Trying a new strain without showing it the proper respect can end up messy, as I was reminded last week when I dove head-first into an intergalactic abyss not just once, but twice. I should've expected as much from a strain named Cosmic Railway, a sativa-leaning hybrid that left me feeling abducted and probed like a drunk Appalachian farmer that none of the townspeople will listen to.
I suppose I let my pothead hubris and familiarity with one of Cosmic Railway's parent strains get the better of me, but it's not like there weren’t warning signs. Although bred with Stardawg, a sweet and gentle sativa that helped me knock out essays in college, Cosmic Railway also counts Ghost Train Haze as a parent. One of the most potent strains available in recent memory, Ghost Train Haze doesn't even need a 28 percent THC potency to turn users into gerbils, typically creating an excessive amount of energy with little focus.
Cosmic Railway calms the mind more than Ghost Train Haze does, thankfully, but its sativa body high still left me conflicted after I refolded my clothes and organized a bookshelf for the third time. The strain’s effects can be somewhat listless if it’s consumed at too high a dosage, which happens very easily if you're not careful. The cerebral effects of Cosmic Railway intensify as the high continues, so be aware of anxiety or lost concentration after more than a bowl. I wouldn't recommend Cosmic Railway for a sit-down session unless you're fresh off a workout, but if you're too tired to move, it can provide strong visual effects that heighten movies, video games, graphic novels or live art. Don't use it for relaxation until you're familiar with the high, though, because its creeping effects are difficult to calibrate.
Cosmic Railway is still seeping into Colorado dispensaries, but it’s definitely available at Verde Natural dispensary and its wholesale partners around Denver, as well as several dispensaries on the Western Slope and in southern Colorado. Dutch Girl Seeds also sells Cosmic Railway in seed packets in dozens of dispensaries around Colorado, spreading its footprint across basement cultivations.
Looks: Although predominanly sativa, Cosmic Railway has dense, compact calyxes and a tall, oblong bud structure common in Haze strains. The strain carries an evergreen color similar to Stardawg, but its heavy trichome production makes it appear much brighter.
Smell: Cosmic Railway’s aroma is invigorating and fruity, with a subtle spiciness at the end. Ghost Train Haze aspects are prominent here, especially in the citrus element. Stardawg's earthy, gassy scents are noticeable to a lesser extent, coming in on the back end.
Flavor: The sweet and spicy Haze notes that dominate Cosmic Railway's smell aren't as strong in the taste, lingering more on the sides of the tongue after a hit rather than immediately punching your tastebuds. Instead, expect to be greeted by a combination of citrus and juniper flavors up front.
Effects: It'd be smart to smoke this under supervision the first time, as Cosmic Railway is virtually guaranteed to take you to space with its potent but steady buzz. That high can abruptly fall, however, thanks to the strain’s potency, making it an option for treating insomnia, stress and eating disorders.
Home grower's take: “I've had bad luck with the seeds — too many males. The four or five I've been able to grow without pollinating, though, provided a good high best given out in small doses. The sativa stone can be too much for me, but just a hit or two gives energy without the cloudiness. I don't know if I've figured out the best way to feed it yet, so the yields have been so-so. Semi-long flowering time — ten or eleven weeks — and the veg cycle takes even longer because you're growing from seed. I'd try out Cosmic Railway if I found clones of it somewhere I trusted, but I can't count on the seeds yet.
Is there a strain you'd like to see profiled? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.