Strains & products

Best cannabis strains of summer 2021

Published on June 16, 2021 · Last updated July 8, 2021
A designed photo collage illustrating Strains of Summer including Insane Stuffed French Toast (left) and Cream of the Crop's Strawberries and Cream (right) (Leafly illustration; courtesy Insane; Cream of the Crop)
Strains of Summer include Insane Stuffed French Toast (left) and Cream of the Crop's Strawberries and Cream (right)(Leafly illustration; courtesy Insane; Cream of the Crop)

America’s tens of millions of weed lovers stand ready this summer to tear the roof off this joint and burn one down.

Coast to coast in 18 legalization states, from backyard barbecues to beach hangs, we’re vaxxed, waxed, and roaring out of the ‘rona recession.

It’s the roaring 420s: There are more legal cannabis stores and delivery services in more towns than ever before. Sales of dried, cured flower comprise half of our essential, $13.7 billion legal US cannabis industry, according to the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report.

Hundreds of types of strains can overwhelm anyone at a dispensary, and even those are just a slice of the five thousand-plus Leafly strain database cake.

A picture of Alibi Farms’ vibrant, green, Durban flower bud on the branch against a black background. Pistils shoot up. Fan leaves have a coat of sugar. (Courtesy Alibi Farms)
Alibi Farms’ Durban gives Oregonians some juice. (Courtesy Alibi Farms)

Based on exclusive data and leading grower interviews, Leafly sniffed out the best-selling, on-trend, 25-ish hit strains for your summer days and nights this year.

Since we all get lit and do something, we paired effects with eight types of activities. Pulse pumping yet? Oh, it will be.

Dank-licious summer days

Seasonal, complimentary weed flavors and effects abound, whether you’re gardening, working out, socializing, or getting crafty.

Gardening and farming

Tend your garden while sampling fruity, light-tasting, energizing herb that amps up wildflower colors.

Much respect to classic, widely available pot Strawberry Cough and Super Lemon Haze. Dig something more modern? Phat Panda’s Pineapple Mintz in Washington crosses Golden Pineapple to Kush Mintz.

Working out, playing, deep-cleaning

THC fights boredom and pain, and sports fans swear by certain power flower.

Dial in your doja with terpinolene, marijuana’s reported energy terpene, or aroma molecule. Look for orange color-coded strains on Leafly—that’s us pointing out terpinolene.

Fresh in terpinolenes this season—A Golden State’s Lava Flower blossoms in Cali bowls.

Icy with trichomes, a sizzling orange and green indoor-grown cannabis bud set against black. Meet, A Golden State's Lava Flower (Courtesy A Golden State)
Terpinolene-rich girl: A Golden State Lava Flower. (Courtesy A Golden State)

Nationally, classic terpinolene strain Jack Herer reigns with sweet sugar kisses. Take a hike on XJ-13 from Good Chemistry, or twerk it with Jack Flash from Native Roots, both in Colorado.

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores

Leafly reviewers also report several classic trees amp them up: Sample this year’s crop of Durbans.

Alibi Cannabis in Oregon electrifies with its classic “fruity with hints of guava” Durban Poison. In Illinois, brand RYTHM rocks a super clean White Durban.

Daytime meetups

Trendy hybrids will melt the ice at awkward reunions, delayed weddings, and birthday parties.

For classic flavor, shop fun, citrusy Tangies and family. If it’s the future you want to puff, seek Zkittlez crosses. DNA Genetics debuts Ztrawberriez (Strawberry x Zkittlez) in Arizona.

A picture of a nug of Tangie cross of note: Pink Moon (Kosher Kush x Tangie) from Houseplant, CA against white. (David Downs/Leafly)
Tangie cross of note: Pink Moon (Kosher Kush x Tangie) from Houseplant, CA. (David Downs/Leafly)

Guava Zkittlez from Talking Trees Farm in California offers thick, tropical fruit zest with a chatty, chill vibe.

“A summer strain is strong in flavor, and light, like a white wine with uplifting effects,” said the Washington growers at Freddy’s Fuego, who recommend their sativa Hell Cat.

“A light but tasty smoke while you enjoy the sun, is there anything better?”

Creative zoning

Rapper Open Mic Eagle tells Leafly sativa hybrids are the shit, “When it comes to enhancing my creative process and keeping me engaged with my work all day.”

Eagle calls for Roll’s Choice OG from Smarty Plants in Los Angeles. Fact is, many OGs and Cookie crosses pop hot for “creative” and “focused” in reviews.

DNA Genetics in Arizona heralds fruity OG Miss DNA this summer—a cross of Kosher Kush and Strawberry Banana.

Cream of the Crop’s Cookies cross, Strawberries and Cream, can help you with your rhyme flow and your beatbox.

A picture of a frosted, purple, dense Strawberries and Cream nug against white. (Courtesy Cream of the Crop)
Strawberries and Cream tastes like the name but hits much harder. (Courtesy Cream of the Crop)

Sparkling summer nights

After a quick disco nap and snack, feast on flavors that’ll make afternoons a delight, flex on haters, and K-O insomnia.

Afternoon adventures

If you ever see me fightin’ in the forest with a grizzly bear, help the bear—cuz I’m turnt on Chappo’s Churro, a savage, sweaty new cross of everything strong from Northern Emeralds in California. This reported El Chapo OG cross to Churro amounts to four maximal OGs mixed with some Cookies and Glue. Phew.

A picture of a most Wanted strain—Chappo’s Churro from Northern Emeralds is frosty, green and purple, and less dense than expected. (David Downs/Leafly)
Most Wanted: Chappo’s Churro from Northern Emeralds packs in flavors of fuel, sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate. (David Downs/Leafly)

Once you’ve seen the view from that summit, it’s hard to live in the valley. Stay at the peak with Lemon OZ Kush from indoor leaders Wonderbrett.

Expect the essence of summer in a nug: thick orange soda, lemon, and mandarin tang, with a lengthy, hybrid stone. Lemon OZ Kush contends for Strain of the Summer 2021—aligning genetics, selection, cultivation, aesthetics, pungence, taste, and effects.

“I’m thinking of the sun, and tropical, and that’s the same vibe [as this cultivar],” Brett said. “You’re ready to go chill at the beach, put your feet in the sand, and enjoy yourself with a piña colada.”

A picture of a green, orange-haired, dense, big nug of Lemon OZ Kush by Wonderbrett in Cali. (David Downs/Leafly)
Brett crossed Crockett’s original 2010 Clementine with Dying Breed’s game-changing OZ Kush, and then selected the best to make Lemon OZ Kush. Purchased at The Green Cross, SF. (David Downs/Leafly)

See also: California’s Emerald Cup-winning modern classic Gelonade (now in AZ) and new cross Lemonatti; both from Connected Cannabis Co.

Raging after dark

Blow minds at the evening meetup with the finest kind. We’re talking about that heavy session where everyone brings out the fire flower.

“In summer, the heavy terp strains take center stage at the Freddy’s smokeouts,” said Washington’s Freddy’s Fuego.

Freddy recommends their Le Mans—that’s Lemon Tree x Triangle Kush x Triangle Kush x M10.

A picture of a frosty multi-colored nug of lemony, kushy champion—Le Mans (Courtesy Freddy’s Fuego)
Lemony, kushy champion—Le Mans (Courtesy Freddy’s Fuego)

Don’t bring your baby lungs to 2021’s heavy-hitting MAC crosses—like Cannarado’s Spritzer (a cross of Runtz, Grape Pie, and MAC), grown excellently by Fat Face Farms and Chronic Therapy in Colorado.

Equally potent—the craze in Breath strains has made it to Oklahoma’s flourishing medical scene. OK’s Flower of Life touts Dirty Sprite Breath, for example.

A picture of a nug OG Kush Breath cross Larry’s Breath against white—dense, purple, small, orange-haired, frosty, spikey.. (David Downs/Leafly)
OG Kush Breath cross Larry’s Breath for an intense buzz; plus a funk that keeps strangers at bay. Purchased at The Green Cross, SF. (David Downs/Leafly)

And no summer hit list can miss Gelatos and GMOs—be it Alien Labs’ Baklava abducting fools in AZ and CA, or six-state operator Grassroots Cannabis’ selling out of Garlic Cookies.

Vibing and hooking up

Thinking of some weedy freaky-deaky?

Classic, best-selling Original Glue sits atop the list of strains our readers report as “euphoric.”

For round two—smoke your Cake and eat it too, boo. This year serves Cake crosses for days:

  • Mountain Sun Botanicals slangs Cake Mints in Oregon
  • Item 9 Labs can’t sit on its Caked Up Cherries in Arizona
  • Cake Batter from breeder Seed Junky in Los Angeles will have you stuck
A picture of an Ice Cream Cake flower bud with purple leaves in a Salinas, CA greenhouse at Paradiso Gardens. (Courtesy Paradiso)
Sweet, icy, relaxing Ice Cream Cake comes in by the greenhouse again this season in Salinas, CA at Paradiso Gardens. (Courtesy Paradiso)

Sleeping it off

The great philosopher Andrew W.K. once said: “Resting counts as partying, but only if you rest HARD.”

Unplug from the universe with on-trend indica hybrids and beyond like:

  • Connected’s Cannabis Co.’s Nightshade
  • Cypress Hill rapper B-Real’s new Insane strain Stuffed French Toast (Paris OG x Face-Off OG)
A picture of Connected Nightshade buddeep purple, sizzling orange, sleeted with trichomes. If it was scratch and sniff—you would scratch. (Courtesy Connected Cannabis Co.)
Connected Nightshade genetics are secret, but it’s limonene-dominant with a caryophyllene/myrcene chassis like Gelato and Biscotti. (Courtesy Connected Cannabis Co.)
A nug of Insane Stuffed French Toast against white—long, thin, medium density, green-purple indica hybrid looking gas with a sweet, maple syrup and cinnamon note. (Courtesy Insane)
Paris OG and Faceoff OG make for some Insane Stuffed French Toast—smells of cinnamon, orange, pine, and sugar. (Courtesy Insane)

There’s waaaaay more, but we’re out of time. Yes, 25-ish flowers mean a lot of summer smoking. But just wait until New York and the rest of the US come online next year.

As always, the strain of the summer remains the one you love your way.

Make jays while the sun shines!

Leafly editor Alyssa Yeoman contributed to this article.

What’s the strain of summer for you? Comment below.

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores
David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
View David Downs's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.