Back when I was still budtending, people who shopped for potency alone drove me insane, because it distilled the entire experience down to a number.
The next time you’re out on a dinner date, ask your server for the heaviest dish on the menu and bask in the confusion that washes over their face. It’s a terrible way to shop for just about anything, and it came to a head in 2014 when OG 18 was named the third-strongest strain in the world by High Times and I was behind the counter at pot shop Denver Relief.
Lord, did I meet some yokels.
By the numbers: $13/gram, $235/ounce at Preferred Organic Therapy, 1569 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver.
The most distinguishing aspect of DNA‘s OG 18 (a.k.a. R-18 or The OG #18) is how little it resembles a traditional OG Kush, eschewing the small, dense nugs for a more sativa-like structure and light green appearance with flourishes of peach, flesh-colored hairs. It’s the fraternal twin that wasn’t resorbed in utero. Take a whiff and it’s unmistakable, however, with those literal dank and fetid smells of low-tide washing over old tires heaved off of a pier.
Beyond OG 18: More cannabis criticism
A few of our favorite strains: 25 ranked reviews from our critics
Flo: For me, Flo is the “Eh, let’s just order pizza” of strains when you’ve seen too many jars and need to walk out with something. If it were a re-run on TV, it’s an episode of “Friends” that’s all Phoebe. Sure, it’s fun and light, but you really wanted a good Chandler zing. Why do I keep buying this?
Tangerine Dream: You eat Pad Thai in the states and everyone laments how it’s not quite the same. Tangerine Dream in Holland doesn’t exactly distinguish itself. It’s a perfectly fine sample, and much, much stickier than the dust most nugs become in Denver. I need a paper shredder, not a grinder. But the sample is average.
Sour Diesel: Recommending Sour Diesel as a weed critic is like a music writer extolling the virtues of The Beatles or a historian making a case for George Washington as a great president. In fact, Sour Diesel probably belongs on a Mount Rushmore of marijuana — a fake monument that I desperately want my picture taken in front of.
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Again, people could not get enough of this.
Ideally, this is a strain you consume for its medical benefits, chiefly pain relief. Unfortunately, cannabis cannot cure the common sunburn, my current affliction after I insisted “I’m good” on a recent trip to the beaches of Wilmington, North Carolina.
(I have no idea why I approach sunscreen with a leeriness usually reserved for “free” cruises or dollar fish tacos, but I’m now the human embodiment of a fire emoji.)
Catching up with an ex-industry friend, she immediately spies the nug as I load the bowl and insists it isn’t OG. After showing her a sample of Island Sweet Skunk erroneously (and egregiously) identified as Grape Ape earlier in the month, I can’t blame her for being suspicious. Deep earthy notes of fresh soil on the first hit put all of that to rest, however, and we trade a couple more before settling in.
Having spent nearly a week sans flower, I’m expecting this to hit me in the face, but the high instead creeps in over the first 10 minutes, focusing mostly on my back and shoulders. A flight on Frontier Airlines is never great for my body at 6-foot-3 and being one of those humans with a spine, but nothing is loosening up or relaxing as I’d expect. I slouch harder in my adirondack chair in silent protest.
After a mini-gripefest about our parents, which consisted mostly of me being a 33-year-old brat, I’m still not getting any of the heaviness a strain like OG 18 should deliver. I’d recommended this strain for sleep countless times, yet found myself alert and engaged as she broke down a fairly non-descript call she had with her mom earlier in the week.
If I was one of those THC-obsessed shoppers, the “brotency” of this OG 18 would have let me down.
I suppose this narrative is self-serving, as there’s no need for pot critics in a world where we blindly order the strongest strain without regard for terpenes, curing or trim. That being said, I’ve had strong pot that was a pleasure to smoke, but it’s my last criteria when making a purchase — in the same way I’ve never asked a restaurant for their bulkiest entree.