At first, the strain was a favourite amongst enthusiasts for its complex and potent terpene aroma. It was unlike anything users had seen before; its smell was easy to identify for its chemical, diesel, and piney flavours. In scenes reminiscent of the popularity of the strain Cheese from the 90s, everyone had tried Stardawg, and people started using the term "Dawg" to describe great weed.
However, it didn't take long for us as a nation to gripe at Stardawg. In around 2020, people's attitudes towards this once-loved strain changed. Complaints often mentioned how Stardawg tasted unbearable or how dealers only had Stardawg on their menus because it was the most manageable strain to grow.
Rarely do we see a cannabis strain come out from nowhere, then hold onto popularity for 5 years, and then fall from grace. So what lead to the rise and fall of Stardawg, one of the UK's most popular strains?
The Rise Of Stardawg?
Surprisingly, Stardawg was created in the US by the legendary breeder JJ from Top Dawg Seeds. However, he never set out to make Stardawg one of the most prolific strains in the UK. In the early days, Stardawg seeds were rare, making their circulation amongst cannabis professionals, some of whom worked at High Times, the cannabis magazine. This helped seed a reputation for the potent strain in California, which caught the attention of the UK's "flavour chasers".
Flavour chasers are the wine sommeliers of the cannabis world. They chase all things new in cannabis, and at the time, Stardawg was an exotic strain creating waves in the Californian scene.
It didn't take long for growers in Manchester to obtain seeds from JJs Stardawg to select the perfect mother, disperse clones and harvest its valuable flowers. The Stardawg grown in Manchester became so popular that people started calling the phenotype the "Manny cut".
The Manny cut of Stardawg smells unique, with tones of gas, chemicals, diesel and pine. The flowers are sugar-coated in crystals, and the plants are very high yielding. Rumours are that it is resilient to many of the natural forces that cause issues for UK growers, such as mould.
As word got around about Stardawg, suddenly "Dawg" was the most common word you'd find on a menu. Breeders claimed to have crossed it into everything, mixing chemical and pine flavours with fruit, cereal and kush terps.
How Did Stardawg Become The Most Hated Strain In The UK?
Stardawg didn't suddenly lose its flavour by any means. Its downfall has very little to do with the original seeds produced by JJ or the infamous "Manny cut". Instead, Stardawg suffered from a fall in its reputation due to 3 critical events over the past few years.
1. Fake Stardawg
The legality of cannabis in the UK is not as clear-cut as in California, where Stardawg was born. In 2018, medical cannabis became legal; however, we still have no way to legally grow it without a license. Growers in the UK operate under no regulation, leaving consumers in an unfortunate situation; they don't know what they are buying. When Stardawg became popular, it was clear that many growers weren't selling the real Stardawg that JJ created. Instead, they were passing other strains to their customers. In many cases, people weren't happy with the "fake Stardawg" they received, and the hype they'd heard was exaggerated.
Many people expressing dislike for Stardawg might never have tried the real thing!
2. COVID-19 Lockdown Effect On UK Cannabis
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a national lockdown in the UK. The lockdown disrupted many jobs and businesses, forcing people to consider other ways to support their households. Suddenly, there emerged many more dealers and growers than ever before. Many people took to growing Stardawg as it is known to be a resilient plant with high yields and enormous hype.
However, the resilience of Stardawg isn't enough to guarantee high-quality flowers when grown by people with limited experience. As a result, first-time growers listed their homegrown Stardawg on the market at competitive prices but at a lower quality. The damage that Stardawg took over the lockdown couldn't have come at a worse time; people were smoking more than ever before, and many moved on to the next hype strain.
3. Stardawg Became Crossed Into Everything
Breeders noticed a gap in the market for popular strains to be crossed into the chemical taste of Stardawg. It could also be a great way to introduce this high-yield gene into more of their strain offerings. Strains such as Stardawg Guava, Alien Stardawg and Purple Stardawg became rampant across the country. Other variants would take the "Dawg" part of the strain and stick it on the end of different popular strains to create varieties like Chemdawg.
At first, people were interested in trying these new crosses; many had truly unusual, never before seen profiles. However, it didn't take long for people to get sick of tasting the same Stardawg flavour in everything they were smoking. It's not uncommon for us to seek out new flavours and go through phases when it comes to cannabis. Interestingly our endocannabinoid systems perform better when exposed to different terpene profiles. However, overexposure to one strain profile can weaken its effect on you over time!
What Will Be The Fate For Stardawg
Stardawg has achieved legendary status in the UK for good and bad reasons. Many recognise it as a phenomenal strain that can achieve high yields and potent, unusual flavours. But it went through several stages of overuse, and most enthusiasts have grown tired of the strain.
The original "Manny cut" will likely survive due to the increased cultivations from the pandemic. Unlike the original Cheese cutting from the 90s, which many believe is lost forever, Stardawg will probably last much longer.
For now, Stardawgs popularity is in decline, and for British people, Stardawg will be off the shopping list for a while.