Strains & products

Leafly’s 2018 Strain of the Year

Published on December 28, 2018 · Last updated December 3, 2021

The cannabis landscape continues to expand at a staggering rate. New brands, products, genetics, and all sorts of other exciting innovations and investments came out in 2018. This rise of cannabis into the global mainstream makes staking a claim like “Strain of the Year” all the more difficult.

Thankfully we have hard data to help sift through the vast diversity of modern cannabis strains. So to determine which strain made the biggest splash in 2018, I looked at a number of different indicators from the way people engage with strains on Leafly.

Of course data isn’t the whole picture. For a strain to really live up to the hype it has to be a complete package. Aesthetic, flavor, and experience all must be on point. Even its cultural impact comes into play.

So without further ado, I give you 2018’s Strain of the Year…


This is not a new strain. Gelato wasn’t created or released in 2018, but it gained an exceptional amount of popularity and proliferated far and wide throughout the cannabis industry this past year. This is the year Gelato burst into the mainstream, and the wake it has left is too powerful to ignore!

Everyone is looking for Gelato. In 2018 the word “Gelato” has been a top search term on Leafly, sitting right next to other well-established powerhouses like Blue Dream and GG4.

Find Gelato Near You

In November alone, Leafly visitors spent nearly 435,000 hours looking at the strain details and availability of Gelato at dispensaries near them, more than any other strain.

Everyone is finding Gelato, too! Thousands of different cannabis products on dispensaries menus across the nation feature Gelato, and the amount of Gelato flower, pre-rolls, vape cartridges, etc., has changed rapidly as dispensaries shuffle through their inventories.

As far as available strains in 2018 go, Gelato has been more prevalent than classic strains like Northern Lights and Dutch Treat. It even edged out one of its parent strains, Sunset Sherbert, which has had its own wave of success.

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores

Once you find Gelato, you like Gelato. It has overwhelmingly exceptional reviews, receiving more 5-stars reviews on Leafly than any other strain. To date, not a single reviewer has said that they wouldn’t recommend it to others.


Why Do People Love Gelato So Much?

Gelato is a hybrid with an empire of its own, but it was built from the foundation of its parent strains: A cross between Sherbinski’s Sunset Sherbert and Cookie Fam’s Thin Mint GSC, it continues to ride the wave of its potent, compelling, and hyped lineage.

Following in the footsteps of Sherbert and Thin Mint, Gelato first sprouted in the Bay Area a few years ago. It has slowly picked up steam as more and more people look for the next cultivar that will impact the scene the same way its parents have.

True to its Cookies heritage, Gelato blooms into tight bulbous buds, tinged with purple hues and dripping with a frosty coat of crystal resin. The flower’s sweet, creamy mix of flavors live up to the Gelato name and continues the dessert-naming conventions of its ancestors, a craze that has swept the West Coast and beyond.

Like both of its parent strains, Gelato is appreciated for its potent suite of effects. It’s a forceful experience of blissful euphoria and physical relaxation that can be quite the ride. I enjoy the Gelato experience because it puts me in a good mood and doesn’t distract me from staying productive. It gives me just enough focus, but allows me a slightly different perspective if I’m working on something creative or challenging.

Gelato also has a number of well known phenotypes, each capturing their own hyper-niche market of Gelato connoisseurs with nicknames like Larry Bird (Gelato #33) and Michael Jordan (Gelato #45). Gelato #41 and Gelato #25 are two other popular phenotypes you might find.

The original breeder, Mr. Sherbinski, has developed a whole line of Gelato strains that showcase the variety of flavors and characteristics of the lineage. His Bacio Gelato skews higher in THC and is known for its heavy-handed relaxation, whereas Mochi Gelato is much more bright and uplifting, its fruity flavors coming with a minty finish and a soothing, creative buzz.

Gello Gelato finds some common ground with its two sisters, Bacio and Mochi, and Acaiberry Gelato puts a bit of a tropical twist on things thanks to some influence from Sherbinski’s Pink Panties strain.

With so many different flavors, forms, and offshoots, it’s easy to find a Gelato that you’ll like. Its variety, coupled with mass popularity and an exceptional genetic pedigree, make Gelato an easy win for 2018.

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores
Will Hyde
Will Hyde
Will is a brand builder, product expert, and storyteller with 2 decades of experience in the cannabis industry. The former co-host of Leafly's "What Are You Smoking" podcast has dedicated his life to sharing his passion for cannabis with anyone who will listen. Follow him on Instagram at @the.avid.dabber
View Will Hyde'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.

Stay In Touch

Receive updates on new products, special offers, and industry news.

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

Leafly mobile app
Get high for less.
Download the Leafly app.
Download Leafly: Marijuana Reviews on the App Store
Download Leafly Marijuana Reviews on Google Play

The material provided on Leafly is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Leafly is not engaged in rendering medical service or advice and the information provided is not a substitute for a professional medical opinion. If you have a medical problem, please contact a qualified health professional.

© 2024 Leafly, LLC
Leafly and the Leafly logo are registered trademarks of Leafly, LLC. All Rights Reserved.