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I Inhale

I’ve used and handled marijuana for the last fifteen years. I’m a connoissure and an expert in my own way.

Fifteen years ago, in the Midwest, me and other kids usually consumed “schwag” pot. This was “Mexican” brick weed — the true south American origin was never really know. It was complete with seeds, stems, and sometimes even teeth, rocks, or random debri. Contrasting this was “kind bud” or “KB.” Kind bud represented a departure from dirty, bronchitis causing schwag to something so much stronger and purer that the user was a lot healthier for consuming it, being that they’d need to consume far less smoke.

Kind bud came from artisanal growers. People who were dedicated to producing artful pot. Old hippies that had been in the industry for decades. These were people risking their freedom to provide others with something wholesome and possibly even useful.

For, this pot was strong enough to be medicine for many ailments with minimal side effects from the smoke — if one insisted on inhalation as the route of delivery. Reefer no longer guaranteed bronchitis. The use of the active ingredients therapeutically outweighed the possible side effects.

The environmental pressure of cannabis being contraband selected for smarter, better, more potent pot. When there’s so much to risk and gain from each pound people tend to make the most of their gardens. I’d imagine some of the best pot came from quite small operations. Growers took pride in not simply the chemical potency but the subtle flavors and sensations that they were producing. You have to remember, we were regularly smoking shwag, these clandestine growers creating high-quality, domestically grown pot were part of an evolution.

But not everyone shared the vision of healthy, pride-worthy pot. Some growers produced weed that was usually free of seeds and usually left un-bricked but had a very low potency and little, if any, heirloom quality. British Columbia was said to be the source which led to the term “beasters” or “BCs” to describe what came to be seen as fraudulent kind bud.

Everyone knew that kind bud is what they desired so anything resembling BCs was, honestly, taken as an insult. And it was a long time coming seeing as how people had fucking known that sensimillla, completely seedless pot, was superior since the sixties. It was the end of sub-par cannabis as, by the end of the 2000’s, kind bud made up the majority of marijuana in the country — and it was all from California.

With this return to higher quality marijuana came again the question of higher-purpose uses for it. The scene became less hindered in investigating constructive uses. Hemp, the “male” type of weed, was already known to possess many useful properties. If hemp can do cool stuff. Why wouldn’t his sister? Medical was introduced in 1996 with California’s Compassionate Use Act. And this meant that super-high-quality cannabis was just then coming into my region, the southern Midwest, at the time I was 14.

I grew up in the redlight district of a sprawling, artsy, very gay city there with my mom and sister. I had plenty of access to drugs, especially alcohol. But I almost always abstained. Most of my friends were somehow involved with dealing or doing too many drugs — many times both. So, I was adverse to drinking and to doing certain dugs. But marijuana, I could let loose with it, and I did. It’s a sad thing to see teenager after teenager succumb to alcoholism before they could even legally buy cigarettes. Marijuana helped me to stay clear of all this excess.

It wasn’t long before I was a connussuer. I had already learned that I had a thing for taste through my love of good coffee. Now, I was extending my palette. And through this interest I was able to still hang with my peers as they chugged beer after beer, without ever having to booze myself, and without losing any perceived credibility. It was a social boon. I had always been a nerd, and here I was no different, but people thought it was just as respectable as their drinking. It helped them see we were still peers. I had never been able to so easily interact socially. So I ended up smoking a lot more pot than I ever thought I would because I ended up hanging out with others a lot more than I ever thought I would.

You could never beat medical marijuana. It was just a cut above anything that even came close. It usually came with a damn warning from the sales person “This is a lot stronger than what you’re used to. Take it slow.” It pushed the limits of everything from our tools to our tolerances. Pipes would clog and bowls bubble because of such high oil contents. We learned a technique to allow everyone to get a green hit from the bowl called “cutting the corner.”Joints would let out a stream of warm, liquid resin from their ends. Grinders would jam. You’re fingers would be so sticky that you couldn’t operate a lighter with a safety, your thumb would just stick to that the little guard plate thing. The psychotropic strength, unfortunately, would actually freak some people out and turn them off of smoking for a while.

The strains were distinct. There wasn’t a tone of grassiness in any of them; that had been bred out long ago in people’s closets. There actually wasn’t much ambiguity to them at all. They shared few features. Each one seemed a constellation of unique qualities. Piney Northern lights. Sour Diesel that actually made one exclaim “My, is that diesel fuel in your bag?!”Big bright J1 nugs that smelled like creamy, orange sherbet. It was so voluminous that it took up about twice the space as most weed. OG Kush that you actually had to pay a premium for and drive home with it in a double airtight container because it was so strong and pungent getting pulled over for an out taillight could mean olfactory trouble. The earthy, subtlety of real Grandaddy Purp. These buds made your neck hot.

The beginnings of legalization brought out of hiding these awesome specimens. These were my good old days for me. Unfortunately, since legalization we have been hurtling toward homogeneity in our crops as opportunist growers care more about weight than quality: replacing heirloom genes with bland, hay-tasting high-yielding genes. Cannabis is more than a commodity, it’s a culture and industry. I’m writing articles like these to share what I know and hopefully positively influence what is to come.

It would be a shame to leave behind all the beauty and dankness that is the full gene pool of pot. It’s not a simple subject. Unfortunately, the expense of getting to a lot of the corresponding phenotypes — to growing them — is essentially very small harvest yields. But, the pot world is full of people wanting to speed up business, to lower prices, to become wealthy basically. So, slow going gardening and research just won’t do for them. And that’s why I’m seeing bud that claims to be OG Kush when it’s really mostly Blue Dream. There exists in the world of marijuana an awesome, amazing expanse of genetic possibilities. Let’s explore that!