Year after year, the Cookies team stamps new strains that go on to become all-time greats. From GSC to Gary Payton, here are Cookies’ most legendary contributions to the greater cannabis gene pool.
Head of Genetics Jai “Jigga” Chang mostly stays behind the scenes, despite Cookies’ global popularity. With 58 stores in 18 markets across six countries, Cookies was named one of America’s Hottest Brands of 2021 by AdAge. The hype is backed up by Chang’s groundbreaking strains like Gelato, Gary Payton, and strain that bore the brand’s name, GSC (short for Girl Scout Cookies).
Cookies strains and their descendants have been fixtures in the top 10 of Leafly’s most searched strains year after year. In 2017, GSC and Gelato began charting nationally among all-timers like Blue Dream and Sour Diesel. By 2022, Jealousy and Gary Payton joined the long line of Cookies fam genetics to crack Leafly’s top 10 most searched strains. A staggering 70% of Leafly’s 10 most searched strains in 2023 can be traced back to Chang’s genetics.
As of February 2023, seven of Leafly’s 10 most searched strains traced directly back to the Cookies family tree. The strains GG4, Blue Dream, and Oreoz are the only top 10 strains that are not direct descendants of the Cookies fam. (Leafly)
From classic Kushes, to rare exotics, here are the Cookies cannabis strains that continue to change the game.
F1 Durban Poison
Chang’s hall of fame cultivation resume started with F1 Durban Poison, which he began growing in 1998. The strain is considered to serve as the foundation of the entire Cookies family tree.
The density, size, resin, and purple hues of Cherry Pie OG, one of the foundational strains of Cookies’ genetic empire. (David Downs / Leafly)
Chang crossed his exclusive stash of F1 Durban Poison with GDP (Grandaddy Purple) to make Cherry Pie. Those sweet genetics continue to power heavy hitters to this day.
In the early 2000s, before there was a legal cannabis market, Chang’s team aimed to push the envelope of modern Kush while working out of a grow house in San Francisco’s Sunset District. There, they are believed to have perfected Cherry Pie and GSC.
Back then, Chang worked in the healthcare field and provided Cherry Pie to HIV/AIDS patients. At the same time, Chang and the Cookies gang flooded the streets with the original Girls Scout Cookies strain, aka GSC. More than two decades later, GSC and its most famous descendants continue to dominate both legal and unlicensed markets, setting a standard for cannabis connoisseurs worldwide.
GSC (Girl Scout Cookies)
An early photo of GSC from 2012. (David Downs)
Cookies’ first hit strain went big around 2011 thanks to shoutouts from rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Cookies CEO Berner. But Chang says the original GSC genetics had been on the streets since about 2005.
GSC, also known as “Girl Scout Cookies,” is an indica-dominant hybrid marijuana strain made by crossing OG Kush with Durban Poison. This popular strain is known for producing euphoric effects, followed up by waves of full-body relaxation. GSC is famous for its pungent, dessert-like aroma and flavor profile featuring bold notes of mint, sweet cherry, and lemon. Because GSC has reached legendary status among the cannabis community at large, you can find many variations of this sought-after strain, including Thin Mint (aka Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies) and Platinum GSC (aka Platinum Girl Scout Cookies).
“We knew right away. The smell was unique, it had the shiniest, densest nugs, and it held its flavor,” Chang said of the first GSC crop. The people agreed, and GSC grew so legendary that Girl Scouts of the USA even claimed trademark misappropriation. The simple solution was to drop the GS and simply use “Cookies” to refer to the strain and the brand.
Mario Guzman, aka Mr. Sherbinski, bred sherbet from GSC’s genetics. (Courtesy Sherbinskis)
Just as Cookies was going mainstream, Chang’s team took another great leap with Sherbet, which helped set the standard for more sweet dessert strains that continue to make a splash in the market today. “Sherbet,” also known as “Sherbert OG” and “Sunset Sherbet,” is an indica-dominant hybrid marijuana strain that’s a cross of Girl Scout Cookies and Pink Panties.
This strain produces powerful, full-body effects that are elevated by a jolt of cerebral energy and a carefree state of mind. The dessert-like flavor profile lives on in Gelato, Jealousy, and many other candy-sweet strains of today. Sherbert was originally bred by Mr. Sherbinski, who bred the strain to inherit the genetic lineage of parent strain Girl Scout Cookies.
This collaboration with Mario Guzman of Sherbinskis continues to define the “Exotic” terpene profile for many cannabis connoisseurs today. In 2021, Leafly’s Danté Jordan said it’s the best strain he’s ever tried, and many smokers agree. Gelato’s genetic profile is a cross of Sunset Sherbert and Thin Mint GSC. “It tastes like a hashy grape-flavored ice cream cone without the calories,” according to Jordan. In 2014, Mario Guzman (Mr. Sherbinski) worked with Chang (aka Jigga), to produce Gelato’s dense, purple-and-orange–accented flowers.
Leafly’s 2020 strain of the year was the perfect storm of fire genetics and brilliant marketing. At the end of 2020, it shot to the top of Leafly’s strain database popularity charts, and it has rarely left the top 10 since. The meteoric rise came after Yung LB, Ray Bama, and the Runtz gang debuted the strain at the 2020 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. The rest is history.
The Cookies Fam created Runtz genetics by crossing Zkittlez with Gelato. The fruity flavor profile that was born smells like a bag of the popular fruit-shaped candy. Growers say this strain has resin-drenched buds that range in color from rich purple to lime green, and smokers rave about its creamy smoke that’s smooth and inviting. This strain of weed produces euphoric highs and uplifting effects that are known to be long-lasting. Purple Caper Seeds released the same cross under the name Gelato Zkittlez.
(David Downs / Leafly)
This strain will stick to your brain like a glove. It’s named after a basketball legend who doesn’t even smoke weed. The super sticky masterpiece proved on a grand scale that OGs still matter back in 2019. This superbly funky Kush checks all the boxes for classic tokers who want bright greens and sour skunkiness, not the sweet purple “zaza” profile many breeders are now chasing.
Payton’s genetic lineage goes deep. It started as a collab between Cookies and Powerzzz Genetics. It quickly became a hit, thanks to the dynamic combination of the Y and Snowman breeds. Remember, GP has high amounts of THC and almost no CBD, but is known for a balanced and chill high that’s consistently satisfying.
Apples and Bananas
Released in 2019, Apples and Bananas is a hybrid weed strain made from a genetic cross between Blue Power and Gelatti. Leafly customers tell us Apples and Bananas’ effects include happiness and euphoria, and medical marijuana patients often choose Apples and Bananas when dealing with symptoms tied to anxiety, depression, and stress. Bred by Cookies and Compound Genetics, Apples and Bananas features flavors like apple, pear, and tree fruit, and is chock full of myrcene.
Here’s what one Leafly verified user had to say about The Soap: “This strain could also be called ‘the cleaner’. It will remove any old lingering residuals from previously smoked strains. Top class high and zero anxiety or panic. Toker for over 25 years. Tried well over a hundred strains. This is one of