My first night in Italy, feeling particularly homesick at 18 years old, I ordered a “pepperoni” pizza. “Peperoni?” the man behind the counter repeated, somewhat bemused. I nodded, not understanding that I would get something barely recognizable to a young Iowa boy.
It was loaded with peppers. As it turns out, what I should have asked for was salami. I almost cried.
In the weed world, there are fewer of these “lost in translation” moments as the industry evolves, but occasionally you wind up with two strains that are connected by name only. The few times I’ve seen Frankenberry, it has been attributed to Purple Urkle and Strain X, but always including the Urkle. At The Herbal Cure, Frankenberry is a house cross of Banana Kush and a sativa-leaning Blueberry pheno, resulting in a pungent, foxtailing masterpiece. But it isn’t “Frankenberry” in the traditional sense.
Frankenberry by the numbers: $14/gram, $275/ounce at The Herbal Cure, 985 S. Logan St., Denver
Smelling the jar, you’re hit with ripe mango, macerated blueberries and fresh lemon, like someone taking the Saran Wrap off of a fruit salad made by someone with zero experience making fruit salads. The structure is akin to the Aggro Crag from the hit ’90s show “Nickelodeon Guts,” jutting out in every direction, but bathed in a lime-green light with only the occasional purple spot shining in. Compare it to the muted nose and dense structure of typical Frankenberry and you’d be hard-pressed to call them distant cousins.
Hosting an industry friend for the night, I lined up a few jars for her to choose from, knowing that the Frankenberry should stand out. Sure enough, a few smells later and we were puffing a bowl and trying to decide on what we’d order from Sexy Pizza. Over the next 20 minutes, we read every menu item twice as the high settled into our faces and necks, giving us a sativa-like chattiness as we debated the merits of what we would split.
The name game of cannabis strains
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The uptick in energy left us generating permutation after permutation, like Roshambo but with pizza toppings. Sure, we were hungry, but we were also dedicated to coming up with the perfect pie for the night, soon discussing what pantry staples we could incorporate. Eyeing a bag of nacho cheese Doritos, I floated out a taco pizza that was quickly shot down over concerns about how much iceberg lettuce was on hand (none). The Frankenberry was driving the conversation, curious and raucous at the same time, with a subtle body stone that you’d expect from a sativa-dominant hybrid.
After 45 minutes, we finally placed an order that didn’t include a pizza at all, but instead featured a sandwich, salad, dough-covered meatballs and fried eggplant. It truly reflected our high: all over the place.
People often ask me if these wacky strain names we give to weed actually matter or if they’re all marketing. For me, when you know what you’re looking for, the language becomes irrelevant.
If I had purchased Frankenberry sight unseen, I would have expected a sedative, lethargic high best suited for ordering in and watching a movie. Instead, the visual inspection and nose told me the opposite. I may have been a hapless tourist in Milan, but I could have told the difference between cured meat and roasted peppers.