An example of Afghan Haze from Colorado dispensary High Country Healing. (Jake Browne, The Cannabist)

Afghan Haze (marijuana review)

I never imagined that “avoiding prison” would be a short-term goal of mine. I’ve seen enough episodes of National Geographic’s “Locked Up Abroad” that this is a recurring fear leading up to my trip to Amsterdam for the 27th annual High Times Cannabis Cup. The scenarios vary, each ridiculous in their own right, the most frequent being the one where I’m so high that I fall into a sacred canal and land on an endangered turtle.

I show genuine remorse, but it doesn’t curry favor with the court.

Afghan Haze by the numbers: $75/eighth, $440/ounce at High Country Healing, 191 Blue River Pkwy in Silverthorne.

To ensure this isn’t my fate, I’ve been training. Much like a marathon, it’s all about endurance. Also, I never thought I’d be taking part in either event. So I’ve been busy crunching up Diesel in the morning, taking some OG rips in the afternoon, but mostly bowl after bowl of Afghan Haze.

As an ardent supporter of Super Lemon Haze, this makes little sense. Instead of the citrus and butter of SLH, there’s more spice and herb to the Afghan incarnation. Wafts of cardamom and dill tickle the tip of my nose as I break up the long buds, which are a surprise in themselves. Density isn’t a trait regularly associated with haze, as true sativas grow as wispy as an ill-advised goatee of a death metal fan. That’s where genetics play the biggest role.

If famed chef Auguste Escoffier were putting together a list of mother strains instead of sauces, my guess is Afghani indica would be his Espagnole. You almost never see it offered straight up, but it’s an excellent base for breeding. The cross in play here — Original Haze — covers sativa from almost every other geographical hot spot: India, Mexico, Thailand and Colombia. While the strain ultimately leans sativa-dominant, it’s a substantive high. One that I’ve become all too familiar with over the past week.

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The closest I can describe the high of Afghan Haze is that it puts me in the same head space as “Three Beer Jake.” It’s the kind of strain that makes everything a skosh more fun. You’re engaged and situations are amplified. You say something and the words jumble a bit, but instead of feeling self-conscious everyone has a good laugh. If it were just a decent mood elevator, though, I’d have been less enamored.

Any sativa that can mitigate pain in a tangible way for me is a savior. When my neighbor asked for my help the other day, I didn’t imagine we’d be loading tractor tires into his truck so he could sell them to local CrossFit gyms. After jacking up my shoulder and back, I regret not asking for a cut of the proceeds.

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Not only has the Haze helped with the pain (which is always worse in the morning and unfazed by coffee, the only other way I treat things) but it makes my muscles feel loose. I imagine it’s what yoga is like, only inhaled. If my 6-foot-3 frame ever managed to touch hands to toes, I’d wager that Afghan Haze was somehow involved.

Is it my favorite of all the haze varieties I’ve tried? I wouldn’t go that far. There’s something eminently pleasing about Super Lemon’s racy, borderline anxious energy that sparks something I’m hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Afghan Haze is much more approachable, however, for someone who’s looking to experiment without all the potential paranoia. In a way, it helped me conquer my own.

Amsterdam, here I come. If you see an American flailing in a canal, please save the turtle first.

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