Kyle Kushman, a former High Times editor, developed Strawberry Cough largely by chance in 2000. Kushman claims to have received a small a clone from a fellow breeder — a runt, the clone had allegedly been grown next to a strawberry patch somewhere in Connecticut. Kushman was struck by the clone’s pungent strawberry scent — he dubbed the strain Strawberry Field, and eventually crossed it with a Haze plant. The result was Strawberry Cough, a hybrid that tastes soft and sweet and delivers a solidly cerebral high. Kushman built a buzz around Strawberry Cough’s in New York City’s underground cannabis market. He then moved out west to focus on cultivation in California and handed out clones of Strawberry Cough on the cross-country drive, boosting its popularity even more.
The strain’s award-winning flowers are large and chunky. Despite its dominant sativa genetics, Strawberry Cough has a more indica-typical bud structure, with solid and densely-packed leaves. The sativa genes show, however, in the buds’ tapered, conical shape, less like popcorn and more like tiny pinecones. The flowers are covered in cloudy amber trichomes that lend the leaves a slightly yellowish appearance. Red — rather than orange — pistils are threaded through the sticky leaves. The mild scent of strawberries wafts up from the buds, mixed with a little bit of peppery spice. When buds are combusted, they give off a herbal cloud, reminiscent of parent strain Haze. Smoke from this strain is typically harsh, causing many users to cough and sometimes leading their eyes to water. The initial taste is of ripe strawberries, without any hint of skunkiness or musk. On the exhale, the strawberry flavor has some more sweetness. This saccharine berry scent lingers for a while after users have toked.
Strawberry Cough’s buzzy, thoughtful high settles in almost immediately. Users may feel initially unsettled, but, in the right set and setting, can embrace the sharp focus associated with this strain — it’s great for deep conversation, reading, or working on tasks that involve some degree of creativity or problem-solving. Strawberry Cough can also impart an energetic feeling of motivation and intensity that’s perfect for plowing through more mundane tasks. The opportunity for non-linear and less traditional ways of thinking makes Strawberry Cough a uniquely creative strain.
Its sense of euphoria and tendency towards chattiness also marks this as a great choice in lively social settings. Medically speaking, Strawberry Cough is beneficial in regulating entrenched mood disorders. As users feel a boost in energy and creativity, they may feel a dissipation in anxiety or stress. Some have also reported relief from painful migraines, as well as less intense headaches. Side effects of this strain include the possibility of paranoia, which can happen with larger doses when intense cerebral thinking can kick into overdrive. The high from Strawberry Cough is said to last longer than average, from about 3 to 4 hours.
Strawberry Cough is a relatively easy strain to grow. Kyle Kushman’s original proprietary strain is clone-only, meaning that growers can only cultivate it if they can obtain a clipping from a mature, healthy plant. However, Amsterdam-based seed bank Dutch Passion has developed its own version of Strawberry Cough — seeds are available online. Plants tend to be more short and bushy like indicas than tall and wispy like sativas — of medium height, they are well cultivated indoors.
This strain can also be grown outdoors, although plants require very warm climates and continuous temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It flowers within 9 weeks when grown indoors and in Late October when grown outdoors. Although the yield from Strawberry Cough is average, the larger-than-average buds are some consolation — and with sturdy stems and branches, the thick flowers don’t usually require extra stakes for support.
The wide popularity of Strawberry Cough shows that taste-focused hybrids are more than just consumer novelty. This strain’s mild but distinctive taste and its expansive high have made it one of the most popular available in dispensaries today — its appeal has even landed a mention in the apocalyptic movie Children of Men, as Michael Caine and Clive Owen share a joint of the stuff. Good for a daytime boost or an evening hang, Strawberry Cough shows how much deliberated and focused breeding can do.