Leafly Buzz: 13 top cannabis strains of September 2023

Leafly Buzz: 13 top cannabis strains of September 2023

September is a busy month in West Coast cannabis. A flood of harvest strains are coming down, and the hunt is on for Leafly’s Strains of Harvest in October and Strain of the Year 2023 in December.

Meanwhile, smokers on the West Coast stay deep in the barrel of a breaking wave of fresh cannabis flavors. We’re chasing an ever-changing vision of the latest and greatest stuffed into jars and mylars.

This month in my heatseeking cannabis column, Leafly Buzz, we investigate the rise of a new Mai Tai, and catch up with the Euroz craze. We try out some of Alien Labs’ new Planet Red, and shoutout top-shelf as well as budget options for the classic Gelonade. Get your grinders ready—here’s Leafly Buzz for September.

Data grinder


⬆ 24.1%

GastroPop’s cross of Apples & Bananas x Grape Gas keeps charging on the west coast. Bred by Compound Genetics during the Chris Lynch era, GastroPop is a royal strain at Compound that powers tons of even newer crosses. Reviewers get grapes, apples, and gasoline off GastroPop, as well as a strong. relaxing evening effect. We just saw Sense San Francisco’s GastroPop x Mellowz and wow, stay tuned.

Donny Burger

⬆ 7.2%

You’re out of your league with Donny Burger, this especially strong, funky cross of GMO x Han Solo Burger from Skunk House Genetics. The savory, meaty, umami corner of the weed industry holds its own, as Donny Burger rises 7.2% in views. Reviewers flag the cheese, ammonia, and diesel notes in Donny Burger. It’s a great inheritor of Skunk and Chem flavors. Donny Burger hits arousing, giggly, and freakin’ euphoric—fun for some new missions on Cyberpunk 2077. If you get too high, pet a kitten. 

Trop Cherry

⬆ 7.8%

Relentless Genetics’ Mt. Trop x Cherry Cookies project Trop Cherry hasn’t lost its juice—it’s up 7.8% in monthly views. Snoop Dogg released some Trop Cherry on Death Row Cannabis this January, and we made it both a strain to watch in 2023, as well as Strain of Summer—and we’re not wrong. Trop Cherry has more body and character than like a Lemon Cherry Gelato and is great for daytime work and play.

Mai Tai

⬆ 8.7%

What the heck is going on with Mai Tai? Two things: 1) Hot breeder Clearwater Genetics has a hit with his Mai Tai #4 (a cross of easy to grow Purple Punch x classic Sunset Sherbert). And 2) the Jeeter brand has shipped a fleet of flavored Mai Tai joints in California. That’s confusing, because there’s already a legacy Mai Tai strain that mixed Maui Wowie x Tutti Frutti. Naming your weed strain after the popular rum, orange, and lime tropical drink just cannot be resisted. So that’s what’s going on with Mai Tai, up 8.7% in the western US.

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New in the Leafly strain database


The Cannarado strain Euroz is about to blow growers away with a cakey Z cross that finishes weeks earlier than the competition. Leading California clonemakers Phinest said Euroz finishes in 45 days, honest to God. “The Euroz is wild,” said Phinest’s Ian. “Cannarado told us it’s 45 days and we didn’t believe him.” Z and Cake are two killer flavors of the decade, the cross has unreal bag appeal, and “hashes like a champ,” states Cannarado. Here comes the Euroz!


Big California cloner Phinest’s head cultivator Ian has his own funky breeding label called Uncle Dad Vibes that’s a smash with discerning cultivators. For example, Preferred Gardens is doing well with Znackz—a cross of Chauffeur x Runtz. But what’s Chauffeur? A good ole mix of Z x Sundae Driver x Wedding Cake. Love that. Z’s body and loudness on cookie and cake is a guaranteed win with smokers. Dan at Preferred Gardens made the Znackz selection, and it’s now a huge seller in the Florida medical market.

Permanent Paradize

Seed Junky Genetics, the LA breeder of Leafly Strain of the Year 2022 Jealousy, keeps pushing into even rowdier smells and flavors with Permanent Paradize, a cross of Permanent Marker x Z Bx2. You get the creamy berry marker fumes of a refined Jealousy wedded to an improved version of Z (formerly Zkittlez). We expect deep marker fumes and tropical candy from this guaranteed strong hybrid. Good for the afternoons into the evening.


We’re closely watching everything from breeder Deo Farms, the maker of Zoap, RS-11, RS-54, and now Beso. Deo Farms is deep into his OZ Kush project with Zoap. Now, he adds his other big project with The Y—this protean Cookie Fam strain that he got from breeder Jigga. Beso is Zoap x The Y Bx2, and if that sounds like algebra, welcome to a real breeding project. Zoap has a floral lye and creamy berry note. The Y powers Gary Payton Cereal Milk, where it amplifies the sweet body of the GSC family. Deo Farms is keeping Beso and all his work close, so watch out for fakes.

Picks of the dispensaries

New on shelves

Planet Red

by Alien Labs, CA

Some of the newest from Alien Labs, Planet Red’s guaranteed to move quickly off shelves this fall. It’s a cross of Red Pop x Apples & Bananas #9. And I’ll be damned—it actually adds that red soda pop note of Red Pop to the Apples & Bananas strain. Faygo Red Pop came out eight years ago, but Washington breeder Exotic Genetix’s work with it really put it on the radar. Keep an eye out for more Red Pop crosses out there like Artificial Red. Alien Labs holds onto its top-shelf reputation with these jars of hot-hot new-new.

Burning up the charts


by Connected, CA

2023 might be the year of RS-54, aka Studio 54. Bred by Deo Farms, selected by Wizard Trees, and grown here by an indoor farm for Connected—this is hype in a jar. Don’t open this package in a coffee shop. Limey sherbert terps blast out to fill the room like some dance floor jam. RS-54 is legit party weed. To make the “RS” line—Deo Farms started with packs of Dying Breed OZ Kush, made some selections, and crossed them back together to get Pink Guava. Then, Deo added in some crowd favorite Sunset Sherbert. Wizard Trees selected the 11th and 54th plant from the RS pheno hunt and released RS-11 and RS-54. Wizard Trees also released clones of RS-54, starting a national wave that’s still building as we speak.


Ballin out


by Connected, CA

It’s not the talk of the moment, but we think one of our desert island strains might be Gelonade. Leave us on the beach with a pound of it, and everything else will take care of itself. This top-selling cross of Lemon Tree and Gelato is lemony, syrupy, sweet, thick, and flavorful. It’s great for a strong wake and bake, and goes well into the evening. Leafly reviews for Gelonade started in 2020, but the California brand Connected has been selling it since the medical days. It’s still a top-shelf splurge at the Area 41 dispensary in San Francisco, even as countless brands have commodified the cultivar. No worries—authentic, top-shelf Connected Gelonade keeps ballin’ out. 

Ballin’ on a budget


by Elyon, CA

Step aside, legal market haters. Elyon’s bag of Gelonade served solid terps at $22 an eighth out the door at The Bloom Room in Pacifica, CA. And the budtender said they weren’t going to last long. We smoked this budget Gelonade back to back with the baller cut (above), and we gotta say, it holds its own! The Lemon Tree and Gelonade terps stand up to rougher handling, and totally come through on this bag. Elyon is a 5 year-old value brand that grows in greenhouses in the wine country of Sonoma County, CA. You can also find Gelonade smalls for $99 a half-ounce from Connected, as well as other value buys.

High Note

Lemon Trees live resin cart

by PaperPlanes Extracts, CA

Peak lemony syrup flavor and hybrid effects come from this new cartridge from the Grass Valley, CA cannabis brand PaperPlanes Extracts. PaperPlanes stands out for growing their own flavors in small batches, and flash-freezing freshly harvested buds on their property. PaperPlanes also does its live resin extraction on-site, so the whole process stays below -80C. This is single-source, fresh-frozen vape oil that’s de-waxed for smooth hit, and never contains fake flavors, or fillers. So when you’re wondering why it hits differently and feels better, now you know. 

And that’s what’s buzzing on my desk for Leafly Buzz this September. Sign up for the newsletter to never miss a Buzz. Up next in October is our annual Strains of Harvest. Good luck with the chop!

About Leafly Buzz

So good they steal it—the popular, monthly strain review roundup Leafly Buzz is in its third year. We report independently on the connoisseur cannabis conversation, focusing on strains and branded flower of the US west. Reporting includes:

  • review samples
  • dispensary shopping
  • grow visits
  • events
  • Leafly search data
  • staff and reader tips, and more

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