Have you ever heard of “The Cannabis Cup?” It is like the red carpet event for the best and most innovative new strains and cannabis products. It includes categories for whole flower, vape carts, tinctures, edibles, and concentrates. And the Cannabis Cup is held in every state to acknowledge the best growers and new products in the region.
The Cannabis Cup is just one of many awards that cultivators can receive. If millions of people are enjoying a strain you developed, you deserve a little recognition. Mastering the cultivation of a new hybrid strain can take a year or longer, with many failed attempts in between. And when products are submitted for award categories, experienced judges get to decide the winner. Based on an interesting number of criteria, including potency, flavor, and psychoactive effects.
The year 2020 saw record-breaking cannabis sales, according to MarijuanaDoctors.com, for most states that had legalized medical and recreational weed. The pandemic had many Americans spending more time at home than normal. Some were unemployed, while others were required to work remotely for health and safety reasons. The “smoke if you got ‘em” phase of 2020 was focused on legal weed.
Common Health Conditions for Therapeutic Use of Cannabis
You can’t look at the staggering growth of cannabis sales in the United States without reviewing why people are buying weed in the first place. Regulators and prohibitionist anti-cannabis groups suggest that cannabis use is exclusively about becoming impaired. Recreational use as a ‘party’ drug. But as more states legalize weed, a new narrative is being created.
Throughout the decades of prohibition, Americans have been using cannabis to self-medicate. What does that mean exactly? Well, for chronic health conditions like neuropathy, chronic pain, epilepsy, and other seizure disorders, cannabis can help. Using marijuana daily can be an effective way to manage debilitating symptoms. And help people regain quality of life.
The standard for dealing with pain relief has been prescription NSAIDs and opioid medications. We know much more about opioids now than we ever did before. And Americans who have had a bad experience with opioids looked for a new alternative. Medical cannabis, for some people, works very well to moderate symptoms.
The legalization of cannabis has created a new alternative. And for some, cannabis is more cost-effective than prescription medications. Edibles are a top-selling category for patients with medical-cards. Debunking the myth of the ‘pot smoker’ while understanding that many people have been self-medicating with cannabis for decades because it meets their treatment needs.
Why Did Demand for Cannabis Skyrocket in 2020?
Based on data from online dispensary sales through Leafly®, Americans spent over $18 billion on cannabis in 2020. An increase of 71% in sales from 2019. That kind of increase in sales in any sector is almost unbelievable. Except we heard plenty of news about states like Illinois and Utah who struggled to keep up with demand. It got real for producers and retailers last year.
Was it the pandemic? Was it the increase in the number of states providing medical and recreational weed? Probably a combination of both factors. We know that some states had to ramp up their production (and license more cultivators in some cases) to keep up with demand in 2020.
According to data updated in December 2020, over 4,375,822 Americans are registered in medical marijuana programs. Out of an estimated population of 237,284,324 in legalized states. However, the number may be much higher, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. It is not possible to determine how many people are non-medical or recreational buyers.
As an adult-use or medical cannabis consumer, you already know that all strains of marijuana are not created equal. There are some OG strains and hybrids that outsell other types. And when we look back at the top-selling strains sold in 2020, those strains share some common characteristics.
What Cannabis Strains Were Top-Sellers in 2020?
While cannabis sales were record-breaking in 2020, some strains emerged in all legalized states as market leaders. It is not surprising that many of the top-selling strains were hybrids with high levels of CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown as highly effective for the relief of pain and general inflammation in global clinical studies.
Here are five of the most popular and best-selling strains American consumers chose in 2020:
- White Runtz
White Runtz cannabis ticks all the boxes when it comes to the pandemic and pain-relieving smoke. It is a hybrid strain made by crossing Zkittlez and Gelato. The psychoactive experience is relaxation and a tingling body high. The strain is aptly named for the plentiful white trichomes. White Runtz also has a longer-lasting effect, and it is popular for people looking for relief of anxiety and stress, as well as muscular or arthritic pain.
The strain has a fruity and sweet flavor and scent (with a hint of diesel). White Runtz creates calm and tingly sensations in terms of a body high. It is an Indica dominant strain that has been described as creating a “relaxed, positive glow” experience. White Runtz has an average THC level of 24%.
- Forbidden Lemon Glue (FLG)
This strain smells both appealing and slightly repugnant, with notes of citrus orange, lemon, and gasoline. Forbidden Lemon Glue is a hybrid of Forbidden Fruit (Cherry Pie and Tangie) and Lemon Glue (Gorilla Glue #4 crossed with Gorilla Princess).
People who love lemon terpenes rave about FLG. The citrus notes are that strong and flavorful when smoked. It is an Indica that people prefer to smoke at the end of the day or on weekends for a full relaxing effect. It can also help with insomnia caused by chronic pain or stress.
Forbidden Lemon Glue has an average THC level of 16% with a 0.03% CBD content.
- Cheetah Piss
With 16% average THC and almost 18% THC-A, Cheetah Piss became a popular strain, with consumers buying as much as possible in 2020. Another nighttime strain creates drowsiness, which is ideal for people with chronic pain or insomnia—having problems sleeping because the first global pandemic in over 100 years is freaking you out? You are not alone. And Cheetah Piss has a reputation for being a medicinal mental “checkout” and reprieve from anxiety and stress.
Cheetah Piss is a spinoff of Cat Piss. Charming names, but instead of being a strong alert Sativa like Cat Piss, Cheetah Piss is a hybrid. The scent is similar to ammonia (if you have a cat, you understand the scent and name). The strain was developed from Lemonade, London Poundcake 97, and Gelato 42 strains.
- Papaya Punch
Papaya’s hybrid pleasing (but slightly weird) flavor of fruit and cheese (but mostly a sweet fruit profile) is not a strain that contains a knock-out level of THC, which is why many people prefer Papaya Punch for daytime use.
The psychoactive effects of Papaya Punch include happiness, euphoria, talkative, with a side-order of giggles. However, it does not make you drowsy. It is relaxing, however, without creating a couch-lock. Papaya Punch averages about 20% THC.
- Blue Dream
Blue Dream may be the Rockstar strain to emerge from California. The Sativa dominant hybrid was created from Blueberry and Haze strains. It tastes like sweet berries to smoke and provides a mild cerebral psychoactive effect.
People love Blue Dream marijuana because it has both calming and euphoric effects. People typically buy it to address symptoms of pain and nausea. It is also used to help moderate anxiety or depression symptoms and averages about 18% THC level.
The strains of cannabis that are emerging as the top-sellers in the United States have a few things in common. They are typically happiness and euphoria-inducing. Perfect for a mood lift when life gets a little too heavy. The most popular strains are also highly effective at moderating chronic pain symptoms and anxiety.