Lineage: OG Kush x Strawberry Diesel
Overview: A strain created in Colorado which received a lot of hype right as the medical cannabis scene took off in 2009, now the Banner #3 is a prized addition to gardens around the country.
The Bruce Banner family line is comprised of an unconfirmed OG Kush cut, commonly believed to be the super-prized Ghost's OG cut, and a Strawberry Diesel (Kyle Kushman's Strawberry Cough x Sour Diesel) male from Reservoir Seeds. The initial pollination took place in late 2009, and the strain was released to the public shortly after by Delta 9 Caretakers in early 2010.
There were originally 5 phenotypes discovered, with the #2 and #4 reportedly being lost in all but the smallest circles of Colorado growers shortly after the release. The #1 phenotype is a mix of the two parent strains, the #3 is most OG Kush-dominant, and the #5 is the Strawberry Diesel-dominant phenotype.
Following the strain's debut, the cannabis review site KindReviews.com profiled the strain and gave it the first ever A+ rating, which seemed to spark a Banner craze. For the first couple of harvests, Delta 9 had a line out the door and was forced to organize customers into a deli-style ticket system to hold a place in line, just to buy a small amount of Banner #3 (each customer could only purchase 3.5 grams maximum). While Delta 9 had the other phenotypes in its stable, the #3 was deemed to be the most prized and commanded the highest level of attention from customers and growers alike. In the years following the BB #3 hype, that phenotype as well as the #1 and #5 began to proliferate the Colorado medical scene and became one of the staple strains on dispensary shelves along with other popular choices such as Flo, Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, and Golden Goat.
The plant itself is gorgeous to look at when growing - late in harvest, the fan leaves tend to turn a rich dark magenta color, which contrasts wonderfully with the bright lime green bud surfaces and deep red stigmas. A generous coating of large-headed trichomes covers all surfaces, and the plant tends to have more of an OG Kush-like growth pattern, with dense, slightly rounded buds scattered across the slightly lanky plant. The top colas can chunk out a bit more than a traditional OG, but the lower buds look almost exactly like the Ghost's OG mother. Taking 8-9 weeks to fully mature, the Banner yields more than the typical OG Kush and matures is roughly the same amount of time, making it an attractive choice for growers looking for a connoisseur-level strain which doesn't skimp on the yields.
When breaking apart the buds, Banner #3 gives off a complex sweet fruity + ginger spice + fuel aroma, which takes nicely after both parents. The added dose of sweetness from the Strawberry D brightens up the OG without completely taking away the fuel-skunk qualities that OG smokers the world over commonly seek out. Flavor takes even more after the OG, providing the same soil-ginger spicy quality as the OG mother with a hint of fuel and sweetness lurking in the background.
Bruce Banner's effects package is definitely a little on the racy side, but some anxiety-sufferers have said that it actually calms them down. In any case, it tends to grab you by the forehead/face and take you on a bit of a ride in the early stages, transitioning into a more calm (but still potent) effect as it begins to wind down. A big buildup of eye and facial pressure is common, as well as a floaty, slightly euphoric effect throughout the body.
Harvest time greatly affects the final experience, with an early harvest making the Banner especially racy, and a later harvest bringing out more of the relaxing, mood-enhancing qualities of the OG mother. Definitely Sativa-dominant, the Banner still isn't the most functional strain simply because it is so potent - it's best saved for a responsibility-free day or evening, but most veteran cannabis users can power through its effects if high-level functionality is required. A well-grown sample of Bruce Banner #3 can have effects reaching out as far as 3 hours after consumption, but the most common is the 2-hour area.
Bruce Banner is a great example of a strain which gained notoriety thanks largely to word of mouth, right as social media websites were really catching on with the MMJ community. This early media presence cemented Banner as a must-have for many Colorado operations as the scene was exploding, and then the word (and the plant) traveled to other states as the strain became more widespread. Quality parents, careful phenotype selection, and marketing savvy are what the Banner is all about - a true creation of the dispensary era, it will no doubt endure for many years thanks to all of its positive qualities.