Marijuana Stories

The Changing of the Cannabis Quo

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I am a weed snob. Although I prefer the term “cannabis connoisseur,” a weed snob is someone who declines, avoids or scoffs at marijuana that doesn’t meet their standards. But there is a difference between a weed snob, a cannabis connoisseur, and the general pot-smoking population of the United States, and the growing cannabis culture is going to make this much more apparent.

See, it used to be that weed was just weed. You either could get weed or you couldn’t; if it was good you considered yourself blessed and if it wasn’t you still didn’t complain. Weed was just weed.

I started smoking nearly a quarter century ago and I’ve never really stopped. I grew up in New England and in those days getting pot was a major chore. I was happy if I could get it at all. It never occurred to me to ask the seller what strain the weed was, or whether it was an Indica or a Sativa. That just wasn’t a thing.

Sure, I remember once when I was about 14 some distant friends smoked me up with Chocolate Jamaican, and once or twice I triedDirt Weed was Pretty Much all I could Get at Times Northern Lights. Once I got a hold of what were supposedly Thai Sticks. But those occasions were rare. Most of the time you’d pay around $20-$25 for an eighth of Mexican commercial brick weed. It was ugly and hard and full of sticks and seeds. You didn’t ask what kind it was because no one knew, and no one cared. You just smoked the shit if you could stand it.

The same was always true about hash too – if you could by some miracle score hash, no one ever knew what type of weed the stuff came from. By the time it made it into our grubby mitts in New England, its type and history were long buried in the exchange of hands required to beat the Drug War’s long arms.

As I approached my 30’s I fell in with the mature marijuana smokers and was able to easily score some of the world’s best pot – Maine and Vermont has plenty of it during harvest season. But in almost all cases, no one ever discussed the strain. Indica? Sativa? Most people that I smoked with sort of knew what those terms meant, but only vaguely.

A friend of mine in Belfast, Maine had a sporadic connection that lasted for several years and yielded quite a bit of NYC Diesel. But other than this, I haven’t heard anyone talk about strains or types.

Despite the lack of cannabis culture in the northeastern US, marijuana lovers there were just as passionate as any cannabis kid anywhere. They grew their plants with care, mastered lighting cycles and pest control methods, perfected curing techniques and created an end product that you could be proud of. Even still, names and strains were usually “not a thing,” and not much has changed since my first joint in 1990.

In fact, this summer I spent time in Vermont and I was able to make 2 major weed connections. One was able to get a mid-grade, brownish all-purpose pot, and the other was able to procure fine, potent and fresh marijuana. But I never asked the guys I got it from whether it was a Sativa, an Indica or a blend, and I certainly never asked what strain it was. Even if it had occurred to me to ask, they wouldn’t have had an answer, and they probably would have called me a weed snob if I had.

Weed is just weed, man.

Marijuana Plants just beginning to bloom - soon these will be everywhereBut with the growth of cannabis culture worldwide, this is steadily changing. During the last few years I’ve lived in a number of different countries and had to play various games in order to procure and safely smoke marijuana. In places where marijuana use is widely tolerated – like Amsterdam and Barcelona, I was introduced to an entire world of cannabis culture that I wasn’t aware of before.

Strains, strains, strains! There are hundreds of marijuana strains and each one has a unique taste, a specialized purpose or benefit, a distinct aroma and highly individualized effects. Learning the differences first-hand taught me a great deal about the massive therapeutic potential for cannabis as well as the artisanal aspects of pot that you can enjoy like a fine wine or a well-crafted beer. It taught me that not every type of weed is the right type for me, even though I still live by the principle of “beggars can’t be choosers” when I must.

For instance, before my immersion in cannabis culture, I never knew whether the pot I was smoking was an Indica or a Sativa. But after careful study of each type, I discovered that I overwhelmingly prefer Indica, and actually don’t find Sativa to be very appealing unless it is exceptionally strong.

I’ve also found that certain strains other people love don’t work for me. The Super 7 strain, for instance. Then there was Somango: a 100% Sativa plant that I smoked but never actually bothered to write a review on. There’s also the much-loved Cheese strain, which does nothing for me but causes pie-eye and chronic munchies in just about everyone I know who smokes it.

In fact, the most potent item circulating here in Barcelona at the moment is a hash oil called Gasolator. I purchased a big nasty gob of itWrapping up Some Skunk Weed and smoked it repeatedly with absolutely zero effect. Some local stoners didn’t believe me because this stuff is notoriously strong, but it just didn’t work for me. My girlfriend also tried it several times and got nothing from it, and she is a lightweight.

So here’s my point: because I have researched, studied and personally experimented with many different types of marijuana, I am able to make better decisions for myself. Why would I spend money on a Sativa that doesn’t relax me or get me high? Why would I want a strain that I know from experience doesn’t work for me?

This is all valuable information, and its existence as useable data is due to the changing of the cannabis quo. Cannabis culture isn’t new, but in America it’s been so rare that it might as well be. In fact, when I return to the States I know the moment I open my mouth about blends or strains that I’ll be immediately deemed a weed snob. I’ll still go through the same one or two guys to acquire my nondescript marijuana, and I’ll still smoke it no matter what it is; because for now, weed is still just weed in most parts of America.

But it won’t be that way for long.

Russ Hudson
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6 thoughts on “The Changing of the Cannabis Quo

  1. I am a veteran with service connected PTSD. Cannabis is by far the best medicine that I have used for it. The Paxil and Zoloft help with anxiety and emotions by tamping it down so much I don’t want to do anything. On Cannabis, I feel more relaxed but not tamped down emotionally. I relocated to TX from California at the suggestion of the VA for treatment in Houston. I miss the support I got from every doctor I had in CA, from the Vet Center, to the VA to my pot doc to my civilian therapist friends. I liked a Sativa hybrid in the daytime for energy and creativity, and the Indica’s at night for pain, insomnia, muscle spasms and a host of stomach problems. I am blessed to have a friend who knows a local grower, although the prices are high, and the amounts run light. A recent quarter of ‘White Berry” was only 4.5 grams. Got another friend who gets good Indica for his pain after a car accident. Here, I don’t feel like I can be any sort of snob, but I sure miss the days when I could. I hope Texas will come to its senses by the next go round in 2015. I have a strong feeling that things will have changed in Congress by then and Texans are smart. I’ve not met one here against cannabis. Most of them would prefer that to alcohol if they didn’t get tested at work. And all the veterans in my support groups prefer Cannabis too. Only met one VA doc who told me Cannabis would make me hallucinate,. I told her my grandma taught me at 16 to never smoke a joint or bowl I didn’t personally see rolled or packed at a party so THAT wasn’t going to happen. The only way Cannabis would hurt or kill me was if a bale or two fell on me. She was aghast at that. But.. my grandma, grew Cannabis for her arthritis in the 70’s, and my WW2 veteran Uncle smoked it for his blown up knee pain. he told me ‘one veteran to another’ that he’d been smoking it since the night of the beaches of Normandy when a French soldier showed up and pulled out a joint. Uncle said it was the best thing he’d ever felt and never looked back. My dad was a successful aviation engineer for Lockheed and smoked it for stress and Parkinson’s. So as a 3rd generation medical + recreational user I’ll say, only the Cannabis smokers are alive, kicking and thriving. All the alcoholics in my family are dead. Time for it to all change, and for the politicians to listen to the people and conventional wisdom. Done with the police state!

    1. It’s good to hear from veterans who are actively using cannabis to self-medicate – especially for conditions related to their faithful service. Too many people think that military = “square,” and that’s just not true. When I was in the USN nearly everyone I knew smoked pot if they could reasonably get away with it; myself included. And like you, some of them were using it to treat emotional or mental disorders that they didn’t want to treat with pharmaceuticals. But finding the best pot for you takes a little bit of trial and error, and with laws the way they are now, most people simply can’t do this. But I think the tides are turning and soon cannabis culture is going to be mainstream. Agreed, ‘maam; “Down with the Police State.”

  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this subject. I think the different strains is what makes cannabis awesome. You eventually find the strains you like the most and you get to try new ones. I started maybe 4 years ago but during that year I got to try so many different strains the guy I use to buy from always had something new.. Started off with a strain just called hawaiian. It was really good for relaxing. Now he’s hit a dry spot and I didn’t realize how lucky I was until now where he gets mid of strains that were formally great like the latest version of GDP. I didn’t realize I was a connoisseur or weed snob until recently when I started reading about how people were complaining about the tax that colorado had to vote on. I was like if I can pay a little more to get exactly what I want when I want then really what is there complain about. Most people do think “weed is just weed” though. But I personally research and would really like to become a grower but it’s not legal here yet in TX . I read somewhere that it may happen or atleast become somewhat attainable in 2017 who knows though..

    1. Hey Allen; thanks for stopping by. A lot of people disagree with you and think that because they consider cannabis to be “sacred,” that it should never be taxed. I on the other hand agree with you; taxation will bring many benefits – but those who are loathe to pay those taxes will have the opportunity to simply grow their own. I think it will be rare or non-existent that we see any legalization or repeals that don’t allow an individual to grow plants for their own use, so those who don’t want to pay taxes on commercial marijuana don’t have to. If you become a grower, taxes will work in your favor, and if I buy from you, those same taxes will work in my favor even though I fund them. Admittedly I don’t see Texas on the forefront of legalization efforts, but I hope for your sake that changes soon!

  3. Times certainly are changing. Nearly all the connects I come in contact with quote two prices. Where I am from in the states it is usually divided into what is coined “mid” and “Fire” or some other slang term for really good. I have noticed that since more states have made medical marijauna available there are more and more people who have what I would call exotic strains, only because I come into contact with them so rarely, like purple kush or white widow. Still these strains appeal on the street is more so about looks not concentration. But I suppose as you suggest as buyers IQ rises so will the overall quality of what is available.

    1. I wish we had two choices in the Northeast! The only way I can choose between a couple of different kinds in the US is by going through more than one person. Most of the guys I know who deal primarily sell one type until its gone, then get another, etc. It’s usually pretty inconsistent, but the guy I get mid-grade from has had the same exact weed for a long time. Hopefully it won’t be long before we can safely purchase weed at a club, like I intend to do here in Barcelona today. 😉

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