Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us! Rejoice fellow victims of the munchies! Now stop rejoicing and pay the girl at your door $5 per box immediately, or she’s liable to break a kneecap. She’s got more sales to make, and Girl Scouts don’t play! But, I digress. In honor of the sinfully delicious confections handcrafted by tiny Keebler elves and hand-delivered by even tinier child laborers, I present to you yet another handcrafted treat (with 100% less child labor):
Girl Scout Cookies by Denver Relief, which is a hybrid cannabis flower strain testing at about 19% THC.
Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies is a cross between Durban Poison, OG Kush, and Cherry Kush.
In my experience, Girl Scout Cookies seems to be one of the more popular strains in Colorado and the West Coast, particularly California. Market demand naturally affects supply and, as a result, the availability of the eponymous strain has noticeably increased over the years. So when I say that Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookie is damn near the best I have had the personal pleasure of witnessing and consuming, please believe that my assessment comes after having seen a nauseating amount of the strain over the years.
The Girl Scout Cookies flower has a smaller, rounded pinecone shape that is quite dense and a dry texture that retains much of the flower’s qualities while easily crumbling between my pressed fingers. The texture, in other words, is indicative of a proper dry and cure process, which is what I have come to expect of Denver Relief. The flower’s primary color is a pale, light green, but this base coat is barely visible beneath a drizzling of vibrant orange pistils, a thick blanket of sparkling trichomes, and the occasional dark green, almost purple, spot.
Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies has overtones of pine, diesel, and a bit of an earthiness and undertones of sour citrus. Upon crumbling the flower, I noticed the sour citrus aroma increased and a general sweetness emerged.
Consumption Method and Flavor
I tend to smoke joints, so that’s what I did. I prefer joints because I can repeatedly taste the flower, and I can determine how well the flower has been flushed by inspecting the joint’s ash—generally, the whiter the ash, the better the flush.
In this instance, the joint’s ash was almost pure white, signaling a thorough flush—again, I have come to expect nothing less from Denver Relief. The smooth, clean smoke reflected Denver Relief’s hard work, but the strain also seems to have its own mellow, flavor qualities. The flower starts of with a semi-sharp, pine flavor but quickly eases into a mellow sweetness that persists solo through the after taste.
Overall, I really enjoyed the productive effect of Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies. The strain does not have a heavy hitting high that will make you dumber than June Shannon—I’m sorry I made you look her up—but, then again, no Girl Scout Cookies flower has ever had that effect on me. Instead, I immediately experienced a cerebral high that actually helped me focus on work while neither imparting much energy nor drowsiness; this effect was welcome considering I perhaps had too much coffee earlier in the day but still needed to get work done. Like a true hybrid, the cerebral effects were accompanied by a slight body high that tingled my extremities and made me feel lightweight overall. After about an hour, I still had not felt the drowsiness that so often follows a lesser flower’s high. Denver Relief’s Girls Scout Cookies strikes an exquisite balance between Durban Poison’s uplifting cerebral effects and Kush’s physical effects.
I don’t normally choose Girl Scout Cookies when shopping for cannabis because, as I previously mentioned, I often find the strain’s high to lack luster. Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies, however, gets you high with a purpose. Instead of turning you into a poorly functioning, giggling buffoon, you will more likely feel focused, functional, and relaxed. If you enjoy smoking while working, I highly recommend Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies.
Interested in trying Girl Scout Cookies for yourself? Support Denver Relief, the oldest operating dispensary in Denver, and consider purchasing from their store. Click here to browse Denver Relief’s current menu.
Years ago, I was searching for different ways to consume cannabis besides smoking it. Tinctures in the form of sublingual drops or sprays seemed like a great way to go, but there were very few on the market. They were also notoriously weak and inconsistent. I never knew how much to take since the general “1-2 sprays/droppers” was never enough. Even when I doubled or tripled the dose, the sensation was mild at best, making it a poor choice in terms of value.
We’ve come a long way since then, and advances in the manufacturing of concentrates helped create much stronger and more consistent products. I have a few cannabis oil tinctures that I use regularly in lieu of vaporizing, but none of them are a strong or fast acting as AbsoluteXtracts sativa spray. As with every other product I’ve tried, the directions suggest an initial dosage of 1-2 sprays. Based on previous experience and my known tolerances, I typically double the doses for sprays and tinctures.
Knowing that AbsoluteXtracts makes potent products and for the purpose of this review, I followed the single-dose recommendation of 1-2 sprays.
I’m glad I did, because two sprays was enough to give me a moderate high. It was surprising to see such a small amount of product could have such an effect. Since this was promising, I tried the product again several times and I’ve come up with a scale to help describe my dosing:
- 1-2 sprays: a mild-to-moderate high appropriate for day use
- 3-4 sprays: very comfortable. strong pain relief and relaxation
- 5 sprays: slightly too much/starting to see noises
Some of the inconsistencies with tinctures can be the application, and “shake before using” cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s oil or alcohol or another substance, there’s enough going on inside a cannabis tincture that requires regular mixing. The ingredients are different enough that they will separate over a relatively short period of time. You can’t always witness this as manufacturers put their tinctures in dark bottles to protect the product from light, but it does happen and it can make two sprays seem like five and vice versa.
While this spray is labeled as a sativa product, oral consumption of cannabis has a very different effect on the body compared to smoking or vaping, and I definitely had more of a body high that I would normally associate with an indica product. Unlike oil and alcohol tincture drops, the AbsoluteXtracts concentrated spray allows me to hold the product under my tongue comfortably for a few minutes — perhaps because it’s made with coconut oil. This can be unpleasant with a mouthful of alcohol when using weaker products. Although I expected to taste strong cannabis flavors with such a concentrated product, it was very mild. I didn’t feel the need for a “chaser” of water or juice like I have with similar products.
Putting its sativa heritage to the test, I went for a hike by my house. I’ve been reading more about cannabis and fitness goals and wanted to give it a try. Thanks to the sublingual application, I started feeling the effects of two sprays within 15 minutes. The most difficult part of the hike is a steep hill that’s a few miles long and I often have to give myself a pep talk to keep going. Not this time! While I was definitely still winded, I was able to power through some of the heaviness in my limbs and had a much better attitude as a result.
One of my favorite uses for tinctures is as an after-dinner dose. The last thing I want to do after, for example, Thanksgiving dinner is eat something, and vaping around guests isn’t always an option. Cannabis is known to relieve symptoms for those suffering from various gastrointestinal conditions and it certainly helps mine. This spray was as fast-acting as any drugstore remedy but with the added benefit of cannabis for relaxation.
AbsoluteXtracts makes an indica spray as well as a “sleepy time” spray. My local dispensary sells them for $50 each. The amount of doses will depend on how much you take, so the value is relative in this situation. However, at my personal dose of 2-3 sprays each time and with the effects lasting a few hours, this is a great value for me. I’ve come to really respect the AbsoluteXtracts brand for its consistency, potency and transparency by providing testing results and I hope to see them at more dispensaries in my area.
Participants in the cannabis culture may be familiar with a few of the rare varieties of the plant that are categorized as landrace strains, including Colombian Gold, Durban Poison, Northern Lights, and Afghan Kush. “Landrace” simply refers to the small number of surviving strains of cannabis that evolved naturally in the geographic region in which they were initially discovered (by 20th century humans, that is). Some experts believe that about 100 of these rare strains exist today.
Landrace strains hail from global regions such as Jamaica, Afghanistan, India, Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, and Central America. They are believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is one reason that so many strain names incorporate the term “Kush,” such as the always-popular OG Kush (the “OG” means “Ocean Grown,” denoting West Coast breeding and cultivation).
Many cultivators believe that the best examples of cannabis sativa are grown in a region as close to the equator as possible and at a relatively high elevation. Thus, mountainous areas in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia are almost perfectly suited to the cultivation of high-quality cannabis. This is no coincidence; landrace strains hail from most of these regions. Technically, landrace strains are those that have stabilized over time as a result of natural inbreeding.
Other definitions of landrace cannabis include any that hasn’t purposefully been bred or otherwise manipulated by humans. Such indigenous varieties of marijuana, because they have evolved within a particular region, are very precisely acclimated to their local climates — and may offer unique medicinal qualities that are specifically tuned to the native humans of that region. Wrote Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education at Harborside Health Center, one of the nation’s largest dispensaries:
“It’s not that [landrace strains are] necessarily better, [they’re] just different, and perhaps more effective for some patients’ specific conditions or needs.”
Source of All Modern Strains
Many readers aren’t interested in a history lesson, however. How are landrace strains related to modern varieties and hybrids? Put simply, landraces are the origin of all modern cannabis strains. They are the genesis of cannabis in society and reflect its state of development, or evolution, before modern humans began breeding and cultivating the herb for medicine, lifestyle enhancement, and profit.
Cannabis breeders long ago took original landrace strains and bred, or crossed, them in an effort to create new strains possessing the best characteristics of both parents (and, just as with dogs or humans, hopefully few of their bad traits). Some strains feature shorter growing periods or are more resistant to pests or mold, making them the desire of cultivators. Others, especially sativa varieties, may be more difficult to grow and feature relatively long flowering cycles, but can also deliver unique medicinal and psychoactive effects that are sought by many patients and cannabis consumers.
For all practical purposes, it must be assumed that many landrace strains, in their original, pure form, have been lost forever. Endless crosses over several decades in most areas of the world, especially North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe, have resulted in diluted genetics. The sad reality is that many “pure” breeds of cannabis are often mislabeled. Many purported examples of seeds, harvested cannabis flowers, or concentrates from pure landrace strains are inevitably not. Instead, they are sometimes the descendents of multiple landraces that have been bred (either purposefully or accidentally), going back an unknown number of generations — and with possibly very different characteristics. Also, genetic mutations easily emerge, especially under different growing conditions, which can cause great stress to mature plants.
For decades, strains have been bred to bring out their potency, especially in terms of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the cannabinoid in the plant that delivers psychoactive effects and is largely responsible for its euphoria — but also is a powerful medicine for dozens of diseases. However, researchers and medical professionals have identified something called the entourage effect that supports the concept of whole flower medicine by observing that cannabinoids and terpenes interact synergistically, in a delicate and nuanced supplementation of the human body’s endocannabinoid system.
The good news is that a significant portion of the cannabis breeding community has been focused on creating strains that deliver the greatest medicinal value. Many modern varieties of cannabis are a far cry from the original strains from which they are descended. Just as a modern human living in Kentucky might be a descendant of American founding father Benjamin Franklin while, in most respects, the two humans are very different, cannabis strain crosses often, in reality, feature a morphology (shape and size), growing characteristics, and high type that is very different from their landrace ancestors. Sometimes, crosses and hybrids are more appropriate and therapeutic than landrace strains for particular diseases or ailments.
Understanding Phenotypes and Heirlooms
When seeds from landrace strains are cultivated outside the zone in which they evolved, they produce what geneticists and breeders label phenotypes. Phenotypes are transmogrifications of the plant that result in similar, but different characteristics. This includes morphology, development (such as the length of flowering cycles), and biochemical properties (potency and cannabinoid/terpene profiles). Phenotypes that are direct descendents of landrace strains, with no breeding or crossbreeding, are known as heirlooms.
In landrace strains grown outside their area of origin, a change occurs in the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the resinous trichomes found on the female flowers of these heirloom varieties. Because they necessarily receive different light cycles, sometimes artificial light instead of natural, and different soil (not to mention dramatic variances in water, humidity, and nutrition), these strains must modify and adapt to their new environments. This changes the inherent characteristics of these strains, including their medical efficacy and high type.
Because they have evolved over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, landrace strains are considered to be more “balanced,” with terpene and cannabinoid profiles that are in harmony with the needs of the plant, its environment, and — in theory — the humans and animals living in the region that consumed it. (All mammals have an endocannabinoid system and, therefore, are affected by cannabis in a manner similar to humans.)
Origin of American Cultivation Culture
The cannabis cultivation cultures in Northern California and Hawaii have their genesis in heirloom strains introduced to the United States during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. The climate in Northern California sometimes closely approximates that of parts of Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains. Because the central West Coast of the United States is roughly similar in the weather it receives, landrace strains brought back from some regions of Indonesia and the Middle East have traditionally thrived in Northern California. With them, the cannabis culture in the United States has also thrived. Both Hawaii and the entire West Coast have become synonymous with high-quality outdoor grown cannabis — just as Columbia is known for producing some of the world’s best coffee beans.
Patients and lifestyle consumers wishing to expand their cannabis horizons should seek out landrace and heirloom strains in an effort to learn more about the roots of cannabis in not only North America, but throughout the world. Cultivators wanting a change of pace should strive to obtain seeds and clones (cuttings) from heirloom strains in an effort to keep them alive for current and future generations and give patients (and medical professionals, including researchers) additional options for cannabis medicine.
Classic Landrace Strains
In the past, landrace strains that happened to be sativas were eschewed by gardeners for indicas and crosses that featured shorter flowering periods. This was simply because these varieties were more profitable for commercial cultivators. However, the recent wave of recreational and medical cannabis laws at the state level in the U.S. has spawned markets for special strains, many of which are landrace sativas (such as Durban Poison).
Examples of popular and classic landrace strains include the following:
- Afghan Kush: A pure indica strain purported to have originated in the Hindu Kush Mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- G13: A landrace from Afghanistan that typically leans toward indica. However, two phenotypes of this strain exist, the second of which is a sativa.
- Durban Poison: An unusually potent sativa from the South African port city of Durban. Click here to read an expert review of this strain.
- Acapulco Gold: The infamous landrace sativa that hails from the Acapulco region of Southwest Mexico and typically features high levels of THC.
- Northern Lights: A legendary indica, this highly inbred Afghani is purported to hail from British Columbia.
- Rooibaard: A sativa from the coastal area of the Transkei region of South Africa.
- Colombian Gold: The fabled cannabis hybrid that is sometimes a bit sativa-dom that originates in the Santa Marta mountains of Colombia in Central America.
- Hawaiian: A sativa-dom hybrid from the islands of Hawaii.
- Malawi Gold: A pure sativa is from the Salima region of Malawi in Southeast Africa.
- Thai: A sativa from, as its name implies, Thailand. Hybrids derived from Thai include Fruity Thai and Juicy Fruit Thai.
- Panama Red: This sativa from Panama became popular in the late 1960s, during the hippy psychedelic era.
- Punto Rojo: A sativa from Columbia that is considered by some to be even better than Colombian Gold.
In this day and age, cannabis consumers are inundated with strain varieties that mean very little to the average smoker. No, I do not care about your cool new strain, Jazzy Wallflower (patent pending), which you most assuredly made up on the spot. It is enough to make a man want to kick it old school, which is exactly what I did this week when I decided to review Durban Poison.
Given that Durban Poison is a commonly available strain here in Denver, I decided to seek the best version of the strain I could find. For me, Denver’s Oasis Cannabis Superstore was the logical place to start exploring because they carry an unparalleled variety and quantity of strains grown both by Oasis and other notable Colorado cultivators. If you have not been to Oasis, it is a literal weed emporium. Imagine all the strain varieties your heart desires; now double that mental quantity and put it behind a glass display case that snakes longer than the anaconda that tried to devour Jennifer Lopez for an hour and a half. If you haven’t seen Anaconda, I’ll save you time: don’t. Suffice it to say that if you are looking for a strain, Oasis probably has it. In this case, they actually had Durban Poison from four different cultivators. Based on smell and appearance, I felt that Oasis and Sundance Gardens both had the best Durban Poison. I decided to go with the house strain and review Oasis’ Durban Poison.
As most cannasseurs will proudly explain (despite your pleas for them to stop), Durban Poison originates from the South African port city of Durban and is one of a small number of cannabis landraces in existence today. As such, Durban Poison is a pure sativa strain that has contributed to the genetic lineage of many popular strains found today. Durban Poison is coveted among tokers for its uplifting, energetic effect, which affords cannabis smokers the opportunity to break popular perception by smoking cannabis and then doing something active; you know, if they feel like it.
Oasis’ Durban Poison flower has a semi-dense, semi-firm consistency and just the right amount of dryness, indicative of a proper post harvest process. The flower is your run-of-the-mill cannabis green with a smattering of small, darker green patches, a steady distribution of small, orange pistil clusters, and a blanket of shimmering trichomes. The flower’s shape is rounder than sativas tend to be, but Durban Poison is weird like that. As for the flower’s bouquet, Oasis’ Durban Poison has the citrus, sweet, and anise aromas I have come to expect of Durban, but it also has pine and diesel in its fragrance. No surprise, the Durban Poison’s sweet aroma dominated its fragrance profile after I broke up the flower.
Upon smoking a joint of the Durban Poison, my taste buds were greeted with Durban Poison’s familiar sweetness as well as a slight hint of diesel. I was ecstatic to find that this cannabis had been flushed properly, which I deduced from the joint’s white ash and the lack of residual metal or chemical flavors. You would be surprised how often cultivators do not properly flush their flower despite Colorado’s “advanced” cannabis industry; Oasis seems to have gotten it right.
I bought this Durban Poison in anticipation of my most recent ski trip. I wanted something that would keep me active and alert while uncontrollably careening down whatever mountain would likely be my final resting place. I was not disappointed and lived to tell about it. As expected, Oasis’ Durban Poison kept me active and awake without feeling over caffeinated. I felt alert and energetic enough to do multiple runs while maintaining a level of control over my faculties that was most imperative for survival. I experienced heady, thoughtful, and focused mental activity that kept the many ski lift-lulls interesting. Oasis’ Durban Poison also offered general relaxation and a pleasant headband-esque sensation around my noggin.
If you are looking for an active sativa or simply wish to explore the cannabis of yesteryear, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Oasis’ Durban Poison. In a time when strains are relentlessly crossbred and then crossbred some more, Oasis’ Durban Poison exhibits the traditional qualities and effects expected of a Durban Poison land race. Sativa smokers rejoice!
Boston OG, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways.
These beautiful buds were acquired from the Good Meds Network dispensary located at 8420 W Colfax Ave, Lakewood, Colorado. These particular samples were on the smaller side, but each one was quite dense. The scent profile for Boston OG is simply delightful. These flowers smelled bright, clean, and herbal with a slightly sweet scent of berries.
One small-ish nug provided enough for 4 bong poppers (filling the water pipe with only enough for one green hit at a time). Each puff of the super harsh smoke was worse on my throat than the last, but each left a subtle aftertaste of citrus and black pepper that was quite pleasant, despite all the coughing.
I quickly realized that this strain must be high in alpha-pinene because it is definitely a bronchodilator and expectorant. I did not notice a strong pine smell with these flowers, so this caught me off-guard. The expectorant quality in strains is not very common, in my experience, but I have definitely encountered this in a few other strains that I have sampled. If it was not for the extreme level of harshness of this strain’s smoke, I would definitely suggest it be used to treat the common cold or other non-asthmatic ailments that involve face and chest congestion. Mucinex cannot compete with Boston OG (in my non-medical-professional opinion). My body continued to flush all congestion from my lungs and face, and although that period of time was almost torturous, in the aftermath, I could not remember the last time I had been able to breath so clearly.
Did I mention that I sampled this strain before hitting the jogging trail behind my house for my usual “how does this strain affect my workout” experiment? This process of cleansing was not the most ideal way to begin my workout, and although it made the first fifteen minutes more challenging, it was not bad enough to make me stop. I like to think that it also made my jogging more entertaining for the people I passed on the trail. I can only imagine that it seemed as though I was practicing my dinosaur call.
Once the flushing subsided, I was able to notice the beautiful energizing burst of euphoria that had settled into my brain. I was not able to tell for sure if this strain caused the increased heart rate that I normally associate with such euphoria because I was running. Sometimes, I also experience feelings of anxiety with strains that produce such a strong cerebral effect, but Boston OG did not cause any such feelings for me. It did, however, enhance my sense of humor. I do not believe I’ve ever giggled so much during a workout.
The whole time on the trail, I felt extreme, stress-free mental energy. My mind was going a million miles an hour, covering a thousand different thoughts at once in a very unfocused, space-cadet fashion. I was ready to take on the world! Then, suddenly, at nearly the sixty minute mark, my muscles and eyes became super relaxed. My thoughts became consumed with how much I would love to lie down or at least close my eyes, but there is no way my energized mind would have allowed me to actually sleep. Essentially, my mind was fiercely competing in the Boston Marathon, while my body was on the couch watching Friends. Luckily, I was almost home by this point. The euphoric energy is the only thing that pushed me through to the end of my run.
Once home and breathing regularly, I noticed how uplifted my mood was, and I felt another wave of intense mental energy that inspired a strong desire to clean, which is not a feeling I experience often. That quickly subsided when another tidal wave of muscle and eyelid exhaustion hit. If only there had been a way for me to clean the house and seize the day, as my mind was commanding, without having to move my body. As the Boston OG was leaving me, the mental energy wore off, but the humor and spaciness prevailed throughout the remainder of the day.
In summary, Boston OG provides serene mental energy that combats feelings of anxiety and stress, and induces intense waves of body relaxation that do not necessarily result in actual drowsiness. Therefore, this strain would not be best suited for anyone looking to sleep, but I would deem it acceptable for daytime use. Novice users beware, this strain may be a little intense, so start off with just one hit.
photo credit: running.competitor.com