13 Best Cali Strains: Top Strains From California

California flag with bear and a cannabis field on a sunny day

California has a deep-rooted history of cannabis cultivation, renowned for its ideal climate, fertile terroir, and the alternative counterculture movement that dates back to the 1960s. The state is widely recognised for producing some of the finest genetics in the world. With this rich heritage in mind, we are excited to share our favourite strains, which are highly regarded among cannabis aficionados worldwide!

During Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs era, the illicit cannabis industry expanded. Due to the state’s rich terroir, many of Northern California’s rural regions, like the Emerald Triangle, became a hotspot for clandestine cannabis farms despite the legal risks associated with cannabis cultivation. However, things were about to change. 

A cannabis field in California on a sunny day

In 1996, Proposition 215 legalised medicinal cannabis, which regulated cultivation for medicinal purposes. Ten years later, Proposition 64 opened up new opportunities for licensed cultivation, transforming California into a hub for commercial operations and small-craft growers. The state’s cannabis industry reflects a journey from illicit cultivation to a regulated and diverse sector. 

So, let’s check out 13 of the best weed strains from California!

1. Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Sour Diesel originated from the East Coast after being carefully crafted by crossing Chemdawg 91 and Super Skunk. Despite its origins, it gained massive popularity on the West Coast during the 1990s, and unsurprisingly, Sour Diesel has been listed as one of the High Time’s Greatest Strains of All Time.

Sour Diesel is a cultivar known for its tall and elegant appearance. It has significant internodal spacing and large open-fingered leaves with conical, open-structured buds. This pungent cultivar provides an energising and inspiring high with the potential to boost motivation and focus, leaving you feeling dreamy and content. It is an ideal weed strain for daytime use.

A strong aroma reminiscent of pungent diesel fuel is at the forefront of the flavour profile. In the background, there are subtle hints of skunk and charas complemented by mouthwatering notes of zesty lemon, which lingers on the palette. Its exotic profile is sure to please.

2. Blue Dream 

Blue Dream cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Blue Dreams’ popularity spread through the Northern Californian cannabis scene as enthusiasts and connoisseurs were mesmerised by its unique flavour and potent effects. It quickly became a staple in the community, with many growers claiming it to be one of the best Cali weed strains.

This delectable cultivar combines the delectably sweet Super Silver Haze with the delightful flavours of Blueberry. Its tall and slender posture is reminiscent of her sativa lineage, while its buds boast a dense, compact structure adorned with shades of indigo.

With dominant terpene levels of myrcene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene, enthusiasts can expect sharp notes of fresh blueberries and zesty citrus accompanied by undertones of creamy sandalwood, pepper and moist earth. The high is uplifting and euphoric thanks to the Haze influence, creating an increased sense of relaxation without inducing excessive sedation. Blue Dream is renowned for its ability to uplift and inspire creativity, making it a beloved choice among cannabis connoisseurs.

3. Sunset Sherbert

Sunset Sherbert cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

A classic in the Californian cannabis subculture, Mr Sherbinski developed this indica-dominant cultivar by breeding Girl Scout Cookies with the mesmerising Pink Panties. Sunset Sherbert boasts a deliciously sweet aroma reminiscent of fresh honey and citrus. Sweet and creamy dessert-like notes make the mouth water, with a subtle earthy aftertaste that lingers on the palette.

Enthusiasts are delighted by dense, olive-green buds with an open bud structure and conical appearance, covered in a blanket of trichomes. Growers looking for bumper harvests can use training techniques such as LST and topping to take advantage of Sunset Sherbert’s short, compact posture. During the final weeks of flowering, enchanting hues of deep reds, brilliant oranges, and gleaming yellow are visible throughout the foliage.

Consumers welcome its uplifting and social attributes, dissipating into a soothing full-body buzz that helps ease tension and stress. It is a highly potent Cali weed strain that often overwhelms novices and leaves connoisseurs with a carefree attitude. 

4. OG Kush

OG Kush cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Introduced in California in 1996 by Matt “Bubba” Berger, OG Kush quickly dominated the market and has remained a fan favourite ever since. This indica-dominant hybrid was developed by crossing Chemdawg with Pakistan Kush and Lemon Thai, resulting in an outstanding strain with extraordinary parents and an exotic terpene profile. With its earthy and piney flavour, OG Kush offers a distinct taste enthusiasts appreciate. 

The name “OG” has sparked an ongoing debate among cannabis connoisseurs; some believe it stands for “Original Gangster,” while others argue it represents “Ocean Grown.” Regardless of its origin, the sweet and distinctive aromas of OG Kush enchant the senses. Zesty fresh lemon rind and sharp hints of sandalwood mingle with pungent undertones of diesel fuel, creating a captivating fragrance that adds to the allure of this remarkable Cali weed strain.

OG Kush is favoured among regular consumers for its long-lasting, potent effects that provide soothing full-bodied effects. It is ideal for stress relief and muscle relaxation, leaving individuals feeling relaxed yet energised. 

5. The Bird

The Bird cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

During the Breeding Grounds program, our breeders worked closely with Humboldt Seed Company to create a revolutionary new indica-dominant hybrid called The Bird. Through their intensive breeding programs, they combined the best attributes of OG Kush with Humboldt Dream and Larry Bird, resulting in a truly exceptional powerhouse.

Growing enthusiasts can expect excessive foliage and thriving lateral growth throughout its cultivation cycle. This cultivar has a typical indica morphology, growing short and stocky with one central cola. The Bird is perfect for concentrate connoisseurs because of swollen calyxes, dense bud structure and excessive resin glands.

The flavour is characterised by a combination of sweet and earthy notes, with undertones of charas, sandalwood, and coffee. Users have reported experiencing increased muscle relaxation and mental clarity, all while feeling uplifted and soothed. With its bumper yields and relaxing profile, it is the perfect Cali weed strain for indica lovers who seek a dreamy body high. 

6. Gorilla Glue (GG4)

Gorilla Glue cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees and skyscrapers

Popular among connoisseurs, this indica-dominant cultivar is known for its strong potency and heavy, relaxing high that can leave users glued to the couch. Gorilla Glue provides balanced effects with a loud flavour profile. It is an enchanting hybrid developed by a meticulous cross of Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb and Chocolate Diesel. 

Gorilla Glue is known for its robust, vigorous growth and has a stocky, bushy structure and broad, dark green leaves. What truly sets it apart is the amount of resin it produces, as all buds are covered in a blanket of sticky trichomes. Ideal for those looking to make high-quality extracts! Typically, Gorilla Glue has a short flowering period but may vary depending on the particular phenotype or environmental conditions.

Its flavour profile is genuinely otherworldly, with subtle notes of zesty citrus, cacao, coffee, and diesel. For those wondering about the effects, the high can be incredibly calming and relaxing. Experienced users have even reported feeling a boost in concentration and cerebral euphoria. However, it is essential to be aware of the sedative effects, especially when taken in large doses. It is an excellent Cali weed strain for those looking for a relaxing and uplifting experience.

7. Gelato

Gelato cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Gelato was developed by Mr Sherbinksi in Los Angeles by outcrossing Sunset Sherbert with Thin Mint Girl. The strain was at the forefront of the sweet, dessert-like genetics and has become the backbone of many modern-day hybrids. This acclaimed cultivar has gained worldwide recognition in the cannabis community for its mouthwatering sweet, dessert-like flavours and inspired us to develop Gelato #420 and Buttercream Gelato.

This cultivar is known for its ability to thrive in warmer, Mediterranean climates. Its resilience and robustness make it an easy-to-grow option for those looking for a low-maintenance plant. The high concentration of anthocyanins during flowering creates mesmerising deep purple and red hues. The plant has a tall posture with elongated branches and dense, compact buds covered in a beautiful frosting of resin glands.

Gelato perfectly balances relaxation and euphoria, providing an alluring cheerful, physical high without the sedative effects. Its terpene profile boasts sweet and fruity notes of zesty citrus, fresh blueberries, and subtle hints of vanilla, sandalwood, and almonds. 

8. Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Girl Scout Cookies is a highly sought-after strain that has gained popularity due to its unique blend of OG Kush and Durban Poison. Initially developed by the Cookie Family in Northern California in 2012, Girl Scout Cookies has become a staple in modern genetics due to its perfectly balanced properties.

This Cali weed strain takes after its OG Kush lineage, with a similar tall-to-medium build and elongated structure. Thanks to the high concentration of anthocyanins, you can expect to see some beautiful deep red and purple hues during the flowering stage. And the best part? This cultivar is known for its resilience and strength, making it an excellent weed strain for novice growers.

This combination provides a balanced, euphoric, relaxing high, perfect for social occasions or daily use. It boasts a sweet, earthy aroma and a complex, creamy, doughy, cookie-like flavour that will satisfy any palate. This extravagant cultivar combines the finest qualities of both sativa and indica, providing a harmonious blend of effects and a delightful flavour profile that will please experienced and novice users alike. 

9. Zkittlez

Zkittlez cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Zkittlez is a remarkable hybrid in the cannabis community, gaining worldwide recognition and named after the popular fruit-flavoured candy from the UK. Its creation involved outbreeding the resilient Grape Ape with the flavoursome Grapefruit, resulting in a multiple-cup winner that triumphed in the Best Indica category at the 2016 Emerald Cup. 

Its dense buds covered in sticky resin make it an excellent choice for producing concentrates. Zkittlez develops into a compact posture with short internodal gaps, excessive lateral branches, and hearty foliage. To increase yield, training techniques like SOG and SCROG are ideal.

Its complex terpene profile is characterised by succulent aromas of freshly picked berries, mango, guava, and pineapple, with sweet sugary notes of candyfloss that enchant the senses. The high brings upliftment, euphoria, and relaxation, improving focus and concentration; you can truly “taste the rainbow”.

10. Wedding Cheesecake

Wedding Cheesecake cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Wedding Cheesecake is an indica-dominant weed strain that has become increasingly popular in California. It is an indica-dominant hybrid developed by crossing the up-and-coming Cherry Pie with the potent Skunk #1 and Girl Scout Cookies.

This pungent cultivar is known for its vigorous growth during the initial stretch and can even stretch up to three times its height. Wedding Cheese has a compact, robust structure with thick foliage, making it perfect for training methods like topping, SOG, and SCROG. The foliage is dark green, with light pink pistils and a glistening layer of sticky resin glands.

Wedding Cheesecake provides a relaxing and euphoric high, making it a favourite among many cannabis enthusiasts. Boasting a complex, exotic terpene profile comprising caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene. It is loved for its intensely sweet, vanilla-like flavour with subtle hints of freshly picked cherries, sandalwood and pungent skunk. 

11. Mimosa

Mimosa cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

The extravagant sativa-dominant hybrid was developed by crossbreeding Purple Punch with Clementine, and it has been making waves in the Californian market with its mouthwatering terpene profile reminiscent of the tropics. 

Mimosa is a bushy plant that flourishes in warm Mediterranean climates. It boasts dense light olive-green buds with purple undertones and orange pistils, as well as a thick coating of trichomes. This Cali weed strain is beginner-friendly, thanks to its ease of growth, but experienced growers can further enhance their yield through training techniques.

Renowned for its uplifting fruity palette, Mimosas terpene profile features abundant concentrations of limonene and myrcene. It exhibits loud notes of freshly peeled tangerines and zesty citrus, accompanied by subtle undertones of sweet mango, ripe pineapple, and guava. Many cannabis enthusiasts say Mimosa increases creativity and provides an uplifting and euphoric cerebral high and soothing body buzz.

12. Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

This sativa-dominant cultivar was bred by crossing the elusive Trainwreck with a dense and robust Hawaiian. Its name derives from a weather term meteorologists use to describe a moist atmospheric corridor between Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. Its popularity skyrocketed after the release of James Franco and Seth Rogan’s comedy film Pineapple Express, and, as the protagonist Dale says in the film, was “the product of baby-fucking!“.

This tropical cultivar flourishes in a warm, Mediterranean climate. With dense, closely-packed clusters of buds and robust, resilient properties, Pineapple Express is well-suited for training techniques such as supercropping, SOG and SCROG. It is also simple to cultivate and ideal for beginners!

Enthusiasts have reported long-lasting cerebral highs, boosting focus, mental clarity, and creativity. Its delightful taste is characterised by a smooth fruity profile with hints of tropical pineapple and zesty citrus, complemented by subtle earthy and sandalwood notes. It is a favourite among connoisseurs and is the “Dopest of dope!”.

13. Purple Punch

Purple Punch cannabis flower against the colourful background with palm trees

Purple Punch was created by crossbreeding the heavy-hitting Granddaddy Purple with the flavoursome Larry OG. This Cali weed strain boasts an incredibly pungent aroma, and it is known for its potency. Breeders took the best traits from both parents to produce an exquisite terpene profile that will delight anyone who loves indicas!

Reaching, on average, no more than a meter tall, Purple Punch is known for its short and stocky stature. The large central cola dominates the apical mainstem, with a dense and compact bud structure featuring abundant resin glands and amber pistils. Throughout the flowering stage, the buds and foliage turn purple due to high concentrations of anthocyanins.

Connoisseurs have reported an enchanting cerebral euphoria that eventually transitions into a long-lasting body high that can be sedative in higher doses. The terpene profile is exceptional, with sharp notes of freshly picked blueberries and cherries that mask a pungent, earthy aroma.

The best Cali weed?

Thanks to the early legalisation across California, there has been a surge in cannabis research and development. California’s agricultural expertise has reached new heights, and as the market demand continues to grow, innovative breeding programmes are constantly emerging. 

A field of cannabis plants growing outdoors in California on a sunny day

Northern California’s distinct environment provides an ideal setting for outdoor cultivation, while Southern California’s advanced indoor facilities have led to the development of numerous varieties throughout the state. Breeders are striving to produce cultivars with an exquisite terpene profile rich in cannabinoids that meet the demands of consumers. 

So these are our favourite Cali weed strains! How about you? Share your favourite strain in the comments!

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


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  • Author_profile-Sensi-Mark-Smith

    Mark Smith

    Mark Smith is an English cannabis advocate based in The Netherlands. He’s worked across the world in the cannabis industry for over ten years, from Canada, to Spain, and to Californian cannabis farms. He’s followed his passion for cannabis across nearly every continent, and is currently dedicated to spreading the word as a writer at Sensi Seeds in Amsterdam.
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