Just as we cannot remain mired in the old, we must be mindful to not get carried away with the new. We steadily progress forward when striking a balance between what has sustained us in the past and what will propel us into the future. Old world techniques are valuable and go hand in hand with newer innovations, with either perspective being no more important than the other. Rather the interdependence of the approaches yield the bests results; as with The Nubia Hashish.
The Nubia Hashish was created by Master Hash Maker Frenchy Cannoli from frosty, sugary trim clipped from cannabis grown by a low-key farmer named Eddie, taught first hand by Mean Gene of Freeborn Selections (IG: @meangenefrommendocino). In an effort to create a richly-colored, mold resistant, high-yielding, resinous, and vigorous cultivar with a truly unique flavor, Gene created the Nubia from the following plant combination: (OG Sour) x (PK x Urkel x Black Afi ) x Dirt x Purp x Green Queen) x (Urkel x Black Afi). He gave the seeds to Braveheart of Braveheart’s Private Reserve (IG: @braveheartsprivatereserve), who pheno-hunted the cultivar, made clones, and subsequently named it after his wife. Although Gene was not aiming for a high CBD value, he was pleasantly surprised with the resulting ratio of 1:1 THC to CBD.
Cannabis has been a major factor in Gene’s life; permeating every aspect of it. A cannabis grower for 25 years and breeder for over 20, Mean Gene has dedicated his life to preserving precious genetics by saving seeds and clones as he believes that cannabis is one of the most valuable to humanity as a whole. Over the years he has mainly grown cannabis outdoors in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Gene has stood on the podium for over a dozen awards including The Emerald Cup, Breeder’s Cup and High Times Cannabis Cup. Not satisfied with simply being great, he has mentored other growers, including Eddie (IG: @stay_splifted), who has flourished under Gene’s tutelage.
Currently in his seventh season of growing, Eddie is thankful for the opportunity to grow this wondrous plant. Nubia was grown outdoor in the lowlands of Mendocino. It was a very tall, fast growing, narrow leaf dominant Hybrid with thin leaves punctuated by a red vein along the middle. By the 2nd week of flowering, she became very resinous, and ended with a decent yield. After being dried and cured and trimmed, the sugar leaves were passed along to Frenchy to make Hashish.
Interestingly enough, though fresh charas was Frenchy’s introduction to resin collection, he prefers cured, dried trim for producing his powerful concentrates. As he tells it, there are two peaks of resin readiness; right at the point of harvest, and also at the point when phenomenal cannabis has been dried and been well cured. He has over 40 years of experience perfecting the craft of making Hashish; a personal journey towards understanding cannabis that began on the other side of the world. Trained by locals in the Parvati Valley in India, Frenchy spent eight seasons collecting resin and living in the most humble conditions like caves in order to eventually produce a most spectacular product.
Skipping to the present day, Frenchy is no longer rubbing his hands to make charas, but rather using his brand new, high capacity machine called The Agitator, produced by Delta Separations. The wash produced an above average yield just over 11%. As per his tradition-meets-modernity process, the collected resin was freeze dried and then pressed using the hot water bottle technique. He has been telling me about a new project especially for me and upon receiving The Nubia, I am quite excited. I have relied on CBD-rich products to assist me with my anxiety and the 1:1 ratio has me wondering about the effect.
As a nod to Frenchy’s adventures in India, I decide to make a weekend of exploring my mind and body connection using an ancient Indian modality: yoga. I plan a rejuvenating weekend courtesy of my friend Ashley Asatu (IG: @ashleyasatu), travelling yoga teacher and creator of the Yogasm Experience; a yoga practice specifically tailored to enhancing a woman’s sexuality. When she agrees to lead a private yoga class that I will host in my ganja garden, I ready the space for her, a mutual friend Andrea, and me to move and stretch freely amongst the green goddesses. I am bubbling over the top with excitement; jazzed up after an extensive conversation with the other women about sex, femininity, and body positivity. Before heading up to the roof, Ashley and Andrea take a few dabs and smoke a few joints. I would love to join, but I have my own special salve for my brain.
I open Frenchy’s jar and smile at the small brown dollop of resin. Even in the dark interior, the Hashish is glossy. I poke at it with a dab tool and am surprised it is at first very hard and then gives away smoothly like semi-dried paste. Bringing the jar to my nose, I detect pine, turpentine, and the slightest hint of a spice I cannot quite name. I break off a chunk and examine the rich chocolate in front of me. The outer portion is slick and smooth. The inner is lighter in hue and mottled like well-worn leather. I squeeze the Hashish between my palm and thumb and it yields to my hand’s warmth. I like that. I roll the small mass into a tiny temple ball and ready my banger for a dab. In my opinion, Hashish never tastes quite as good as off of a freshly cleaned quartz. Going through my usual dab routine, I touch the dab tool to the surface of the banger and The Nubia Hashish bubbles wildly. The first bit of vapor slides into my mouth. My chest expands fully and the vapor slips back out without a cough. There is not much mouthfeel, but I delight in the exhaled flavors of earthy pine and spearmint. The taste is like a delicate tea with the smallest bite at the end. After swabbing the banger, I take a lower temp dab and watch as the brown bubbles pop and skate across and down the side of the quartz. This time, the terpenes revealed remind me of unripe fruit, pine and mint. I look around and the living room has become quite hazy between Ashley and Andrea’s Hashish laced joints and my right concentrates. They motion to leave for the roof, and I slowly follow behind, aware that each thought seems to be coming in a slower fashion than the previous.
Once upstairs, I am struck by the sight of the oasis on my roof. Every day I am left speechless at the constant growth and unabashed beauty of the cannabis plants. With their leaves twitching in the wind, they beckon me into the mostly circular space in which Ashley and Andrea are already sitting in Sukhasana (easy pose) breathing deeply. I think I want to chatter, but no words come out of my mouth. Rather I move to my mat, sit, and begin to breathe. Ordinarily I hear the incessant and maddening chirp of the flurry of birds that reside in the trees that surround my building, but now I hear only Ashley encouraging us to breathe. I breathe in for four counts, hold for seven, and exhale in eight. I repeat the routine several times, feeling my body becoming grounded. As my chest moves up and down, useless concerns that have been wedged into the cracks of my brain begin to loosen and flow out with each breath. Soon enough, I feel practically nothing. I open my eyes and see that the sun has inched to within 3 fingers above the horizon. We have talked so much that we do not have a lot of time to practice. Ashley seems unbothered and begins to speak in her soothing voice. I am unfamiliar with several of the poses, but Ashley is patient, and quite unlike my customary response to lack of mastery, I am receptive and not frustrated by my ungainly unsteadiness and general awkwardness. The sun shoots its last rays, casting a golden mask on our faces, but besides a passing awareness, I am focused on my body position and inner emotions; which at this point are none. Ashley concludes the class and I assure her that I will work on strengthening my core so that I can get a better handle on what I am doing. Ashley assures me that the comfort will come with time. I nod and head downstairs. This inner quiet is nice, but it’s Friday night, and I am ready for a mental adventure. It’s time for some dabs heavy with THC.
The next day, Saturday, unable to secure passes for another yogi’s class, I resign myself to lazing around not doing much as the previous evening’s exertions combined with my menstrual cycle has left me completely worn out. However, I am late watering my plants and must, at the very least, steel myself for the seemingly gargantuan effort of trailing up and down the stairs with 5 gallon buckets to water 37 thirsty plants. I gather a few Lemon Haze nugs to roll a fat joint, but opt to take a dab of The Nubia Hashish instead. A quick swipe of my Dipstick in the jar and I smoothly exhale the full bodied smoke. After another hit, I head upstairs intending to rearrange the plants which were moved to make room for yesterday’s class. Opening the door to the bright sunlight and the dancing plants, it occurs to me that a circular space is just what I need to continue my yoga practice in the full warmth of the California sun. I am tired, but with a bit of inner resolve, I begin to drag the large plants, thankful for the handles on the cloth smart pots. They have not been watered as yet, but being 4 feet tall in 25 gallon pots, they are exceedingly heavy. I start off slowly, but within minutes, I feel my muscles warm and my movements get into a rhythm. I make two concentric circles, whispering coos of encouragement to the plants. I believe plants can sense changes in their position, so I take care to place them close to the neighbors they have had for the last 4 weeks. Minutes pass and then hours. During that time, I have remained focused on repositioning and watering. I lavish each plant with attention as I check for caterpillars, any wayward males I may have missed, and secure the stakes for those plants that have yet to be caged properly. I am not soaring in an elevated high, but I am calm, motivated and, most of all, moving. Sometimes I find myself stuck like an overworked CPU, aware of the millions of tasks that need to be done, but pulled in all directions and therefore liable to be doing nothing. After four hours I have completed their care and I practically collapse. For the last hour and a half, I have been running on fumes, but momentum has carried me through. I eat a small dinner and pass out on the couch.
On Sunday morning, I invite over my friend, Sarah Jain, and we spend a few hours talking and admiring the ladies in the garden. When I finally check the time, I realize we are running late for Ashley’s Yogasm class. We drive quickly across town to Berkley and practically run over to the address which houses a mini mall, but the entrance to the studio is nowhere to be found. Despite the constant cool breeze that signifies summer in the bay, I feel overheated and a trickle of perspiration rolls along the side of my forehead. We are surrounded by several boutiques and eateries offering clothing, trinkets and foods of far-off lands, but no sign of a yoga space. The minutes are ticking away and glancing at my phone I see that we are now 20 minutes late. Finally, I see another woman in yoga clothing and she directs us to a building nestled behind the main mall. We hurry down to a lower courtyard punctuated with bright orange and fuchsia bougainvillea plants; their colorful leaves vibrating slightly in the wind. I hardly notice any of the flowers as we burst into the class noisily. Without skipping a beat, Ashley welcomes us to the class and we unroll our mats. I attempt to slide into a quiet calm zone, but my thoughts are still racing from the anxiety of being tardy. I listen to the instructions and move through the asanas but I do not feel quite right. Ashley explains how various positions provide opportunities to strengthen our core get to know our bodies more intimately and therefore derive more sexual pleasure. Her approach is hardly conventional eschewing tranquil music in favor of Rihanna encouraging the class to “wuk, wuk, wuk, wuk, wuk” while we gyrate our hips in a kneeling Chaturanga Dandasana position (low plank). My thoughts flit from place to place and I am struggling to quiet them; noticing everything from the hair color of my classmates, to wondering what I will do after this activity is through. We stand and move into a high plank and I find that I cannot keep from wobbling. I have practiced these positions before, as recently as two days prior during my private session. I begin to mumble to myself as I am getting dangerously close to dropping all pretense of good form. Why is it that I seem off? Ah…no cannabis! Figuring that Ashley cares more about me being mentally present than finishing all of the reps of that asana, I quietly pick up my bag and grimacing from the effort of being as inconspicuous as possible, tip toe through the door. Sunshine blasts my face and it takes a moment to adjust from the dark interior. I walk over to one of the benches directly across from the aforementioned bougainvillea and as I sit and get comfortable, I smile at its lusciousness and exuberance. On either side of the decorative plant, hyacinths, and large purple Lily of the Nile flowers help transform the pleasant space into a flowery oasis. If I did not have to return to the class, I would be content to allow my mind to wend through the many unanswered questions of life, but I focus on getting back in step. I open the small black jar housing the Nubia Hashish and appreciate the dark, soft fudge. Using my Dipstick vape pen, I prod at the Hashish and then inhale quickly. Once again, that greenish flavor mixed with a mild pine rolls into my mouth reminding me of eating the skin of green mangoes. I exhale and the telltale blue smoke lifts slightly, but hardly dissipates; unwilling to be carried off by the flurry of air passing through the corridors leading out of the courtyard. I take 2 more quick puffs and walk back into the class. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me as I disturb them once again, but keeping my eyes straight forward, I make my way to my mat. I am right in time to flow through a circuit of child’s pose, cobra pose, upward facing dog and reverse. Two days ago, this series of poses was very difficult, with the strain on my triceps being particularly intense. But by the third repetition, I realize that the noise in my head has turned way down. I become aware of my tense shoulders and take care to keep them rolled back. I tighten my core to slide through the poses in a controlled fashion. At the upward facing dog position, I extend my neck upward, connecting my crown to the high ceiling and beyond. After doing the positions in reverse order, the release of my lower back when I return to child’s pose is supremely calming. I am hearing only Ashley’s voice in my head as I repeat the circuit several more times. She walks over to inspect my form and cheers me on. Ordinarily, I would feel a surge of pride at my proper completion of the exercise, but I feel fairly placid inside. I do not beam or grin, but rather do another round with nary a thought in my mind. I am on a very even keel. I am in tune with my body and I feel good.
In the 80s, the theme song from a popular TV show reminded us to take both the good and the bad to create the facts of life. Similarly with regard to cannabis, THC and CBD go hand in hand to help us achieve stasis in a disorganized and often dysfunctional world. Ordinarily, I unapologetically seek the dankest high, but sometimes the serenity of CBD is exactly what I need. I am at the very end of my stash, so I will surely turn to Frenchy for more as The Nubia Hashish will be kept close to help maintain harmony within myself and with my surroundings.
Bred by Mean Gene of Freeborn Selections
Grown by Eddie
Processed by Frenchy Cannoli
Words by The Dank Duchess
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 130