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Cannabis 101

Cannabis basics: What does OG mean?

02.22.22 - 4 min read

For a two-letter acronym, “OG” sports a complex and often-debated history—at least in the world of cannabis, that is. 

So, when it comes to OG, why should you care? Well, aside from curiosity, deepening your knowledge of OG strains can help you choose the right cannabis products for you. After all, you’ve probably noticed that when you enter a dispensary or browse for products online, there’s no shortage of strains to choose from.  

If you’ve seen certain products labeled OG and want to get a better understanding of what the term means (as well as how it might inform your next dispensary haul), we’ve got the scoop. 


What does “OG” mean? 

The answer to that question depends on who you talk to. There are multiple stories on the origin of the OG acronym, and how it came to be added to cannabis strain names. We’ll take you through a brief rundown on the major theories behind the meaning of OG. 

The influence of hip-hop culture 

The term OG initially broke into the mainstream in the 1980s, when it first began to appear in popular rap songs of the day. In hip-hop culture, an OG (or “original gangster”) represented someone who was exceptionally unique. When you think of an OG in this context, think of one-of-a-kind, game-changing types. 

To be OG was to be an original—and the cannabis strain called OG Kush was definitely the first of its kind. 


OG Kush 

In the 1990s, two cannabis growers became friends in Los Angeles: Matt “Bubba” Berger and Josh Del Rosso.  

Berger cultivated a strain of marijuana in Florida from a random bag of marijuana seeds he got from a friend. He shared with another friend, who said the buds looked like “kushberries.” Berger returned to his home in L.A. with his “kushberry” seeds and the name shortened to simply “kush.” He and Del Rosso planted kush seeds with two other strains. Their strain developed a devoted following and some imitators. To make sure customers knew they were getting the true, original kush, they added “OG” to the name of their product. In this case, it was simply intended to be an abbreviation of the word “original.” 

Case closed? Well, not exactly. That’s just one potential origin story… 


Ocean grown 

Although the term doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface—after all, cannabis isn’t seaweed—the OG term is believed by some to mean “ocean grown.” The argument could be made that, in this case, it means the plant is grown near the soothing sway of the ocean waves on the coast of California. 

The verdict? 

So, in the world of cannabis, does OG means ocean grown, original gangster or just original? Whatever the case, many connoisseurs shrug off the particulars. That’s because they’re satisfied to know the OG acronym means that at least one of the parent strains of the variety they’re enjoying is most likely the original of its kind—a part of the OG family. 


Look for the OG label 

OG is an important designation that’s used across the board in the cannabis industry, in both recreational and medical marijuana cultures. It may be listed at the beginning of a strain’s name or at the end.  

Banana OG. Larry OG. Fire OG. Skywalker OG. Tahoe OG. Each of these is an example of some of the myriad strains in the OG family of medical and recreational cannabis.  

Strains in the OG family are renowned for potent effects, herbal and earthy profiles, and unique historical backgrounds. 

The Godfather of OG 

For those who consider themselves aficionados, the godfather of the OG family is OG Kush. Since many OG strains can trace their ancestral roots to the genetics of the OG Kush plant, it makes perfect sense that this particular strain is considered the godfather of a dynasty. 

Its signature earthy pine and sour lemon scent, complete with woody undertones, has become an easily identifiable aroma shared by OG Kush varieties and hybrid descendants. 


Effects of OG Kush 

While there is an ongoing debate regarding OG Kush’s lineage and exactly how it got its name, there is very little conflict when it comes to the potency of this popular strain. OG Kush typically ranks high in THC content, providing a range from twenty to twenty-five percent. 

OG Kush usually produces a mental effect rather than a physical one. When people try this strain, they tend to experience an increase in awareness and focus. This is generally followed by a feeling of euphoria. OG Kush is a popular strain for social settings because of the combination of effects on its users’ experience. 

More OG questions? 

So, we’ve just given you the basics on OG strains and their history. Where do you go from here? If you want to learn more, a great place to start is a RISE Dispensary. Our staff loves to answer guests’ questions and provide product recommendations.

Are you to ready take the next step on your cannabis journey? Find a dispensary near me



  1. According to Weedmaps.com 
  2. According to Leafly.com 
  3. According to MerryJane.com 
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