GrowingStrains & products

How Snow Leopard Became My Favorite Cannabis Strain to Grow

Published on July 12, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
(RyanVincePhotography, VikiVector/iStock)

Much like the cat it’s named after, the cannabis strain Snow Leopard is hard to find. Which is unfortunate because it’s an all-around amazing plant: easy to grow, strong, and vigorous. It also smells great and flowers out with huge buds.

I used to grow tons of Snow Leopard. It was our flagship strain at the commercial cannabis grow I worked at in coastal Oregon. For two years I helped cultivate hundreds of pounds of the stuff, but whenever I brought it up in a conversation, no one had ever heard of it. The elusive Snow Leopard.

No one believed me when I told them about this amazing strain. It was a myth, as if I were some druid stealing away to a secret room to grow magical herbs. The grow room was a portal to another dimension as far as anyone else was concerned.

I guess I can understand—did you believe the snow leopard cat actually existed before you ever saw a picture of it?

I have yet to meet anyone who’s smoked Snow Leopard outside of the folks in my old grow operation. So, as far as I’m concerned, once my amazing plant went out the door, it disappeared into another dimension, perhaps to be used in one of those elaborate druidic ceremonies.

So who is buying all the Snow Leopard?

If I ever do meet someone who’s smoked it, it’d be like meeting a long-lost brother. We’d hug and maybe cry tears of joy—this person knows about the Leopard too!—and our bond would be set.

Even to this day, months after leaving the grow, I still feel a connection with that specific plant. I’d like to think I helped propagate that rare species, spreading it across this small part of the world.

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Just Like a Big Cat

So why is it called “Snow Leopard”? I used to tell people that after you smoke it you’ll be fine, but then you’ll feel it creeping up in the background, and then BAM! It’ll pounce on you all at once, and you’ll be super stoned. And then you’ll get the giggles super hard, and then pass the hell out. Kinda like a big cat who’s been rolling around in too much catnip.

But really, it comes from a cross of Snow Lotus and Tigermelon, from famed breeder Bodhi in Northern California. (I also used to grow Sunshine Daydream, another Bodhi strain, and that too, rocked.)

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Regardless of its origin, Snow Leopard was a dream to grow. It’s a true expression of “weed”—you’d be hard-pressed to try and kill this thing. It’s a sturdy strain all-around and it grows strong and vibrant at every stage of the process: It roots out vigorously as a clone, has thick stems and dark green leaves during veg, and buds out like crazy during flower. I’ve (accidentally) forgotten to water some of these plants for weeks and they always bounced back. (Of course, never do that to your plants.)

We gave Snow Leopard red planter’s tags. There was some stoner logic involved in the color scheme—“a snow leopard attacks you… and draws red blood…”—but somehow, the color seemed fitting. An army of red tags was the norm in our shop as we turned out pound after pound in our perpetual grow.

Snow Leopard was our gold standard. We compared everything else we grew to it, but nothing quite reached the same level of excellence.

A Grower’s Love

Honestly, Snow Leopard by itself is too strong for me. I’m an occasional smoker and a mild paranoia sets in real quick after a couple puffs. It’s kinda like when you scritch a cat’s belly a bunch and everything is fine and lovely, and then it suddenly turns and tries to tear your hand off. But everything was going so nicely!

But for all you pro stoners out there, Snow Leopard may be your new favorite strain… if you can find it, of course.

I do love to mix it in with other weed—I feel like a little bit of Leopard enhances the effects of pretty much any other strain. There’s absolutely no science behind this claim, just my own personal experience.

Let me be clear: I do love Snow Leopard. But my love for it comes from growing it. There’s a different kind of love that comes from growing weed. Those plants are your babies—you raise them for months, caring and nurturing them. If one gets sick, you have to spend extra time with it, see what’s wrong, take care of it, maybe give it an extra watering.

And when those buds come off the drying rack after harvest—way-too-potent or not—you are proud of your babies and all the goofy and amazing memories they will help create with thousands of people.

That’s one of the best things about growing weed—I helped you get high, buddy.

Keep the Strain Alive

Sometimes I felt like a conservationist. Like I was keeping this precious living organism alive. It might not be a giant cat in the Himalayas, but it is a rare and special being in its own right.

Growing is a very rewarding process—you easily see the fruits of your physical labor. There’s a certain love that goes into it, and you bond with the plant itself and come to appreciate the act of growing and the hands-on work involved. Growers usually have big smiles on their faces when you ask them about all the strains they’ve grown. Especially their favorite ones.

Regardless of your level of stonerness, you should grab some Snow Leopard. It’ll be like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You can stuff it in a bong and go nuts, or maybe you want to take it easy and just throw a little in a joint with something else. If you do find it, share it with the world. Keep it alive.

But always beware the Snow Leopard: You never know when it’s going to pounce.

Is Snow Leopard Sold Near You?

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Pat Goggins
Pat Goggins
Pat Goggins is a former Leafly senior editor who handled the site's informational Cannabis 101 and Learn section content, as well as health and science, and growing articles. When not fixing typos or reading a book, you’ll probably find him on a boat or in the mountains.
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