Is there truth in advertising in legal marijuana? Not always, though we’d like to think there is.
I’ve covered this in-depth in another article, but sometimes an issue is so prevalent that I feel it needs to be touched on again. That issue in this case is the rampant mislabeling of strains that is common throughout Colorado at nearly every dispensary, no matter how reputable or otherwise knowledgable.
Even as a professional weed critic who has seen thousands of strains (both in live plant and dried nug form), I at times struggle to know whether what I am buying is actually what it is labeled. That was the case when I went into Colorado Cannabis Facility’s recreational side and ultimately left with a half-eighth of their OG Kush, which seemed not like the OG Kush I know and love once I got it home.
In the store after perusing the selections and smelling six or so strains (all solid, by the way), I inhaled deeply in the shop jar and picked up what I thought were pretty clear and pleasing OG Kush notes. It wasn’t a smack in the face loaded with fuel, skunk and floor cleaner like some of the best OGs that I’ve had, but it smelled pretty darn acceptable for the superb $9/gram recreational price point that it was offered on. I actually thought it smelled stronger than some of the “top shelf” selections that were nearly twice the price, and the budtender agreed with me, saying that it was probably the best quality/price blend available in the shop at the time. He explained that it wasn’t really a lower-grade product, they just had a lot of it, and that’s why it was on special (I always appreciate the added context when trying to parse out why I am paying $5 per gram more for one strain versus another, so kudos to the staff at CCF for explaining things).
I found myself sniffing the bag a few times in the car on the way home to make sure I got what I thought I got (there was a bit of doubt when it only hinted at OG rather than screamed it), and that’s when I really started questioning things. While the structure was certainly “kushy” — dense, mostly rounded-triangle buds, with slight crowns at the top — something didn’t seem right, but I chalked it up to possibly being due to growing style. However, when I got to actually smoking it, the smell that I got in the grinder was completely different than what I was getting in the jar, both at the store and in the child-proof plastic container.
A strange and uncharacteristic sweetness was present in the aroma and seemed to overtake any semblance of OG smells as soon as it was ground up (which is normally the true indication of a strain’s smell rather than sitting in the jar). Instead of fuel, skunks and spice, it had an aroma reminiscent of certain Afghani varietals that I’ve seen; something between sweet and fresh with a very herbal background that brought to mind eucalyptus. Without going out on much of a limb, I feel pretty confident in saying that this strain is not a pure OG Kush, and is an OG Kush hybrid at best. One thought I had is that perhaps it is a Cali Connection (a popular seed company) OG Kush variety, as I have seen those in the past showing a lot of Afghani influence (the male that they used to make their popular SFV OG lines) and a similar strange sweetness that is not present in a pure OG. Regardless, the aroma was fairly pungent and enjoyable, though not exactly what I was expecting.
Feeling the bud, it felt extremely dry, but just shy of crumbling to dust when I squeezed it — I checked the batch number (which often carries a date stamp of some kind) and discovered that this batch was actually harvested a little more than three months before I made this purchase. I started putting the pieces together and understood more deeply why this strain was on the budget shelf; they had harvested a lot of it and it had started to get old, so they priced it more aggressively. I was actually surprised that it smelled as strongly as it did for having been so old. I would like to see a fresh batch of this at some point for comparison though, as I’m sure it would be significantly more impressive.
As I was taking the photos, I saw a high amount of amber trichomes, which also speaks to the age of the product. As THC degrades with age or heat, it turns into cannabinol (CBN), which is the narcotic, heavy, red-eyed cannabinoid responsible for many of cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties — I’m willing to bet that this sample would have tested in the 1-2 percent range for CBN. I normally prefer my cannabis on the early-to-perfect harvest side of things when it has a little more THC and less CBN, so I was expecting a rather heavy, dull experience.
I rolled up about a gram of my purchase in a Raw paper, putting the rest of the ground-up material back in the jar for later. The joint lit easily and burned well from the start, giving the same odd, sweet-spice profile as I picked up in the smell, if a little toned-down. As the joint moved on, the ash had a dark outside layer with a crispy white inside, indicating to me that it was likely grown in soil, as it is more difficult to properly flush out residual nutrients in soil compared to coco coir/rockwool/flood-and-drain hydroponic systems, and many of the “organic” style grows that I know of have a similar ash color and “mouthfeel.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do prefer well-grown coco coir cannabis to soil as a rule. The joint still was smooth on the lungs and relatively pleasurable the whole way down.
The flavor was never super-strong, but it did mostly fade away by the midway point of the joint. Around that time, I started to feel a soft pressure in my head, face and eyes (a typical OG trait) as well as a slight buzzing throughout my extremities. On the first attempt, I got busy and the effects just sort of faded into the background as I ran errands and spent time with the family. On a second attempt (with the remaining ~0.75 grams), I got a similar feeling initially, but I definitely noticed more of the dry, burning eyes that I associate with a high-CBN variety. However, I also seemed to get a more direct pain relief and found my always-aching back and hip to fee slightly looser and less terrible, at least for approximately the first 30 minutes of the duration. Despite the eye-burning, it didn’t actually knock me down to the point of sleep, even though I consumed it rather late at night. Other than that, it was a fairly middle-of-the-road experience, feeling neither overtly sativa nor indica and carrying a low-to-moderate potency and duration (it seemed to last only an hour-and-a-half or so).
Regardless of whether or not this strain was OG Kush, an OG Kush hybrid, or a second cousin’s stepbrother’s roommate of OG Kush, it was surprisingly enjoyable — especially considering it had been procured from the bottom shelf at a recreational dispensary. It’s a credit to CCF that their absolute lowest-priced option was solid when compared to many strains that are going for twice the $9 per gram I paid for this. Don’t take this review as any true bearing on OG Kush, but take it as evidence that you can get solid herb at $9 per gram, even without a medical red (now purpleish) card.
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