Bananas are the Jan Brady (or Meg Griffin, for you millennials) of fruit. Most of us couldn’t even spell the word if it weren’t for that annoying Gwen Stefani song. Possessors of easily my least favorite fruit flavor, bananas are only edible in cake form because of the accompanying cream-cheese frosting and are largely eaten because we’re too lazy to wash an apple or cut a kiwi. Banana-flavored Runts? I send ’em back. Banana Laffy Taffy? Go fuck yourself. But if you have Banana Kush, pull up a chair. Let’s talk.
I expect sweet and sugary when I eat candy, and the banana flavor usually underwhelms in both regards. However, when it comes to cannabis, I always appreciate a distinct flavor that isn’t of the usual citrus or piney variety. The unmistakable but mellow sweetness of Banana Kush will never be as in-your-face as citrus strains like Tangie or Super Lemon Haze, but its flavor is just as distinct. Naming it couldn’t have been hard for its breeders, either: The skunky hybrid instantly smells of ripe bananas the second you pinch a bud or pop open a jar.
Banana Kush, which gained prominence in the early 2000s, takes the citrus and earthy characteristics of Ghost OG and the zesty funk of Skunk Haze to create a remarkable scent and flavor. Although it’s known to make users sleepy an hour or so after smoking and delivers a potent body high, the indica-dominant strain first creates an immediate strong sativa buzz, making it great for social situations if timed correctly, or for those who can power through the indica spell.
Looks: Expect buds to be bright lime green in color and dense in structure, though some cuts have been on the loose end.
Smell: Not much elaboration required here. A smooth, tropical burst of fruity sweetness, OG funk and Haze zest.
Flavor: Also pretty self-explanatory: Expect Banana Kush to have a subtle but noticeable flavor of bananas rounded out by soil notes.
Effects: A true hybrid in the public sense of the word, Banana Kush typically starts with a sociable, uplifting buzz that can inspire creativity and focus while still keeping your mind at ease. Most users experience a strong indica pull-down an hour to ninety minutes after smoking. Both medical and recreational users turn to Banana Kush for depression and stress relief, though it’s been known to help with headaches, stomach issues and insomnia.
Home grower’s take: “I’ve never been quite sure on the genetics of Banana Kush. Most of what I’ve heard and bought has been Skunk Haze and Ghost OG, but I’ve heard of Banana Kush being bred from OG Kush and an unknown strain. Either way, the few times I’ve had it, it’s always been an average yielder on the high end of strength. A friend of mine got his tested at a lab when that was still allowed, and it came in at over 21 percent THC. The flowering time isn’t too long, either — usually about eight weeks. Obviously, the smell and taste give it the name, but its leaves are huge and a rich green, almost like banana leaves.”
Commercial grower’s take: “Never had it in the shop before, but I had some experience with this in my California days. I love the end result — she’s fruity, spicy and mellow, like a piece of gum — but I’m not upset that we don’t have it. Banana Kush requires a lot of attention in terms of trimming its leaves during the flowering process, and just a small mistake or bad timing with lighting can stress it out. That’s why I’d recommend growing this indoors instead of outside. The variables affect it too much. But the flowering time is short, and if you can pull it off, the flavor is easy proof of the fire you have.”
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