amelia Williams concluded, “This is definitely not authentic Cali Cereal Milk.”
The lack of authentic products hasn’t stopped some New Yorkers from searching out the real thing online and in stores. New York is pushing demand for CM’s uniquely thick cookie smell, aromatic doughy body. And it’s delivering with taste that rivals the finest dessert strains of our time. This SF bred strain comes from Powerzzzup’s Y Life (Cookies x Cherry Pie) and Snowman. And please believe it will continue to carry the torch for the heralded class of cookies and cake strains moving into 2023 and beyond.
There you have it. The royal house of cultivars that ruled New York’s strain charts in 2022—from East Coast classics to Leafly Strain of the Year picks, the Hempire State has excellent taste. Be sure to check back next year for more updates on New York’s most popular cannabis strains.