I’m a recreational cannabis refugee. I moved to the Pacific Northwest to avoid the potential of being thrown in a cage for smoking a flower that makes my life better.
I’m old enough to remember when good marijuana was rare and called “kine buds.” Kine comes from Hawaiian pigeon speak for “the good kind.” Since Hawaii has had a long love affair with potent pakalolo (crazy smoke), with strains like Maui Waui becoming world famous, kine became universal slang for “the good weed” even for a teenager like me in the 1990s in Connecticut.
Brick weed of unknown origin was much more common in those days. As the legalization of cannabis expands, so does the knowledge of the best strains and their effects. Today brick weed is all but extinct in the United States while genetic strains of cannabis are becoming very sophisticated.
Crowd sourcing experiences may prove more accurate than clinical studies could ever be. Sites like Leafly and others have curated thousands of experiences about how different strains and doses of cannabis affect people. Although marijuana effects seem to be unique for each individual, much like various alcohol drinks are, some common traits are identifiable.
In a previous article, I described the general differences between sativa and indica strains. Sativa has a more energetic, heady and creative effect, while indica is more pain-relieving and sleep-inducing.
But like fine wines, there are subtleties to consider.
Some strains are bred to maximize output of flowers with compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary mind-altering ingredient in cannabis. While other strains are bred to limit the THC and emphasize other beneficial compounds to help children cope with debilitating illnesses. Charlotte’s Web is a notable low-THC strain produced to reduce seizures in kids without getting them high.
Watch this brief clip of CNN’s special Weed about the people behind Charlotte’s web:
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There are 5 major cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBN, CBC and CBG. Each strain of marijuana has a different composition of these cannabinoids in order to achieve different effects. Clever botanists then deliberately breed strains to optimize certain traits and features.
Original genetic strains of cannabis are called Landraces. They are the Holy Grail for strain hunters and breeders who will go to great lengths to acquire them. The short film below follows cannabis breeding legend, Arjan Roskam, and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades.
Landraces have been bred together to create some world-renowned strains like White Widow which is 60% South Indian indica and 40% Brazilian sativa and boasts 20-22% THC. The name White Widow refers to how the strain’s huge colas become snow covered with white crystal trichomes towards the end of their flowering period. White Widow has since spawned many other popular strains like White Russian, White Rhino, and Blue Widow.
Highly tailored cannabis strains are beginning to resemble fine wine whereby the richness is found in the varying scents, flavors, sensations, origin stories and growing method. Even name brands are beginning to take shape with celebrity brands leading the charge.
Music legend and longtime defender of marijuana, Willie Nelson, has launched a premium quality brand called Willie’s Reserve which sells multiple strains in elegant packaging. Will Willie’s Reserve White Widow become comparable to Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?
What’s more, the day job of the current Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, who’s polling in double-digits against Clinton and Trump, is the president and CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc. The publicly traded company focuses on high-quality cannabis products and public policy.
With corporate green fever heating up, some people are worried that agriculture giants like Monsanto will bully their way into the market and create a mutant GMO weed to compete with organic and heirloom strains.
Ultimately, the competition in a legal recreational market will likely bring a rush of new kine buds. Move over wine snobs, make room for the cannabis connoisseurs.
Steven Maxwell writes for Activist Post. The article is open source and can be reproduced in full with attribution.