Why Colorado Tokers Love Papaya

Bring your own sand to the beach with Papaya.
Herbert Fuego
Bring your own sand to the beach with Papaya.
Being a cannabis critic is far from a stressful gig, but we could all use a little vacation sometimes. Unfortunately, the most my budget can afford is a free trip to the park, but there are other ways to escape. While I’ve never been a huge Corona guy, the brewery’s “Find Your Beach” campaign, in which opening a Corona takes you to an imaginary tropical paradise, isn’t a total crock: Enjoying certain flavors or aromas is a great way to forget where you are and instead imagine where you want to be.

Given the plant’s head-changing qualities, a cannabis strain with sensory characteristics that remind you of a vacation can be very effective at “taking you away” from a shitty job, dumpy apartment or sweltering back yard. A recent trip to the pot shop even helped me escape a bad case of the Mondays after Papaya, an indica-leaning hybrid, presented itself.

Known for a calming tropical flavor reminiscent of papaya, mango, guava and other sweet and savory fruit, Papaya was originally bred by Nirvana Seeds, an online seed bank that specializes in Dutch and European genetics. The strain grows and looks like an indica, with short, bushy plants that produce round, resin-glazed buds, and its calming effects line up with that designation. The relaxation is more mental for the majority of the high, however, while many users report a jolt of focused energy that helps with work and creative production.

Most versions of Papaya carry Citral, Ice and Mango genetics, but I’ve heard of a Papaya bred from Jack Herer and Skunk, too. (It’s hard to imagine those tasting more like papaya than the popular version, though.) My favorite take on the strain is grown by Verde Natural Wellness; it carries savory notes of papaya and a honey-like sweetness that’s unmatched by any other one I’ve come across. I’ve also found Papaya at Life Flower Dispensary and Seed & Smith, as well as several dispensaries that carry Verde’s wholesale flower.
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Looks: Papaya comes packaged in large, round buds that usually resemble anything from a football to a fist. It has a bright-green color that looks almost nuclear, with creamy orange pistils and small trichomes dotting the calyxes.

Smell: Although it starts with a subtle sour scent that’s almost rancid, Papaya leaves a creamy, fruity smell lingering in your nostrils. The fruity notes are more tangy and luscious than acidic or sour, much like those of a passion fruit, mango or other tropical papaya. Earthy, spicy notes round it out.

That subtle sourness in Papaya’s smell is more cheesy and funky on the tastebuds, with an initial funk that slowly blends into a sweet, creamy flavor with hints of tropical fruit.

Effects: Papaya is known to create a productive spark of concentration, but that can peter out within a couple of hours — and that’s when the lull comes. I’d argue that Papaya is a hybrid, with the daytime/nighttime designation depending more on the user. The strain’s relaxing effects have been used to treat pain, stress, mental anguish, physical fatigue and nausea.

Commercial grower’s take: “It’s got some big-time Mango influences, and that’s probably what’s responsible for those intense tropical notes. I hear it’s pretty good against pests and does well in a dry climate — so I could see it being good for home grows in Colorado, if you’re okay with a nine-week flowering period. All that flavor takes time, I guess.”

Home grower’s take: “Takes too long in the grow for my liking. Unless you’re up for splitting some of that flowering space for another strain that can flower in six or seven weeks, you might go dry as you wait for Papaya’s 72-day [blooming] period. Could be good for an outdoor grow that only does one harvest per year — I hear it’s good against the elements and likes a dry climate — but who really does that?”

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