Learn About Cannabis

The History of the Controversial Sour Diesel Strain

sour diesel strain

Did you know that there are over 200 slang terms for cannabis in the English language?

As it happens, the term “diesel” is one of them. Granted it’s a relatively niche name compared to “pot” and “dope,” but it’s a pivotal part of the interesting history of the Sour Diesel strain.

Sour Diesel has been around since the 90s, making it a true OG strain. Besides having a controversial history, it’s also one of the major grandaddies to a lot of the newer strains on the market.

One interview estimates that 80% of strains we know today contain genetics from either the Sour Diesel strain or its equally famous counterpart, ChemDawg.

Where are we going with all this? If you want to get to know your way around cannabis strain varieties, reading up on Sour Diesel is a good place to start.

Keep reading to find out some of the theories around the Sour Diesel strain origin story, as well as some extra details on its terpenes, flavor profile, and more.

The (Murky) Sour Diesel Strain Origin Story

One of the reasons why Sour Diesel has a “controversial” history is simply that it’s one of the murkiest weed strain origin stories around.

Sour Diesel is one of the most famous old-school strains, and there are various guesses as to its origins.

The Weasel Origin Tale

Some claim that the Sour Diesel strain originated from Staten Island, NY, from a breeder called “Weasel.” According to urban legend, it was grown in huge quantities there since the beginning of the 90s.

The AJ Origin Tale

Another version of events credits the Sour Diesel strain development to someone known as “Asshole Joe”, or simply AJ for short. AJ was a cannabis grower who interned at the Wetlands Music Club in New York, where he often met artists from big music names such as Rage Against the Machine and Pearl Jam.

Rumor has it that another grower (often referred to as Chem Dog) shared some Chemdawg ’91 seeds with AJ, which he crossed with either Nothern Lights or Skunk #1 to create Sour Diesel.

To make matters even more confusing, some people say that the seeds AJ popped to create the Sour Diesel hybrid weren’t Chemdawg ’91 at all, but instead were impure seeds that bred hermies. In this version of the tale, AJ apparently just chose the best plant and the rest was history.

The Chem Dog Origin Tale

But not so fast! There’s a further part to the tale.

Other sources say that the grower who developed the ChemDawg strains bought some flower called “DogBud” from Joe Brand and PBud at a Deer Creek rock concert. According to reports, they got the strain on the Colorado-Oregon border in 88-89 and it was a skunk, hash plant, Thai cross.

From there, Chem Dog took the seeds to the East Coast where he almost lost the genetics. However, in 1993 Chem Dog pollinated a Super Skunk cross with a Northern Lights varietal called DNL. From this, the Sour Diesel strain was born, and the first bags were sold by RezDog’s Reservoir Seeds (Chem Dog) as Sour Diesel IBL.

There are also reports that Chem Dog and AJ were friends and developed the Sour Diesel strain together.

Feeling confused yet? Let’s move on to a few things we know for certain about this legendary cannabis strain and how it got its name.

The Story Behind the Name

If there’s one thing we can say for certain about the Sour Diesel strain is that it was born on the East Coast, in New York.

Back in the early 90s, the term “diesel” was a nickname for high-quality bud. Growing dank flower was tough back then, and top-shelf nugs were sorely sought after.

Sour Diesel is probably still one of the dankest strains out there, so it’s no surprise that people were referring to it as diesel. But what about the sour part?

The rumor is that Sour Diesel was so good, that it caused many a relationship to turn “sour”.

At the same time, Sour Diesel definitely has some very definitive gasoline and lemon terps. Did its name stem from early 90s NY slang? Or was it the flavor profile and terpenes that were responsible, or a combination or both?

Either way, it’s a bomb name for a dope strain.

Why Is Sour Diesel Such a Famous Weed Strain?

Now that we’ve covered a bit of the back story, let’s get into why Sour Diesel is such a famous, sought-after strain, even after all these years.

When it first hit the streets, word of Sour Diesel quickly made the rounds, rendering it almost legend-like. Like we said above, really good weed was hard to come by in those days, and the Sour Diesel strain certainly ticked all the boxes.

Not only was it strong, but the Sativa tilt also gave it a super heady high. What’s more, there wasn’t enough supply to keep up with demand.

Sour Diesel isn’t an easy strain to grow, needing intense light and being extremely prone to powdery mildew. Its tall structure also means that growers can only harvest a moderate yield per crop.

All of these factors explain its early cult-status level popularity. But why is it still one of the most renowned cannabis strain varieties around?

One reason is its high THC content. Cannabis strains have been getting stronger as time goes on and legal conditions allow growers to share genetics and push the boundaries on breeding.

But even though “modern” strains are a lot stronger than what was commonly available a couple of decades ago, the Sour Diesel strain still holds its own.

Boasting a THC content of up to 26% in some cases, Sour Diesel retains its status as a high-THC strain. Besides this, its 90% pure Sativa genetics makes it very popular among those who’re looking for a pure cerebral high.

To top things off, the flavor profile is one in a million. Don’t believe us?

High Times, the holy grail of cannabis publications rated it as the #3 Greatest Strain of All Time. The authors stated that “if there’s a tastier bud on the planet, we haven’t smoked it”. They also said that if it were up to their personal preferences alone, Sour Diesel would have claimed the number one position.

Multiple celebs have also named it as their go-to strain, including Mike Tyson.

Sour Diesel Characteristics

As you can see, the backstory behind the Sour Diesel strain origins is by no means clear-cut. But what is very clear is the iconic flavor profile and buzzy high that this famous weed strain brings on.

The Terpene Profile

One of the reasons why Sour Diesel has stood the test of time in the cannabis zeitgeist is thanks to its terpene profile. The smell of Sour Diesel is powerful and formidable.

So formidable that it’s almost impossible to contain, no matter what you store the bud in. Before cannabis became legalized in so many states, this was a bit of an issue, especially for those new to the strain.

Now, it’s still one of the things that set Sour Diesel apart. So what do these strong terpenes smell like? Well, think of a citrus orchard doused in gas and set alight.

Or if you want the more sophisticated description, strong tones of fuel, pine, and lemon. The flavor follows the aroma, with lots of lemon and fuel on the exhale.

The Bud Formation

Although you can smell Sour Diesel bud a mile away, visually, it looks quite innocent.

The buds are typically loose in structure, light-colored, and feature pink pistils.

The High

And now for the most important part. The second reason why Sour D is such an everlastingly popular weed strain is simple.

It’s strong, stimulating, and invigorating. If you want a cannabis strain that gets you going, instead of turning you into a jellyfish, this is the one.

Sour Diesel typically comes on fast and super heady. It is definitely a cerebral high, not a body high, especially in the beginning.

But, it’s also a rollercoaster. In the initial stages, it produces a blizzard of mental energy. Once this softens, the effects smooth off into deep relaxation that usually descends seamlessly into sleep.

When to Smoke Sour Diesel

Back in the 90s, Sour Diesel was arguably one of the best strains around, at least in most circles.

Nowadays, we’re spoilt for choice and can pick just about any weed strain we want. So when is the best time to smoke Sour Diesel? What time of day or activity is it best suited to?

We’d say Sour D is ideal anytime you want a burst of energy and mental stimulation, followed by some deep chill time. For instance, let’s say you have a creative project you need to power through, and you want to take a nap afterward.

Perfect time to toke on some Sour Diesel.

Or maybe you’re planning to party or socialize for a couple of hours, but still want to get to bed at a decent hour and get a good night’s sleep. Sour D is the supreme companion for this kind of evening.

sour diesel strain

Is Sour Diesel Hard to Grow?

Yes. Sour Diesel is a notoriously tricky cannabis strain to grow.

It is highly susceptible to humidity issues such as powdery mildew. It also needs strong light and has a leggy growth habit that causes it to stretch multiple times during the growth cycle.

Finally, yields tend to be less, due to the growth habit and bud formation.

Growers who want to cultivate Sour Diesel need to make sure they keep their humidity levels down and dedicate time to savvy pruning.

Beware of Imposter Sour Diesel Strains on the Market

Buyer beware: not all you see out there is the real Sour Diesel strain.

Because the true origins of Sour Diesel are shrouded in mystery, and it’s such a renowned cannabis strain, there are a lot of imposter strains on the market.

It’s not uncommon to notice some big differences when sampling “Sour Diesel” bud from different sources.

This is because not everything that’s sold as Sour Diesel is actually Sour Diesel. Yes, it might have similar genetics, but there’s no guarantee that there isn’t a wonky cross or a throwback in the mix.

How to Make Sure You Actually Buy Sour Diesel

So how do you make sure you actually purchase Sour Diesel when you buy cannabis?

Seeing as there isn’t a patent on the Sour Diesel strain, there’s no real way to tell. But you can let your senses guide you.

Does the product smell like Sour Diesel? If you’re buying flower, does the bud structure look loose, and is it punctuated with pink pistils?

Besides this, you should also make sure you’re buying from a trusted dispensary or vape store.

sour diesel strain

Look Into Delta-8 Alternatives

One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re getting a cannabis product that’s true-to-strain is by opting for Delta-8 concentrates.

High-quality Delta-8 vapes such as the ones here at Lit Vapes are finely formulated to replicate the specific strains they’re crafted after. This ensures you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for, every time.

For instance, for our Sour Diesel Delta-8 disposable vape, we turned this mouth-watering Sativa-dominant strain into a badass disposable 2-gram Delta-8 cartridge.

Thanks to the precise formulation process and strain-specific terps, this vape cart delivers the same aromas, effects, and flavors, just like the OG weed strain itself, but minus the hassle of testing out different buds to find the real Sour Diesel strain.

What’s more, our vape cartridges are made using hemp-derived Delta-8 oil. Thanks to this, we can ship our Delta-8 THC vape cartridges to 38 states.

Are you worried about the safety of THC vape cartridges? Check out our lab reports here.

Do You Want to Buy Sour Diesel in Vape Form?

Not only is the Sour Diesel strain an iconic part of weed history from the 90s—it’s a potent, much-loved cannabis strain to this day. No wonder there is so much controversy surrounding its origins.

Do you want to buy sour Sour Diesel minus the hassle of testing out different bud until you find the true Sour D? Do you prefer to vape your cannabis over smoking it? Or maybe you’re located in a state that doesn’t allow you to buy cannabis in flower form.

Either way, we have you covered.

Browse our range of disposable THC Delta-8 vape cartridges for a wide strain selection.