After a week of nothing but clean, active highs from Lamb’s Bread and a few days off the flower during a family trip, going back to a strain with a lineage stretching further than a sequoia would’ve been too much for my simple mind to process. It’s hard to find something easygoing yet delicious in an industry focused on potency, but with nearly 175 retail dispensaries open now in Denver, I was bound to come upon at least one rose among the weeds.
Despite its name and geezer age for hybrid strains, Chocolope is one of the tastier classics out there. Admittedly, I'd let its name push me away for a few years, thinking the “choco” part meant it would be like smoking a Tootsie Roll – but I was ignoring the second half. Since it's bred from a Chocolate Thai mother and Cannalope Haze father, Chocolope’s flavor is much more fruity and savory than its moniker implies.
Chocolope’s bright color and old-school characteristics have made it a favorite for occasional users and anyone who smoked pot thirty years ago. DNA Genetics, a cannabis breeder based in the Netherlands, created the strain in the 1980s, when high-quality genetics were just starting to hit the mainstream consumer. The strain’s not a landrace, but it’s nearly all sativa, giving a motivating but soft high thanks to a THC potency in the 12-to-15 percent range. And like the soft cup of coffee it is, Chocolope has a roasty, chocolate back end to go with the fruitiness that reflects its Thai genetics, which can be much too strong on their own. Chocolate Thai is grown as one of the lower-quality strains in Europe, but DNA backcrossed it with Cannalope Haze enough times to produce fuller calyxes and a sweeter, cleaner flavor profile. Because of all that hard work so long ago, the cuts of Chocolope you’ll find around town should have more reliable genetics than most strains, with characteristics that are easy to spot.
Chocolope maintains a steady presence in Colorado. It’s recently been spotted at Golden Meds, Green Man Cannabis, the Kind Room, Mile High Green Cross, Silver Stem Fine Cannabis and Trill Alternatives, among other dispensaries along the Front Range and in southern Colorado. My favorites so far have come from Mile High Green Cross and Trill Alternatives, which produce sharp melon flavors and controllable highs great for daytime use.
Looks: Buds range from short and coney to tall and crystal-shaped, with dense but defined calyxes that can result in some chunky specimens, especially after breaking off one or two. Color should be a bright green with amber trichomes.
Smell: The strength of Chocolope’s coffee and chocolate notes in relation to its sweet melon scents can vary depending on the cut, ranging from earthy fruit with a creamy twinge to a chocolate-covered orange.
Flavor: Although the flavor’s dominant notes also vary depending on the phenotype, every cut of Chocolope I’ve had starts with a melon/citrus sweetness followed by chalky notes of roasted malts and chocolate.
Effects: Chocolope’s Haze lineage can make for a stoney high that kills focus if you’re not careful, but the strain rarely reaches 20 percent THC, so it’s easier to dose than newer sativas. The initial bubbly uplift spurs creativity despite how spacy the mind can get, but both of those qualities can help anxiety, stress and depression disorders.
Commercial grower’s take: “Chocolope kind of bridged the gap from bad, swag-y strains like Chocolate Thai – don’t even get me started on how bad that shit is in Amsterdam shops – to stronger, better-tasting strains we’re used to today. It took work to get here, man, and even though Chocolope gets passed up a lot now, it deserves a spot in the record books. She gets tall in the grow, but is pretty tough against external elements and should yield pretty well.”
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