As you travel around Denver trying new dispensaries and the strains they stock, you can’t help noticing some inconsistencies in strain characteristics. One shop’s Golden Goat will smell of sweet citrus and soil (as it should), another’s will smell like hay soaked in a musty fart. Then again, while a jar may be labeled “Afghani,” that doesn’t mean what’s sitting inside is pure indica.
According to commercial marijuana data firm BDS Analytics, the three most popular strains among Coloradans in 2015 were Blue Dream, Durban Poison and Alien Dawg (in that order). To help determine if you’d enjoy these strains, too, we’ve created a field guide with the help of local growers, so you’ll know what smells, tastes and effects to expect — whether you’ve found your strain in a Boulder wook’s basement or at one of Denver’s 200-plus dispensaries. First up:
Relatively unknown in Colorado ten years ago, Blue Dream has become a force here as well as on the West Coast. The sativa-dominant hybrid has roots in California, where Blueberry and Haze birthed a commercial cannabis phenomenon. Because of Blue Dream’s high yields and resiliency against powdery mildew, dispensary owners and growers rely on the strain for easier growing periods and quantity yields. But for those same reasons, some cuts of the popular strain have muddled genetics that can lead to effects leaning toward the indica side.
If Colorado consumers are noticing inconsistencies, though, they don’t seem to care. Blue Dream is a staple on dispensary menus around town, where it is often sold at a lower price than strains with similar potency. And we’re not the only ones in on the blue magic: BDS reports that Blue Dream was the most popular strain in Washington state dispensaries in 2015, too.
Looks: Nugs are usually dense and bell- or pellet-shaped, with bright-green color and vibrant orange pistils. There should be no foxtailing.
Smell: Blueberry/candy-like sweetness with spicy overtones.
Flavor: Sugar and blueberry flavors — like a candy lollipop — with funky and spicy aftertastes.
Effects: Feelings can include a euphoric mind melt with reduced stress and raised creativity. As a result, depression, anxiety and lack of appetite have been treated with Blue Dream. But because the market has been flooded with Blue Dream phenotypes, some users have reported differing effects, including indica body highs.
Home grower’s take: “I generally stay away from it. Blue Dream was huge in, like, 2011, and I bought clones of it a few times and had good results. The buds were usually dense and bright green — very California-style — and had a sweet smell. My friends loved it, but we moved on quickly. It helped make me hungry and did well with stress, if I remember correctly. I think it’s been overextended for the past five or six years, though. Even if I trusted that the person was selling me clones with the proper genetics, I’m still paranoid about what type of weed I’m getting, and I don’t like it enough to go through that.”
Commercial grower’s take: “It all depends on the phenotype, but if you get the real stuff, then it really is a dream. She roots quickly and is one of my heavier yielders. Not the fastest at flowering — I usually go for 65 days if I can — but one of the easier strains to monitor. Tough broad with a heady high that people enjoy. If I were starting my own grow, I’d probably have this on the menu most of the time.”
Watch for our profile of the second-most-popular strain in Colorado next week.