Colorado's Most Popular Pot Strains: Why Durban Poison Made the Cut

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I was happy to see Durban Poison, a personal favorite, make the list of the three most popular strains among Coloradans in 2015, according to commercial marijuana data firm BDS Analytics. Last week, I offered a field guide to the top-ranked strain, Blue Dream; this time, Durban Poison gets the star treatment.

The classic sativa hails from southern Africa as a landrace strain, meaning its original genetics were pure and free of anything indica. After being smuggled out of Africa in the ’70s, Durban Poison gained popularity in Amsterdam because of its heavy smell and short flowering period, and it didn’t take long for word to cross the Atlantic. Today, Durban Poison makes a legitimate argument for a spot on the Mount Rushmore of strains, having fathered popular children such as Cherry Pie, Girl Scout Cookies and many more with strong sativa effects. As cool as the thought of 100 percent sativa sounds to pot purists, many Durban Poison cuts currently available don’t have the same stalwart genetics that were keistered out of Africa. Still, despite the dilution of time, most Durban Poison phenotypes share the same timeless qualities that make it an easy strain to detect. Here’s what to watch for.

Looks: Nugs are relatively large and chunky and feature a dark, forest-green color. Calyxes should have heavy trichome coverage that is sticky to the touch, with a limited amount of pistils.

Smell: Pungent, citrus-cleaner aroma and a smooth, earthy finish.

Flavor: Tangy citrus taste up front followed by pine/earthy notes.

Effects: Feelings can include an uplifting buzz that makes sitting on the couch difficult. Although this is a powerful sativa, paranoia is relatively rare for Durban Poison users, who are typically too busy riding a bike or working around the house to notice much else — making it a possible treatment for depression and drowsiness.

Home grower’s take: “My old man grew this before I was born. I wish I could find it available in clones more often. Tried seeds of it once, but I accidentally pollinated them and have been too scared to try since. It came out great the few times I’ve successfully grown it: short flowering time, sticky buds and a great orange, piney flavor. If you ever have more than an ounce, save the kief — it’s like an energy shot.”

Commercial grower’s take: “We try to keep this on the shelves at all times, and we take it seriously. This is such a well-known strain. We know every time a customer opens a bottle, it’s being compared to the shop down the street, so it’s important to get that citrus skunk in there every time. It’s like a brewery making a pale ale or something. If it’s not good, what does that say about everything else we have? Lucky for me, it’s pretty easy to grow compared to other stuff. I love the resin-gland production. Durban Poison is good for concentrates and is one of our highest-selling waxes, too. I usually keep at least a gram of the flower at home for personal use.”

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

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