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Why Colorado Tokers Love The Cough

Find your FoCo mojo with the Cough.EXPAND
Find your FoCo mojo with the Cough.
Herbert Fuego

Ever see a parody before the original, or hear a sample before the real song? Like listening to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Amish Paradise years before you discover Coolio’s gangsta inspiration. (I used to be really white.)

The revelation that you’ve been duped into thinking an imitation was the real thing can be both refreshing and disturbing. You’re glad to finally get it right, but you have to wonder how many times you were wrong before.
I couldn’t help but feel that surge of excitement the first time I encountered the Cough. Was it one of the Strawberry Cough’s unknown parents? Did Devin the Dude and his Coughee Brothaz christen the strain? Neither of those fantasies ended up being true, but the real story isn’t a bad consolation prize.

The Cough — also known as Colorado Cough and Fort Collins Cough, depending on whom you ask — is a homegrown strain out of Fort Collins, popping up in Colorado State University dorms in the late ’90s and gaining popularity as the medical marijuana industry expanded its footprint after 2008. Bred from Haze (rumor has it that it was a #17 phenotype) and a Northern Lights #5 phenotype, it has no relation to Blueberry, Raspberry or Strawberry Cough strains, but it does have a relative up in the northwest in Seattle Cough, which is bred with a different Haze phenotype but the same cut of Northern Lights. Our version has a strong flavor that’s hard to describe, blending together wintergreen, citrus, diesel and herbal notes for a terpene mixture that can be difficult to pinpoint.

The Cough’s high THC content and large trichomes create thick plumes of smoke known to make users hack like geezers, hence the name. So much THC is hard to handle for some tokers, and the strain’s unique high can fool them into thinking they need more. It usually takes one or two minutes for the Cough’s full effects to kick in, and you probably won’t feel a sativa head rush or indica couch-lock when it does; instead, you’ll experience something more in the middle, from beginning to end. Still, grogginess is mostly absent, so I guess that makes the Cough a sativa-leaning hybrid by default.

The Cough isn’t as easy to find around town as it once was. Kind Meds and Pure Dispensary were the only pot shops we could determine that carry the strain, but its confusing alter egos also make the Cough harder to track down than some others.

Looks: Just like the spruce and pine trees grown in the Rocky Mountains, the Cough is a fierce winter-green. Rusty-orange pistils and dewdrops of trichomes make the Cough’s wide, fluffy buds look especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

Smell: Floral, herbal and pine notes combine for a crisp aroma similar to that of a spring-scented air freshener, with hints of citrus, skunk and diesel on the back end to remind you that it’s cannabis, not Febreze.

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Flavor: Although not as varied as its smell, the Cough carries a tasty combination of herbal, pine and citrus flavors, living up to its Front Range heritage.

Effects: The Cough won’t bring you down, but it won’t bring you up, either. Unlike most sativa-dominant or fifty-fifty strains, it keeps you on a flatline trip for virtually the entire high. Because the indica comedown is relatively absent, the Cough can be a functional daytime strain for those who enjoy a potent high. The Cough can be used to treat anxiety, stress, eating disorders, nausea and minor pain, among other ailments.

Home grower’s take: “I’ve given this one a try a few times — Fort Collins Cough, Colorado Cough, it’s all the same. Not a bad hybrid, and I think it has a lot of cool, winter-like qualities in its color, smell and flavor that remind me of snow and the mountains. But for me, it wasn’t worth the effort. Takes at least two and a half months to flower, and can be tricky if you’re not used to the sensitivity and tall heights it reaches in the grow. The yield was nice — above average, I’d say — but the high wasn’t for me. Not for how long it took.”

Is there a strain you’d like to see profiled? E-mail marijuana@westword.com.

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