Lab Tested Cannabinoids: 21.6% THC, 0.06% CBD
Dispensary: Nectar Cannabis 4125 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Chemdawg (also Chemdog) is a renowned cannabis strain of legendary, yet mysterious, origins. The story is that sometime before 1991 a man named Chemdog bought an ounce of high-quality cannabis for $500 at a Grateful Dead Concert in Noblesville, IN at the famous Deer Creek outdoor amphitheater. They exchanged numbers, and Chemdog later received two more ounces in the mail. One of those ounces was seedless, and there were 13 seeds in the other. What I have here is purportedly an offspring of one of those legendary seeds that produced viable female plants. While Chemdawg’s parentage is unknown, its progeny are famous, including classic cannabis strains like Sour Diesel and OG Kush.
Nectar Cannabis, N. Mississippi Ave., Portland. (Alison Gary/Whaxy)
I picked up this Chemdawg sample from Nectar Cannabis dispensary in North Portland. Nectar is one of the biggest dispensary chains in Oregon with four Portland area locations and one in Eugene. The Nectar dispensary on N. Mississippi Ave. is in a charming old house. You walk into the living room, which is separated into two spaces, one for recreational users and the other for medical. They were doing so much business while I was there, and had so much product turnover, that it was impossible to keep the menus current. But the budtenders were good at recommending strains similar to what customers had come in looking for.
The kief coverage on this Chemdawg, grown by Flying Eagle Farms, is so dense it almost sparkles in the sunlight. The flowers are many different shades of green riddled with subtle rust colored hair trichomes. This sample had a pungent diesel aroma (terpenes) when pulled apart, with soft hints of sweetness. Through my G Pen Elite vaporizer the flavor was a distinct chemical diesel flavor that lingered in the mouth, giving way to notes of earth and pine (pinene). Smoked in a glass pipe, the flavor was much earthier with only back notes of pine and diesel.
Chemdawg cannabis strain from Nectar Cannabis, Portland. (Alison Gary/Whaxy)
Chemdawg is known for being a potent strain that often leads to couch lock. But after enjoying my first bowl, I found myself happily cleaning and doing chores around the house. I felt like a Stoner Queen, being productive while using the ‘infamous’ motivation-killing Chemdawg.
Then I decided to have a second bowl. My productivity dropped precipitously and a nap became the only option. The high, while very strong, was also very relaxing with tingling in the face and extremities. It also stimulated my appetite.
I believe Chemdawg’s reputation is warranted; I would not recommend this strain to a novice cannabis user. An indica-dominant hybrid, I would say dosing matters for this cannabis strain. At first the cerebral high hits with a wave of creative energy, but in true creeper-strain fashion, it may give way to powerful couch lock or nap with more consumption. With only 21.6 percent THC (and 0.06 percent CBD), Chemdawg is proof that there is more to a smoking experience than THC lab results.
Inside Nectar Cannabis, N. Mississippi Ave., Portland. (Alison Gary/Whaxy)
My last cannabis flower vaporizer was a wooden box with a plastic slide cover, heating coils, and a battery. Comparing my old wooden vaporizer to the G Pen Elite is like comparing a rotary phone to the iPhone. Sleek, portable and high tech, my G Pen Elite Vaporizer arrived in a black cylindrical box that included a several tools — a plastic keychain scoop (G Pen Tool), credit card grinder (G Card), cleaning brush, and a charger. The G Pen Elite Vaporizer from Grenco Science has an LED temperature display, rapid heat up time and a large range of heating options, all at a competitive $170 retail price.
I really liked the modern packaging that the G Pen arrived in, and the little G tool, G Card Grinder and cleaning brush make using it fool-proof. The G Card, which is more like a grater, is great for on-the-go vaping. Since the compact and discreet size and shape of the G Pen Elite is perfect for on-the-go vaping, I appreciated the inclusion of a portable grinder that fits in a wallet.
The chamber that you load your cannabis into is the biggest on the market, holding .75 grams of ground material, so this is a great option for those who don’t want to reload after a few draws.
Users have precise control over the heat setting of the G Pen Elite, as it can be set anywhere between 200 and 428 degrees Fahrenheit. It heats up quickly and displays the temperature clearly on a small LED screen. This allows the user to more intentionally explore various terpene and cannabinoid profiles through vaping at different temperatures. The heating chamber is right beneath the mouthpiece, so the hotter temperatures may be a little uncomfortable to use.
The vaping experience with the G Pen is subtle, but the flavor is off the charts. Vaping removes the flavor of combustion that permeates anything that burns like pipes, joints or bongs. When smoking, to discern the flavor profiles of various strains of cannabis, one must wade through the taste of combustion. The G Pen Elite allows the full flavor of whatever strain is loaded to come through unobstructed. It has allowed me to rediscover the flavor of my favorite cannabis strains.
It is discreet, compact and high tech. I am so impressed with the flavor I get from the G Pen Elite that I will be using it when I review strains from now on to get the purest flavor profile. I would recommend the G Pen to most people looking for a cutting-edge handheld vaporizer.
Photos courtesy of Grenco Science.
Strain: Death Star
Genetics: Sensi Star x Sour Diesel (Click here to read a Sour Diesel Strain Review)
Grower: Green Goddess Gardens (Oregon)
Dispensary: Farma (Portland)
Lab Results: 25.7 percent THC : 0.51 percent CBD
I like my bedtime cannabis overpowering. I want to take a couple of hits and then crawl into bed and drift off to a deep sleep. Death Star does the trick. It is aptly named and doesn’t mess around.
I picked up this strain by Green Goddess Gardens at Farma. Green Goddess Gardens are run by a husband and wife team in lush southern Oregon who practice organic greenhouse growing techniques.
Farma is a unique Portland dispensary. White, bright, and clean, they have completely done away with “sativa” and “indica” classifications in favor of terpene profiles and a scale that indicates whether each cannabis strain is an energetic “up” strain or a relaxing “down” strain. For this reason I will not divulge whether Death Star is an indica, sativa, or hybrid, but I bet you will be able to deduce it based on the terpene profile.
In order to provide a full terpene profile, Farma has all of their strains tested at labs that test not just for pesticides and THC levels, but that map all of the medicinal compounds in each strain- all of the known cannabinoids as well as a terpene profile. This batch of Death Star was tested as Green Leaf Labs.
Farma’s grams of flower also come in the absolute cutest little plastic containers. Another plus.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes:
In addition to 25 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol), this strong bedtime strain is also relatively high in CBC (cannabichromene) and CBG (cannabigerol). CBC has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidepressant properties. CBG is a base cannabinoid that turns into others, including THC and CBD. CBG itself, however, it is also believed to counteract the paranoia that can come with high THC levels. A 2013 Italian study found CBG has anti-inflammatory properties and might be particularly useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease.
Terpene profiles are becoming more common, but it is still unusual to see a full terpene profile pulled for a strain. Farma goes the extra step to run a terpene profile for most of their strains. Unlike cannabinoids, terpene levels are usually very low, zero to two percent. But that is still enough to affect the flavor and effects of a strain. Terpenes give plants their scent; limonene produces a citrus odor, for example. As more research is done into terpenes, we are also discovering that certain terpenes produce specific medicinal effects as well.
Death Star has limonene, beta-myrcene, linalool and beta-caryophyllene. Limonene, in addition to its citrus aroma, is a stress-relieving and mood-enhancing component in cannabis. It also may help relieve heartburn. Myrcene is found in mangoes, hops and basil. A 1997 Swiss study found myrcene to be the most common terpene (out of 16 tested) in cannabis. Myrcene has been shown to have lots of medical potential- it possesses analgesic (pain killing), anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. It can also make you drowsy, and that is on full display in Death Star. Additionally, myrcene has been shown to increase the permeability of cell membranes, improving the absorption of cannabinoids. Linalool gives lavender its scent and is associated with relaxation, pain relief, and can promote sleep. Beta-caryophyllene is a spicy terpene found in black pepper and rosemary. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to relieve depression and anxiety.
A good terpene profile should provide information on scent, flavor and some effects a flower will have, which is more information than a sativa or indica classification alone will provide. Based on its terpene profile, before even smelling the flower, I expect Death Star to have notes of spicy citrus. It should help with pain and inflammation with a little bit of muscle spasm relief. It should also be an uplifting and relaxing experience that may make you drowsy. (Can you tell whether Death Star is a sativa or an indica based solely on the terpene profile?)
Scent, Taste and Appearance:
Death Star smells rich and skunky with subtle notes of pepper and orange. The terpene profile missed the most powerful scent. It is pale green and coated in tiny white crystals and brown-orange hairs also thick with crystals. These hairs and crystals are also known as trichomes and kief. It is well trimmed and neither dense nor fluffy, so you don’t need to grind it, but you can if you would like.
The orange and spice terpene profile is more apparent in flavor than scent. My nose burned and my eyes watered after my first hit, like I got a snout full of pepper. The sensation lessened but remained on subsequent hits. The flavor reminded me of an orange studded with cloves, sweet and perfumed, like the pomanders wealthy people used to carry to “clear the airs” of the odors of the unwashed masses.
When I smoked Death Star in the evening, tired but unable to sleep, either from racing thoughts or pain, within a half hour my eyes grew heavy and I dozed off to sleep. When I smoked in the morning (it is unusual for me to smoke something so strong so early) the relaxing and uplifting mood predicted by the limonene and linalool prevails over the myrcene drowsiness. Although as time wore on, the couchlock effect got stronger. I was surprised I did not nap, but I also did not get very much done. I would save this strain for the evening. Both used in the morning and the evening, Death Star worked well for my pain.
I could get used to knowing so much about my cannabis before I smoke it. Unfortunately, with the cost of broader testing and the limited labs that perform such testing, Farma is likely to remain one of the few dispensaries that offer full profiles of their flowers, at least for the foreseeable future.
As for Death Star? It is a potent smoke that will uplift and mellow your mood while easing pain. It is super relaxing until you fall asleep. . . This strain is ideal for bedtime use or for dozing on the couch through a mediocre movie. Death Star may not destroy planets, but it might obliterate you!
(Death Star is definitely Indica dominant. Could you figure it out?)