You may have come across the Runtz strain, but did you get the real deal? That’s right, the popularity of this strain led to counterfeit carts and even fake merchandise. But how did it all start? Suffice to say, the history of this strain is dripping with money, music, and seriously delicious weed.

While Runtz is now part of Cookies Fam, it was originally created in 2017 by a breeder named Nick who was a member of the Runtz crew (alongside rapper Yung LB and manager Raybamba). Nick sought out Zkittlez cuts and managed to find seeds of that precise cultivar in the Bay area. The iconic, candy-like Runtz we know and love today was born after crossing the resulting Zkittlez winner with Gelato.

While there are several other popular phenotypes (namely Pink Runtz and White Runtz), it all started with the original Runtz. Yung LB debuted this strain in 2017 at the Emerald Cup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and also leveraged connections throughout the industry to increase demand across the world. One connection, in particular, helped skyrocket Runtz's success.

Yung LB and Berner, the co-founder of Cookies Fam, had been connected for several years prior to their partnership. In an interview with Thizzler On The Roof, Yung LB explained, “Berner had been coming to the mini-mansion since ‘08/’09. I’ve been seeing him since before ‘Drought Season One’ came out.” After only being on the market for a short while, Runtz then became part of Cookies Fam.

Berner brought his marketing experience to the table and the Runtz craze exploded. Innovative marketing methods (music, merchandise, etc.) were a wild success, and the Runtz brand quickly became a household name—at least in the homes of cannabis lovers. You may have even heard references to the Runtz strain in songs like Juice Wrld’s “Buck 50” or Yung LB’s 2019 hit “Runtz Yo Life Up.”

In 2020, Leafly named Runtz their Strain of the Year saying, “...the original Runtz genetics focused on its purple candy taste, bag appeal, aroma, and flavor. The expertly engineered strain—combined with Cookies’ masterful marketing push—became a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Today, counterfeit Runtz carts and merchandise are rampant. However, the original flavor, aroma, and effects of authentic Runtz make it easy to understand its popularity.

Breeder: Runtz

Year: 2017

Lineage: Zkittlez (female) x Gelato (male)


1st Place - Emerald Cup - 2019

3rd place - SoCal Cannabis Cup - 2020 (Indica)

1st place - Cannabis Cup Michigan - 2021 (Hybrid)

Runtz Strain Effects, Benefits, and Side Effects

Don’t underestimate this sweet strain. The Runtz experience kicks in almost instantly after the first hit and the effects can last for hours. Fortunately, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience that you’ll be drawn to again and again.

After the first delicious hit, a surprisingly powerful head high will begin. It’s been described as intense, nearly psychedelic, and euphoric with almost uncontrollable giggles. One user said, “Runtz is easily one of my favorite strains because of the way it makes me feel. It helps me see the joy in my everyday life while encouraging me to engage in creative activities like writing, drawing, or even just conversation. One too many hits, however, and I’ll be stuck on the couch thinking about life before falling asleep.”

The body effects will kick in roughly twenty minutes afterward (sooner if you take a few extra hits). Users report tingly feelings that are perfect for relaxing at the end of the day. While you can use this strain at any time of day, we recommend using it once the majority of your responsibilities are out of the way.

The relaxing body effects have made this a popular strain among medical marijuana patients looking for relief from chronic pain. That includes those who suffer from migraines, arthritis, and even nausea. Additionally, the euphoric cerebral effects may help those with depression, anxiety, or simply chronic stress.

The long-lasting effects combined with the typical dry mouth and dry eyes means you’ll want to keep a water bottle (and possibly some eye drops) on hand. Users have also noted an increased appetite, so it may be wise to keep snacks stocked in case the munchies hit you hard.

Runtz Characteristics and Terpenes

One of the first things people notice about this strain is its candy-like aroma. Thanks to dominant terpenes beta-caryophyllene, limonene, alpha-Pinene, and linalool, Runtz has a mouthwatering berry-forward scent—it really smells like a box of candy! It’s sweet, lightly citric, with subtle earthy notes that create a surprisingly well-rounded flavor and aroma. The citrus notes become more pungent as the nugs are broken apart.

Smoking Runtz is just as enjoyable. The sweet candy-like quality is still very much present, but the earthy notes are more noticeable once burned. Overall, the smoke is creamy and smooth leaving an aftertaste that’s sugary and sweet.

Speaking of nugs, these are pretty gorgeous. Typically, these buds are round or grape-shaped with green coloring that ranges from olive green to lime green. When properly cured, there will even be dark purple undertones dotted throughout the buds. Bright orange pistils and resinous trichomes are the finishing touches on this potent, beautiful strain.

Runtz Strain Seeds and Grow Info

For those wanting to try their hand at growing this strain themselves, Nspecta of CSI:Humboldt has worked his self-preservation magic on Runtz and offers feminized seeds at an extremely reasonable price. Of course, you’ll find Runtz seeds at every turn, but we highly recommend sticking to the work of Nspecta when it comes to seeds of ‘clone-only’ strains. Generally speaking, we still wouldn’t set our expectations too high unless you can find an authentic clone

Once you’ve got your hands on seeds, actually growing them requires a bit of finesse. The sativa side of its genetics is immediately apparent when it comes to height. Plants can grow up to six feet tall, but high-stress training techniques may help if you’d prefer them to grow out instead of up.

Runtz may be a slow grower and could require additional nutrients (mainly nitrogen) alongside regular watering. However, less experienced growers will want to keep an eye on the leaves in case the extra nutrients cause nutrient burn. Luckily, it responds well to both indoor and outdoor growing conditions.

If growing indoors, you can expect to harvest anywhere from 8-11 weeks with a medium yield. With outdoor growing, harvest is generally around mid-October (if in the northern hemisphere) and as expected, the yield will be larger than that of plants grown indoors.