Bestowing the right name on a strain has become more important than ever. Although not quite as pun-filled as the craft-beer or food-truck industries, the commercial marijuana business has so many colorful varieties that a boring moniker really stands out among the Alaskan Thunderfucks and Cantaloupe Kushes of the world. Chernobyl is a name that definitely gets noticed, but in a more gruesome fashion than I’d like.
Chernobyl was the Soviet facility that experienced a reactor malfunction in 1984, resulting in one of the worst nuclear-power-plant accidents in history. The nearby town of Pripyat, Ukraine, is still abandoned, and the disaster’s long-term effects are expected to kill up to 60,000 people, largely from thyroid cancer. Chernobyl the strain’s bright-green color has a radiant glow, and its genetics are somewhat ghastly, too, hailing from a blend of Trainwreck, Jack the Ripper and Trinity. Still, I’d rather think of Mr. Burns or the Springfield Isotopes after smoking this citrus delight than death, disease and destruction.
This is far from a call to boycott — obviously, I’m not offended enough to restrain from buying the strain — but it’s hard to imagine Ukrainians growing strains called “Hurricane Katrina” or “Three Mile Island.” (I’ve heard of a Fukushima OG, and I hope it goes extinct soon.) West Coast growers argue that the strain’s name, coined by breeder TGA Genetics, is derived more from its powerful mind-bending effects, which are so strong that some started describing them as “nuclear.”
The taste is intensely sweet, like a lemon-lime popsicle, but the high is surprisingly calming for a sativa-dominant strain. And for all the grief I’m giving Chernobyl for its name, the strain does quite a bit of good: Frequently used by those suffering from migraines, nausea, PTSD, anxiety and depression, Chernobyl helps the mind and body alike — making it a perfect strain for Cleveland Indians fans to get over their grief and Cubs fans to get over their hangovers from two weeks ago.
Looks: Nugs are generally glowing green and above average in length and slenderness, though shorter, fluffy buds aren’t uncommon. Trichome coverage can be quite heavy if the plant is grown in optimal conditions, but it (along with the bright-orange pistils) can be hard to notice, thanks to that luminous green glow and the complementing shades of violet that come in during the later stages.
Smell: Chernobyl has high amounts of Limonene and Myrcene terpenes, which respectively bring citrus and subtle mango smells and flavors to the strain. However, Chernobyl should be noticeably dominated by a lemon-lime sweetness.
Flavor: Just as its smell and terpene profile suggests, smoking Chernobyl brings bright, tart flavors of lemon and lime, which can be so strong that you might miss subtle woody and zesty undertones on the back end.
Effects: Good for minor mental disorders, depression and stress, Chernobyl provides a calming but powerful head high that also helps with stomach issues. For recreational purposes, Chernobyl is fine for relaxation without exhaustion, as users can still have energy — albeit somewhat unfocused — despite the overwhelming euphoria.
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Home grower’s take: “I think I prefer Trainwreck’s rollercoaster high more than Chernobyl’s, but I’ve heard that Chernobyl is much less apt to pollinate — but I’ve never had any Trainwreck grow seeds on me. I’d never turn it down, though. I do love a good citrus strain, and Chernobyl provides one heck of a bite — like some lime-flavored candy or something. It grows tall and fast, so definitely tie it up [to support the buds] during flowering, and top the leaves early so it will yield as much as possible.”
Commercial grower's take: “I always wondered why this doesn’t get more popular, because it’s a great all-day strain. It keeps me super-calm and easygoing, but rarely brings a strong sedation unless I overdo it. My shop doesn’t offer it currently, but I’ve dealt with it in other grows, and it usually takes around sixty days and brings moderate yields. Don’t be scared if it starts turning purple during the last week or two, because that’s supposed to happen — and it’s beautiful.”
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