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America’s searing hot cannabis Strains of Summer 2023

Published on June 21, 2023 · Last updated July 24, 2023
Put history’s best pot in your pipe and smoke it. (Sasha Beck/Leafly)
America's searing hot weed Strains of Summer 2023 include fresh G.O.A.T. Milk, hot Trop Cherry, and classic Super Sour Diesel. (Sasha Beck/Leafly)

Listen up, joint rollers, bong loaders, and pipe packers of America.

Leafly’s winning Strains of Summer 2023 has arrived online and in your social feed, and too bad it’s not scratch ’n’ sniff. Each summer solstice, we seek to arm you with the terps and THC you’ll need to slay the long summer days, from NYC to the Bay. 

This year, we picked a mix of classics, trendsetters, and hot-hot new-new from across the flavor wheel. We’re talking flavors like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, oranges, lemon, ice cream, gasoline, cereal milk, tropical taffy, and more. We mean strains that pair with waking, baking, tubing, cruising, making out, and staying out.

How do we pick just 12? We smoke hundreds upon hundreds, shop hop, and scour industry shows. We report on contest winners, and pore over search and shopping trends on Leafly. Not bragging, but what other outlet can match that?

So get out your grinder and rolling tray, and place a delivery order today. Here are Leafly’s searing hot Strains of Summer 2023.

Best selling

Blue Dream

The number 1 most popular strain in stores this summer: Blue ‘effin Dream.
The No. 1 most popular strain in stores this summer: Blue ‘effin Dream. Outdoor. Calaveras County, CA. Via Smoakland. (David Downs/Leafly)

We start our Strains of Summer 2023 with three stone-cold classics that combine longevity with newfound interest. Leading off, the ’90s Santa Cruz strain Blue Dream (Blueberry x Haze) is back in the top five most searched strains on Leafly on the East Coast this summer. Blue Dream also clawed its way back into the top 10 out west. Few strains pair as well with daytime summer activities as this hybrid sativa. You can wake and bake on it, and keep hitting it all day. The blueberry, berry, sweet, and grassy smell is mild and widely liked. And its anti-anxiety effect soothes this savage nation. Chuck your phone in the ocean, spark a bowl of Blue Dream, and stare at the clouds until fall.

Super Sour Diesel

(David Downs/Leafly)
Sour Diesel is a top 6 best-seller in US shops. Above-SSD from Amplified Farms, CA. (David Downs/Leafly)

Shout out to New York and the East Coast as more stores open and Maryland launches adult-use sales on July 1. Now you can get real “AJ’s Sour Diesel” from the real “Asshole Joe”—if that’s your thing. We wanted to have some gas as a counterpoint to the hazes in this classic section and Super Sour Diesel keeps delivering. The traditional market as well as licensed growers crush runs of Super Sour Diesel this season; top pick is Amplified Farms out here in California. Sour D offers that high-energy buzz to New Yorkers with no chill. Its pungent diesel and skunk smell helps benchmark the word “gas.” Reviewers say it most commonly helps manage stress, depression, and anxiety—causing energetic feelings of “meh, it’ll sort itself out.”

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Strawberry Cough

(David Downs/Leafly)
Strawberry Cough (David Downs/Leafly)

Big ups to Vermont and the Northeast for the Y2K haze varietal Strawberry Cough—still getting folks lit in the legal weed era. Strawberry Cough rates high for energy, with a light, sweet strawberry, and grass haze taste. People get energetic, uplifted, and talkative on Strawberry Cough—perfect for both pre-gaming and the party itself. Strawberry Cough’s popularizer is Kyle Kushman, who continues to grow and work the line. We saw great Strawberry Cough from Humboldt County this spring, and the legacy haze’s clear effect punches through the boredom of another dessert strain.

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Trending strains

Trop Cherry

Tropicanna Cherry. Grown by Tradecraft, CA. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)
Tropicanna Cherry. Grown by Tradecraft, CA. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

Smokers from Maine to Michigan to Medford, Oregon, will vouch for Trop Cherry—a surging Strain of Summer nationwide now in 456 US stores; up from zero last year. Breeder Relentless Genetics mixed Trop Cookies with Cherry Cookies and selected the biggest, most purple, sparkliest, and loudest one. Smokers will love the nugs’ huge size, dramatic purple look, and robust citrus, tropical, tea smells. The effects hit hybrid-sativa, making it essential for hikes, yoga, biking, and jamming with the homies. Reviewers get euphoric, uplifted, and creative. Trop Cherry keeps winning: Snoop Dogg released a batch on Death Row Cannabis in February. It won an Oregon Leaf Bowl trophy in May for Best Exotic Fruit. 

Red Velvet

Sunset Connect + Ruthless by Law 'Red Velvet;' via Flore SF. (David Downs/Leafly)
Sunset Connect + Ruthless by Law ‘Red Velvet;’ via Flore SF. (David Downs/Leafly)

Backed by the Cookies brand, Red Velvet leads among strains growing in searches, menus, and orders, making it a solid pick for a trending Strain of Summer. Oakland, CA, breeding hitmakers Grandiflora crossed a Lemon Cherry Gelato to a Pina Acai to make this enticing dessert hybrid. We’ve had selections of Red Velvet that smelled like straight-up cinnamon red hots. Reviewers get aroused, tingly, and uplifted on Red Velvet, which is helping propel its rise. Red Velvet is on sale from LA to New Mexico to New Jersey, and beyond. Pack a pipe bowl of Red Velvet on the beach with your boo, and explore those tan lines.

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Lemon Cherry Gelato

Lemon Cherry Gelato. Grown by Fig Farms, CA. Hybrid-indica. (David Downs/Leafly)
Lemon Cherry Gelato. Grown by Fig Farms, CA. Hybrid-indica. (David Downs/Leafly)

Step aside Runtz and other dessert strains—it’s Lemon Cherry Gelato’s time to shine. This varietal of the best-selling Gelato has ascended to the top of the charts on the East Coast this summer and is set to reign supreme for the launch of Maryland legalization and beyond. Popularized by Backpack Boyz, “LCG” for short has a huge street presence and a royal pedigree. Gelato helps set the bar for bag appeal, with a resilient, iconic creamy-berry-gas nose, and versatile hybrid effects. Newbies—welcome to the party. Haters, cope with Malibu (below). 

Leafly Buzz: 13 top cannabis strains of ’23

Super Boof

(David Downs/Leafly)
The ironically named Super Boof. Boof is slang for low-grade. Grown by Triple 7, CA. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

Super Boof brings the Tangie terps back the way singer Janelle Monae brings sexy back this summer. It’s a cross of Black Cherry Punch x Trop Cookies, super-optimized by breeder Blockhead; he calls it Blockberry. Super Boof keeps adding customers nationwide thanks to its thickness, gleam, orange-vanilla taste, and relaxing effects. We made it a Leafly Buzz strain of 2023, plus, it’s winning awards as the strain’s breeders and others spread the genetics far and wide.

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Berry Cream Puff

The summer thaw seems like the time to get up to Canada, order some weed off Uber Eats (partnered with Leafly), and have some fun. Taking over shelves this year is Puresun Farms’ Berry Cream Puff. That’s a dessert strain from a cross of Cake Crasher (Wedding Cake x Wedding Crasher) to an unlisted strain. The first reviews are trickling in and we’re not surprised to see some folks getting aroused on Berry Cream Puff. The grandparent Wedding Cake has very high arousal scores. Tastes like berries, diesel, and butter. Puff on that Berry Cream yourself and drop us a review.

Cap Junky

Cap Junky. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)
Panic attack mode: Cap Junky grown by L.A. Made is for people who’ve smoked it all. Hybrid. (David Downs/Leafly)

This strain gets you so high it should come with a parachute and emergency contact info.

Microdosing mushrooms is for sad dads. True psychonauts hit the hype new strain Cap Junky and take a wincing inventory of their shortcomings. Cap Junky is short for the two titans of cannabis breeding—Capulator and Seed Junky Genetics. The collaborators mixed their most coveted strains (Alien Cookies x Kush Mints) to make a strain that’s probably too strong. This strain gets you so high it should come with a parachute and emergency contact info. Some folks get mango Go-gurt taste on it, but also gas—like a mix of MAC1 and Kush Mints. This summer, Cap Junky grows coast to coast and blows minds nationwide.

Fresh in 2023

G.O.A.T. Milk

(David Downs/Leafly)
Cereal Milk x Georgia Pie #51; bred by Serge Cannabis x Fiore Genetics x Powerzzzup Genetics. (David Downs/Leafly)

Hey, jaded weed veterans, ever smoked that Fiore Genetics G.O.A.T. Milk out of California? G.O.A.T. of course stands for Greatest of All Time. In this case, it refers to breeder Powerzzup’s Cereal Milk crossed to Georgia Pie. (GOAT Milk is the sister of Cereal A La Mode.) All of this is intense Cookies work that comes off The Y line that propelled Gary Payton to the top in the 2020s. G.O.A.T. Milk is a super-strong, energetic, next-gen dessert strain not for the weak-kneed. It’s super-rare, pretty much grown only by Fiore, so look out for more widely available relatives Cereal Milk, Cereal A La Mode, and Gary Payton.


Malibu. Formerly Giraffe P**** #1. Hybrid. (Courtesy Seed Junky Genetics)
Over 700 heads picked Malibu as the second best-tasting strain in LA’s hyper-competitive exotic cannabis scene. Hybrid-sativa. (Courtesy Seed Junky Genetics)

Paddle into the lineup of world-class exotic cannabis with Malibu, Seed Junky Genetics’ more tame rename of its cross of Zkittlez x Animal Cookies Bx2; aka Giraffe P**** #1. Malibu took home the silver in the LA Zalympix 2023 exotic weed contest on June 17. The Z adds tropical Hi-Chew notes and loudness, while the Animal Cookies Bx2 brings gas fumes and potency. Malibu is gorgeous, big, strong, and hard to beat. Roll up a fat nug of Malibu, lay a rosin worm down to make a hash hole, crank some classic Queens of the Stone Age, and worship the sun poolside. Seed Junky has expanded beyond California to Michigan and New Mexico.

That Badu

(David Downs/Leafly)
That Badu. Cookies opens its first store in Arizona—Cookies Tuscon June 24. (David Downs/Leafly)

We end our Strains of Summer 2023 with That Badu—singer Erykah Badu’s namesake strain on the Cookies line. Berner and Badu push That Badu hard this summer in Cookies stores amid Erykah’s Unfollow Me Tour. That Badu is a mix of Lemonnade’s Limoncello and Compound Genetics’ Jet Fuel Gelato—adding lemon to the fuel-forward dessert strain. Sorry to overshare, but this is some baby-making botanicals. It’s euphoric, relaxing, and therapeutic, and Ms. Badu told Leafly she released it with “women in mind.” That’s Badu!

Baker’s dozen bonus strain


Zoap, grown by Heights, LA. (David Downs/Leafly)
Deo Farms-bred Zoap; grown by Heights, LA. (David Downs/Leafly)

Leafly made Zoap a Strain of Summer in 2022, but we had to bring it back because it’s just as good as last year, plus, it’s getting out into the world; up from 45 stores last year to nearly 400. CAM in Cali just dropped off a fresh batch while we were editing this piece. Heights in LA has a superb Zoap drop planned for Cali this summer. Deo Farms of Oakland’s breeding project is built off Dying Breed Seeds’ Oz Kush. Don’t sleep on the parents Oz Kush, the relatives, the hit Zoap, and fresh new crosses of Zoap this summer.

OK, time to smoke ’em if you got ’em.

And if you don’t got em, Leafly Delivery is just a tap away. Have fun this summer. Wear your sunscreen!

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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.
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