By Adam Parsons

Hailing from and named after the picturesque, snow-capped Hindu Kush mountain range that stretches from central and eastern Afghanistan into northwestern Pakistan and southeastern Tajikistan, this formidable indica is a cannabis force to be reckoned with. It’s prized for its stable genetics, relaxing effects, and unmistakable, classic aroma, all of which have secured it a spot among the top weed strains of all time. Thanks to years of inbreeding, the Hindu Kush strain is robust and can be grown in a variety of environments with equal success, producing good yields and plenty of sparkling trichomes. Read on to discover its rich history and legacy.

Interesting Facts About Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush is a favourite among hash lovers due to the glistening, thick layer of resin on the buds. This trait was developed as a response to the strain’s harsh native environment, protecting it from low temperatures and other difficult weather conditions.

Meanwhile, growers cherish this variety for its robust genetics and uncomplicated, easygoing growing cycle. Furthermore, the THC content in Hindu Kush weed is generally high, amounting to up to 20%, resulting in pronounced relaxing effects that work their way all around your body. Besides potency, tokers also love the distinctive aroma this strain emanates, with musky, earthy notes dancing on the tongue and spicy, sandalwood undertones complementing the scent perfectly. No wonder this strain made it onto High Times’ list of the 25 best varieties of all time.

Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan
Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan

Hindu Kush Genetics: Indica or Sativa?

There are as many fans of indicas as there are of sativas, and there’s also a big fan base of balanced hybrids offering the best of both worlds. Where does Hindu Kush autumn when it comes to these categories? It’s a landrace indica plant—something it exhibits proudly in its morphology.

In terms of appearance, plants are shorter and bushier than most sativas. A true indica in the physical stone it produces, Hindu Kush offers head-to-toe relaxation, and is best suited to chill activities like meditation, watching films, or just sitting on the sofa with your feet up.

The History of Hindu Kush Cannabis

After growing wildly in its native region for potentially hundreds of years, Hindu Kush was eventually brought to the United States in seed form by travellers in the 1960s and 1970s. The variety became an instant success, and breeders quickly got to work inbreeding the genetics to ensure uniform specimens. Furthermore, Hindu Kush has been bred with many other strains over the years, forming the genetic backbone of all manner of modern cannabis varieties.

As the climate of the Hindu Kush mountains is harsh, plants adapted to thrive in less than perfect environments, and are indifferent to temperature changes. Moreover, they don’t need much time to mature their flowers. Hindu Kush plants are short, dense, and hardy, with broad green leaves and a bushy structure.

Local farmers have been growing cannabis for generations, after which they process it into the world’s most famous hashish. Although Afghanistan is believed to have one of the oldest cannabis cultures in the world, the production and sale of hashish changed greatly in the 1970s, when, due to international pressure, many cannabis farms were destroyed and farmers arrested.

Hindu Kush Cannabis Strain
Hindu Kush Strain

How Exactly Did Hindu Kush Make It to the West?

Western travellers are largely responsible for disseminating Hindu Kush genetics around the world. They did so upon finding seeds on the infamous “Hippie Trail”. This overland route started in Europe and led through South Asia and countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, culminating in Thailand.

As the name suggests, it was particularly popular with members of the hippie subculture, and the goal was to travel for as long as possible, doing it on a shoestring. The trail enjoyed popularity from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, and besides people hitchhiking, there were cheap private buses and plenty of cafes and cheap accommodation on the way. As marijuana was also very popular back then, many travellers were searching for new weed varieties.

Dutch seedbanks claims to have been in possession of Hindu Kush genetics since the 1980s, but sources don’t mention any particular breeder as the first person to introduce the strain to the Western world.

What’s Landrace Cannabis?

Landrace cannabis strains are wild-growing plants that have adapted to a particular region of the world. These plants evolve in such a way that they are able to not only survive, but thrive in the area, which means they carry strong, robust genetics.

Hindu Kush is such a plant, and its genetics have made their way into many modern varieties that we know and love. Other landraces from the area include Afghani, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Lashkar.

Effects and THC Content of Hindu Kush

A pure indica, the Hindu Kush strain doesn’t disappoint in the slightest when it comes to the smoking experience. The THC content developed by its flowers sits at around 17–20%, packing a decent punch.

A few tokes will treat you to a soothing, powerful body stone that will thoroughly relax your mind and body. All worries and tension will be washed away, and you will be ready to kick your feet up and enjoy the afternoon or evening ahead, free of tension and light as a feather.

Hindu Kush is a great choice for the evening, and it’s best enjoyed after you’ve cleared your to-do list. Plan a quiet night in, perhaps with a movie and plenty of snacks at hand. It makes for a superb lazy weekend strain too, when all you want is to take it easy and enjoy peaceful relaxation.

Hindu Kush Effects
Hindu Kush Effects

Flavours and Aromas of Hindu Kush

You know it’s Hindu Kush weed as soon as you take the first whiff. The terpenes in these flowers are plentiful, creating an unmistakable fragrance.

Citrus-scented limonene is the most prominent terpene in the aromatic bouquet of Hindu Kush. Caryophyllene and pinene are also quite abundant, providing aromas of pepper and pine respectively.

Besides being citrusy, spicy, and piney, the aroma of Hindu Kush has hints of sandalwood and other nuances—definitely what dank weed should smell like. In terms of flavour, you can expect sweet notes mixed with herbs and citrus, making for a well-rounded, pleasant experience.

The Entourage Effect in Hindu Kush

The cannabis plant is full of phytochemicals that are proposed to interact with one another in beneficial ways when consumed. This synergistic relationship is known as the entourage effect. These chemicals include the likes of THC and CBD, but also aromatic terpenes. Let’s look at the entourage effect potential of Hindu Kush:

  • Terpenes like limonene and pinene are said to enhance the potency[1] of THC in CB1 receptor activation.
  • Pinene is claimed to aid memory[2], potentially minimising the effects of THC on that process.
  • Limonene has been reported to boost serotonin and dopamine levels[3].
  • Caryophyllene is unique in the sense that it interacts with CB2 receptors[4] that are associated with pain and inflammation.
Hindu Kush Taste
Hindu Kush Taste

How to Grow Hindu Kush Cannabis

If you’re new to the growing game or looking to cultivate your first photoperiod variety, you shouldn’t be afraid of Hindu Kush plants. In fact, it’s a beginner-friendly strain, and it will surely thrive in the hands of an experienced cannabis grower in any setup, including hydroponics. You can rear this variety indoors or out with equal success, even in less than desirable conditions. Hindu Kush is hardy and robust, reaching approximately 150cm and producing up to 400g/plant. Perfect for a SOG, this resinous variety usually forms a large central cola.

Hindu Kush enjoys 16–18 hours of sunlight during vegetative stage, with relative humidity at 60–70%. Although generally ready for flowering after 3 weeks of veg, let it grow longer for best results. Flowering is quite fast, taking 7–8 weeks indoors. During this stage, humidity should be reduced to 40–50% for early flowering, and to 30–40% for the last couple weeks before harvest. Outdoors, plants will be ready for the shears by the end of September.

Legacy of Hindu Kush and Its Impact on the Cannabis Scene

Hindu Kush is not only a prized strain on its own, but it’s also been used extensively in cannabis breeding. There are plenty of modern varieties carrying its genetics, making Hindu Kush a genetic backbone of cannabis.

Let’s take a look at some of its most prominent offspring.

OG Kush

OG Kush

OG Kush contains influences from several great weed strains, including Hindu Kush, Chemdawg, and Lemon Thai. Associated with sunny California, OG Kush has a citrusy, fruity aroma with a good dose of pine and fuel. It’s a 75% indica and 25% sativa and it produces uplifting effects powered by 19% THC.

Reaching 150cm indoors and up to 220cm outdoors, this strain pleases the eye with luscious colours, and it doesn’t disappoint when it’s time to harvest either. In optimal conditions, it can produce up to 475g/m² indoors and 550g/plant under the sun. OG Kush needs 7–9 weeks to mature its flowers in a grow room, while in a garden it’s ready for the shears in October.

OG Kush
23_genetic background_1 Chemdawg x Lemon Thai x Pakistani Kush
33_Yield indoors_1 425 - 475 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 90 - 160 cm
25_flowering time_1 7 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 19%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 25% Indica 75%
34_yield outdoor_1 500 - 550 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 180 - 220 cm
27_harvest period_1 October
22_Effect_1 Calming, Uplifting

Buy OG Kush

Candy Kush Fast Flowering

Candy Kush

This delicious-sounding strain stems from Sweet Special and OG Kush—and it’s a fast flowering version, which means growers can harvest its fragrant flowers within 7 weeks of flowering! Besides speed, Candy Kush boasts a fairly balanced genetic profile of 40% sativa and 60% indica, producing uplifting and relaxing effects. Scrumptious terpenes with aromas of sweet candy and fruit accompany the high, complementing the experience.

Candy Kush is a breeze to grow, so both novices and experienced growers can expect good results. Plants remain compact indoors, maxing out at a stealthy 100cm, while outdoors they can reach 170cm. Come harvest time, this variety continues to please, producing up to 525g/m² in controlled environments and up to 500g/plant outdoors in September.

Candy Kush Express (Fast Flowering)
23_genetic background_1 Sweet Special x O.G. Kush
33_Yield indoors_1 475 - 525 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 60 - 100 cm
25_flowering time_1 7 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 18%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 40% Indica 60%
34_yield outdoor_1 450 - 500 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 100 - 170 cm
27_harvest period_1 Early September
22_Effect_1 Physically Relaxing, Stoned

Buy Candy Kush Express (Fast Flowering)

Purple Queen

Purple Queen

This royal member of the Purple family was created by marrying Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani. A pure indica, Purple Queen has an intense aroma blending pine and fuel for a dank experience. Its powerful physical effects (courtesy of 22% THC!) go hand in hand with the heavy aroma, leaving you stuck to your sofa and in need of some snacks.

In the grow room, this variety stays under 100cm in height, which means it can fit in pretty much any space with ease. It doesn’t require much expertise to cultivate, and if you give it some TLC, you’ll be rewarded with good yields after 8 weeks of flowering (or in mid-September outdoors). Harvests can amount to 500g/m² indoors or up to a whopping 700g/plant outdoors.

Purple Queen
23_genetic background_1 Hindu Kush x Purple Afghani
33_Yield indoors_1 450 - 500 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 80 - 120 cm
25_flowering time_1 8 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 22%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 25% Indica 75%
34_yield outdoor_1 650 - 700 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 175 - 210 cm
27_harvest period_1 October
22_Effect_1 Calming, Euphoric

Buy Purple Queen

Royal Kush Automatic

Royal Kush Auto

Those who prefer autos also have a variety of high-quality Hindu Kush descendants to choose from, and Royal Kush Automatic is one such strain. Stemming from OG Kush and a ruderalis specimen, this neat autoflower offers a nice mix of effects, catering to both mind and body. It contains 13% THC and boasts a rich aroma of citrus, fruit, and pine with earthy and peppery undertones.

Royal Kush Automatic is a joy to cultivate, as it’s not only fast, but also compact. Plants remain at very manageable heights of 60–90cm indoors and produce up to 350g/m², while in the garden they can get as tall as 150cm and offer 170g/plant. Harvest time is 8–9 weeks after seeds sprout.

Royal Kush Auto
23_genetic background_1 OG Kush x Ruderalis
33_Yield indoors_1 300 - 350 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 60 - 90 cm
25_flowering time_1 7 - 8 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 13%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 20% Indica 50% Ruderalis 30%
34_yield outdoor_1 120 - 170 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 120 - 150 cm
27_harvest period_1 11 - 12 weeks after sprouting
22_Effect_1 Clear, Physically Relaxing

Buy Royal Kush Auto



Last but not least is the smashing HulkBerry, which is a mix of OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel genetics. These flowers are seriously yummy, with notes of citrus, pepper, herbs, and fuel dancing on your tongue as a THC content of 27% sends you to space. The high is mainly cerebral, lifting users up and clearing their mind.

When it comes to growing this superb specimen, you’re in for a fun ride, as HulkBerry can display several phenos. One leans more to the OG Kush side, one is more of a 50/50 mix between the parent strains, and a third one leans heavily toward Strawberry Diesel. Overall, this variety needs 9–10 weeks of bloom to be ready for harvest indoors, or till early October outdoors. In both environments it delivers rewarding harvests, with 450g/m² indoors and 700g/plant outdoors.

23_genetic background_1 OG Kush x Strawberry Diesel
33_Yield indoors_1 400 - 450 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 80 - 140 cm
25_flowering time_1 9 - 11 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 27%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 65% Indica 35%
34_yield outdoor_1 650 - 700 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 160 - 200 cm
27_harvest period_1 Late September
22_Effect_1 Clear, Uplifting

Buy HulkBerry

Hindu Kush: A Legend of Cannabis Past and Present

We can safely say that Hindu Kush is a vital plant in cannabis culture, sustaining its influence through many modern strains. Its rich and long history only adds to the appeal and legendary status. Everyone has heard of this plant, and rightly so. When you have the opportunity to try these influential genetics, you should definitely jump at it. Classics never go out of style, and Hindu Kush proudly sits among very few cannabis giants.

External Resources:
  1. Cannabis terpenes synergize with THC to produce increased CB1 receptor activation
  2. The Cannabis Terpenes
  3. An Optimized Terpene Profile for a New Medical Cannabis Oil
  4. Caryophyllene
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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