Behind the Name: Cheese

Written by BlackbirdGo February 22, 2019
The Plant

Cheese, the strain of weed named for its distinctive savory aroma, was invented by accident. It’s a sibling of Skunk #1, a strain that mythical cultivator Sam the Skunkman (also known as David Watson) brought from Santa Cruz, California to Amsterdam in 1985. When some of Sam’s Skunk seeds ended up in Southeast England, they produced plants with a pungent cheddar smell, much to the surprise of the grower. Cultivators quickly cloned the seeds and, over the next decade, Cheese became one of the most popular strains in the UK.

According to Leafly, cannabis breeder Big Buddha Seeds bred Cheese with indica strain Afghani to heighten its trichome production, thus creating Big Buddha Cheese in 2002. Big Buddha Cheese went on to win the indica category of the 2006 High Times Cannabis Cup, according to Big Buddha Seeds now offers more than twenty Cheese variants on its website and uses “Creator of the Cheese seed” as its tagline. Though the original Cheese is a distinct strain, contemporary cannabis connoisseurs will find that any Cheese currently available in dispensaries is descended from Big Buddha Seeds’ rendition.

Today, commenters on weed sites review Cheese positively, writing that the indica-dominant hybrid has helped stimulate their appetites and ease their physical pain. These effects make Cheese an optimal strain for people using cannabis to treat chronic illnesses and cancer. Recreational smokers choose Cheese for its relaxing and euphoric effects and, of course, its signature taste. Cheese is also a favorite among growers due to its exceptional yield, resilience, and quick maturation—Cheese plants usually flower in about two months, according to Royal Queen Seeds.

In addition to its namesake sour cheesy flavor, the strain also contains earthy and musky notes. It contains about 15% THC on average, according to Wikileaf. A Phylos Bioscience test found that Cheese’s closest genetic relatives—aside from its predecessor Skunk #1 and variants like UK Cheese, Cheesequake, and Exodus Cheese—include Bogota Breeze and Chernobyl, among others.

Skunk #1, the strain from which Cheese is descended, is legendary in the cannabis world but reviled as a psychosis-inducing drug outside of it. VICE reported that, in 1995, UK doctor Alan Scott Wylie used the word “skunk” to describe the potent variety of weed that caused four Glasgow patients receiving methadone treatment to suffer paranoid delusions. Skunk subsequently came to connote mental illness and describe all strong cannabis in the UK. This misuse of “skunk” has continued in recent years—in 2015, The Guardian published an article titled “Smoking skunk cannabis triples risk of serious psychotic episode, says research.”

The truth is that, while researchers have found a correlation between cannabis use and psychotic disorders, no research proves that cannabis use causes these disorders to develop. Researchers suggest that people who are developing psychosis may just use cannabis to cope. Current studies rely on subjects’ self-reports of how much cannabis they consume, so, until more precise and controlled studies are done, researchers can only speculate about the likelihood of a causal relationship between psychoses and cannabis consumption.
Skunk #1 is famous within cannabis circles for a different reason: it has served as the parent plant for strains such as Jack Herer, Green Crack, and Grape Ape, according to MarijuanaBreak. These strains were all bred intentionally, whereas Cheese was the result of a mutated batch of Skunk #1 seeds. Skunk #1 won the first ever Cannabis Cup in 1988 and is celebrated as “the strain that changed the face of cannabis culture across the world.”

Once just an offshoot of this renowned strain, Cheese has now become a legend in its own right. Three decades after its inception, the tangy bud continues to be a favorite for cultivators and consumers worldwide, and, with dozens of descendants, Cheese may become as prolific a progenitor as the original Skunk.

Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.