Legend has it Zkittlez originated from a lone farm out west: the award-winning 3rd Gen Family Farm. Believed to be a cross between Grapefruit, Grape Ape and a third mystery strain, a cut of the indica hybrid was bestowed onto a breeder named Brandon, who decided to see what he could do with it.
Brandon’s initial Zkittlez phenotypes, however, lacked bag appeal in a big way. “When we first introduced it to people, we could only do it in joints and pass it around to our friends,” Brandon said. “If they were to see the jar, they would be dogging us right away.”
Despite its debut bag appeal, the strain instantly grew popular for its zesty, fruity scent and taste that irresistibly reminded one of candy. And so the name “Zkittlez” — spelled with a ‘Z’ to avoid trademark infringement — spread into the cannabis world around 2015 thanks to a union between 3rd Gen Family and Terp Hogz Genetics.
It would soon prove to be one of the most highly-awarded strains in the last decade, placing first in the indica category at the 2015 High Times Cannabis Cups in San Francisco and Michigan. It also took home first place at the 2016 Emerald Cup, racking up seven awards between 2016 and 2019 in total.
Despite the modified name to avoid legal issues, the strain wound up getting caught up in a fierce legal battle anyway. Skittles’ parent company Mars Wrigley sued Terp Hogz, a brand who made THC-infused “Zkittlez” edibles, for copyright violation in 2015, alleging the two names were “confusingly similar.” Mars Wrigley sought to halt sale of all Zkittlez goods, paraphernalia and merchandise as well as seeking damages from Terp Hogz. Several similar legal battles, such as the one with Gorilla Glue, have been popping up over the last few decades, which begs the question: how will these lawsuits continue to evolve and affect the industry? We can only look to Zkittlez and GG to find out.
Vintage: circa 2015
Lineage: Grapefruit x Grape Ape x unknown
Breeder: 3rd Gen Family and Terp Hogz
Zkittlez Strain Effects
While Zkittlez is typically touted as an indica, it demonstrates properties from both of its parents in distinct ways. The Grapefruit parent lends Zkittlez a creative, euphoric head rush that’s pleasantly buzzy. Onset is nearly instantaneous, contributing a motivational, focused effect that makes this a great choice for getting things done like a run around the block. The indica parent side, Grape Ape, is widely known for its sedating abilities that set in more gradually with time. As such the two effects fuse together to yield a strain that has an energetic head high with gentle body relaxation and buzz. The body high, though, is not so much heavy as it is energetic; it’s definitely no couchlock strain. Ideal for daytime or early evening use.
Some users report Zkittlez can come on pretty strong for experienced users which may cause feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Side effects can include panic, headaches, dry eyes and mouth.
Zkittlez Medical Effects
Zkittlez’ unique ability to stimulate the mind in a non-racy way coupled with its ability to gently ease stress in the body make it a great strain for medical users to rely on. Some conditions reported to benefit from this strain’s effects include ADD/ADHD, nausea, fatigue, chronic pain, depression and anxiety. Reports on appetite and sleep vary as some say Zkittlez increases appetite/energy levels while it may decrease them for others; this seems largely in part due to terpene content.
Breeder Brandon first had some difficulty getting love for Zkittlez because its initial phenos didn’t have bag appeal. Today, Brandon must be proud to know Zkittlez has been transformed into a beautiful, terpene-rich nug anyone can admire.
Thanks to its Grape Ape parent, Zkittlez often comes in deep purple hues accented with shades of lime or forest green leaves. The purple hues are the result of anthocyanins, or pigments that develop during flowering in cold periods. Tight, densely packed nugs reveal a classical indica structure. Buds are colorful and covered in bright orange or golden hairs, typically also with a generous amount of trichomes lending a stickiness to the bud.
As smell goes this is one of the most delightful strains to take a sniff of. A tropical, candy-like scent calls you to it. Notes of lemon, lime or orange, berries and a hint of lavender first grab your nose by surprise. Spicier hints like a whiff of hops followed by fresh pine and a diesel finish round out the sweet ensemble. The inhale leans towards citrus flavors, quickly floating past pine and hops before settling on a final sweet taste of grape as you exhale.
Zkittlez Grow Tips and Info
Zkittlez enjoys a warm, humid climate — but it does benefit from nightly cold drops. Why is that? In order for this strain’s signature purple hue to develop properly, it needs to be exposed to the cold during flowering. It can be grown indoors but if so growers must have viable temperature control systems in place so that they can drop temperature for a few hours daily.
This fruity strain is known to be a high-yielding flower and is commonly resistant to many forms of mild and mildew. Flowering occurs between 8 to 10 weeks after planting. Looking to get your hands on TerpHogz crosses? Dying Breed Seeds, based in Mendocino, California, is the official purveyor.
By Janelle Lassalle
Artist, Writer, and Content Creator