A Brief History of Kush
What does kush mean?
Kush is a word used generally to describe “indica” weed. It is used in a general sense by most people, who don’t really understand the history behind it. Most people think of kush when cannabis has a strong, sweet earthy scent, or if the weed is really potent. In this blog post, we will start with a short history lesson, and then tie the origins of kush to it’s current meaning and use in the modern world cannabis.
It all started with Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush is a famous landrace cannabis strain named after the mountain range it originated. A landrace strain is a cannabis strain native to a certain geographic area. The pure genetics that have not been subjected to any cross pollination from other strains. This means that the genetics are nearly unaltered, and truly represent the area of the world which they populate.
Over the many (probably thousands) of years that cannabis grew in the region, the harsh climate of the steep mountain slopes encouraged the plants to adapt. Their structure evolved to be squat and bushy to resist wind and the elements, with thick, broad leaves to soak up as much sun at possible. Covering the flowers, leaves and stems, the plants also evolved to have thicker coats of protective resin. The higher concentration of trichomes on the plant lead to higher levels of THC and other cannabinoids.
The Hindu Kush is an 800 kilometre mountain range that runs from central Afghanistan through northern Pakistan, and into Tajikistan.
Pioneer hash makers
The people who lived in the areas surrounding the Hindu Kush have been familiar with these plants for a long time. Afghanistan and Pakistan are globally famous for their ancient hash making techniques. They were some of the first people on the planet to create procedures and methods to separate the glistening trichomes from the rest of the plant material. These ancient hash makers were pioneers of cannabis extraction. They did it mostly with their hands, and certainly not with any of the advanced extraction technology that we have today.
The original “indica” strain was Hindu Kush
Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, was the first to officially identify cannabis as cannabis sativa. The plants that he studied were from warmer regions, and were tall with light green, thin leaves. French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck later argued that other cannabis plants are squat, with darker green, broad leaves. This is where cannabis indica was introduced. Lamarck was studying plants from northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the Hindu Kush strain was thriving and prevalent. This means that Hindu Kush is truly the essence of what indica really means.
When did Hindu Kush come to North America?
Hindu Kush was first taken to America in the mid-to-late 1970’s. Its remarkable resin production and resilience to harsh climates made it extremely popular among growers, smokers, and of course breeders. Hindu Kush was cross-bred with so many strains over the years. It is one of the grandfathers of modern cannabis strains, most notably breeding with an American strain to create OG Kush.
Can I still get it today?
Today Hindu Kush is still readily available and seeds are available from many different seed companies, like Sensi Seeds, Seed Kings, Seedsman, Dutch Seed Shop and many others. Of course as a result, it is also available online, with delivery services, and in dispensaries and coffee shops worldwide. It is a favourite for cannabis users across the globe, and has been a staple on the indica shelf for many years.
What are some other kush strains?
Thanks to the Hindu Kush mountain range, the word kush is now woven into the fabric of cannabis strains. Pink Kush, OG Kush, Purple Kush, Bubba Kush, Master Kush, RockStar Kush, Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush. If you’re an indica lover, we bet you’ve spotted a few of your favourite strains on that list. Prolific cannabis users always seem to turn to kush for its knockout potency and classical taste of sweet gas and earth.
And now we conclude A Brief History of Kush. You are now equipped with a better understand of what the term kush really means. Next time you go shopping for weed, whether it’s in person, through an online weed delivery service or a mail order marijuana website, you’ll be able to better understand the indica section.
Fun fact #1: Kingdom of Kush
Historically, there was actually a Kingdom of Kush. It was an ancient African kingdom, located in the southern Nile, where Egypt meets Nubia. The kingdom began in 785 BC, after the end of the New Kingdom of Egypt, in the late Bronze Age. The Kushite era lasted for almost 400 years, from essentially the start of the Iron Age to Late Antiquity.
Fun fact #2: Hindu Kush means Hindu Killer
According to one interpretation of the word, Hindu Kush actually means Hindu Killer. It refers to a time when Indian slaves were taken through the Himalayas to Central Asia. Many slaves died on the journey from the harsh weather that ravaged the Hindu Kush mountain range. Perhaps this is another reason the term kush seemed to stick so well in terms of cannabis. When you say, “what was that we just smoked?” And the answer is “that was kush”, the answer means “that was killer!” What a great fit.