Over the past 7 years or so (or however long it has actually been since I first joined the Weed World family), I have had the utmost pleasure of becoming acquainted with some truly remarkable people.
Through Skype calls, phone conversations, e-mails and face-to-face meetings I now have a greater understanding of cannabis than I ever would have had, but I also feel privileged to have had so many chances to connect with people and learn their individual stories.
From hashishins and legal entrepreneurs to old-school smugglers and underground medicine providers, many of those who I have interviewed are people who I keep in touch with when life grants me a spare moment and sometimes this leads me to some interesting places.
Last year, I had the chance to sample a private cross strain with its cultivator after he had decided to bring it out of hibernation. Having first created the strain a number of years ago, he was keen to delight me with his own genetic cross and we spent some time talking about the path to its creation. It is always a pleasure to hear someone speak so passionately on a subject and the way that breeders and growers extol the virtues of a particular strain never ceases to bring a sense of joy to my ears and soul.
Sadly, he went on to explain, the seeds had not faired too well in their time in the freezer and his yield levels were much lower than expected. That said, the end result (at least in terms of effect) was still something rather special. The high started mellow and then built to a crescendo of high energy and creativity while thoughts became fluid and dynamic. I found it impossible to sit still and started ticking things off my ‘To Do’ list with a massively increased level of tenacity. I mean, how can cleaning the kitchen be an enjoyable experience?
A few days later, after some additional ‘clinical trials’ at my own leisure, I called him up to thank him again for the experience and explained that I would love to be kept abreast of anything else he was working on. Fast forward almost a year and he called to say that he had completed another harvest of the same variety (he tends to cycle strains, so I had been patiently awaiting its return). We agreed to catch up a week or so later so that he could allow more time for curing. Talk about counting the hours.
After what felt like an eternity (honestly, I’m like a kid at Christmas when it comes to high quality cannabis!) we sat down and he filled me in on the trials and tribulations of this particular grow. It turns out that this cultivation lark is never straightforward, and he had to contend with no end of pitfalls on his way to harvest.
To begin with, he had invested in some new lights but found that they did not provide strong enough levels to get the plants to where they needed to be. Unperturbed, he spent a little more money to try and correct the problem but found that progress was still slower than expected. By chance, he went into the tent to double check something and found it to be in total darkness only two hours into his light cycle. Obviously, this has huge implications for levels of growth but inaccurate cycles can cause plants to trigger into different stages at totally the wrong time.
In the hope of solving the problem he had to try a number of things and made numerous return journeys to the shop he regularly uses until they finally managed to narrow it down to a faulty connection on the power supply. Once this was sorted, which only took a day or so thanks to his tenacious attitude and die-hard spirit, he managed to bring everything back under control and was hopeful that the overall impact would not be too grave.
As I inspected the finished buds and sipped my tea, I noted that the level of trichomes was pretty spectacular. Every bud was packed with masses of pale crystals and as I was looking at it more closely, he laughed and said that I should have seen the rest of the plants when it came to trimming. With that, he went out of the room and came back with a lined lunchbox filled with leaves and off cuts.
I couldn’t believe my eyes: it was clear that the whole plant had been covered in glorious trichomes from top to bottom. Sifting through the box carefully, I noticed how easily the crystals stuck to each other (and my hand) and it made me think of some of the stories I heard from Frenchy Cannoli about how he would hand roll charras when he was up in the mountain ranges working the fields of green. I’d never really had the chance to ‘get my hands dirty’ in this way and I was mesmerized by the whole experience.
Promptly, he grabbed a small black tub from the side and unscrewed the lid. Inside was packed with more of the same plant material and he proceeded to dust the inside edges with a soft brush. Miniature clouds of pollen blossomed and fell into the darkness before he screwed the lid back on and gave it a calm-yet-purposeful shake for about 30 seconds.
Once he was finished, he tapped it on the table a few times and then undid the compartment at the bottom of the shaker to reveal a dense pile of pure crystals. Separating a pile from the main heap, he swiftly scooped it into his palm and began working it with his thumb and fingertips. I watched, enthralled, as he casually and effortlessly kneaded the powder over and over.
The heat from his hands combined with the pressure and caused the powder to slowly but surely solidify into a small mass. After a few minutes of continuous pressure and repetitive circular motions, he transferred the little lump into some cellophane and added some final applications of pressure.
The finished product, as you can see in the attached photo, was a smooth, densely packed, brownish-green ball of pure, unsullied hash. He passed it to me to look at more closely and I marvelled at its simple beauty for more than a moment before going to hand it back to him.
He simply waved it away and told me that I could have it to try when I got home. I was happily surprised by his kind offer and I then proceeded to look at it even more longingly in the knowledge that I could enjoy it thoroughly when I got home. As I put it in my bag he smiled and simply said, ‘Just be aware, it’s a bit of a creeper.’
Later that evening, as I settled down to some quality lone time, I heated the side of the ball gently and crumbled off enough for a mild joint. Initially, I heated it too strongly and charred the edge, but I quickly learnt my lesson and the rest of it went smoothly. Once all the preparations were completed, I made myself comfortable and sparked up.
The hit was smooth with a hint of tickle at the back of the throat (I can’t even remember the last time I smoked anything but bud) and the exhale was warming and slightly scratchy. In terms of taste I could really feel the presence of the plant on the taste buds, but the initial hit left my head feeling light and uplifted. I took it in slowly to begin with, leaving two thirds of the joint in the ashtray, and after about fifteen minutes I was becoming increasingly aware of its ‘creeper’ nature.
My mind was alive with ideas and thoughts, leading me to be hit with bursts of inspiration and before I knew it I had gone downstairs, emptied the dishwasher, put some music on louder than usual, organised the washing to go in the machine, vacuumed the house, made some beats on GarageBand, written some lyrics, played some videogames and caught up on some emails. Satisfied with my work output, I suddenly found myself back where I had started and lit up the rest of the joint. Suffice to say, it was a productive and relaxed evening.
The whole experience was pretty special and the fact that I came home with some of the finest hash I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying (and half an ounce of an exclusive strain that very few other people have ever sampled was an added bonus).
The only downside is that it’s likely to be a fair while until I have the chance to sample it again and if the yields are still lower than expected when all the equipment is fully functioning then it may be the last time he grows it. If that is the case, which I hope it isn’t, then I’ll always be able to look back on this and be happy that I had the chance to enjoy it while it lasted.
To my friend, who shall remain nameless, I say simply this: thanks for the pedigree chum
Written and Published By Psy-23, The Weed Nerd In Weed World Magazine Issue 141