The holidays feel like a time of year tailor made for creating wonderful sensory memories. Be it the comforting aroma of freshly baked gingerbread men wafting over the kitchen or the taste of a stiff eggnog, our various end-of-year celebrations and traditions are often packed with plenty of signature flavors and smells.
Though cannabis may not be on that list for everyone, it is a plant that relies on the very same aromatic compounds at the heart of everything from mistletoe to hot chocolate: terpenes. Today, terpenes are rapidly becoming an everyday part of the modern cannabis consumer vernacular.
Found in the essential oils of a wide variety of different plants, terpenes give cannabis strains their distinctive tastes and smells but also help in the wild by attracting pollinators and repelling invasive species. Secreted by the cannabis plant’s trichome glands, terpenes also offer any number of potential health benefits, including promising anti-inflammatory properties as well as relief from pain and anxiety.
Of course, that all depends on the terpene. Given there are over 150 of them found in cannabis alone, pinpointing precisely which terpenes can do what remains, with respect to the progress that has been made, an ongoing effort.
Fortunately, when it comes to the specific smells and tastes one can expect, we’ve gotten things down to a science. For instance, we now know that those who think of the holidays and immediately get a whiff of a pine tree echoing through their nostrils owe a debt of gratitude to pinene.
Regarded as the most common terpene in the natural world, pinene is a popular tool in aromatherapy and the pivotal player behind what we commonly refer to as “Christmas tree smell.” In fact, that particular scent has become so beloved that we now buy it by the bottleful to spray in our homes. If you are one of the many who wistfully smiles whenever a pinene-powered burst of pine hits your nose, you may be pleased to learn that this terpene also features prominently in many cannabis strains.
A terpene shared with the likes of orange peels, rosemary, parsley, turpentine, basil, pine needles, dill, and conifer trees, pinene can be found in notable amounts in such cannabis strains as Jack Herer, SFV OG, Sugar Pine and OG Ringo. Each of these four selections is renowned for their hearty notes of pine, which it should be noted will not necessarily be the case simply because a strain is packed with pinene. Instead, it is the presence of all the terpenes in a strain which work together to create a strain’s signature sensory characteristics.
In celebration of the holidays and the surplus of pine trees currently pleasing our sniffers, let’s take a closer look at four strains ready to deliver the evergreen all year round. As a bonus, we’ve paired each strain with a suggested holiday gift for any last-minute shopping on your list!
Undisputed as a legend of the game, Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant strain named for the activist and author of the seminal “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” Featuring a hybrid of Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk, this strain is known for having a pine-forward, spicy quality that consumers love almost as much as its corresponding effects, which tend to induce a focused, uplifting high. Grab a jar of Jack Herer and pair it with a copy of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” for an inspiring combo gift!
Southern California’s San Fernando Valley is the birthplace of SFV OG, a hybrid descendant of OG Kush that delivers big on pain relief but isn’t known for being overly potent. The terpene expression in this strain is rich with notes of pine and lemon, leading some to refer to its resulting taste as being akin to Lemon Pledge (but in a good way). Popular with those seeking relief from physical symptoms, SFV OG should be a mainstay in any showcase devoted to strains that bring the Christmas tree heat. Try pairing a gift of this flower with another SoCal-specific item (you can’t go wrong with merch from Pink’s Hot Dogs) for a geographically themed twofer.
With a name that sounds like a ski resort nestled in the Sierras, Sugar Pine is the result of decades of crosses and tinkering. The worthwhile payoff is a hybrid strain featuring genetics from Skunk, Sugar Bush, Afghani, and Sweetie. That’s quite the eclectic crew, which makes its ensuing flavor profile — a fragrant bouquet of sweet pine, vanilla, and hops — such a unique delight. With a name like Sugar Pine, it seems only fitting that any gift of this soothing, yet enlivening, strain should come with a home baked confection. Pair Sugar Pine with a tray of cookies straight from your oven and you’ve got the perfect present for anyone who loves both cannabis and sweets.
Another relative of the OG Kush clan, OG Ringo is named not for the Beatle but rather Lawrence Ringo: a famed CBD breeder and activist. Regardless, the headline here is OG Ringo’s potent, high-THC payoff in the form of its long-lasting euphoric effects as well as its earthy, musky aroma, highlighted once more by notes of sweet pine. This holiday season, it’s actually possible to give a loved one the gift of multiple Ringos when you combine a jar of Ringo OG with a subscription to Disney+, which is currently streaming a critically acclaimed new, three-part documentary on the Beatles!
Breaking open a Chocolope flower brings up memories of a summer afternoon, the smell of sunkissed blackberries and their entangled vines growing slightly overripe in the late August heat. While the strain itself doesn’t have a distinct berry aroma, a subtle sweetness is blanketed by a familiar herbal warmth.
Lightened by a pepper-like sharpness, the fragrance of this strain is inviting. Upon looking at the flower, it’s amazing that this simple herb can project such an attention-grabbing aroma. The bud features unassuming pine-tree shape and an airy texture, a surprising vehicle for thousands of glittering resin glands. Yet, it is this welcoming scent that provides the first glimpse into the seductive nature of Chocolope.
The Chocolope High
Chocolope provides a contented kind of happiness. Far from the zippy shot of espresso it is made out to be, this cannabis plant presents a subtle boost of mental energy in a calm and peaceful manner.
This gentle awakening makes the plant a great selection for those hoping to mindfully work through a daytime project. However, the herb also has a silly side. Chocolope offers a smooth cocktail-bar attitude that can mellow just about anyone’s day.
As with all cannabis strains, however, the overall experience this plant inspires is influenced by your current environment and state of mind. Those who are prone to anxiety may find the high-THC experience of this strain overwhelming, especially when placed in uncomfortable situations.
While high THC strains like this one can get out of hand if you consume too much, even cultivars that produce upwards of 20 percent of the psychoactive can still provide very soothing experiences.
Chocolope itself has a reputation for its potency, the flower among many contemporary strains that boast over the 20 percent mark. Yet, there’s no reason to fret. This simply means that consumers can still achieve a notable psychoactive experience with less flower.
Chocolope Strain Background
Chocolope may have debuted back in the 1980s, but this plant is certainly never out of style. The brainchild of the talented Dutch gardeners at DNA Genetics, the cultivar is a nearly pure sativa mashup of Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze.
The former is a landrace strain native to Thailand which took the world by storm back in the 1960s, providing flower children of all types with an energetic and thought-provoking cannabis experience. Cannalope Haze is another DNA Genetics creation, with a lineage that spans a very different region of the globe: Mexico.
Featuring genetics from the Michoacán region in central Mexico, Cannalope Haze is also considered a nearly-pure sativa cultivar. The plant has a reputation for producing high levels of THC and inspiring a notable sensation of bodily relaxation. Both traits are also present in Chocolope, though the spirited offspring errs more cerebral than grounded.
Chocolope Strain Benefits
When looking for the cannabis strain that best suits you, following your nose almost always leads to success. While most cannabis strains can produce THC, CBD, or some variation of both, it’s the aroma molecules in the plant that distinguish the nuances between different cultivars.
While molecules may not sound very exciting, peeking into the unique chemistry of Chocolope provides some important details about the sativa strain. In laboratory tests, Chocolope showed moderate levels of the terpene fragrance molecules humulene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene, all molecules that offer a sweet and spicy fragrance to the Chocolope strain.
The science is still out regarding just how compounds in the plant interact with one another in the human body. However, researchers already have some ideas about some of the benefits these compounds might provide.
Bright-scented beta-caryophyllene may be beneficial for easing inflammation and calming anxiety. Musky myrcene, on the other hand, lends a hypnotic quality to many strains. Its this molecule that is partially responsible for relaxing the muscles and lulling consumers into a dreamy state of mind.
Humulene is another inflammation-fighting compound, offering an herbal aroma similar to hops. This delicate bouquet may contribute to the analgesic and stress-relieving properties the Chocolope strain reportedly provides. However, it is difficult to say with any certainty. Regardless, break out this plant for moments of uplifting calm throughout the day.
Forbidden Fruit is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s fastest rising strain stars. San Francisco gave us Girl Scout Cookies, the East Bay gave us Granddaddy Purple — and now the South Bay can stake a claim to having one of the hottest strains on the scene by a mile. It was tough to track down the breeder of the now-famous strain, so tough that it felt like he was actually putting effort into not getting too much credit for Forbidden Fruit.
“It’s just not really a big deal like that,” says Joseph of Chameleon Extracts, the Santa Clara, California-based breeder behind Forbidden Fruit. “It’s not going to change anything in life, you know what I mean?”
With the plant pollinated, Joseph was off to the races. The first wave of the propagation began with 37 phenotypes, which Joseph says leaned heavily toward the Tangie side of its genetics. Despite the number of test subjects, Joseph was immediately able to narrow it down to one winning phenotype.
“The one that we ended up keeping was purple from the beginning and that was how we ended up keeping the first one,” Joseph says. “Out of the 37, it was the only one showing any color at all. There was a couple that maybe smelled a little better, but it had that visual appeal I knew people would enjoy. But it tastes like Tangie all the way through. It had the Pie look, it just tasted like Tangie.”
From what Joseph understands, he was able to score a batch of seeds from Jigga’s Cherry Pie with a stroke of luck — some other cultivators had a falling out and gifted him the Cherry Pie seeds in the resulting break up. The Chameleon Extracts team popped 30 seeds and narrowed it down to one stunning Cherry Pie plant, the first they’d had in their possession.
“Then I acquired the cut of Tangie and the rest is history,” Joseph told us. “The Tangie we got is super special. There are a lot of people who don’t like it because they think it’s fake terpenes when we extract it.”
The mother Tangie plant behind Forbidden Fruit has been a cherished family cut of the folks at Crockett Family Farms for over a decade and the original genetics trace back to the mid-1990s. This Cali-O x Skunk cross continues to make waves, especially as the world of extracts caught up to its terpene profile. The fruity aroma of the Tangie is easily one of the most identifiable out there.
Forbidden Fruit was the first strain Chameleon Extracts would produce with their star Cherry Pie genetics. Today, Chameleon has a house purple strain that seems nothing like the purples that have come before it. When smoked, the strain’s fruity aroma results in a nice cerebral buzz and a satisfying body high, free of the couch lock one might presume would come from this vigorous of a purple.
In Joseph’s opinion, the amount of Tangie grown in previous harvest seasons has been pretty overwhelming, making a Tangie cross a potentially bold move. “Too much Tangie!” he said with a laugh. “I actually backcrossed it with the Cherry Pie two more times to try and just dumb it down a little and get a little more of that potency behind it. Because when we first made it you wouldn’t get stoned at all.” Joseph believes that these backcrosses also provided for a new subtle cherry aftertaste in the strain’s smoke.
When the Forbidden Fruit entered the cannabis landscape, Joseph immediately faced claims questioning the legitimacy of his genetics on Instagram. And it was difficult for Joseph to respond, given that his Instagram has been deleted four times. “It’s under @Extractosdecamaleon now,” he says. “They kept deleting it, so I put everything in Spanish.”
But Joseph says that the truth about how his new prized genetics got out into the public realm is that his cut fell into the wrong hands. “Everyone I originally gave the cut to was on the up-and-up,” he says. “Then I took it to a secret sesh one time and I gave away one plant to one person who shouldn’t have gotten it. And that was the end of it all.”
We mentioned to Joseph that on a few occasions, we’d seen less than top-shelf versions of Forbidden Fruit — one cannabis competition in 2017 even had subpar versions featured at four different booths. Joseph says he knows exactly what other cultivators are doing wrong.
“The genetics are so strong that you don’t have to push it,” he says. “And everybody is pushing their PPMs [nutrient levels] so high that it’s actually stunting the growth. I hate saying it, but it’s kind of a Blue Dream in that you can literally throw it in the ground and hit it with a garden hose and you’re going to be extremely happy with the end results.”
The problem is that most experienced growers are pushing the plants so far that they have trouble scaling it back. “They always think that pushing the plant more is the answer and it’s not,” says Joseph. “It’s a really easy plant to grow. It doesn’t over-veg. It keeps a nice shell. The nugs are nice and tight. It’s just a matter of not doing too much.”
With its biggest year on the books yet, you should definitely keep your eye out for Forbidden Fruit — and hope your grower didn’t overfeed it.
Lineage: Tangie X Cherry Pie Profile: 75% Indica Flowering Time: 8-9 Weeks
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE
TELL US, have you been hearing the hype about Forbidden Fruit?
Aroma is one of the strongest memory triggers in nature. The smell of a certain perfume can remind you instantly of a friend who always wore the same scent. Without realizing it, scent can shift your thinking and transport you into a different state of mind. Such is the case with the Sunset Blue cannabis strain, which immediately fills the nose with a sharp pine scent.
A true forest flower, breaking open a bud releases sweet fragrances of blueberry and woodland fruits. Mellow and fragrant, this herb provides an excellent alternative to a walk in the woods if you’re stuck inside all day.
The Sunset Blue High
When relaxation is in order, some cannabis strains are better than others. Those who partake in the herb regularly will likely appreciate the smooth and calming experience the Sunset Blue strain offers her consumers. While perhaps a little slow to kick in, a calm relaxation warms the chest and lungs. This sense of physical ease echoes through the limbs, easing away aches and muscle stiffness.
Excellent for winding down, this flower is the type of plant you’d want around after a long day at work. Unlike many cannabis flowers, however, this strain isn’t the type to promote laziness. Instead, the Sunset Blue high provides a blanketing state of calm that makes it easy to find pleasure in the most mundane activities. Fair warning, though: this strain might make it difficult to concentrate. While those feeling energetic may have enough attentive powers to push through tasks with this flower, Sunset Blue would make a better selection for anyone hoping to finish up some evening chores or spend the night posted up with a funny movie, friends, and family.
It’s all about the craft hybrids these days. With a dusted green coloration with hints of purple, it’s easy to see why this strain can quickly garner top-shelf status. A mix of Sunset Sherbet and Blue City Diesel, this decadent flower is a high THC producer, boasting over 23 percent of this compound.
Sunset Sherbet is a contemporary flower that grew in popularity over the course of 2017. A member of the Cookies family line, the plant is a cross between the famous Girl Scout Cookies and Pink Panties. The former is a high-potency hybrid known for its ability to produce both a powerful body relaxation and a strong euphoric emotion. The latter, Pink Panties, is an indica-dominant plant with Kush genetics.
Blue City Diesel is another well-known plant, crossing the Blueberry stain with NYC Diesel. Fragrant, this plant is known to produce a mouth-watering sweet berry taste and aroma. Its offspring, Sunset Blue, is offered by Northwest Cannabis Solutions, the plant is considered an indica-dominant hybrid. Expect a tight bud structure from this plant, with a frosted trichome coating and wily orange pistillate hairs.
The cannabis plant is a growing pharmacy. The herb can produce over 400 different phytochemicals, and early science suggests that many of them have medical value. However, thanks to decades of legal restrictions on growing and cultivating the herb, few cannabis compounds have been studied with enough fervor to make meaningful medical claims.
Still, just because they haven’t been found yet doesn’t mean that the benefits consumers describe are not real.
As a high-THC cannabis flower, the Sunset Blue strain may be helpful to those who struggle with nausea, vomiting, and the inability to maintain appetite. Already, synthetic versions of THC are available to some patients battling with these symptoms. This man-made version is available as a pharmaceutical drug. Sunset Blue, however, provides a natural source of the psychoactive compound.
Slightly sedative in nature, Sunset Blue may also be a valuable selection for those searching for a little extra help falling asleep. Relaxing without overpowering the consumer, this strain has a knack for easing consumers into a calm and relaxed state.
Like all high-THC strains, there are a few words of caution before partaking in Sunset Blue. In low to moderate doses, THC has been found to reduce stress and ease anxiety. In larger doses, however, the mind-bending plant compound may actually trigger more stress and discomfort. For best results with Sunset Blue, enjoy this herb in moderation.
Over the last few years, Gage Green Group’s flagship strain, Mendo Breath, has found its way into the gardens of some of the best growers in the world.
It all started when Gage Green Group hit the market in 2010 with its initial lineup that included Mendo Montage, Blackberry Pie and an array of G13 Skunk crosses.
From the beginning, the cultivation group organized itself around the philosophy that cannabis can be creative and joyful. They named themselves after “gage,” the word that legendary musicians like Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller used to refer to cannabis.
“The herb has brought countless people renewed creativity and joy,” the Gage Green Group explains on its website. “We cultivate inspiration through growing the finest gage.”
When it came to forming the California-based company, internet forums served as the catalyzing force for the creative partnership behind the Mendo Breath phenomenon.
“I have to give kudos to a guy I met on Craigslist back in 2007 who goes by Jojo Rizo,” Jeff of Gage Green said. “He was big on all those old boards. He was just very renowned for trying new things and working with ruderalis and landraces and he really had some good gear.”
Jeff and Jojo became friends and began trading genetics. Auspicious circumstances — Jeff had a mishap in his garden at the same time Jojo’s wife wanted him to thin out the pack — meant Jeff ended up with a large piece of Jojo’s prized collection of genetics.
“He gave me like 14 different purples, landrace seeds,” Jeff said. The lineup Jeff acquired included Mendo Purple, Killer Queen and Crystal Locomotive. Each was exceptional in its own right. Jojo told Jeff that breeding is where he was going to have the most fun, but warned him to be prepared for the challenges ahead.
Jeff started the first breeding project from those donated cuts in Oakland, California. Not long after, he dropped the first batch of Grape Stomper seeds.
The next big project involved crossing Jojo’s hyper-elite Mendo Purps cut with Crystal Locomotive. The Crystal Locomotive was a cross between Trainwreck and Aloha White Widow. When the Mendo Purps and Crystal Locomotive were paired, Jeff got a strain that he named Mendo Montage.
Jeff went on to cross Mendo Montage with various other winners for a few years. Finally, in 2012, Jeff and the Gage Green team began work on the Mendo Breath line.
In the earliest part of the project, the breeders only crossed one plant, resulting in a handful of seeds. They began to pop the seeds with their partner on the project, NorCal, a popular breeder on the forums back in the day and now the patriarch of NorCal Genetics. NorCal popularized OGKB, his own Cherry Pie Kush cut, and gave a cut of the strain to the Gage Green team. They were the only other people who had it besides him.
“We pretty much created Mendo Breath and Grateful Breath out of that collaboration,” Michael of Gage Green said.
In that first batch, NorCal’s OGKB female was pollinated by a Mendo Montage F1 male that would find its way into many of their crosses. They called that plant “the four-star male,” as he had already been a proven winner for them before they got their hands on the OGKB cut.
After splitting up the roughly 50 seeds in the Mendo Breath F1 stock with NorCal, the Gage Green team discovered multiple winners. As they went through both sets, killer moms and dads appeared, primed to take Mendo Breath forward.
They ended up with five star females that were at the top of the pack and cut the males down to one winner. This parentage line has gone into numerous strains in recent years like the Benevolence and Breath Work #1. They also, of course, bred the Mendo Breath F2 they would release to the public in 2013.
When this popular generation of Mendo Breath hit the market, it quickly established itself as unique for its gassy edge, topped by other aromas uncommon in purple strains.
“It definitely has gas,” said Michael of Gage Green. “The Mendo Montage is why Mendo Breath is not like any of the other [strains closely related to it] — Cherry Pie Kush, OGKB, whatever you want to call it. It’s kind of unique. It doesn’t taste like everybody else’s crosses.”
Michael’s reasoning is that the Mendo Montage side of Mendo Breath’s genetics — all the selection time and experience that has gone into each of its ingredients — is what allows Mendo Breath to shine better than other OGKB cross attempts.
Jeff said he can detect the purples coming through as a background flavor and he believed the resin quality was a result of the Aloha White Widow traits popping up. He called it the frostiest strain he’d ever seen.
Now, five years since that first public drop of Mendo Breath, Jeff spoke on seeing it in the gardens of some of the top cultivators on the planet.
“I think it’s incredible,” Jeff said. “It’s really nice to see the way people stack up some of the things you have done.”
Michael said that a sign of Mendo Breath’s new prominence is the number of growers who look to the strain as a cornerstone.
“You see people will have their main phenos, and Mendo Breath is like one out of five of them,” Michael said. “That, I think, is a really awesome statement to where and how far we’ve come.”
When the strain was just in their personal group, it felt like a team effort, but when the seeds got out, it turned into a community project, Michael said.
Today, the Gage Green team says they think other cultivators are doing a great job with Mendo Breath. Like most growers, the Gage Green team are very selective over the cannabis they choose to consume. Just because the jar has their strain’s name on it doesn’t mean they are going to puff it. That being said, the team said a lot of the Mendo Breath they’ve seen in the wild has been outstanding.
“There are going to be seeds that don’t come out good, that’s just part of every pheno hunt,” Michael said. “But honestly the Mendo Breath hits really well, and every variation of it has come out really unique. They’ve all been just beyond our expectations. We’re proud to see where it is.”
If you’ve ever traveled around the countryside, the occasional smell of skunk as you pass tree-rimmed farmland may not bring back the fondest memories. Yet, that otherwise putrid aroma is transformed into something truly enjoyable in the Dark Star strain.
Breaking open a dense, lime-colored flower releases a striking scent of forest earth. An almost acid-like sweetness tickles the nose, offering the first hint as to this plants’ teasing psychoactive nature.
The Dark Star High
Some cannabis flowers are upbeat and giggly, while others are more collected and contented. The Dark Star strain is akin to the latter, inspiring a slow and soothing physical high. After a few tastes of this pungent bud, a creeping relaxation sends a comfortable, vibrating energy through the chest and limbs.
The strain is a little on the sedative side, therefore it is not uncommon to feel that tension in your face and around the eyes dissipate. Dark Star might inspire some heavy eyelids, allowing you to let go of stress you weren’t aware that you were carrying. Understated, yet inviting, this plant is an evening flower that would make an excellent companion for post-dinner relaxation.
However, as with all psychoactive substances, the plant often acts more as an enhancer than a catalyst for radical change.
If you’re having a bad day, for example, a few tastes of the earthy Dark Star can help you unwind and kick back. Yet, the plant does not provide an instantaneous route to happiness or good health. Rather, the herb may simply lend a helping hand toward these goals when consumed with the right mindset and in the right environment.
Dark Star Strain Background
Breeders at T.H. Seeds are the geniuses behind Dark Star. An excellent flower for growers in wet climates, this strain was created with mold and mildew resistance in mind.
A cross between Purple Kush and Mazar I Sharif, this plant doubles down on indica genetics. While strains in the indica category are not always the sedative, couch-locking flowers they are made out to be, Dark Star certainly fits the bill.
With a dense bud structure and peaking purple coloration, this flower is a proud representation of its lineage. Purple Kush is considered a pure indica flower with Northern Californian roots, while Mazar I Sharif is a less common find with its origins rumored to be from the Northern Afghanistan.
The combination produces a stalky plant with high yields and substantial amounts of rich trichomes. Lab tests have revealed that the herb boasts upwards of 16 percent THC. This doesn’t make Dark Star the most noteworthy flower on the shelf, but don’t underestimate this plant’s potency.
Dark Star Strain Benefits
At this point most are aware that there’s much more to cannabis than THC percentage. Cannabis can produce upwards of 400 different chemical compounds known as terpenes.
Myrcene, a musk-scented molecule that is more commonly found in lemongrass, may have muscle relaxant and hypnotic properties, that give Dark Star a sedative effect.
Beta-caryophyllene, which gives a pepper-like aroma to cannabis flowers, is not as sedative as myrcene, but it is thought to have relaxing and anxiolytic effects.
Combined with the potential muscle-relaxant properties of myrcene, this flower is one mellow lady. This herb is likely best for those who need both mental and physical relief from stress. So, it is perhaps best saved for the evening.
Dusted with a glittering layer of golden trichomes, the Pink Lemonade strain is endowed with a mystical appearance that embodies everything curious, attractive, and intriguing about cannabis flowers. Tightly bound calyxes dazzle with a bouquet of pink, violet, and sage coloration.
Cracking open one of these flowers emits a comfortable herbal aroma. A burst of crispness teases the nose, somewhat akin to the tart fizz in a carbonated cherry drink. This dessert-like aroma nicely compliments a definite happy hour high. Calm, relaxed, and downright chill, Pink Lemonade is a true afternoon delight.
The Pink Lemonade High
Put on some chill beats and pour yourself a nice drink. This plant is smooth, easy, and well-rounded. If inhaling Pink Lemonade feels like the first meaningful breath you’ve taken all day, you might be pleasantly surprised as a subtle relaxation works its way along the limbs and through the muscles.
There’s no doubt about it–this plant is a go-to strain for mellowing out. While often described as thoughtful and creative, the herb is better suited to leisure activities than it is serious concentration.
While solo consumers may enjoy putting on some Netflix after a little of this plant, it’s peaceful and contented nature is ideal for social gatherings. Spending time with friends may always be fun, but it’s easy to sit back enjoy a pleasant conversation after a few tastes of Pink Lemonade.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that cannabis affects everyone differently. The herb tends to be a mood enhancer rather than an instant remedy for happiness. If you are in an easygoing and relaxed environment, expect even more mellow after enjoying a little bud. If you’ve been having a bad day, strains like Pink Lemonade may provide relief by softening negative emotions and making them more tolerable.
Pink Lemonade Strain Background
Today’s cannabis market is truly a craft one. To say that the lack of federal recognition of the herb is problematic is an understatement. However, one benefit of state-by-state legalization is the development of truly local, expertly crafted products.
Pink Lemonade is a superb example of such a flower. There are many renditions of Pink Lemonade out there, yet the particular version pictured is a cross between two contemporary hybrids, Lemon Cheesecake and Huckleberry Soda.
Each parent strain is exceptional in its own right. Lemon Cheesecake is a sativa-dominant flower with a sour cream aroma and substantial THC production. Huckleberry Soda is a craft hybrid from Annunkanki Genetics, an intriguing cross between two hybrids, Black Cherry Soda and Huckleberry Hound.
Pink Lemonade Strain Benefits
As a craft flower, Pink Lemonade was arguably bred more for enjoyment than serious medical potential. It’s frosted pink buds dazzle the beholder, showcasing the fact that this plant is truly a treat. However, this gorgeous flower isn’t all looks.
The flower produces upwards of 25 percent THC. This means that the plant may be useful to those who benefit from high-THC therapies. Those interested in making a full-extract oil, hash, or other forms of concentrates may also enjoy experimenting with this sugary herb.
This plant is not too energizing nor is it overly sedative. However, those hoping for a little extra help falling asleep at night may find the flower helpful. The relaxed flower may also be beneficial for anxious individuals in search of a social lubricant.
However, the high-THC content in Pink Lemonade can inspire the opposite effect in some people. Bottom line: if you are prone to social anxiety or often respond poorly to THC, this potent flower is likely not the best choice.
The superb cookies genetics from California are simply too good not to develop a couple of sublime hybrids from. That’s why T.H.Seeds, the company responsible for the popular French Cookies strain, released the Cookies cross French Macaron, consisting of Gelato 33 x French Cookies. In search of an appropriate breeding partner, T.H.Seeds paired up with the Cookie Family, whose Gelato 33 is a delicious hybrid of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (a special GSC phenotype) and Sunset Sherbet (Girl Scout Cookies x Pink Panties). And with French Cookies having been developed by T.H.Seeds from a bag seed found in original GSC flowers, there’s a damn lot of Girl Scout Cookies contained in French Macaron!
As you probably are aware, a macaron is a French meringue-based pastry made from almond flour, available in diverse colors. So for a Cookies-dominant variety, this is a very suitable name that also implies that it produces very colorful plants. In addition, fittingly, French Macaron was bred in France by the French department of T.H.Seeds. This new indica-dominant plant brings together some of the best traits of the parental strains, such as the dense, tightly clustered, resin-dripping buds of French Cookies. With 500-600 grams per square meter (g/m2), yields are above average. The plants need to be flowered for nine weeks for such opulent results, but patience will pay off as the strain can potentially achieve heights of 35-45 inches. Comme il faut for a French gourmet treat, French Macaron offers both an exquisitely complex and unusual aroma merging notes of gas, musk and cream, “reminiscent of a sweet, creamy dessert,” raves T.H.Seeds about its creation, which is expected to elicit creativity and happiness. At the Expogrow 2017 fair in Spain, French Macaron instantly carried away the victory in the indica category, causing quite a stir shortly after its release.
For our report, we entrusted cultivation duties to the Doc, who happily took care of this new Cookies strain from T.H.Seeds. Two feminized seeds were germinated and quickly popped open. After a bit more than two and a half days, the two seedlings showed up above the ground. In their three weeks of vegetative stage, they displayed a decidedly indica-leaning growth pattern by becoming stocky and bushy, with tight internodal stacking, fairly wide leaves and thick main stems. Ultimately, they hadn’t grown beyond heights of 10 and 11 inches when the Doc moved them into flowering. “They’re beautifully uniform so far, just as is typical of T.H.Seeds,” he noted of his French Macarons.
Both plants revealed a willingness to bloom at just one week after having switched to a 12/12-hour light/dark photoperiod, and the Doc detected female pre-flowering. In the following weeks, they were stretching about two and half times their vegetative height, while still maintaining a bushy appearance. After four weeks of flowering, the Doc reported: “Still two absolutely homogeneous plants. There’s been dynamic outward side-branch growth, and they are meanwhile sprinkled with young, roundish flower heads, which, thanks to a very early resin-gland onset, are already enticingly glistening. Really looking great! And as we all know, weight gain will be on the agenda in flowering weeks four to six.”
A Carnival of Colors
Two weeks later, the Doc confirmed that “the plants got thick and also immensely resinous! The indica dominance is also reflected now by the shape of the flowers, as they are fat and bulbous.” Having been completely green in the vegetative stage, the two French Macaron plants now displayed a varied range of colors. Some of the older shade leaves turned purple to red in part or entirely, and with maturity drawing nearer, yellow was added to the mix, partly in an attractive striped pattern. The upper quarter of one plant turned completely purple, including the buds, while the other one was predominantly purple. According to the Doc, “These plants have put a multicolored garment on, oh so lovely! It’s one explosion of colors, as if they were celebrating carnival. And then there’s this massive silvery-white trichome coating on the calyxes, sugar leaves and partly even the shade leaves—what a drop-dead gorgeous view! Smell-wise, they’re matching T.H.Seeds’ description, exuding a heavy, sweetish and slightly tangy bouquet the distinguishing elements of which are gas and musk.”
Ripeness Comes Early
The two French Macaron plants had become almost identically tall at heights of a bit over two feet. To the Doc’s surprise, they turned ripe five days ahead of schedule—instead of on day 63, he could pull out his scissors on day 58 and cut his fully mature beauties up into their rock-hard flowering parts. That made the doyen of indoor growing enthuse, “That’s a rare case—the plants have finished almost one week earlier than officially stated and nevertheless are of jaw-dropping quality!” But also in terms of quantity, the French Macaron plant amazed the Doc: Their dry yields together amounted to a bodacious 178 grams—almost 90 grams per plant. “A fantastic achievement, given that relatively small plant size,” the Doc explained.
Consuming French Macaron
In their dry form, most of the buds had a bluish-violet appearance, overlaid by a now even more awesome looking frosting of resin with a white glow. “This stunning look almost had me drooling out of my mouth,” swooned the Doc before he grinded a French Macaron nugget for a vaporization test. It almost felt as though he’d get high from the super-heavy, pungent odor alone that was rising up, as that heavy sweet-and-tarty fragrance had further thickened over the drying process and now seemed like a concentrate to him. The olfactory sensation continued when he took his first puff off the vaporizer—the highly aromatic vapor covered his entire mouth in flavor molecules, leaving a long-lasting spicy-sweetish aftertaste. Exclaimed the Doc: “Delicious! This full-mouth taste reminds me of a good cigar.” Three deeply inhaled drafts were enough to make him feel the effect of French Macaron. It was as if someone had started to hypnotize him: He stared into space, zoned out and, after two more vapor clouds, drifted into a trance-like state, letting loose physically, too. Sorrows and stress completely melted away, and this mental and physical feeling of total ease made for a sense of overwhelming happiness and contentment arising from deep within him.
Of course he loved this state of mind and decided to listen to the “Classical music for dreaming” Spotify playlist via headphones, which was a perfect match, indulging his senses and further deepening his state of meditation that lasted for more than two hours.
“French Macaron undoubtedly is another stroke of genius by T.H.Seeds,” the Doc summarized. “These Cookies-dominant genetics offer a bewitching play of colors, high yields, and a top-notch taste and effect, leaving nothing more to be desired!”
After his buddy Dockie had great experiences with strains from Dinafem Seeds in recent years, Ellis D. wanted to grow some out as well. He was particularly curious about the CBD strain collection created by the Spanish seed bank, and since Dockie had grown Dinafem’s Original Amnesia and Amnesia Kush, Ellis D. chose Amnesia CBD from the company’s comprehensive assortment. Being an ardent sativa lover, Ellis D. wondered how well Dinafem had managed to transfer the outstanding qualities of Original Amnesia in terms of effect and aroma to its CBD version.
Of course, due to the lower THC and higher CBD content, the potency level would be reduced. This is actually appreciated by medical users who aren’t seeking heavy psychoactive effects or by others who prefer milder cannabis. On average, Amnesia CBD’s 8 percent THC level is slightly outweighed by a 10 percent CBD count. According to Dinafem, this strain reliably performs with a THC/ CBD ratio of at least 1:1.
The high CBD content of Amnesia CBD was achieved by crossing the original Amnesia with the CBD-rich Dancehall strain created by Reggae Seeds. Dinafem bought thousands of seeds from Reggae Seeds as well as the right to use the strain for breeding projects. From that batch of Dancehall seeds, Dinafem’s breeders selected specimens with particularly strong CBD profiles to breed CBD versions of some of their best regular strains.
Amnesia CBD (60 percent sativa and 40 percent indica) is a fairly tall-growing plant with the ability to produce big yields-indoors up to 550 grams per square meter and outdoors up to 1.1 kilogram per plant. Under artificial light, it needs 60-65 flowering days to mature. Under natural light, it finishes around mid-October. Just like its mother Amnesia, it drips with resin, plentifully bestrewn with trichomes. Taste-and smell-wise, Amnesia CBD produces a distinct spicy haze note complemented by hints of lemon and sweet fruits. Dinafem describes its moderate effects as stimulating and inspiring, causing a feeling of breezy cheerfulness that alleviates stress and enhances one’s daily activities. Under the influence of Amnesia CBD, one tends to socialize and enjoy a night out.
Two Amnesia CBD seeds were germinated by Ellis D. in small pots covered with cling film. Both seedlings emerged within three days. After three weeks of vegetative growth, they’d evolved into compact, well-branched plants with dark-green shade leaves, their thin-fingered shape typical of sativa-dominant genetics.
The stem-elongation effect revealed by the plants in the early stage of flowering was stronger than Ellis D. expected. The stretch lasted almost five weeks into flowering with the plants almost tripling in size. At an early stage, it became apparent that Amnesia CBD would exhibit a high calyx-to-leaf ratio as an immense number of white hairs were emerging from the young buds. Resin glands also made an early appearance, and after less than three weeks of flowering the flowers began to twinkle auspiciously.
The flowering stage lasted a bit longer than stated by Dinafem. Instead of 60-65 days, the two Amnesia CBD plants took 69 and 72 days to fully ripen, but yielded 81.2 and 93.8 grams of dry buds, respectively.
Of course, what Ellis D. couldn’t tell from their appearance was the amount of CBD those buds contained. But he believed that testing the Amnesia CBD flowers in his Mighty vaporizer would give him a rough idea, so he placed half a gram in the device’s chamber and, after it heated up, put the nozzle to his lips and inhaled deeply.
The Amnesia CBD vapor felt silky soft when it went down into his lungs, where he kept it for a while to get an optimum effect. In his mouth, it left a tangy, hazy sweetness with a long finish, which prompted him to praise Amnesia CBD as “a most delicious gourmet weed of which one instantly wants to taste more.” Already, the first toke had slightly enhanced his sensory perception. His eyes, previously bleary from a long computer session, immediately opened wide again, and after the second toke they were turbocharged, alert and focused, like the eyes of an eagle with prey in its sights.
There was a fresh, tingling sativa drive at work, providing an invigorating effect, both physically and mentally. After four tokes, Ellis D. had enough for the time being as he felt elated. His inner sun had risen, painting a happy smile on his face and conjuring nice thoughts in his brain. There it was again, that mentally stabilizing effect of cannabidiol that can make one feel unshakable. While that peppy sativa drive was gone after about 20 minutes, Ellis D. still felt harmoniously balanced one hour after his first vaporizer session. When he switched the vaporizer on again, he took six tokes as it was the second round and the weed was no longer pristine. But the effect was still stimulatory and incited him to put on his rollerblades and cruise around outside.
“Amnesia CBD is a lovely CBD-rich strain with a very pleasant, activating, mood-lifting and balancing effect,” concluded Ellis D., “a beneficial and flavorful medicine not only applicable for habitual cannabis users. Also, hor-ticulturally, this super-hazy CBD powerhouse has fully convinced me, thanks to its easy management and ample yields. Altogether, I’ve experienced a dazzling Dinafem Seeds strain premiere in my growroom! There surely is a lot more to come…”
Today’s world of cannabis strains is almost unimaginable without the ubiquitous Cheese strain. From a genetic point of view, it’s actually an old acquaintance as it evolved from the “mother of all indoor strains,” the legendary Skunk #1. In the late 1980s, a grower in South East England selected a highly special genotype that had supposedly undergone a spontaneous mutation, gaining enhanced powers. He preserved it as a cutting, and via the Exodus home-growing group this cutting was spread all over England from 1995 on.
Dinafem Seeds managed to get hold of a genuine Exodus Cheese cutting and brought it into seed form by means of sophisticated breeding techniques. Then the company not only put the pure Cheese on the market as a seed strain, but also created and marketed hybrids such as Blue Cheese and Critical Cheese.
However, Dinafem breeders thought that a sublime variety like Cheese should also be available for lightweight smokers who cannot handle a strong cannabis high or simply don’t need it-for people who strive to benefit from the medicinal blessings of the cannabis plant without getting totally spaced out. Since they possessed the original genetics of the famous Dancehall strain-with its extremely high CBD count-the breeders had an obvious solution: create a CBD version of Cheese.
Crossing Cheese with Dancehall resulted in Cheese CBD, a very productive 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid that proudly boasts an unadulterated Cheese flavor, skillfully transferred by the breeders from mother to daughter. That unique signature flavor has a spicy complexity that reminds one of cured cheese—savory and sweet, but also slightly flowery. Due to the penetrating nature of this smell, Dinafem strongly recommends using a well-functioning carbon exhaust filter.
The THC/CBD ratio of Cheese CBD amounts to at least 1:1, depending on the cultivation conditions, and the CBD content may be higher, with the ratio approaching 1:2. Under good conditions, a total cannabinoid (THC and CBD) amount of about 15 percent can be achieved. Growers don’t have to wait very long for their blooming reward—after a moderate flowering period of 50-60 days, they can reap a harvest of up to 500 grams per square meter. The plant’s appearance leans more to the sativa than to the indica side, with fairly narrow, long shade leaves and symmetrical branching. According to Dinafem, Cheese CBD requires only moderate amounts of fertilizer.
This variety is suitable for the outdoors, too, growing to heights of up to 2.5 meters and ripening around mid-October. Given optimum conditions, yields of up to one kilogram per plant are possible. With the high CBD count attenuating the psychoactive THC effect, Cheese CBD delivers a mild and mellow turn that causes a pleasant state of wellbeing with a great deal of inner balance. So relaxation and calmness are on the agenda, which makes Cheese CBD a good treatment for anxiety and muscle tension. It’s also supposed to increase one’s appetite.
As an aficionado of “cheesy” cannabis strains and such with high CBD counts, Ellis D. quickly had Cheese CBD in his sights and, no sooner said than done, he put it to a cultivation test. Due to his small grow area, and the fact that he wanted to simultaneously test Dinafem’s Moby Dick CBD as well, he could only get two feminized seeds started. The seedlings poked out of the one-liter pots filled with soil after less than two and a half days, eagerly stretching toward the LED light.
After transplanting into larger pots and three weeks in the vegetative stage, flowering was induced. Merely two weeks later, all the shoot tips were sporting white pistils. Both Cheese CBD plants doubled their height during the first four weeks of flowering, at the same time busily enlarging the volume of their buds. Each plant yielded approximately 66 grams of dry flowers.
To test the effect of Cheese CBD, Ellis D. invited a friend who suffers from restless legs syndrome (RLS) and had her inhale Cheese CBD from his vaporizer. She took two tokes, leaned back and—guess what?—after less than a minute noticed that the restlessness began to fade, and soon thereafter was completely gone!
Of course, from just those two tokes she didn’t get high; she simply relaxed both physically and mentally. Ellis D. himself experienced the effect of Cheese CBD in just the way he’s used to when imbibing high-grade CBD weed: It served him as an anchor of mental stability, providing a harmonious feeling of inner balance and calmness. “From now on, I call that sort of feeling a ‘cheesy state of mind’!” he chuckled.
After vaping the Cheese CBD that evening shortly before going to bed, Ellis D. enjoyed a deeper sleep than usual, with considerably less waking and no undesirable side effects. Said Ellis D.: “When using regular THC-rich marijuana for my sleep disorder, after I get up in the morning, I feel like I have a bell jar over my head for hours. By contrast, CBD-rich weed with a CBD/THC ratio of about 1:1 makes me wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy.” He also liked the savory sweet Cheese CBD flavor a lot: “It’s really a special treat, absolutely palatable and with a long-lasting, piquant aftertaste, just like the Exodus Cheese mother.
“Cheese CBD is a markedly well-done CBD adaption of that famous THC-rich strain. Dinafem has done a great job here again,” Ellis D. concluded. “This cannabis is medicinally valuable, and the resounding success when treating my friend’s RLS with it was simply astounding! But it’s also fantastic for Cheese aficionados who don’t wish to be stoned to the bone all the time, but nevertheless enjoy that toothsome cheesy flavor.”
OG Kush CBD
As the most influential and iconic strain of recent years, these outstanding genetics originating from California are well-known among everyone interested in cannabis cultivars. It wasn’t by chance that OG Kush took first place in the High Times “25 Greatest Strains of All Time” list, published in 2014.
OG Kush’s stunning potency and highly specific overpowering aroma blend a gassy diesel-fuel smell with conifer-and citrus notes.
Dinafem managed to reel in these original genetics and soon thereafter OG Kush became one of the company’s best-selling strains. Due to its popularity for recreational and medical use, breeding a CBD version of it was the obvious direction to go. So OG Kush was transformed into the “defused potency bomb” OG Kush CBD, a strain that retains a two-digit THC count of 10 percent but leads to a pleasant, somewhat euphoric and more-cerebral-than-bodily effect of medium duration. Its CBD content is specified at 10 percent as well, with Dinafem guaranteeing that the THC/ CBD ratio is always at least 1:1, but can even amount to 1:2 depending on the phenotype.
Dinafem describes OG Kush CBD as a very resinous sativa-dominant (60:40 sativa/indica) plant with fairly wide internodes and broad leaves—plant attributes that are also true for the mother strain, OG Kush. And OG Kush CBD also shares the growing characteristics of its mother: 55-60 days of flowering, indoor yields of up to 550 grams per square meter, maturity under natural light around mid-October and outdoor yields of up to 1,100 grams per plant. As a matter of course, the famous OG Kush flavor has been retained, jam-packed with notes of gasoline, lemon, wood and spices.
Germination went very well. After less than three days, the seedlings had shoved their heads through the soil’s surface. The plants spent three weeks in the vegetative stage, exhibiting uniform growth with fairly low height and short internodal spacing. By the time Ellis D. switched the timer to a 12/12-hour day/night light cycle to usher in the flowering stage, his two OG Kush CBD specimens had still grown less than a foot, but he was prepared for them to stretch.
One of the plants lived up to that expectation in the period that followed, mightily shooting upward during the first five weeks of flowering—it was one of the strongest stem-and-branch-elongation effects Ellis D. had ever witnessed in a cannabis plant. The other plant, however, stretched only slightly, keeping its bushy shape during flowering. But regardless of their different growth, flower production set in equally early and vividly with both plants. After three weeks they were already full of white blossoms.
Initial trichome frost appeared super-early on the taller plant, and after four weeks not only the calyxes and sugar leaves were covered in resin, but also the stalks of the big leaves protruding from the buds. The smaller plant wasn’t sparing with resin glands either, though, soon becoming just as resinous and, much to Ellis D.’s delight, producing very voluminous chubby side buds that surrounded a pointier head cola. This plant had a somewhat lower calyx-to-leaf ratio than the very hairy tall specimen of OG Kush CBD that was apparently driven by a stronger sativa impulse.
Ellis D. was happy when he noticed that both plants were giving off that typical OG Kush scent he loves so much. “Welcome to the petrol station!” he exclaimed. “While all the buds are basically smelling oily, differences can be found in the secondary notes—the tall plant comes with a coniferous hint of pine, whereas the other reveals a slight dash of lemon. Both these melanges are so delicious that I could keep sticking my nose into these buds for hours.”
With a final height of 93.5 centimeters, the tall plant had become 4.5 times taller than at the beginning of its flowering stage. It was harvested after 64 days, which exceeded the official harvest window by a few days, but given its visual and olfactory qualities, Ellis D. felt that this was absolutely acceptable. The bushy OG Kush CBD specimen—56 centimeters tall in the end—achieved a timely finish when reaching the home stretch after 58 days.
When the harvest was dried and cured a few weeks later, Ellis D. was well satisfied with dry yields of 55 grams from the small plant and 69 grams from the tall plant. After plenty of chlorophyll had disappeared from the buds, their aroma came forward even more distinctly: The smaller plant’s “citrus fuel” buds caused Ellis D. to envisage himself standing in a smelly car-repair shop while grating a lemon peel. The other plant’s buds made him fantasize that he had parked his car in the middle of a pine forest and changed the oil.
Ellis D. test-vaped the “citrus fuel” buds at first. In view of their indica-style appearance, he wasn’t too surprised that he began to feel pretty stoned after some hits from his vaporizer, but not devastatingly so with a dull and numb sensation in his head; instead, he was just pleasantly cushioned and mellow.
He entered into a mental comfort zone and the stress that had accumulated during the day was released. Further, his back muscles, painfully tensed-up from a long day’s physical work, started to relax.
Next came the “pine fuel” buds. After a few vapor puffs, the sample provided a stimulating burst of freshness to Ellis D.’s head that further elevated his mood. However, that refreshing shot of sativa euphoria didn’t last very long and gradually gave way to an overall calm feeling of placidness and mental balance. Physically, this pheno of OG Kush CBD had a relaxing effect right from the start, just like the other one. Flavor-wise, it also was just as intense and palatable, with the only difference being that on inhale, its secondary pine note had already merged with the predominant gassy character instead of separately running ahead first.
Ellis D.’s final conclusion: “A sublime CBD strain adaptation by Dinafem that definitely does honor to its legendary mother strain OG Kush. The flavor comes very close to the original, and the softened buzz it delivers is highly pleasant and therapeutically effective, leading to a sense of physical and emotional well-being. I think the high share of CBD is strongly noticeable here. It’s a kind of OG Kush marijuana that doesn’t send the user sprawling on the floor, but nevertheless retains the high coolness factor of this strain legend. For me, OG Kush CBD is the coolest green medicine!”