NAMES, STRAINS AND A LOT OF CHANGE

by Holly Highlife

Once upon a time, cannabis sold for $10 a bag that was more or less an ounce. You didn’t ask what kind it was; you just took it and were grateful. Armed with the knowledge at least half the weight was in seeds, you took it home and used an album cover to separate the green from the gross.

A popping sound, a flying ember, and the smell of a small hole burning in the front of your clothes marked a missed seed in your smoke. Not cool, and everyone knew where those holes came from. You were so busted.

Smoking seeds also resulted in a horrendous headache.  “What we used to smoke back then would be called ‘schwag’ today,” says Organic Alternatives owner Steve Ackerman. The typical THC content was around 12 to 14 percent.

Fast-forward 40 years, and seeds have become a thing of the past. Cloning produces exact duplicates of the mother plant.  And plant strains are bred for specific characteristics. Current THC content is often well over 20 percent.

Cannabis growers in Colorado have been tinkering with plants for years. Ackerman says a strain was started in Fort Collins called “Fort Collins Cough” that spread nationwide. “It was famous.” Durango is reportedly the source of the Chem Dawg strain, and Ackerman remembers another early strain called, “The Purps.”

Blueberry, created by D. J. Short, is often cited as one of the first stable “designer” strains. Organic Alternatives has access to about 40 strains of cannabis, grown on the basis of popularity and medical need. Today Golden Goat is their number one seller.

Cannabis is divided into two different species, Sativa and Indica. Generally, Sativas are uplifting and energetic, while Indicas offer a more relaxing body high. “True Sativas are very rare,” says cultivation manager Brady Price.

Most modern strains are a hybrid of the two. Golden Goat is an Indica dominant hybrid. “Golden Goat is very long lasting. There’s a reason it’s our number one strain.” Other customer favorites are OG Haze, Durban Poison, and MKLA. “Trinity is a strain of unknown origin that is Sativa dominant.” Cindy 99 and Blackberry Kush are also popular.

Ackerman is a fan of the strains Flo in general, Blackberry Kush for pain and sleep, and MKLA. “It doesn’t put you to sleep, but I don’t wake up in the middle of night unable to go back to sleep.” MKLA is derived from crossing OG Kush, G-13, and L.A. Confidential. “The flavor profile is very unique,” Ackerman says.

Different strains and how they are related is about to become very clear. Organic Alternatives has hired a local company called “Mari Gene” to map the genomes of specific strains. “We’re able to find if a strain is stable or unstable. We’re able to create strains with a consistent profile so the medicine can be the same all the time,” says Brady Price, who is the cultivation manager, and in charge of plant outcomes.

Brady cites environment as the second factor when it comes to stain outcomes.  Two people can take identical plants, raise them in different environments or with different nutrients, and have totally different results with the same genomes.

So what strains are best for other common conditions? For PTSD, Brady recommends Golden Goat. Also, two strains are grown for patients seeking pain relief with less of a buzz. “Shark Shock and AC/DC are a one-to-one ratio of CBD’s to THC.  Those strains contain about ten percent of each compound. “It gives a slight buzz and you’re very relaxed.”

A strain like Durban Poison is recommended for someone wanting an “energetic “ buzz.

Ackerman and Brady are excited by the results from Mari Gene, and the ability to create a consistently outstanding product. “I think we’ve really upped our game,” says Brady.