10 Award-Winning Strains in Legal Recreational Cannabis States


From Alaska to Maine, here are some of the most popular and award-winning cannabis strains in states that have adult-use marijuana laws on the books. You’ll see some familiar faces as well as newcomers that have impressed judges at High Times, Dope as well as an assortment of regional cannabis cups. Hopefully, you’ll learn about a few marijuana strains you’ve never heard of—and maybe you’ll come away with a new favorite.


In Alaska

Key Lime Pie, Best Hybrid Strain at the Northwest Cannabis Classic

Winning best hybrid at last year’s Northwest Cannabis Classic, Key Lime Pie has a citrus and candy taste coupled with a heavy-hitting high. The psychoactive effects come on fast and strong.

Key Lime Pie imparts creativity, but can also induce what’s known as couch-lock—that feeling of not wanting to move from your comfy sofa. This one probably isn’t the best choice for cannabis newbies, but it’s popular among patients treating PTSD, insomnia and stress.

In California

Wedding Cake, One of High Times’ Best Marijuana Strains of 2018

Get ready to fall in love and smash your face into Wedding Cake, an award-winning cross between marijuana strains Triangle Kush and Animal Mints. It’s cleaning up at cannabis cups and was named one of High Times’ Best Strains of 2018. It’s a 70% indica strain, dripping with frosty trichomes.

As you’d expect, this strain is sweet and fruity, reminiscent of cherry pie. Wedding Cake is said to calm nerves, uplift the spirit and increase appetite. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis or depression may see positive effects from consuming Wedding Cake.

Mai Tai Cookies, Best CBD Flower at the 2016 LA High Times Cannabis Cup

If you’re wondering about strains high in cannabidiol (CBD), don’t miss the first-place winner for Best CBD Flower at the 2016 Los Angeles High Times Cannabis Cup. A cross between Alien Orange Cookies and ACDC, Mai Tai Cookies is a CBD-rich hybrid strain, composed of about 12% CBD and 14% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Great for down-regulating a hyperactive nervous system, Mai Tai Cookies can also help you reach your productivity goals. Because of its generous CBD content, Mai Tai Cookies works well to alleviate migraines as well as ease general pain, fatigue and depression.

In Colorado

Denver Cannabis Cup Winner Ghost Train Haze

Twice named one of High Times’ Strongest Strains on Earth, Ghost Train Haze is a sativa-dominant hybrid cross of Ghost OG, Trainweck and Neville’s Haze. It’s an extremely popular strain throughout Colorado and continues to win awards as the premier sativa-dominant flower. So far Ghost Train Haze has won:

  • The Denver Cannabis Cup in 2016
  • The 2014 Michigan High Times Cup
  • Oregon’s Dope Cup, 2017

Ghost Train Haze is legendary for its powerfully energetic psychoactive effects. This means beginners and those sensitive to THC may want to start low and go slow with this strain.

Kong, Best Colorado Cannabis Sativa Flower

This indica-dominant strain was named Kong for a reason. It’s a heavy hitter with sometimes intense effects. And Coloradans love it: Kong won first place in the best Colorado sativa category at the Denver Cannabis Cup in 2015. Kong was made by crossing the strains Bubble Gum and White Russian, so it has a sweet and spicy scent and flavor.

Consumers report an energizing head high that eventually leads to heavy relaxation, so it’s a popular choice to treat insomnia. It’s also a good option for those who need to stimulate their appetite.

In Maine

Purple Punch, Second Place Medical Flower at First New England Cannabis Cup

In 2017, High Times put on its first East Coast Cannabis Cup in New England. The second-place medical flower winner was Purple Punch grown by Windham, ME’s Paul’s Boutique Nursery. Purple Punch is a cross between the Larry OG and Granddaddy Purple strains.

True to its name, the strain tastes and smells like grapes and berries—and is purple in color, too. Purple Punch is reported to promote relaxation and induce sleep, making it perfect for those battling insomnia, chronic pain and stress.

In Nevada

Chemdawg 4, Bred From One of High Times’ 25 Greatest Strains of All Time

While it certainly shares the high-THC levels of the famous strain Chemdawg, Chemdawg 4 is a standout in terms of its calm, mellowing effects. Sierra Well dispensary in Reno and Carson City—which sees anywhere from 350–500 consumers a day, says this particular phenotype is a best-selling house flower. It tests consistently at 24% THC and is comparable to GG (formerly known as Gorilla Glue) in terms of heavy-hitting, full-body effects and duration.

With a strong lemony scent and flavor, Chemdawg 4 is a tasty yet hard-hitting strain that’s best consumed when you don’t have any plans. Chemdawg 4’s parent Chemdawg has produced more award-winning strains than any have in recent memory, and it even made High Times’ list of the 25 greatest strains of all time.


In Oregon

Obama Kush, Winner at Oregon’s Dope Cup 2017

Meet the presidential co-winning indica strain from Oregon’s Dope Cup 2017, Obama Kush. It’s an interesting cross with pure sativa strain OG Kush and the treasured mother indica Afghani.

This strain produces a powerful body relaxation while creating a pleasing, uplifting mood. Consumers report that Obama Kush doesn’t make them sleepy, so it’s a good choice for those who want to relax, but aren’t ready to hit the hay.

In Vermont

Trainwreck, One of Vermont’s Most Popular Marijuana Strains

Though it originally hails from the greenbelt of Northern California, Trainwreck is one of the most sought-after hybrids in Vermont. True to its name, Trainwreck’s high-THC levels hit with blunt force, but in the best way possible.

This cannabis strain is a dependable choice if you’re looking for a euphoric and happy high. It’s ideal for folks seeking relief from migraines, sharp pain, PTSD and any anxiety-related mood disorders. Vermont will host its first cannabis cup later this year, so we’ll have to see if Trainwreck wins any awards.

In Washington

Super Silver Lemon Haze, Two-Time Winner at the High Times Cannabis Cup

Wildly popular throughout the state of Washington, Super Silver Lemon Haze is a cross between Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze and has a funky citrus fragrance and taste. This marijuana strain has been winning awards since the ’90s, including first place at the 2008 and 2009 High Times Cannabis Cup.

Haze genetics are known for their long-lasting body highs, which can be described as sweet, cerebral and energizing. That said, some consumers report a bit of raciness, too.

In Washington, D.C.

Blueberry Chemdawg, Bred From Award-Winning Parents

The talented offspring of two celebrity and award-winning parents, Blueberry and Chemdawg, Blueberry Chemdawg is a top pick for those seeking relaxation and relief from stress, pain and sleeplessness. According to Capital City Care dispensary, ranked one of the best dispensaries in the nation by High Times, Blueberry Chemdawg is the strain of the hour.

Sometimes called Blue Dog, its hallmark effects are buzzy, pleasant and mellow, producing an experience that can last up to four hours when inhaled.

With all of the creative marijuana cross-breeding going on, there will always be exciting new strains to hit the market and nab prizes at the ever-expanding lineup of cannabis cups. Start with those strains that sound the most tantalizing, are locally available and specific to your needs. Is one of your favorite strains listed above? If so, let us know in the comments why you love it.

Photo credit: Conor Lawless

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.


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