Originally published on The Georgia Straight.
If a cannabis plant grows in the forest and no one’s there to tend to it, will it eventually bear beautiful, tasty buds?
You might have your doubts, but Vancouver cannabis enthusiasts who have had the privilege of ingesting a little Wild Seaweed know that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
Before walking into Evergreen Cannabis Society (2868 West 4th Avenue) to test out one of their cultivars, I’d met co-owner Mike Babins at a cannabis conference, and was interested in finding out what his shop had to offer.
With a strict mandate of only selling lab-tested, organic cannabis, he and his wife, Maria Petrucci, run one of just a handful of dispensaries in the city that will only obtain cannabis from growers who will test their product and provide them with the results.
Inside the dispensary, Babins takes me through my options.
“Some shops keep 60 strains at a time,” he jokes, “but then you spend half the time looking for what’s fresh, so we try and keep eight very focused, small-batch strains on at a time,” he says.
Among them are sativas, indicas, hybrids, and a high-CBD variety, but my ears don’t quite perk up until Babins mentions Evergreen’s first outdoor variety of the season.
He pulls up a jar of Wild Seaweed, a sativa-dominant hybrid, and I examine it, quietly admitting that this is the first time I’ve knowingly laid eyes on buds that have been grown outside.
“People have this prejudice against cannabis that’s grown outdoors, and I always remind them that B.C. Bud got its reputation before we had hydroponics,” he says.
The collective of legendary growers behind Wild Seaweed will remain nameless, but they’re known for planting big, beautiful outdoor crops in the forests and valleys of B.C.’s interior.
“They literally planted this in the ground and left it for nine weeks,” Babins says as I try to wrap my head around the hands-off approach. Surely cannabis that was never watered or tended to can’t be good, can it?
“People have been buying a gram of this to try, and then coming back the next day to buy a whole ounce,” he says, unknowingly answering my question.
“Just wait until you see the test results.”
With that, Babins pulls them up on his computer, and points to column upon column of the letters ‘ND’. He says that normal results for indoor varieties will show residual amounts of pesticides, but this was the first time he’d ever seen results come back with ‘non-detect’ labels for every single pesticide.
Plus, it was just $5 a gram.
It was all the convincing I needed. I picked up a few grams and was on my way.
The first thing I had to do with this particular variety was reassess my idea of what good cannabis is supposed to look like. Instead of the tight nugs and dusty crystal I’d become accustomed to, Wild Seaweed appeared to have much longer leaves and a looser overall structure. A closer look revealed shiny trichomes and curly gold and orange hairs set among dark shades of green.
The aroma of Wild Seaweed was strikingly different than any cultivar I’ve had the pleasure of smelling in recent months. Instant notes of black pepper and pine were complimented by odours that reminded me of rosemary and basil. (Those who followed our series on terpenes might be able to pick out a-pinene or caryophyllene after a whiff or two.)
In rolling up a half-gram joint for the taste test, I was excited by the texture of the flowers. They weren’t too moist or too dry, which made rolling a cinch.
I expected to taste the peppery, piney notes I’d detected when gauging the aroma, but was surprised to taste something entirely different: dominant flavours of sweet herbs and florals made for a profile that reminded me the smell of my favourite Nag Champa incense.
After a few puffs I felt some clarity, but it wasn’t until I took the last hit that a wave of calmness washed through my body. It was mild, but pleasant. (With Wild Seaweed’s THC count at 16 percent, it was exactly what I was expecting.)
The manageable high that followed was marked by a few things: any anxiety that had been swirling around in my brain was quickly silenced. I felt mellow, but social, and was struck by how effortlessly I was able to able string conversation together with friends.
While some heavy cannabis users might find the euphoria a little too mild, I found Wild Seaweed to be a wonderful end to a long day at work. It’s strong enough to clear my head, but mellow enough for me to stay productive. I’d recommend it as an excellent daytime choice for the casual recreational user, and a great intro variety for the canna-curious.
If you plan to take it on a social outing, here’s my suggestion: Next time you go on a hike, find a nice lookout, light up a little Wild Seaweed, and marvel at all the wonderful things that grow, and can be grown, in the forest.