I first heard of Girl Scout Cookies a few years ago, shortly after I got my prescription for cannabis in California. I went into my local dispensary and asked for whatever buds they had that smelled the nicest. “Have you tried Girl Scout Cookies?” the woman behind the counter asked. “It’s famous.”

Image by Ry Prichard, The Cannabist

I had not. So she took a bell-shaped jar from underneath the counter, full of plump buds covered in curly orange hairs. Then she lifted the suction lid. The scent that drifted out was delicious — flowery, piney, sweet. The strain is named Girl Scout Cookies partly because of its distinctive, pleasant aroma. Some say it smells like candy, but I think it’s more like a mild sandalwood incense. The point is, it’s a hybrid that smells delightful — unlike some strains that are unmistakably cheesy or skunky. And the flavor is good too, whether you vape or just roll it up as a joint.

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The origins of Girl Scout Cookies are as hazy as you’ll feel after just a few hits. Some say it’s a cross between pure South African sativa Durban Poison and the west coast sativa-like hybrid OG Kush. Others say there’s a bit of a Florida strain in there called F1. And still others say it has famous indica Granddaddy Purple in the mix. Whatever is in there with the Durban Poison and OG Kush, there’s no doubt that Girl Scout Cookies deliver a bright, cerebral sativa high. It will definitely turn you into a giggle monster or philosopher, depending on your predilections, but it won’t put you to sleep.

What everybody agrees on is its strength. It’s got about 20% THC, and .5% CBD. That THC percentage is terrifically high for any marijuana strain, and is part of what has earned Girl Scout Cookies its slightly naughty reputation.

At one point, when I joined a new dispensary, I was told that the owners had decided to stop carrying Girl Scout Cookies for a while. They thought it was just too strong, and didn’t have a clear therapeutic use. I got the feeling they thought it was the Everclear of pot. But it’s so popular that they had to start selling it again. Also, I would like to point out that it is genuinely helpful for my RSIs. No, I’m not kidding — I actually do have a prescription for a reason.

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Girl Scout Cookies is such a famous strain that it’s spawned a lot of copycats. There are definitely fake GSC strains running around, as well as legit related phenotypes like Thin Mint and Platinum Cookies.

Though I would not recommend GSC for marijuana newbies, I think it’s a great choice for a more seasoned afficionado. Obviously you’ll want to take a little bit less than you are used to, unless you want to feel blotto and hyper at the same time (sometimes fun, especially if you are hiking on really safe, unchallenging trails or picnicking with friends). But I will always love GSC simply for that lovely scent and flavor. That’s what matters most to me — the aesthetic experience of the flowery smoke wafting down my throat.

So if you want your marijuana to taste and smell as good as it feels, try Girl Scout Cookies. Just a hit or two at first, then wait for the effects. Go slowly. And have fun.

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This post originally ran on March 6, 2015.