A sample of the Light of Jah strain, grown in Colorado and purchased at Smokin’ Gun Apothecary. (Sohum Shah, The Cannabist)

Light of Jah (marijuana review)

Religion and cannabis have been partners for thousands of years. In recent history, most people associate the religious or spiritual use of cannabis with the dreadlocked Rastafari of Jamaica. Rastas worship Haile Selassie I as the second coming of God, following his coronation as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, and often refer to him as “Jah.”

So, when I saw a strain named “Light of Jah” grown by Native Roots at Smokin’ Gun Apothecary in Glendale, I was intrigued. How good was a strain that warranted the reference “Light of God?”

Light of Jah by the numbers: $15/gram at Smokin’ Gun Apothecary, 492 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale

I was on my way from a friend’s birthday barbecue to another friend’s house near Glendale to watch the much-hyped UFC 200, and wanted a smoke that wouldn’t knock me out. It was almost 7 p.m., so I knew I would have to shop in Glendale, where recreational stores are allowed to sell until midnight. I had visited but never shopped at the anti-prohibition-themed store built on the site of the original Shotgun Willie’s Showclub, and decided today was the day to pull the trigger and buy something.

I was accustomed to the standard glass display cases and baseball card-shop layout, so the old western decor and open layout at Smokin’ Gun was a shock on my first visit. But, it grew on me, so I went back.

After perusing the four tables of flower in Smokin’ Gun’s unique store, I couldn’t shake the Light of Jah from my mind, and bought a gram.

I was starving when I got to Chris’s house, so I fired up the grill and made a quick veggie burger before the main events started. Once the first bout began, I fished a pipe and the freshly procured flower out of my pocket.

Because Native Roots and now Smokin’ Gun were the only places I had ever seen this strain, I decided to do a little research. That’s when I learned that sativa-dominant Light of Jah is either a renamed phenotype of the famous Jack Herer, or a cross between the same Jack and Afghani, according to both Leafly and Native Roots (the description is the same, but it’s unclear which one wrote it).

The entire gram was basically one large, round nug with three or four different shades of green. The most prominent was a light shade of lime green that would make sense for a Jack Herer derivative. The other shades ranged in darkness up to a dark, blueish-green hue. There were sporadic light-orange hairs and lots of trichomes poking out from between the different green leaves.

Its scent had a mix of sweet, spicy and something between earth and wood. When I broke it up, the sweetness opened up in a way that reminded me of Hawaiian Sativa, with an extra hint of citrus. The long leaves on the outside masked a nug that only compressed by about one-third when I gave it a good squeeze — and didn’t decompress at all. The dry outer leaves crumbled off to reveal a much better moisture content. It left a resin on my fingers that had to be washed off before I smoked the bowl I had just loaded.

The first dry hit had the same Hawaiian Sativa sweet-and-citrus taste. The citrus became a little more prominent and left a tingle in my nose. When I lit the bowl, the sweet taste was prominent, but the pine and earth emerged on the exhale. These flavors were complemented by slight hash-like spiciness — leading me to believe Light of Jah might have the rumored Afghani genetics crossed into it.

By the time Cain Velasquez defeated Travis Browne at the end of the first round, I could feel that my eyes had shrunk to half their normal size, and my posture was substantially more relaxed. I melted into the couch without losing focus on the introduction for the next bout — featherweights Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.

As the main card progressed, I appreciated the high provided by Light of Jah, though not as much as the stimulation I’d get from the original Jack Herer strain.

And when I say “appreciation,” it is analogous to my feelings toward mixed martial arts. While MMA is entertaining to watch, I prefer the class and strategy of boxing to the ruthless violence of the more modern MMA.

Perhaps the “light” of Jah is a reference to the relaxation of the smoke, as opposed to the energetic high of Jack. Regardless, I still prefer the latter.