Few sensations are as petrifying as feeling something slithering across my leg while I’m swimming in murky waters. It’s usually just seaweed, but even if I’m not in a body of water that houses anything dangerous, in the back of my mind I’m thinking Jaws and Deep Blue Sea. If Richard Dreyfuss and LL Cool J aren’t there to save you from a great white, nothing else will.
Still, I love to watch Shark Week, and I decided to take the plunge with Great White Shark, a vintage sativa with a skunky South American heritage. The strain’s name instantly drew me in, taking me back to those Street Sharks cartoons from the early ’90s. Great White Shark saw its popularity peak later that decade; it won the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1997 but became somewhat endangered as time went on.
The strain, which comprises Super Skunk and South American landrace genetics, also goes by White Shark and Peacemaker — the latter of which doesn’t exactly line up with a man-eater’s terrifying reputation. But the high easily fits in the Jekyll/Hyde category, as a little bit can be both uplifting and calming, while too much causes confusion, dry mouth and uncooperative energy. One or two hits is a Peacemaker, indeed, but more than a bowl leaves most users swimming with the sharks.
Great White Shark has been making a comeback of late. Denver Dispensary, Spark, Sticky Fingerz and Trenchtown have all carried the strain, though I’m still searching for a cut that accurately represents Great White’s trichome potential and doofus-like high. Trenchtown’s is close enough for fans of the strain, but it’s over $36 an eighth after tax; if you have a card, try the medical-only version at Sticky Fingerz for $20.
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Looks: Large thumb-sized and football-shaped buds are made of wide, fluffy calyxes that almost glow in the dark, with red-orange pistils for a classic landrace look. As with most old-school strains, the buds might look generic to new users, but there is potential for heavy trichome coverage if grown correctly.
Smell: Although its skunky overtones aren’t as pungent as you’d expect, Great White Shark carries relaxing floral aromas of cloves and lavender, with subtle notes of zesty wood and an earthy-skunky back end to remind you of its lineage.
Flavor: Sweet, understated flavors of clove honey and lavender lead off each toke, with spicy notes of wood and a skunky aftertaste rounding it out.
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Effects: Although anxiety and freakouts are limited (rare for a potent sativa), Great White Shark can easily disorient users after the first bowl. Its potency, while calming, also minimizes focus and attention, making it a classic strain for stupid bliss and unrefined energy. Medical patients have used it to treat anxiety, stress, pain, nausea and eating disorders, but it can also be used to combat lethargy and boredom.
Commercial grower’s take: “Takes a little long to produce for a strain without a strong profile, but I think Great White still does well in Canada. We’d tell our budtenders to stay away from recommending a strain like this to beginners, because its THC potency draws them in, but that high can be way too out-there for their tolerances; it leaves them lost. A bad experience is likely if you’re not ready.”
Home grower’s take: “I think ‘Peacemaker’ is more appropriate, because the high is so happy, even if it is a little stupid. And if you’re not getting enough resin on those buds, it’s kind of embarrassing to call anything ‘Great White,’ anyway. Pretty short plant, and it’ll drink up tons of nutrients those first eight weeks, so don’t be afraid to feed it if you want the yield and potency you’re looking for.”
Is there a strain you’d like to see profiled? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.