In one of the most beautiful states in the U.S., the High Times Cannabis Cup Oregon: People’s Choice Edition returns for the first time since 2020. Oregonians, get ready to see what cannabis business owners in your state are made of!
Now two years later, things have changed for the better. The World Health Organization officially announced that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. The cannabis industry has continued to thrive, and Oregon is a hotbed for cannabis growth and innovation (not to mention a home to psilocybin too!) This time around, our High Times Cannabis Cup Oregon: People’s Choice Edition 2023 has been expanded to include categories such as infused pre-rolls, solvent and non-solvent concentrates, and sublinguals, capsules, tinctures and topicals as well:
Indica Flower (3 entries max per company)
Sativa Flower (3 entries max per company)
Hybrid Flower (3 entries max per company)
Pre-Rolls (2 entries max per company)
Infused Pre-Rolls (1 entry max per company)
Solvent Concentrates (2 entries max per company)
Non-Solvent Concentrates (2 entries max per company)
Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries max per company) (category may split)
Edibles: Gummies & Fruit Chews (3 entries max per company)
Edibles: Chocolates & Non-Gummies (3 entries max per company)
Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals (3 entries max per company)
This summer between July 17-19, products will be submitted for intake at Shadowbox, our intake partner, located in Portland. Our team will carefully curate the judge kits, which will become available for purchase on July 29. From there, Oregonians will have the opportunity to pick up a kit to judge products for nearly two months, with a deadline set for September 24. Finally, we invite everyone to tune into our digital awards show to be held later this year on October 9.
If you’re an interested competitor, we’ve got plenty of options to help get your products into the hands of the people! Pricing depends on the number of products being submitted, with one entry set at $250 (non-refundable), two entries at $100 each (non-refundable), and three entries or more at $100 each (deposit per entry held, refunded when all entries are successfully submitted). There are also a limited number of sponsorships available, and entry fees are waived for those who choose to sponsor the event. Please keep the following in mind for entries:
Flower: (228) 1-gram samples. We will not accept any 3.5-gram entries.
Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (228) samples: Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each; Infused Pre-Rolls are capped at 1g total net weight each as the combination of flower and concentrates is then only considered a full weight of concentrates.
Concentrates & Vape Pens: (228) .5-gram samples. We will not accept any 1-gram entries. Batteries required for carts.
We’re excited to see the product lineup as it begins to develop, but we’re even more excited to announce that we have pumped our number of categories to 20 this year—that’s three more categories than last year! This year we welcome the expansion of Solvent Gummies and Non-Solvent Gummies to the Edibles categories. We’ve also expanded our Medical categories as well to include Medical Concentrates and Medical Infused Pre-Rolls, but you can check out the whole list in its entirety here:
Rec Indica Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Sativa Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Hybrid Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Pre-Rolls (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Infused Pre-Rolls (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Non-Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Distillate Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Non-Distillate Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Edibles: Solvent Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Edibles: Non-Solvent Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Edibles: Non-Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Rec Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals (3 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
Medical Indica Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Sativa Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Hybrid Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Pre-Rolls (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Concentrates (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Infused Pre-Rolls (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Medical Edibles (3 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
Can’t wait to get started? Neither can we! Participation for the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023 begins on between March 20-30 as the window for submissions. Just in time for 4/20, we’ll have kits available starting on April 15 at participating locations. We’ll give our honored judges just over two months to properly sample and review all of the submissions in their kit, with a deadline of June 25. Finally, just a few weeks after that, we’ll announce the winners on July 9.
Winners receive the coveted High Times Cannabis Cup trophy, a longtime symbol of quality in the cannabis community. It was designed by Alex and Allyson Grey, made from zinc and 24k gold plating.
Judges will analyze the products in their kits through a variety of criteria. For Flower, Pre-rolls, Vape Pens, and Concentrates, judges will take note of a product’s aesthetics, aroma/scent, taste/flavor profile, burnability, effects/effectiveness, and terpene profile. Edibles have a slightly different list of considerations, including packaging and labeling. Finally, Topicals, Tinctures + Capsules judges are asked to review the “ease of use” in addition to other criteria.
Because the competition includes both recreational and medical products, the entry requirements differ slightly. From maximum weight limits on products and number of units submitted, we highly recommend that interested participants who want to submit their products adhere to the following requirements:
Flower: (228) 1g units. We will not accept any 3.5g entries.
Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (228) units. Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each.
Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at 3g flower-equivalency or 1g concentrate-equivalency each by METRC equations.
Concentrates & Vape Pens: (228) .5g units. We will not accept any 1g entries. Batteries required for Carts.
Edibles: (100) units with 100mg THC max.
Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals: (60) units with 500mg THC max.
Flower: (228) 1g units. We will not accept any 3.5g entries.
Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (100) units: Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each.
Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at 5g flower-equivalency or 5g concentrate-equivalency each by METRC equations.
Concentrates & Vape Pens: (100) .5g units. We will not accept any 1g entries. Batteries required for Carts.
Edibles: (100) units with 200mg THC max.
The cost of entry is set at $250 for one entry and $100 each for two (both non-refundable); for entries of three or more, it’s $100 each but the deposits per entry are refundable. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, there are varied levels of sponsorship including Presenting Sponsorship, Silver Sponsorships, Bronze Sponsorships, and General Sponsorships.
Michigan really came out of the gates strong at last year’s Cup, so we can’t wait to see what these local brands bring to the table this year.
A huge thank you to our official intake partner Green Pharm.
Full disclosure: I loathe vaping cannabis flower. I find it to be a weak and cruel suggestion and I simply prefer bong rips or dabs which skip all the bullshit and force you into a death grip of buttery happiness as soon as it hits your lungs. That said, the Volcano Hybrid has genuinely made me reconsider this. It brings the science and tech of dabbing to smoking bud and makes more efficient use of your flower than a lighter would. Allow me to enlighten thee, good stoners of the world.
The classic Volcano has been around since 2000 and people still rave about it to this day. I have admittedly never used one because anytime I have $400 to spare I usually blow it on hash within minutes. I’ve long admired the way the bag system works and always meant to try one but it just never came up. I’ve tried about 100 other various flower vaporizers and hated every single one of them. They all tasted like burnt ass popcorn and I never felt like I was getting high enough.
When the Volcano Hybrid arrived at my house I wanted to leave my reaction completely up to science so I bought two eighths: one was super midsy on purpose and the other was some of the new Bad Apple from Connected (the single best eighth in the dispensary that day). I bought those two specific eighths so I could approach this from the perspectives and palettes of both an average consumer and myself.
Unpacking the Volcano Hybrid was a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of tubes, bags and different attachments that can be confusing if you don’t read the instructions so definitely read the little quick start manual that comes with it before using.
There’s essentially two ways to use it: the classic method of filling up a pre-made bag with vapor and then inhaling from the mouthpiece attached to the bag, or you can attach a tube directly to the unit itself and inhale as you please. I tried the Bad Apple using the bag first and it took a few tries to get it right but it was a super clean and relatively flavorful hit compared to other flower vaporizers I’ve tried. In my opinion, the same flower still tasted better out of a clean bong but it actually got me higher out of the Volcano because it made more efficient use of the flower than I imagine a lighter would have. I also tend to only hit a bowl once because after the lighter touches the flower, anything remaining usually tastes charred after the first hit but each hit out of the Volcano bag had a consistent, smooth flavor.
I wanted to try two distinctly different qualities of weed because in the past, all flower tasted the exact same out of any flower vaporizer I’ve tried. To my absolute delight, not only did the good flower taste significantly better than the lower quality flower, but the midsy stuff smoked much more smoothly for me than it would have out of a pipe or a bong. I truly cannot stand to smoke mid and it was very tolerable in the Volcano Hybrid. That alone should be a testament to its effectiveness.
It’s also worth noting that I caught a bit of a cold the day after the Volcano arrived so it was very nice to have a smoking option around the house that was easier on my throat. Ultimately, I still needed a couple dabs to get where I wanted to be but my throat was appreciative nonetheless because normally I dab like a loon from sunup to sundown.
Now let’s get to the features. I compared the Volcano Hybrid to dabbing because you can choose your own experience every single time. When I’m dabbing in the morning I let my nail cool down for 82 seconds exactly but later in the afternoon when I want to get punched in the face a little bit I hit it at 75 seconds or so. The Volcano Hybrid gets me extremely wet in this regard because it has an app that lets you fully automate and customize your smoking experience with regard to temperature and air. I can set it to heat up my flower for two minutes at 190 degrees Celcius, blow air and vapor into the bag for five seconds, then heat up an additional five degrees, then blow air for ten seconds and so on. The possibilities are truly endless. The app is only available for Android at the moment but there’s a web browser version for iPhone users.
I didn’t notice much of a difference using the tube versus the bags so I mostly stuck to using the bags because frankly, it looks cool as hell. But it is nice to have the tube option when you just want to lay in bed in the morning and get super high without moving at all or waking up sleeping people with the noise from the bag.
Now comes the big question of “Is it worth the money?”
Well, it retails for about $699 and I would argue that even though I personally would not spend that money on it, I advocate that others should and here’s why:
I’m a writer and writers aren’t typically swimming in disposable income, for one. But in all seriousness I just don’t care about flower much in the first place and I have an extremely high tolerance that does not beget the smoother, less aggressive experience you get with the Volcano Hybrid compared to more traditional methods of smoking.
However, I am not most people. The overwhelming majority of consumers I talk to just want to get high without losing a lung, not to mention the extremely high number of medical cannabis patients that need to consume weed but can’t smoke it without risking lung infection or something equally as ghastly. The Volcano Hybrid is worth the money for those people. It’s the ultimate experience for people who value the cilia lining their throat cavity and want to use cannabis with minimal damage to their body.
I’d suggest patience with this machine because flower vaporization is not instant and if you want it to taste good, “low and slow” is your new motto. Let it cook for a few minutes longer at a cooler temp rather than speed up your hit by five minutes. With midsy stuff that rule goes double because it already tastes bad, you don’t need to make it taste worse.
Another tip I have is to spend the time to figure out what temperature your flower will burn best at because I promise you it will vary from strain to strain and even from microclimate to microclimate so any temperature or time suggestions I have won’t be super helpful. 190 degrees Celcius is the recommended max temp but if you don’t care as much about flavor you can ramp that up to about 206 and get a solid bagful within two or three minutes without sacrificing too much flavor.
Overall, this thing is super slick and worth the extra money over the Volcano Classic in my opinion. It won’t be a daily driver for me because I’m a hash head at heart, but this thing will definitely be getting a lot of use in my house.
In the month of December, brands usually choose to activate during the highly popular Art Basel week in Miami. But the hottest cannabis buzzing in the street right now, Gumbo Brands, and chart-topping hip-hop artist Moneybagg Yo, waited for the dust to settle to celebrate the announcement of their partnership for Bagg’s new Gumbo strain “Shot Off Gumbo.” In a more intimate affair, they shut down the Black-owned restaurant, Playa Miami, for about 50 guests including a few celebrity friends of the brand, Caresha of The City Girls, Amber Rose, N.O.R.E. Moneybagg Yo, label mates, tastemakers, media, and the Founders of the Gumbo Brands Karim Butler and Alexis Major themselves.
The amount of dripped-out ice in the room for such a small amount of guests was astonishingly mind-boggling. Wall-to-wall bling-off! If you’ve never been to a Gumbo event, let me warn you, they like to do everything big for the culture. The drinks were flowing with a full open bar… definitely shots of 1942 were being passed frivolously around the tables. The food was incredibly amazing. I suggest anyone in the Miami Beach area or planning to visit to make a reservation immediately… highly recommend the mouth-watering lamb chops, calamari bites and the yummy mac & cheese. Thank me later! The vibe and the networking was on one thousand, especially with DJ Wrecky who totally kept the hype going while mixing in a healthy amount of Bagg’s hottest hits all night. By the end of the event no one wanted to leave, they literally had to turn the lights on. Every guest was gifted the signature Gumbo pens and plenty of gas to go around.
Not only did Gumbo show Moneybagg Yo major love at the announcement dinner, but they also gifted him a 150 carat chain with VS diamonds and a 90 carat VS diamond watch, which is one of 18 in the world, from Pristine jewelers. The Black-owned cannabis and lifestyle brand has been buzzing like crazy in the streets, especially gaining more attention with their collaborations with today’s hottest in entertainment including Meek Mill, Lil Meech, N.O.R.E., Fabolous, and brand sponsor for viral podcast, Drink Champs.
The “Shot Off Gumbo” strain will be a Hybrid with an earthy sweet pine undertone and euphoric and stoney experience under the Gumbo Brands Umbrella.
Gumbo Brands is a revolutionary new cannabis and lifestyle company, founded by the Black-owned entrepreneurial power-couple, Karim Butler and Alexis Major. Unlike some of the corporate brands that swoop in and try to take advantage of cultural equity in this industry, Gumbo Brands’ major focus is making a difference, building wealth, and sharing knowledge within the Black and Brown communities. Black ownership accounts for only 4.3% of all cannabis businesses. This couple is breaking down that barrier by bringing more people within the community into the cannabis business and giving them the resources and career opportunities to succeed. Gumbo Brands is utilizing creative cultural initiatives in this space to encourage entrepreneurship while also supporting racial justice outcomes and inclusion, including working with the formerly incarcerated to gain licenses, who oftentimes don’t have the financial means or proper information to secure one.
Gumbo is currently a leading brand in the cannabis space and sold at top dispensaries across the nation, and on its way to global expansion with their products, which includes flower, G-pens, exclusive merch, and lifestyle products. They recently announced a partnership with the global empire Cookies that will give the brand access to 22 states and 15 countries as the cannabis takeover grows within legalized areas of the world. If you’re looking to get your hands on some of this new cannabis strain, be sure to check out www.thegumboshop.com.
What are the five best hybrid cannabis strains? Cannabis usually falls into sativa or indica categories. But some growers purposefully cross-pollinate strains to create specialized and unique genetics. They say sativas give you a “head high,” like a shot of caffeine. In contrast, indicas are supposed to make you mellow and relaxed. A hybrid strain […]
In the 1960s and ’70s, humanity finally pulled it together and began hybridlizing different types of cannabis. Although use of the plant has been prevalent for thousands of years, it wasn’t until this time that cannabis breeders began to take marijuana’s original expressions, the landrace cultivars, and blend them together. The incredible diversity of the types of marijuana we have today started with the first few cannabis seed companies and hybrids they created. Skunk #1 is one of the most widely recognized hybrids of those early days of cannabis breeding. An artistic creation that fused together landrace cannabis from different areas of the world, Skunk #1 is legendary pot.
“It’s in everything,” horticulture authority Ed Rosenthal tells me during a recent smoke session in the sunroom of his publishing headquarters and home.
Together we’re traveling through time back to the 1980s. I’ve brought over a sampling of six Skunk #1 phenotypes grown by Frank at Purple Caper Seeds in his epic 2022 Skunk hunt. Frank grew out 25 different packs of Skunk #1 seeds, some more than 20 years old, on a quest for the original flavor he loved when he first started smoking pot in the late ’80s.
“It’s been over 20 years now I haven’t had that flavor,” Frank says of his quest to bring back the weed he remembers. “First I started sniffing around. I heard the buzz that everybody’s starting to talk about Skunk again. I’ve always missed it, but I haven’t tried to bring it back. It’s expensive [to do], and there wasn’t a demand. And I talked to my people in Canada, I talked to my people in Amsterdam and asked them if there were any old packs in their freezers.”
Eventually, Frank was able to collect a lineup of seeds to grow fabled classics spread across the centerfolds of this very magazine in the ’80s and ’90s: Green House Seeds’ Exodus Cheese, Nirvana Super Skunk, Paradise Seeds Original Cheese (IBF), Dutch Passion’s Skunk #1, and Skunk #1 from Sensi Seeds. Amsterdam-based seed companies like Dutch Passion and Sensi Seeds, which received the Skunk genetics in the 1980s, still sell Skunk #1 seed packs to this day.
A Marijuana Marketing Milestone
The winner of the first High Times Cannabis Cup in the Netherlands in 1987, Skunk #1 was proliferated by a guy whom cannabis lore calls “Sam the Skunkman,” but whose real name is Dave Watson. Skunk #1 is a combination of two South American landraces, Acapulco Gold and Colombian Gold, as well as an Afghani. Rosenthal suspects some Thai may also be in the cross, but this has never been publicly acknowledged.
When this cultivar got into the hands of Watson at Sacred Seeds Collective in Santa Cruz, California, the genetics were developed and stabilized through inbreeding (in cannabis that generally means crossing the plant back with itself to maintain its traits in future offspring). As part of the great exchange that shaped the world of cannabis cultivars at that time—the fusion of minds and marijuana from California and Amsterdam—Watson brought Skunk #1 from California to Holland in 1985. By the late ’80s, it was in many seed banks throughout Holland.
The phenotypes Rosenthal and I are sampling have names that sound terrible: Fresh Kill, Rotten Carcass, Vomit, Burnt Rubber, Donkey Dick, and least offensively, Cheese. But they don’t have the acidic, rotten smell of a skunk’s spray or any of the other noxious odors their names suggest. They smell floral, some are decidedly cheesy, and they taste sweet. Rosenthal explains that Watson naming the strain Skunk #1 was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of a type of cannabis around in the 1970s, which actually smelled like a skunk.
“People would say, ‘Is there a dead body or a skunk or something around? That’s what the original skunks smelled like. That’s why they were called skunks,” Rosenthal says. “So when [Watson] named it Skunk, I mean there’s no right or wrong on this, but it wasn’t what the animal smelled like.”
Recently scientists at ABSTRAX, a laboratory devoted to terpene research and botanical extraction, pinpointed the origins of that skunky, gasoline-like scent and, as it turns out, it comes from a class of compounds in cannabis that has just been discovered, volatile sulfuric compounds (VSCs). The ABSTRAX study, which appeared in the American Chemical Society journal, shows that the skunky smell in cannabis also has similarities to the heady, pungent smell of garlic.
“When people are referring to the skunky/gassy scent of cannabis they are actually smelling this class of VSCs that we are referring to in the industry as cannasulfur compounds,” explains T.J. Martin, VP of Research and Development at ABSTRAX.
“While they are not the same identical compounds in garlic, they have very similar structures and an eerily similar family of VSCs. The main difference is that the structure of cannabis VSCs contain what are called prenyl groups (i.e. prenyl thiol, diphenyl sulfide, etc.) and garlic has allyl groups (i.e. allyl thiol, diallyl sulfide, etc.).
“What makes it so interesting is that chemically they may be different, but they are also very similar, and they follow the same trend. Current research in garlic shows that its VSCs may possibly contribute to the cardiovascular and proposed anti-cancerous benefits found in garlic. With these families being so similar, with just a small minor change, we were wondering if maybe this contributes to some of the medicinal benefits of cannabis.”
At our sunroom smoke sesh, Rosenthal says the study shows Afghan Skunk (aka Afghani Skunk) had a lot of cannasulfurs in it.
“You’d have a bag of it, you’d open the bag, close the bag, the room would stink, you couldn’t get the smell out of the room,” Rosenthal says of Afghan Skunk. “I haven’t seen that in 15 or 20 years.”
For Rosenthal, Skunk #1 itself is decidedly more common. He says he last smoked Skunk #1, a strain that came out when I was still a young child that I’ve never tried until now, two months ago. Like White Widow, it was widely used for breeding. When Rosenthal and other cannabis experts I’ve spoken to in the past wax nostalgic about a strain from yesteryear, it’s usually Northern Lights #5 x Haze (aka NL #5 Haze). Northern Lights #5 is Afghani x Thai, and NL #5 Haze combines that strain pairing with the Haze that came out of Santa Cruz in the 1960s.
“The reason you don’t see NL #5 Haze is because it’s very difficult to grow indoors because it takes so much longer,” Rosenthal says of those long-flowering equatorial sativa genetics present in the Haze family. “It takes a long time to finish, and it’s a moderate yield. But if you’re growing outdoors like in Southern California, that would be a great variety to grow. It has an unbelievably zonky high, [With NL #5 x Haze] like you say, ‘Oh, that’s what my brain was looking for.’”
Together Haze, Skunk #1, and Northern Lights #5 are the first main types of hybrid cannabis and, therefore, some most influential types of weed of all time.
Skunk #1 in 2022
To rediscover the Skunk #1 experiences of his youth Purple Caper’s Frank gathered the seeds, including 1996 seeds from expert grower and cannabis author Mel Frank, and grew them out at Haze Dispensary in San Jose, California.
“We procured the best 25 packs of Skunk that we could find and popped them,” Frank says. “Of over 200 seeds, we found 70 keeper females and 20 keeper males, 90 plants total. Out of those 90 plants, 10 males and 10 female keepers are isolated.”
Those 10 female plants are now being tested in clone and breeding projects in all types of growing environments, outdoor full-term, light-dep, and indoors. The final plants Frank will use for Purple Caper’s planned Skunk #1 seed release will be from one male and six females.
“The keepers we found are better than expected,” Frank says. “These had long, big colas, especially the Donkey Dick. I mean, that plant had just three branches. Each one had a 24-inch cola, like the size of a baseball bat almost. The Donkey Dick was just a beautiful plant. It’s been so long since I’ve seen that.”
After we share a laugh about the ridiculous names of the Skunk phenos, Frank further explains how breeding cannabis, or in this case resurrecting a strain from the past, is an extensive process of selection. For the final stages of his epic Skunk hunt, Frank will cross one male plant with six female plants with the intention of growing an additional 300 phenotypes. The hope is to bring back the strain he’s loved and lost. “I want to resurrect it, and I want to have the flagship version of it. I don’t want anybody to have a better Skunk,” he says.
There are a few eternal debates intertwined with cannabis at the moment. Are the criminal justice reform victories of legalization enough to call it a win with farmers’ struggles? Does Jimi smoke the heatest heat? Do the concepts of Indicas and Sativas make sense?
While you’ll have to search your heart for the answers to the first couple of questions, when it comes to indicas and sativas, I think it’s fair to say we can do a little better. And I offer not just the idea we can do better, but a solution.
I think we should move on to referring to cannabis as Afghani or equatorial. It’s a lot more accurate representation of what 99% of the marketplace consists of. If you’re the Ruderalis guy that needs to be offended by something, go back under your bridge nobody wants your pot.
I remember when that empowered young woman of color budtender got a lot of flack for a video where she highlighted how stupid the whole indica/sativa debate was. A lot of people that look like me, well not quite the blue eyes and curls but you get my drift, were really sad she made them feel like dumb dumbs. She got a lot of shit because of their sensitivities but was spot on. You can’t even find her original post anymore and I wouldn’t share to save her any more drama and bullying. Not that she needed saving, she was a spicy meatball.
But her struggle stirred something back up in me. I’ve dealt with the same frustrations she did. I was just a pinch more chipper about it.
I’ve been working at the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley since 2009 and will still jump on the counter in the morning if an extra set of hands is needed due to a couple of callouts or whatever it may be. I turned off my frustrations early in my career on this subject. I would speak to the cannabis in four categories that were Indicas, Sativas, and hybrids leaning in either direction.
Eventually, I’d try and work a little education into the process because it all felt so bullshit.
“Hello, skinny handsome budtender. Can I get a pure sativa?”
“We making rope?!” I’d reply in a jolly reference to hemp.
When you talk about things like the Hippie Trail, Super Sativa Seed Club, and other stuff that backboned the early heatseekers’ genetics lines, a lot of it is going to fall into those major equatorial or Afghani. Even today, what’s the bulk of what we smoke? Just hybridizations of that stuff.
All these “indicas” we’re puffing on for the most part are of Afghan origin. Are there some high mountain kush phenos from the other side of the Pakistani border in the mix too for this discussion? Sure. But it’s most predominantly associated with Afghanis so it keeps it a lot more simple to just use that for the umbrella term.
As for everything else we smoke, you’ll find a lot of the genetics pools outside of the Afghani are coming from places generally close to the equator. The southern Indian city of Kanyakumari is about 560 miles north of the equator. The Thai beach town of Narathiwat is only 430 miles from the equator Even Tapachula, Mexico is only about 1500 miles from the equator.
But the system doesn’t always work, like in India. India is not far from the equator at its southern tip but the genetics it’s known for are coming from thousands of miles away in its mountain region.
It all seemingly makes sense right?
To help me articulate this great idea to the masses I knew I’d need mascots. So I created Equitorial Ed and Afghan Annie to help move the masses away from saying indica or sativa. Umbrella terminology tends never to be perfect. But in this case, I was generally satisfied with how much could be categorized within the scope of the characters.
We reached out to the Pot Prince of Bel-Air to get his take. In 1997 Todd McCormick, a medical cannabis patient and childhood cancer survivor, was arrested with 4000 plants. After serving his bid in the early 2000s he returned to the scene and in recent years has focused on preserving old-school genetics like Road Kill Skunk.
McCormick noted the question in itself is an excellent clarification that most people don’t understand but he prefers to use the term Northern to Afghani.
“The reason that I go with the word “Northern” rather than Afghani is because the Hindu Kush Mountains are freaking huge and only part of the Himalayas are located in Afghanistan,” McCormick said, “I believe that a lot of us use “Afghan” as the default genetic for all northern cannabis, but I think we are sorely mistaken.”
McCormack also spoke to the India part of the debate I brought up.
“All of the more northern varieties of cannabis from India, or dare I say Indica correctly, has the faster flowering broad leaflet, dense buds (to protect the seeds from cold), the characteristic is not only found in Afghanistan,” McCormick said, “In southern regions of India, which is still “cannabis Indica,” have the narrow leaflet equatorial/tropical, long flowering characteristic of loose spindly flowers (to be able to evaporate away high humidity) with a long flowering time.”
Keep an eye out for more great ideas from Jimi Devine in a future edition of WEIRDOS.
Once primarily catering to gamers, Discord now offers public and private channels for a range of popular topics, including but far from limited to NFTs, politics, school, and cannabis.
Discord has corralled just about every possible way a person can connect online. Community members can connect via chat rooms, video calls, and voice chats. Unlike social media apps that have succeeded to varying degrees with multi-chat options, Discord has done so rather successfully so far.
The platform has gained users and financial backers. Today, it boasts 150 million active monthly users and $482 million in venture capital funds raised to date, according to Earthweb.
Discord’s cannabis community is not as prominent as enthusiasts may desire. But sources tell High Times that it is changing as more servers launch, either entirely focusing on the plant or having a dedicated space to discuss it.
Discord did not answer a request for its opinion regarding cannabis servers and forums. Even so, the plant’s popularity on the platform is a refreshing change. When much of the Internet can’t or won’t allow pot communities to flourish, Discord appears to be doing so.
Discord:A World Of Topics, Cannabis Or Otherwise
Several sources say Discord offers a change of pace from social media, where federal U.S. law prevents much of a presence. Kassia Graham, director of community and strategy for equity advocacy group Cannaclusive, has become a regular user.
“Discord is becoming more popular every day due to the limitations of many social media platforms when it comes to the discussion of cannabis and other ‘vice’ topics,” she said. Today, most social media apps ban or limit cannabis content and accounts due to U.S. federal laws. Graham reports using the app five to seven times a week, exploring cannabis, politics and culture servers and channels. She said she feels freer to talk about cannabis with a great sense of security on Discord.
Others say they enjoy community building through Discord.
“I like how easy it is to find and connect with communities whose interests are similar to mine,” said Wilfred Maina, a Kenya-based cannabis PR professional for the firm NisonCo. He uses Discord daily to connect with professionals and personal interests like Dungeons and Dragons.
Several niche interests have taken off in part thanks to the platform. Discord played a significant role in helping grow the NFT community while also providing a platform for the growing crypto community. Today, many popular NFT communities thrive on Discord, with some using the platform to authenticate purchases.
Business operations have also turned to Discord, especially during the pandemic. Steven Phan, owner of New York City-based CBD retail brand Come Back Daily, used Discord for gaming early on. Over time, he branched out, using it for business conversations and cannabis consumption. He enjoyed the range of topics and ways to connect.
Phan said, “I like that I can do almost everything I need on one platform: video calls, voice calls, and dab.”
Various Cannabis Servers Taking Shape
Compared to gaming, NFTs and other popular topics, cannabis isn’t as well-represented on public Discord servers. Some of the most popular public cannabis servers have between a several dozen and a few thousand members. Many public NFT servers have groups hovering around 1,000 and over 15,000 members.
Despite the low subscriber numbers, new Discord users may want to use these public servers as a jumping-off point into the cannabis conversation. Using tags like ‘cannabis,’ ‘weed’ and ‘marijuana’ can turn up several popular pot servers geared towards cultivation, culture, and miscellaneous plant-related topics. Some of the more well-populated public servers include:
Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Discord servers with fewer enthusiasts can still produce valuable connections and conversations. Smaller groups like Tokin’ Up 3.0 have just 280 members as of May 2022 but had nearly half active.
Maina highlighted two smaller servers, Canna Wiki (69 members) and Grows R Us (over 700 members), as destinations to learn about plant cultivation and care. He finds the discussions valuable and full of “information that’s pretty hard to come by in Kenya because cannabis is pretty taboo.”
Servers may target specific regions of the world. Ryan McHale, a multimedia journalism student at Dublin City University, runs the 800+ person Discord server for Crainn, an Ireland-based organization advocating for cannabis reform and education in the country. On its server, the group discusses cannabis topics specific to the country. Like most other Discords, additional channels deviate from the group’s agenda, providing various places to share memes or discuss other like-minded topics.
McHale compared Discord to Reddit, and said each allowed users to focus on specific interests.
“Discord is definitely rising in popularity, but it certainly seems to be used more so by those who do have a passionate interest,” he said.
Private servers are also popular destinations if you can gain access through purchases or invitations. Some servers are exclusive to cannabis, while others loop in the plant as part of a more robust community. Phan is a part of the Rasta Rabbits NFT server.
“I use their channel to stay up to date on new developments and milestones from the creators/owners of the NFT project,” said Phan, adding that he also belongs to a private server for cannabis cultivators. Additional sources report they are part of private cultivation servers that target certain states or the market at large.
Discord’s growth has companies smelling opportunities as well. Those standing out appear to embrace the community-building spirit. Graham feels cannabis events group ontherevel has done a good job replicating its years of in-person community, building events on its server, which is part of its Dope People community. She credits the group for creating a robust server discussing topics from activism to fashion, though cautions the group largely discusses New York-centric topics. Additional features include weekly expert-led talks.
“It’s all really well organized and very intentional with regards to maintaining contact with industry professionals in between ontherevel’s bespoke events,” said Graham.
She also praised cannabis platform Hybrid‘s server as a source for product drops, networking, and reviews. Calling the vibe “chill and welcoming,” Graham added “It’s a good place for both professionals and consumers to see what’s new in product innovation, and possibly next.”
While cannabis communities aren’t as prominent as gaming or NFTs, cannabis enthusiasts and companies are finding ways to learn and connect. Only time will tell if the plant remains accepted on the platform.
We talk all the time about marijuana vs hemp, but technically, it’s all the same thing. Where there is a distinction in terms of taxonomy, is between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. However, there’s one more to consider in all this, and we don’t hear its name much. What is this third species, Cannabis ruderalis, and what can it do?
There is a 3rd species in the cannabis genus, but we rarely talk about it, even though it’s frequently used. Perhaps Cannabis ruderalis will have a bigger name inthe future. We’re a news site focusing on the cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Keep up with everything by signing up to THC Weekly Newsletter, which puts you first in line for deals on tons of cannabis products, likes vapes, edibles, and other smoking paraphernalia. Plus, get premium access to cannabinoid compounds like delta-8 THC. Please remember, *cannabinoid compounds are not liked by everyone, and we only promote people use products they are comfortable with.
Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa
Let’s start with what we know. We know that Cannabis is a genusunder family name Cannabaceae, and that genera have different species under them. We know that sativa and indica are two species within this genus, which are sometimes considered the same species. When looking at them together, generally just the name Cannabis sativa is used. They are both associated with high-THC, although some plants are also high – or higher – in CBD.
The plants themselves do look different. Indicas grow shorter, and have more dense branches, sativas are taller, with more spread apart branches. Indicas have shorter and broader leaves, while sativas have longer narrower leaves. In terms of psychoactive effects, indica plants are more associated with a body high, pain relief, and anti-anxiety properties, whereas sativa plants create a more cerebral and energetic high. However, some say this distinction doesn’t exist and the differences are only related to compounds like terpenes.
Both indicas and sativas range in the amount of THC and CBD they contain, with each species capable of producing high-THC or high-CBD plants. While ‘hemp’ and ‘marijuana’ are often referred to as two separate species, this is not the case at all. In terms of taxonomy, the classification of the plant doesn’t change based on THC content.
What is Cannabis ruderalis?
Whether indicas and sativas are technically the same species or not, there is a third part to consider. This third part also could be considered its own species, or lumped in with the other two, as a subspecies of sativa. This third species, Cannabis ruderalis, is just as much under the heading of ‘cannabis’, as the other two.
Cannabis ruderalis is native to Central and Eastern Europe, and in Russia and surrounding countries. Ruderalis plants grow smaller than the other two species, rarely topping two feet high. The stalks are thinner and flimsier, with less fiber, and less branching out. The leaves that grow on ruderalis plants are long and thin.
Sativa leaves have nine points, indicas, seven, and ruderalis plants have three main points, with two smaller points. Ruderalis plants are fully grown in 5-7 weeks from seed to harvest, which is a much shorter growing time than indicas or sativas, which require 2-3 months. Ruderalis plants also require no standard light cycle, and flowers grow out of maturity, making it autoflowering by nature.
Ruderalis is hardier than its brothers, and grows in more difficult and colder areas like the Northern Himalayas, or Siberia. It was initially found in 1924 by Russian botanist Dmitrij Janischewsky. At that time Janischewsky created the third species designation on account of its different structure and flowering habits.
Though larger forms of the plant do exist, and have been found in the same areas, the lack of human selection of these plants, have kept them solely acclimated to their own environment. Ruderalis has never had the popularity of its brothers because if its low THC content, which makes it less valuable for recreational and ceremonial use. However, it is often high in CBD. Though it can be used for hemp production, its smaller stature makes it less desirable than the other cannabis species.
Regardless of its low THC content, Cannabis ruderalis is regulated the same as regular cannabis plants, and is not a part of the hemp designation, as that only refers to Cannabis sativa. This acts as an oversight in that ruderalis plants can be a good source of CBD, with a naturally low amount of THC. Nonetheless, unless cannabis is legal for recreational or medical use in a place, use of ruderalis is illegal.
Benefits of Cannabisruderalis
Do we use Cannabis ruderalis at all? The answer is yes, we do, though it’s not well-known to consumers, nor advertised in any way. Ruderalis plants have a few specific attributes that make them good for hybridization with the other cannabis species.
One of the mains attractions, is its ability to autoflower, which is specific to ruderalis only of the cannabis species. Have you ever wondered why you can buy autoflowering indica or sativa seeds? Because they’re hybridized with ruderalis plants for this purpose. Autoflowering makes things easier in general for growers, as it means the plant will leave the vegetation state for the flowering state, on its own. Since it does this within its own time frame, and without regard to light patterns, this attribute makes for the possibility of multiple harvests within a single year.
Ruderalis plants also have great disease and insect resistance, which make for another reason for their hybridization with other cannabis species. This is an aspect of being a ‘ditch weed’ that can grow nearly anywhere. In nature, it shows up in very difficult places to grow, and is able to deal with just about anything.
Its ability to grow in more harsh climates makes it useful too, adding a sturdiness to other sativa and indica plants. Ruderalis seeds are so strong, they can even survive a season in frozen ground. This species is the only cannabis species that naturally grows in cold temperatures.
Cross-breeding with ruderalis plants keeps the new plants a bit smaller. For growing in certain places, like inside, or in a confined area, this can offer benefits as well. Smaller plants are not always preferable, but for some growing situations, the smaller size makes for an easier grow.
The shorter growing season is also an attractive quality for growers, and hybrids are frequently made to access this attribute. C. ruderalis has been crossed with different sativa and indica strains to produce autoflowering plants which are fully mature in 10 weeks. This makes for a substantially shorter growing period than with the other species alone.
Other uses of this species
Cannabis ruderalis makes an appearance in Russian and Mongolian natural medicine traditions, as its known indigenously in these places. It’s lack of THC kept it from being used the same way as sativa or indica plants. Whereas those two species were often employed as aids in ceremonial and ritualistic activities in different cultures, (due to the psychoactive effects), ruderalis is known as a medicine only in history.
Ruderalis strains were apparently hybridized with strains from the company Bedrocan to come up with the medication Bediol. The high CBD concentration of the species makes it good for anxiety patients and epileptics. Ruderalis formulations are also used in medications for cancer, sclerosis, and appetite loss, much like its brother species.
Ruderalis is not studied as much as the other two, and is less frequently directly used. Though it can be useful in medical preparations, and might become more relevant for these uses in the future, it’s main use now is in hybridization for accessing the unique characteristics listed above.
With all the cannabis hype these days, its funny that Cannabis ruderalis has taken such a back seat. As it contains the same general cannabinoids, and can be a high CBD species, the implication is that it has the same general medicinal uses (or similar) as the other species. I wonder if in the future, more will be done with ruderalis on the medical front.
Ruderalis is used more than people probably think, just not directly. The genetics provide ways to make indicas and sativas autoflower, which means having a specific light scheme isn’t necessary. It also can create hybrids that need a shorter growing time, and which can withstand more than other cannabis species in the way of cold weather, pests, and all around lousy growing conditions.
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The High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal: People’s Choice 2022 will be the largest competition held in SoCal in history, with more than 2,200 judge kits and 12 categories.
High Times Cannabis Cups have a long legacy of success in the state of California, and this upcoming People’s Choice event is no exception.
“High Times has hosted the coveted Cannabis Cups in California for many, many years, bringing together cannabis enthusiasts from all over the country and awarding the best products in The Golden State,” said Mark Kazinec, High Times Director, Competitions & Events.
“For People’s Choice Cups, this marks only the second-ever Cup where judging is open to everyone in the Southern California region, bringing in a wider and more diverse pool of judges to crown the best of California. Just last year, we saw hundreds of entries across 10 categories with more diverse strains and products than ever before.
“Connected, Green Dragon, and Sovereign reigned supreme in the flower categories and will be ones to top this year, while Kiva and TONIK proved to be the most effective and delicious edibles amongst the state’s competition. We’re very excited to see legacy brands and new brands alike enter their best for this year’s Cup, with new categories added to the mix.”
California is known as one of the hotbeds in the U.S. for legal weed, even after so many have followed in the legalization footsteps, and the state’s offerings drive this point home.
“In my humble opinion, California still holds the crown for the leader in cannabis in the United States,”Kazinec added. “From Humboldt to Palm Desert, there are so many talented cultivators and processors, and we aim to provide the opportunity for judges to help determine who truly has the best products in various diverse categories that suit consumer tastes.”
For those who are interested in participating as a Judge, be sure to mark your calendars. Judge kits go on-sale May 13 for Loyalty Members and May 14 for General public via High Times Delivery and Retail channels.
We wish the best of luck to all participants!
SoCal Entry Categories:
Indica Flower (3 entries Max per Company)
Sativa Flower (3 entries Max per Company)
Hybrid Flower (3 entries Max per Company)
Pre-Rolls (2 entries Max per Company)
Infused Pre-Rolls (1 entries Max per Company)
Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company)
Non-Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company)
Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries Max per Company) (Category may split)
Edibles: Gummies (3 entries Max per Company)
Edibles: Non-Gummies (3 entries Max per Company)
Edibles: Beverages (2 entries Max per Company)
Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals (3 Entries Max per Company)
Flower: (228) 1-gram samples. We will not accept any 3.5-gram entries. Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (228) samples: Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each; Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at 3g flower or 1g concentrate equivalency each. Concentrates & Vape Pens: (228) 0.5-gram samples. We will not accept any 1-gram entries. Batteries required for carts. Edibles: (100) samples with 100mg THC max Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals: (60) samples with 500mg THC max
1 entry: $500 2 entries: $250 each, for a total of $500 3 or more entries: Fees will be waived