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Thursday, March 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Strain of the Month: Red Congolese

The seeds of tall wispy, narrow-leafed plants from the Congo region were crossed with a top-quality Mexican and landrace Afghani plants. (Courtesy Green Bluff Greenhouse)
The seeds of tall wispy, narrow-leafed plants from the Congo region were crossed with a top-quality Mexican and landrace Afghani plants. (Courtesy Green Bluff Greenhouse)
By Rick Misterly EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, black market cannabis was referred to by where it was grown. In my younger years, this meant that poorly-cured kilos of the entire plant pressed into bricks were just called “Mexican.”

Later, we were presented with specific locations like Oaxaca, Michoacan, or the famed Acapulco Gold from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Whether the provenance of our baggies truly came from these particular regions was anyone’s guess, but the names conjured up visions of exotic locations offering wonderful weed.

These days, it has become the mission of dedicated cannabis breeders, plus a few greedy entrepreneurs, to scour the globe, especially more isolated regions, to collect seeds from the true remaining ‘landrace’ strains.

This practice has brought us more choices, but has also diluted the pure plant gene pool. Some Western seed collectors are convincing local growers to cross their cultivars with other, higher-THC types from outside their area for stronger, more marketable product.

But one I’ve found in this area really reminds me of these original strains: Red Congolese from Green Bluff Greenhouse.

Though not a true landrace, this strain is derived from an indigenous cultivar from the Congo region of Central Africa. Based on my research, the seeds from these tall wispy, narrow-leafed plants were brought west and crossed with a top-quality Mexican and landrace Afghani plants.

Though having never experienced authentic Red Congolese I do have a history with the Mexican and Afghani contributions to its genetics and can honestly say they come through nicely in Green Bluff Greenhouse’s version.

This boutique producer in Green Buff grows its plants under lights in a climate-controlled environment. Through an integrated pest management program they produce all of their high-quality cannabis pesticide-free.

Appearance: A light green bud with red pistillates, and not as dense as you might expect. The pistillate flowers peek out from behind judiciously-trimmed sugar leaf that makes for a nicely balanced flower-to-leaf subject. Dried to a good moisture level, the bud is solid yet still compressible without being dry and brittle. Under magnification, the trichomes appear as bright droplets going deep into the flower with clear icicle-like growths.

Aroma: A bright citrus backed up by a pungent Mexican Marigold scent hits your senses immediately. After this initial blast a deep earthiness lingers, which seems to come from its Afghan genetics. There are nice familiar scents that I associate with the more basic cultivars of old, but the cultivation techniques of Green Bluff Greenhouse and the improved genetics have taken those aromas and enhanced them. Lighting up brings on a burning smell from the past but without the acrid, old roach character of its poorly cured predecessors.

Effects: It’s a great strain to get off to a good start on either physical or creative mental tasks. I found the duration to be long-lasting, extending into the 4-5 hour range. The prime terpene, caryophyllene, provides a boost of good feelings plus pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Definitely not something to use shortly before bedtime, but maybe a mid-afternoon puff or two can carry you nicely into evening energy and an easy come-down later.

Rick Misterly is a Washington resident whose interest in cannabis dates back to the 1960s. He’s the cannabis and hashish curator for Green Barn Farms in Addy and writes the “Rick’s World of Hashish” blog.

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