Since making a splash in Southern California in 2018, love for the Runtz strain has spread everywhere. Today, you can find it everywhere from Seattle to Tel Aviv. It’s one of the most searched strains of all time, mentioned in over 100 rap songs, and its popularity continues to grow.
White, pink, purple and even banana – the OG Runtz strain has morphed and multiplied, but where did this strain come from? How did it become so popular? And how many Runtz strains are there today?
Runtz origin story
Runtz is what happened when Ray Bama and his partner Nick decided to cross Cookies’ Gelato genetics with dying breed seeds Zkittlez. When it came time to sample two phenotypes, #3 and #7, they knew within minutes that they were on to something big.
“To make a legendary strain, it has to be something new. You have to have innovation. You have to dial it. You must tick all the boxes,” Bama told Leaf Nation. “I feel like Runtz took it to a whole new level of candy.”
The new strain creation had a trifecta that they knew would set it apart: appearance, smell, and flavor. When naming the new strain, the two decided to play on the unmistakable fruity aroma, bud size and its Zkittlez parentage and soon landed on Nestlé’s popular 80s fruit-shaped candy.
Rounding out their team with Los Angeles-based rapper Yung LB, the trio soon became known as the “Runtz Crew.” After a sweet debut of the strain at the Santa Rosa Emerald Cup in December 2017 — which included three Runtz books, 1,000 t-shirts and five models — Runtz started to get noticed.
If you draw the level of interest on Googleit looks like Runtz really burst into the public eye in March 2018, and using a proven marketing approach, the strain’s popularity quickly skyrocketed.
Marketing Runtz through rap
When it comes to marketing cannabis, celebrity association and rap lyrical references are two of the most effective ways to get the word out about a new strain.
The Runtz crew already had ties to the Cookies fam, a widely known international cannabis and lifestyle brand with rapper Berner at the helm, and took a page from his book when it came to introducing Runtz to California. Cookies can perhaps be credited as the brand that refined cannabis marketing through music, and harnessing the power of rap solidified a long line of Cookies strains: Khalifa Kush, Girl Scout Cookies (now GSC) and Sherbet among the first.
Rapper Yung LB, who is now almost synonymous with strain and coined the slogan “Runtz yo life up”, spread the word through his lyrics and social influence. Rapper Nero — credited for the Runtz White phenotype – quickly began providing lyrical support for the Runtz team. In between, there are over a dozen songs featuring the strain. And aside from the official team, there are over 50 songs named after variety and well over 100 with Runtz in the lyrics.
When growers at Runtz’s shop couldn’t keep up with demand, the strain was officially added to the Cookies range in 2018, allowing them to use the company’s infrastructure to speed up cultivation. Runtz might have been hard to find outside of SoCal for a minute, but as part of the growing Cookies franchise, the strain is making its way across the US with international stores in Israel and soon in Canada. .
What are the effects of Runtz and how does it smoke?
With a host of awards to her name, the OG Runtz strain owes a lot to her strong genetic lineage. A cross between Gelato and Zkittlez, Runtz has managed to capture the subtleties that make its parents great.
“I didn’t breed Runtz, but my genetics created a unique and potent strain,” said Jai Chang (also known as Jigga), Cookies co-founder and breeder of Gelato, says Weedmaps. “It is the Gelato strain that is responsible for its distinctive appearance and flavor with its unmistakable creamy, gassy taste.”
Zkittlez is known to deliver a fruity eruption on both the nose and the palate. It is a cross of Grape Ape and Grapefruit and passed on its fruity identity to Runtz.
The culmination of Gelato and Zkittlez genetics produces a flower that is sweet as candy and overtly fruity yet undeniably complex with creamy and gassy undertones. Runtz’s small to medium frosted buds are also a visual treat, ranging from bright greens to pinks and purples to nearly black depending on when and how they are grown.
It’s generally a fairly balanced hybrid and offers effects ranging from euphoria and relaxation to cerebral stimulation.
Photo by Kristen Angelo
The Runtz family
Since 2018, the Runtz strain has developed quite a family tree, and the OG strain has spawned dozens of unique and popular strains.
The Runtz offerings made by Cookies have been kept fairly minimal with a few phenotypes falling under its official umbrella:
While the genetics of another official Cookies offering, Azul Runtz, are shrouded in mystery, it is believed to be a cross between OG Runtz and Blueberry Muffin.
And, now that other breeders outside of Cookies are working with Runtz genetics, there are dozens of crosses to choose from:
In 2020, we also saw the viral sensation of Obama Runtzbut it’s unclear if his genetics actually have anything to do with Runtz.
Counterfeits, copyrights and children
It’s not all fun and games when it comes to this hugely popular strain. Counterfeit cannabis is a thing, and Runtz has seen its fair share. Put a Cookies-like mark on a product and call it Runtz – sadly, that happens when strains become so monstrously sought after.
Additionally, strains that choose to give fairly straightforward hat advice to existing brands may run into copyright issues. This is why strains like Girl Scout Cookies became GSCs and this could be a problem for Runtz down the road.
Some growers and vendors are already making preventative changes to the Runtz name. California glass trusses moved from Runtz to R*ntz, to avoid potential copyright infringement claims and simultaneously address issues related to how the use of popular candy names might appeal to minors.
What’s next for Runtz?
In addition to launch of a full line of clothing, Bama has big plans for Runtz. “We do collaborations with clothing lines, record labels, artists – anything you can think of, really,” he said. told Leaf Nation.
“We’re looking at probably another five to ten years of a market dominated by Runtz and Runtz crosses, Runtz sisters and stepchildren.”
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