Why Colorado Tokers Love Maui Wowie

Get back to the island with Maui Wowie.EXPAND
Get back to the island with Maui Wowie.
Herbert Fuego

In this age of instant development, Hawaii has a timeless quality. The culture, pride and desires of its people have kept the non-resort areas true to their roots, for the most part — which is probably why you’ll hear natives muttering things you hope you don’t understand as you pass by them on a local beach. (Did he just call me a “fucking haole”?) Still, it’s their island, and most of us are just visiting for our own selfish pleasure, so I’m cool with the overprotective measures. It’s all about preservation.

Lucky for us, Maui Wowie has been able to protect its roots and reputation while still being accessible to every socks-and-sandals-wearing goober in the United States. The sativa pakalolo (that’s Hawaiian for “weed”) hails from Hawaii, gaining notoriety for its up-tempo yet smooth high in the 1960s and really branching out in the mainland at some point in the ’80s. Although cross-breeding and inevitable variances in phenotypes have muddled most of the cuts of Maui Wowie you’ll come across nowadays, the genetics are generally very sativa-dominant, and the energetic effects and fruity flavors are nearly the same.

Since the Hawaiian outdoors produced such a great strain without help from mankind, most growers prefer to keep Maui Wowie close to its original conditions: warm, moist and outdoors. That made the strain a hit among growers in similar climates, such as that of northern California, which helped Maui Wowie rise in popularity thirty-plus years ago. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be grown indoors; the buds just won’t be as big.

You don’t need an expensive plane ticket, Tommy Bahama shirt or a Mai Tai to enjoy a piece of Hawaiian bliss. Maui Wowie’s simple yet timeless high will give you an island wakeup anywhere you toke it, leaving you ready to ride the day’s waves with a stupid grin on your face. I’d say mahalo to that any day.

This bud's for you.
This bud's for you.
Herbert Fuego

Looks: Textbook sativa characteristics, with tall, bright-green buds that range from dense to wispy and orange pistils. If grown outdoors, Maui Wowie buds can grow to enormous sizes.

Smell: Like the fresh-fruit section of a breakfast buffet, this strain brings an eye-opening hit of citrus and funky sweetness to the nose, which explains its high levels of terpenes humulene and myrcene.

Flavor: Sweet and tropical, and I’m not just saying that. Maui Wowie generally brings a sweet, fruity flavor up front, followed by a tart citrus taste at the end — but just like its homeland, it’s smooth and mellow.

Effects: There isn’t much variance if you’re smoking the real thing: Maui Wowie is an uplifting, joyful strain for virtually all who smoke it. Its stress relief and racy effects make it great for outdoor activities, exhaustion or slight depression.

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Home grower’s take: “I like strains like Maui Wowie because they’ve been around so long that there’s actually decent information out there on growing them that I can look at. A lot of these newish strains, there’s nothing online or in books about them, so it’s nice to have a classic that literally has books about growing it. And that makes it great for beginners. I want to try it outdoors one day, even though Colorado is much different than where it comes from.”

Commercial grower’s take: “Everyone says this strain should be grown outdoors instead of indoors, and if they’re talking size of plant and buds, that’s true — but that can be said for a lot of strains. I like growing Maui Wowie indoors, because I have more control. I can make sure I get those juicy, citrus and floral flavors to come out stronger. You can find other sativas with more THC and higher yields, but some people just want a simple joint and a hike without getting too high, and that’s what Maui is great for. My girlfriend’s not a big-time smoker, so she likes this one.”


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