Anyone who’s spent more than two beers with me has surely heard me call someone a nickname with the word “dog” in it — or, more accurately, dawg. Kramer from Seinfeld? Krame Dawg (though I prefer Krame Dawwwwwgggg). Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee? Yolk Dawg and Plumdawg Millionaire, respectively. And how many times does our cannabis editor, Thomas Mitchell, have to tell you to call him T-Dawg?
Based on name alone, I’ve always been a fan of the Chemdog (yes, that’s the correct spelling) family, but there’s also a lot of weight behind its reputation. Those gassy, pungent smells and mind-bending effects keep it fixed in Colorado’s commercial rotation, birthing such strains as 303 OG, Sour Diesel and — one of my favorites — Star Dawg, a powerful, euphoric hybrid with Chemdog 4 (a Chemdog phenotype) genetics that were crossed with Tres Dawg, an indica with strong Chemdog influences. Tokers who appreciate classic earthy flavors with a skunky, chemical-like twist will love it.
Like most Diesel and Chemdog strains, Star Dawg has an East Coast upbringing, hailing from a breeder by the name of Top Dawg who hung around in the same circles as the breeders of Chemdog and Diesel. Top Dawg now lives in the Denver area, even though his most famous strain made it out here years ago.
Denver’s appetite for Star Dawg is unquestioned, with the number of dispensaries carrying the strain at any given time usually in the double digits. I’ve seen it at Bgood, Buddy Boy, Eclipse Cannabis, Everbloom, Frosted Leaf, the Farmers Market, The Herbal Cure, Herban Underground, Kind Love, the Kind Room, KrystaLeaves, Lightshade, Oasis Cannabis Superstores, Pando, Peak, RiverRock Wellness, Seed & Smith, the Station, Trenchtown and Whole Meds, and I’m sure there are dozens more. You can also find variants of Star Dawg, like Alien Star Dawg or Star Dawg Guava, at even more stores.
My favorite cut comes from Top Dawg himself, who grows a plump, frosty Star Dawg available at Bgood dispensaries — worth the drive for anyone who appreciates those East Coast sativas. Herban Underground, the Herbal Cure, Kind Love and the Kind Room also carry noteworthy interpretations.
Looks: Star Dawg has big, chunky buds that look like anything from a fist to an ice cream cone, with a classic color combination of forest-green calyxes, rusty pistils, purple leaves and spots, and a web-like cloak of trichomes.
Smell: Woody and spicy with a hint of pine and chemical sourness, Star Dawg’s smell comes in thick, pungent whiffs that go straight up your nostrils.
Flavor: Simple, full of soil and floral notes, with a Chemdog sourness at the end. Anyone who likes “gas” strains should give it a try if they haven’t already.
Effects: Regular tokers will appreciate Star Dawg’s mental lift and quick burst of elation, which can spur creativity and curiosity. Medical benefits have included treating mental anguish, fatigue, eating disorders, headaches and nausea.
Home grower’s take: “Super chemical-y, and with a little pine. But it doesn’t carry that rubbery hit that Sour Diesel does; they’re more like cousins than brothers. Diesel produces a lot more, though, and its high is a little more energetic. That, and Star Dawg is a hungry one in the grow. Other than that, it’s pretty easygoing, [but] I think that’s why Star Dawg never really exploded on the street like other strains.”
Commercial grower’s take: “Simple but excellent flavor, and it can do wonders for anxiety or depression for some folks. We love Star Dawg. It’s on our top shelf because it doesn’t yield a lot and it requires a little more feeding attention than most strains — and it has a ten-week blooming period. That’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”
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