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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Strain of the Month: Afghan takes users back in time

Afghan from Growing Like a Weed (Rick Misterly)
Afghan from Growing Like a Weed (Rick Misterly)
By Rick Misterly EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

In the current line-up of cannabis varieties, finding a non-hybridized strain with a one-word name is a rare occurrence. I have wanted to highlight Old World cultivars that form the basis of all the modern hybrids. It is good to find a grower based in Spokane repurposing the former Mountain Dome Winery to produce high-quality products while also committing to clean growing practices. If there were a legal classification for organic growing methods, Growing Like a Weed could claim this title.

The Tier 2 producer/processor’s tagline is “Quality Over Everything.” It also stresses that essential oils and chemical pesticides can alter the DNA of the plant and even affect future generations. Going fully pesticide-free is a lofty ideal, and that expectation for perfection must carry all the way to “the puffing.” GLW plans to expand into outdoor growing, and it will be interesting to see how the 2021 crop shapes up.

Appearance: An even, medium green throughout with little evidence of pistils. Buds consist of fully swollen calyxes clumped together to form dense flower clusters. Under magnification, you can see distinctive trichome development that sets this cultivar apart.

The genetics of this plant come from a culture where hashish is the end product. So if you have been doing this for a couple of millennia the most prized plants yield trichomes to the max. Trichomes cover all surfaces but vary in shape from common mushroom-topped spikes to dense, ice cornice-like formations. Numerous vertical trichomes appear as multi-tentacle growth reaching for the light like strange sea creatures. Others stick out like fine pointed needles. Colors range from translucent to amber.

The three nice-sized flowers making up this gram were medium-dense, but still a bit fluffy with little crumbling when lightly pressed. Considering the time between harvest and smoking, the texture and moisture were just about perfect. Attention to a proper cure and a good tight seal kept this stuff nice and lively as anything I’ve had.

Aroma: Initially there is a definite skunkiness, but that dissipates quickly and is replaced by a dry, black pepper. Mint lingers on the fringes of the pepper with also a brightness hinting of lemon blossoms. The dominant pepper most likely comes from beta Caryophyllene, one of the most effective terpenes in fighting inflammation, and of current interest to scientists studying the body’s response to COVID-19. Smoke is thick with a top quality, fresh tobacco sensation, leaving a little heat in the front of the mouth at first.

Effects: By the taste you know you’ve smoked something, but almost imperceptibly things are turned down a notch or two. I would expect that if you aren’t sitting down, you will be soon. What follows is a pleasant merging of a slowed-down mind and a body on a trajectory towards relaxation. The mind is not so much numbed but processes less, thus having space for thoughts that seem like revelations. Like you might have a future as a great philosopher if only you could hold onto that thought before the next brilliant flash takes their place. Think contemplative and comfortable in surroundings but very much in the grip of active ingredients.

The analgesic/anti-inflammatory effects from the phytocannabinoids, along with the psychoactive guides, seem to help with pain relief and ease anxiety. Expect the intense effects to last about an hour, when an easy-going feeling replaces the initial phase and hangs on for a few more hours. Sleep should come easily if the time is right. If not, you may need to smoke more as a pick-me-up. Back at the source, many a Sufi mystic has gained inspiration from the hashish from this variety so be sure to appreciate it for being a revered ancestor while you’re smoking history.

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