Being late to the party sucks. I just saw Anderson .Paak absolutely kill it at Red Rocks and wanted to smack myself for not listening to him sooner, as so many friends told me to do. Fortunately, I can catch up on all his music now — and with any luck, I can catch up on smoking SAGE while I’m listening to it.
I’d seen SAGE dozens of times in grows and dispensaries, but always thought of the peppery spice associated with the herb (not that kind of herb), which isn’t a cannabis flavor I enjoy. A hybrid — but more like a collision — of landrace indica Afghani and Haze, a classic sativa (there are some varieties of SAGE with Afghani and Big Sir Holy genetics), SAGE actually stands for Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium. The spacey name is derived from the funky head high the two powerful but essentially opposite strains produce.
It’s rumored that SAGE also got its name because it tastes like the herb, but I haven’t found that in the half-dozen times I’ve smoked or vaporized it. Zesty on the end? Yes, but nowhere near as spicy as Haze or Power Plant. I tend to get more creamy and cheesy notes, which pair well with the initial citrus and woody flavors. The strain’s trichomes are striking in the light, almost to the point of looking wet on its forest-green calyxes. Very photogenic.
SAGE’s decadent flavor and model looks make it an easy choice for classy cannabis shindigs — you know, the kind of place where buds are served in display glasses or on fancy plates — but its high is made for the everyday man. Its sativa spark will keep you up for hours, and the indica effects are easy to power through if you smoke in moderation.
Everyone appreciates versatility, and that’s exactly what SAGE provides, because it plays off your energy level. If you’re tired, you might feel alert for the first 45 minutes, but heavy relaxation is inevitable. And if you’re in the mood for a Sunday wake-and-bake, you can still get your chores and activities done without feeling drowsy. But more important, you’ll stay high.
Looks: Light- to forest-green color, with loose, sativa-like bud structure. Expect small trichomes but heavy coverage (kind of a dusty look), with orange- and peach-colored pistils.
Smell: SAGE hits the nose with a sweet, fruity burst and calming notes of pepper, followed by woody, earthy smells. Combined with a cheesy after-scent, it smells like a salad with balsamic dressing.
Flavor: A level blend of zesty sandalwood, acidic citrus and creamy notes of cheese at the end.
Effects: Very strong but balanced, SAGE’s flexible high can be used for nearly any situation at any time of day, though it’s most widely used when the sun’s out. Users feel a quick rush of creative energy and can maintain that for hours if they’re not tired. If smoked at night, however, SAGE will relax the body and mind despite the initial sativa rush.
Commercial grower’s take: “This is one of those ‘disputed strains,’ I guess you could say. Our SAGE is Afghani and Big Sir [Holy], but I think we might be in the minority, because I’ve seen most cuts with Haze genetics. The highs are pretty similar, but I think the Haze is a little spicier, with more of a sativa head high. And it lasts long. Really long — I love it. My experiences growing it have been at a slow pace, but that’s the way you have to do it. The buds really swell up in the last few weeks. Don’t harvest it for at least 70 to 75 days after flowering — but trust me, it’s worth it. The high THC is worth the wait.”
Is there a strain you’d like to see profiled? E-mail 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.