Landrace strains will always be worth trying, even as hybrid genetics move them further and further away from the originals. Afghani and Durban Poison are popular landraces that are usually easy to find around town, and I’ve come across Maui Wowie and Hindu Kush from time to time, but I’ve had little success finding South American favorites like Acapulco Gold, which helped birth so many of the strains we love today. Colombian Gold, a cousin to the famed Mexican sativas, doesn’t carry quite the rep, but I was still ecstatic to see it at a local pot shop.
Maybe that downplayed rep is because Colombia is better known for a different kind of illegal import, or maybe because the strain’s relative in Acapulco gets all the attention. Either way, Colombian Gold deserves the accolades every other popular landrace enjoys. Its buds grow fat and tall in South American mountain ranges, tough against the intense sun, dry air and cold breezes of high altitude, making it a strong candidate for Colorado growers, both in the basement or outdoors. The high it produces boosts energy and happiness, yet is easy to manage during every stage, a quality many pure sativas tend to lack.
Because of Colombian Gold’s easygoing effects, I never worry about what time of day I indulge. The comedown isn’t very strong unless it’s getting dark and you’re on the tenth bowl of the day, and the high allows users to stay focused and upbeat —which makes this strain preferable for patients looking to medicate without strong side effects and for potheads trying to toke without giving themselves away in a conversation.
Other than the recent eighth I bought, every cut of Colombian Gold I’ve smoked has been off the street. Good Chemistry is the only pot shop in town I’ve found that carries the strain (please let me know if any others do), which is a shame for daytime smokers. Good Chemistry does the granddaddy sativa justice, though, with heavy, pointed buds full of forest-green and golden/amber shades. And at $30 an eighth, it’s probably cheaper than a pound of coffee at Whole Foods.
Looks: Akin to other South American sativas, Colombian Gold grows long and bulky but without much tone. Its forest-green buds don’t have quite the trichome coverage as its descendants, making its orange pistils stand out more while giving off that classic chronic look. The lack of a heavy trichomes also enables the gold hues in its leaves and calyxes to stand out.
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Smell: Pungent, skunky scents of citrus, soil and a little herbal spice might take your parents back to the good ol’ days. It won’t overpower your nostrils, but you’ll always know when it’s there, thanks to its trifecta of timeless cannabis aromas.
Flavor: Unlike the smell, which starts with tangy citrus followed by dank, earthy soil, the taste begins with an earthy flavor, followed by orange notes and a slight herbal zest.
Effects: One of the easier landrace sativa highs to manage compared to Durban Poison’s drowsiness or Maui Wowie’s racy, anxious effects, Colombian Gold is session-able and uplifting. Its energizing sativa high without paranoia and fatigue makes it a timeless all-day strain. Medical patients use it to treat appetite disorders, exhaustion, soreness and stress.
Home grower’s take: “I bet my dad grew this strain in his Greeley basement when he was in college. I’ve come across it a few times, but am never 100 percent sure it was the actual landrace — you never really know nowadays. Everything checked out, though: fat, pukey-green buds, orange hairs and that smell of skunk, oranges and pine, like a generic chronic smell but better, because it’s one of the originals. Easy and sturdy in the grow, too. It comes from the mountains in Colombia, so it’s perfect for high-altitude grows here in Colorado, and flowering should take no less than nine weeks.”