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Bubba Kush turns 25 years-old: B-real reminisces

Published on August 2, 2023 · Last updated August 4, 2023
Josh D and Kenji Fujishima (Dan Wilson for Leafly)
Bubba breeder Josh D and Cypress Hill's Kenji Fujishima. (Dan Wilson for Leafly)

Can you believe it? It’s been 25-ish years since the top strain Bubba Kush debuted in LA thanks to grower Josh D, and rap group Cypress Hill. The origin of the strain is part of SoCal’s weed’s mythology. Touring as part of Cypress Hill, B-Real and Kenji had a lot to do with Bubba’s popularization in mainstream weed culture. B-Real and Kenji talk about how it went down and the resurgence of the iconic strain.

1996—The creation of Bubba Kush

History made: A small, crowded, 1996 Silverlake, CA OG Kush grow by Josh D. (Courtesy Josh D)
History made: A small, crowded, 1996 Silverlake, CA OG Kush grow by Josh D. (Courtesy Josh D)

Before 1996, clandestine Florida growers bred OG Kush‘s mother plant, along with a strain called ‘Bubba.’ Many people point to Triangle Kush as the closest to that originally. High Times editor Danny Danko later theorizes Chemdog as the parent of both OG Kush and Sour Diesel.

In 1996, grower Matt ‘Bubba Kush’ Berger told friend Josh Del Rosso that the weed in Florida is better than the weed in Los Angeles. Del Rosso challenges Berger to prove it. Berger brings some cuttings from Florida, but only one of the OG Kush clones survives. That cutting is the original, clone-only OG Kush plant that rocks Southern California. 

OG Kush made the rounds of the Los Angeles cannarati, ending up in the hands of Kenji Fujishima, a grower friend of Cypress Hill’s B-Real.

“Later in ’96 we were already smoking OG a little bit from Josh D,” said Kenji. “They had a small setup, it was maybe four, six lights or something like that in a house in Hollywood. We’d randomly get it every couple months. An eighth was 100 bucks or something like that, and it was just really hard to get.”

Kenji was helping B-Real grow and hunt for varieties using his bathroom as the grow site.

While OG Kush was taking off, Matt and Josh crossed another Florida import—’Bubba.’

The cross of OG and Bubba bore a handful of seeds, some of which went to Fujishima. Kenji was helping B-Real grow and hunt for varieties using his bathroom as the grow site.

“Somewhere around ’96, I want to say it might have been mid-to-late ’96, we got [seeds] from our buddy, Mike Rowan, who got them from Josh D,” Kenji said.

Looking for new variations of the plant in B-Real’s bathroom led Kenji and B-Real to discover one of the most distinct weed plants they’d ever encountered, and for a time, it defined them. They called it Kush Bubba, aka Bubba Kush.

An Epoch of OG: The OG Kush family genealogy

The creation of Bubba Kush inspired Cypress Hill’s classic weed anthem “Dr. Greenthumb”—the song name would come to be used over a decade later for Kenji and B-Real’s line of indoor, OG-centric cannabis. The Insane brand represents their legacy, and the more extensive legacy of OG Kush in Los Angeles, particularly the San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Hills.

1997—Bubba Kush starts its own wave

At the time, Kenji and Josh D each pursued Bubba Kush separately. They barely knew each other.

“The first plants of that Kush Bubba were probably late ’96, early ’97. That strain is what spawned the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ song and that was ’98. I want to say the first plants where we saw it—where it was actually produced—where people were buying it from us, was ’97,” Kenji said. 

“I didn’t really know Josh at that time, other than that’s who was doing it. I didn’t meet him until probably ’97/’98. In ’96 we met and I saw the OG growing and stuff like that. But as far as being friends and hanging out all the time, all that developed over the later years,” Kenji said.

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Leafly reviewers report good Bubba Kush can have a pungent, coffee, earthiness to it. Its top terpenes are the punchy caryophyllene, sharp limonene, and dank myrcene.

“The smell and especially the taste: It’s like a spicy peppery type sweetness, it’s hard to describe. The high is good, it’s as good as any cannabis out there. The flavor is unique and the nose on it is unique. And the look—it’s beautiful. It’s a pretty robust strain if you grow it right,” B-Real said. 

Bubba Kush persists from 1998 to present

Josh D and Kenji Fujishima (Dan Wilson for Leafly)
Josh D and Kenji Fujishima (Dan Wilson for Leafly)

OG Kush’s success always outshined Bubba Kush in the 2000s. By 2010, OG Kushes led to “exotics” like GSC, Kush Mints, and today’s The Original Z crosses. Nevertheless, the cultivar persists and remains a touchstone to this day.

But B-Real says that after 25 years, there’s still a strong interest in the strain. Cultivators who have been in the game for a long time have never let it go, and some continue to try to bring it back. 

“What’s crazy about that strain is that throughout the years you’ve seen groups of cultivators trying to bring it back in the midst of all the exotics that you have now and with OG Kush being a prominent strain down here in the South,” B-Real said.

Ripped Bubba circa 2013. (David Downs file photo)
Ripped Bubba, circa 2013. (David Downs file photo)

“There’s just something about that Bubba that people love that no one wanted to let it go. A lot of strains got let go by the wayside when all these exotics hit and especially when OG came into hers. But it’s the one strain that people try to get back because there’s something unique about it,” B-Real said. 

B-Real says that Bubba Kush never lost its hold on the culture here in LA and beyond. 

Cypress Hills B-Real and Kenji Fujishima (Dan Wilson for Leafly)
Cypress Hills B-Real and Kenji Fujishima (Dan Wilson for Leafly)

“There’s exotics that maybe taste better, and the OG is stronger, but the elements that the Bubba carries in terms of the taste and the impact of the high, I think it’s one of those old-school flavors that people are nostalgic about,” B-Real said. “It’s such a loved strain. It’s not the best one out there but it definitely holds its weight and holds ground. From the bag appeal to the yield, cultivators always loved it,” he said. 

B-Real says he and Kenji would recognize it immediately if they saw it today. It’s distinctive.  He now sees growing interest in the classic strain and in its preservation. 

“With so many options of these exotics, it sort of just got tucked away, but you see a resurgence now that people are looking for it,” B-Real said. “It’s great that it still stands the test of time, as great strains do. And it’s one of them.”

I would imagine now guys are gonna do tissue culture on it so that it never goes away.


B-Real predicts tissue culture will help preserve Bubba Kush’s legacy for the next 25 years. 

“Salute to those that did keep it around and that were able to pass it around to other cultivators to keep it going to this day. I would imagine now guys are gonna do tissue culture on it so that it never goes away. That’s what’s great about the tissue culture, they can bring strains like Bubba Kush back,” B-Real said. 

Shopping guide: Bubbas across the USA

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CAM’s Bubba’s Girl

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Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson is an independent pot journalist based in Los Angeles. Wilson is the founding Editor of Visit Hollyweed, California's cannabis community newspaper. His Los Angeles Dispensary Guidebook was published in April.
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