Why Colorado Tokers Love Purple Kush

The resin-glazed purple people eater itself.
Herbert Fuego
The resin-glazed purple people eater itself.
A friend tried comparing Purple Kush to Blue Moon recently, saying he appreciated both for providing a gateway to craft consumption but had since moved on to more complex options. Say whatever you want about Blue Moon, I told the pretentious douche, but don’t you dare besmirch the Purp God.

Let me explain. Most tokers who started smoking chronic before dispensaries showed up have fond memories of Purple Kush...but who knows if that’s what it really was? Anything with purple hues was sold as either Purple Kush or Grand Daddy Purple to most buyers back then, and since most purple strains are indicas, it was hard to tell the difference. Of all the purp strains out there, however, Purple Kush might be the most classic and definitive — and would likely be the unquestioned number one if Jimi Hendrix hadn’t made a song about Purple Haze.

Purple Kush is a child of Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani, two strains with classic, clear genetics and extremely relaxing effects. Although Purple Kush is a first-generation Californian, bred in Oakland decades ago, it still carries the same no-nonsense attitude and lip-smacking flavor as its parents. I’d consider its genetics exclusively indica, so be prepared to yawn and stretch quite a bit after a session.

Grape Ape, Grand Daddy Purp, Purple Trainwreck, Grape God Bud, Mendocino Purps, Purple Urkle...we could continue naming mauve marijuana varieties for a while. But few of them are as easily attainable or, more important, reliable as Purple Kush, which has recently been spotted at Good Chemistry, Groundswell, Peak, Oasis Cannabis Superstores, Silver Stem Fine Cannabis, Universal Herbs and Verde Natural. Verde has grown my favorite so far, with intensely dark calyxes that taste like Welch’s Grape Soda, while Good Chemistry and Groundswell both have quality cuts for under $40 an eighth.

Looks: Purple Kush’s purple is more of a rich, dark tone than bright or violet, and can look black in certain shades of light, thanks to the dark-green tones providing little contrast.

Smell: The sweet, syrupy combination of bubble-gum hash notes and rich grapes brings back memories like a whiff of grandma’s cookies, with dank scents of soil to round things out.

Flavor: Although the earthy Kush notes are slightly stronger up front on the tastebuds than in the nostrils, Purple Kush carries sweet flavors of berries and grape that achieve a mouth-watering status without being overpowering.

Effects: It’s not debilitating at first, but the strain brings on gradual relaxation that’s sure to put down almost any toker eventually. The blissful, calming indica effects are much like Hindu Kush, which also likes to creep up on users. Purple Kush is usually recommended for treating certain forms of muscle pain, anxiety, stress, nausea and sleeping and eating disorders.

Home grower’s take: “I tend to stay away from most Kush plants — the low reward isn’t worth it most of the time — but you can cut down Purple Kush after eight weeks. Short little guy in the grow, for sure, which is nice if you’re trying to fit a few plants in a small area. But that means you have to be on top of topping its leaves to make sure it’s not stunting, and I wouldn’t expect that great a yield. I’m lucky to get a little over twenty ounces per plant.”

Commercial grower’s take: “It’s clone-only, from what I hear, so that might make it hard to find unless you know someone who’s good at growing mother plants. That being said, I think this is great for anyone who’s older or has growing experience but isn’t trying to grow for weight. Growing it is pretty easy in Colorado because of how dry it is here. That old-school Hindu and ’Ghani bitterness is okay at deterring pests, and they won’t grow higher than your waist.”

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