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What is HCC?

Well, it’s gross, and in 10 years, nobody will remember it. But I should give some context:

Thanks to this year’s midterm elections, there are now 21 states with legal adult-use marijuana. That’s a glorious thing considering Colorado was the one and only legal state not too long ago, but it also means that 39 states are still stuck in the dark ages. And when you’re in a dark place, you try to find light by whatever means necessary, and that brings us back to HHC, or “hexahydrocannabinol,” which is so new that spellcheck doesn’t even think it’s a word.

This is the way it is: where something is illegal, people will try to find a loophole. In those 39 dark-age states, people want to get high just like they do in the 21 states that’ve woken up and legalized weed. And thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp on a federal level, hemp is legal everywhere in the US except Kansas and Washington D.C. (both of which have always been lost causes anyway). So, smart people in all the states that allow hemp but ban marijuana have found a few scientific loopholes vis-à-vis getting high off hemp.

These smarties have used a panoply of chemicals and scientific gadgets to make hemp-derived cannabinoids like THC-O and Delta 8 THC, as well as Delta 0 and 10, and they’re all nothing more than ersatz forms of pot that kind of get you high. That, and there haven’t been any long-term studies as to what these barely-natural substances do to humans, and sometimes, the lab equipment explodes, which never happens when you’re growing actual plants. The makers of these substances always bill them as the next legal “it” thing that’s hot on the market, but snake oil has always been snake oil. And as soon as one of these hemp-derived substances gets popular, local regulators round up the possie and pass new laws, forcing the smarties back to the drawing board.

That’s exactly what happened with HHC. Delta 8 was the big thing last year because if you vaped or ate ridiculous amounts of it, it gave you a buzz similar to that of real weed, and it was mostly legal in the US. But then the buzzkills found out and went after it, which forced the smarties to come up with something new, which lead to HHC (but it’s important to note that this stuff was first made in 1944 by Roger Adams). And you can see the next iteration on the horizon: since HHC is getting popular, regulators are starting to notice, and the smarties have already come up with a backup plan by formulating HHC-O, which is the acetate version and not yet on the market. It’ll be talked about excitedly for a bit, but then it’ll fade away just like all the fringe cannabinoids that came before (and it might be the worst one yet given all the hubbub that happened the last time an acetate made it into vape news).

But I digress, and I should get back to where we are now. Basically, HHC is made by taking CBD extracted from hemp (for a refresher on the difference between hemp and marijuana, click HERE) and distilling/isolating it into powder form via ethanol or a hydrocarbon. Then they pump in a ton of hydrogen (this is usually where the explosions occur) which makes a crude oil containing HHC, which is then distilled once more to isolate the HHC. See why I opened by saying this stuff is gross? For real weed, all you need to do is throw a seed in the dirt and then smoke the green stuff that grows, but again, I’m saying this from the comfort of a legal state, so I understand the motivation behind HHC.

This motivation is spurred by many things. Most obviously, HHC is a legal substance that can make you feel good. But besides that, since it isn’t a form of THC at all, it’s legal in the places where Delta 8 is not, and more importantly to most users, it’s purportedly undetectable by most modern drug tests (this is most likely false), which are required to a much higher extent in illegal states than they are in places like Colorado.  

Get it? Things like Delta 8 and HHC aren’t popular because they’re good, they’re popular because they’re the next best thing to bona fide cannabis. This is something that’s easy to prove because as soon as a state legalizes recreational marijuana, all the fake stuff starts to disappear. I have a bevy of buddies in New Mexico who preached the purported benefits of hemp-derived cannabinoids a few years ago as they built businesses around it, but now that weed is legal down there, they’ve all moved on to the real stuff. They’ve plowed under their hemp crops and changed business models and focused on something natural and actually beneficial: genuine cannabis.

This is exactly why nobody will remember HHC in 10 years. Legal weed is spilling across the nation and large cannabis corporations are starting to form; they’re getting rich and influential just like other groups. So, pretty soon, I’d imagine that weed will be sold legally across the nation and the chemically synthesized cannabinoids I’ve been talking about will only exist in foreign countries still clinging to pot prohibition because there are smarties in those places, too.

Think about it this way… before reading this blog, had you ever heard of HHC? No? Well, that might be because you live and shop in Colorado given that you’re visiting a website associated with a standalone dispensary in itty-bitty Durango. You’ve never needed fake pot, so you’ve never heard of it. With a click of your mouse HERE, you can literally order for pickup at our dispensary actual marijuana and vapes and edibles, so why would you need something made in a lab with hydrogen to feel better? You don’t. You’ve got the real thing right down the street, and it’ll stay that way. We at The Greenery will keep doing our part by educating you about fake pot while we provide the best real pot in Durango, because We’re Your Best Buds!

What makes purple marijuana purple?

Anthocyanins are what make purple pot purple. I wanted to answer that right off the bat without a rambling preamble just in case you googled something about purple weed and came here for a quick answer. But the real reason I’m writing this blog is twofold: one, The Greenery Grow is famous for purple weed and we have eight new and exotic strains in this category that I’d like to tell you about, and two, there’s a glut of misinformation out there about purple pot, so I wanted to set the record straight. We’ll start with the latter first…

Per the most common and completely inaccurate rumors surrounding purple pot, the three I hear most often are, “purple weed doesn’t get you as high,” or, “purple marijuana is always an indica,” or, “any strain of marijuana can turn purple if you grow it in cold conditions.” All three are false. Anthocyanins are nothing more than water-soluble vacuolar pigments that show up in nearly all flowering plants. They’re what make roses red and violets violet, and since they’re water-soluble, they’ve been used as dies forever—in fact, when colonial Americans used blueberries for purple dyes, they did so thanks to blueberry anthocyanins.

In the realm of cannabis, anthocyanins are categorized alongside flavonoids, which are polyphenolic metabolites that exist in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and weeds such as marijuana. Flavonoids are not psychoactive, and they don’t influence your high in the slightest when you smoke them, so per the first myth I mentioned, it’s completely impossible for the purple anthocyanins that exist in purple pot to stop you from getting high. Purple pot still contains THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, and the anthocyanins don’t diminish THC percentages in lab tests, so if you think purple pot doesn’t get you as high as the green stuff, it’s all in your head.

Secondly, per purple pot always being an indica varietal, this is another big fat “nope.” After all, Sativa and Indica cultivars are in fact members of the exact same species, so they can both contain anthocyanins. Fuel Biscuits and Bazookies #10 are both sativa-dominant hybrids that we grow and sell right here in Durango, and sometimes, they both turn out just as purple as a grape, which shoots a gaping hole in that indica-only claim. But I know how this rumor started, so we should get into that, too.

Chlorophyll is the most dominant pigment in cannabis, just as it is with other leafy plants, and it’s green. If you’ll remember your lessons from high school biology, chlorophyll lives in the chloroplasts of plant cells, and it’s the compound most critical to photosynthesis, wherein plants transform light into energy. When it comes to deciduous trees (the ones that lose all their leaves in the fall), the chloroplasts lose their integrity right before the leaves fall, which allows the green chlorophyll to escape, thereby turning the leaf a different color, such as red or yellow. This is what draws hordes of tourists to Durango so they can drive slowly and see all the pretty colors. And with marijuana, the exact same thing happens as the plant starts to mature: less chlorophyll is produced, and some is lost, so the anthocyanins become the dominant pigment, thereby coloring the pot purple. This happens more quickly in cold temperatures, much like those seen naturally outdoors in autumn.

Now, as you may or may not know, Indica varietals of cannabis originated around China and India (the “ind” in “India” gave “indica” its name) where the temperatures are cooler, so Indica cultivars grow best in colder conditions than the ones in which sativa strains thrive. So, when cultivators grow indica strains, they usually lower the temperature, and this triggers the autumnal degradation of chlorophyll that I just told you about, and that’s why indica strains are purple more often than sativa strains. It’s not because indica strains contain more anthocyanins than sativa strains, but rather, it’s because cold temperatures bring out the anthocyanins more strongly, and indica strains are grown most commonly in colder environments. Get it?

Per the last myth, that “any strain of marijuana can be purple if you grow it in cold conditions,” guess what? Not all anthocyanins are purple. Some of them are orange or red or yellow, or even dark or bright green. And it’s the innate genetics of a plant that decides which anthocyanins are present in the flowers, not the growing environment nor the sativa/indica designation. So yes, it’s true that if you grow any strain of marijuana in cold conditions, the anthocyanins will become more apparent given the reduction in chlorophyll production, but sometimes, the plant will turn red or yellow, not purple, because it doesn’t contain the purple anthocyanins thanks to genetics. So, no, it’s not possible to turn all strains of pot purple with differing growing temperatures because the plant needs to be born with purple anthocyanins to turn purple, and not all of them are.

Alright… now that we’ve set the record straight per three common purple-pot myths, it’s time to get into the nine purps varietals that we grow and sell here in Durango (“purps” is the slag term for purple cannabis cultivars, but you already knew that if you’re a fan of rap music). Here they are:

1.) Truth Serum was bred in the Midwest via a three-way cross between G13, Trinity, and Pineapple. The resulting cultivar has very dense buds and the classic green-with-orange-hairs look you’d expect, albeit with a touch of purple, and the tropical nose is dank and classic. Truth Serum is packed with terpenes such as Limonene and Pinene for an uplifting high that’s balanced on the other side of the spectrum with ß-Caryophyllene, ß -Myrcene, and Linalool. Expect a thoroughly relaxing smoke that’s perfect for evenings or weekend mornings from this Indica-leaning hybrid.

2.) Bazookies #10 is a strain made famous by the Front Range right here in Colorado, which is something we helped accomplish given that we’ve started growing this wonderful cultivar. It’s a cross between Bubblegum and Girl Scout Cookies, but the nose you’d expect is replaced by hops and grass, and the plant itself is a lovely dark green/purple covered with so many crystals it looks like a saltshaker was used. Rich in the terpenes ß-Caryophyllene,  ß -Myrcene, Humulene, and Limonene, we’ve designated this strain as a Sativa, but don’t let that fool you because the goldilocks high is perfect for any time of day.

3.) Violet Vixen = Purple Punch X Jet Fuel Gelato. This strain produces smaller, dense buds that are perfect for pipes. The flower itself is highlighted with purple hues (ergo the “violet”), and the nose is dominated by hints of sour grape, sweet berries, and a touch of herbal bliss. This sativa-dominant hybrid is perfect for daytime smoking, or for those nights when you want to stay up giggling.

4.) Gelato. Sometimes called “Larry Bird” or “Gelato 33,” this indica-leaning hybrid was bred via a cross between Thin Mint GSC and Sunset Sherbet. This fruity, deep-purple bud has a creamy taste and high that transcends normal pot.

5.) Purple Sunset #4 is a specific phenotype Purple Sunset first bred and grown by Ethos Genetics. This strain is a breeder’s mashup of Mandarin Sunset, Mandarin Cookies, and Purple Punch, and the nose on this one is just as complex as you’d imagine with spicy notes of fuel mingling with floral citrus. Expect a nice, laidback high from this strain with a touch of berries on the palette. Oh, yeah… and it’s purple.

6.) Tropicana Cookies was first created by Harry Palms (from Bloom Seed Co.) by crossing Tangie and Girl Scout Cookies. The Cookies flavor comes through dominantly with this varietal, but there are plenty of citrus notes and sweetness on the backend, almost like sugar on your lips. Expect slightly purple buds covered with red hairs, as well as an awesome smoke from Tropicana Cookies.

7.) Garlicane is a rare indica-dominant cultivar created by crossing Slurricane and GMO. GMO stands for “Garlic, Mushrooms, Onion,” and the garlic terpene came through strongly in Garlicane, thus the name. Expect a deep and down high from this varietal with plenty of funk on the pallet. These purple buds are beautiful, so if you’re an Indica lover, you’re missing out by not giving Garlicane a try.

8.) Borealis is a deeply purple strain that was created via a cross of two deep indica varietals, Northern Lights and Skunk #1. This strain will be fruity and sweet on the pallet, but there’s a heavy serving of hash on the exhale with a touch of skunk. Borealis brings with it a dreamy, sedative high, but it’s subtle enough to avoid couchlock. If you’re a fan of Indica strains, you need to get in here and see this stuff immediately. Borealis is extremely terpene rich with  Limonene, ß-Caryophyllene, Pinene, Linalool, and Ocimene.

And that’s that! Chances are that no matter when you shop, we’ll have one of these eight purple pot strains available for sale, but just in case, you should always check our online flower menu HERE before showing up if you’d like to try putting purple pot in your pipe. But please, even if you simply want to see or smell the best purple pot in Durango, feel free to swing by for a free peek and sniff, because when it comes to purple cannabis, We’re Your Best Buds!

Marijuana Terpene Profiles

I hate to break it to you, but the old “sativa or indica” choice that’s always been put in front of you is dying slowly, and soon, the choice will disappear completely in most dispensaries. Consider yourself forewarned. But frankly, this is a good thing, something that’s overdue, and I’ll tell you why, but first, we need to back up a bit.

For the record, Sativa cannabis and Indica cannabis constitute one species of plant—the two designations simply look different, much in the same way a Pug and a Great Dane are the same species of dog, even though it’s difficult to imagine the two breeds making puppies. With indica and sativa, the former is short and squat with fat, dark green leaves, and the latter is tall and lanky, with bright green leaves. The two forms of the same species simply look different because they evolved in different regions of the globe, so they took on different physical traits (but the THC remained chemically identical between the two categories).

Now, there are some physical traits that you can see, and some you cannot, such as the terpene content within a plant. To back up once more, terpenes are aromatic compounds that exist in almost every plant I can think of, not just cannabis, but smoking different terpenes may elicit different effects. For example, myrcene can be deeply relaxing as where limonene can be bright and uplifting, according to most smokers. This is where we get into the whole “indica vs. sativa” thing, because usually, the Indica strains contain the relaxing terpenes as where the sativa strains contain terpenes that fall on the other side of the spectrum. However, cannabis growers have been cross breeding all the strains out there for decades, and as such, it’s exceedingly difficult these days to find a true indica or sativa; just about everything out there is a hybrid.

And, hold on to your seats, it gets worse. If you’re a diehard cannabis connoisseur who’s reading this and saying to yourself, “this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about because all indica strains are relaxing and all sativa strains are energetic,” I have news for you. When it comes to plants, Sean Miles knows more than both you and I put together. He’s a researcher at Dalhousie University who specializes in agricultural diversity, and he considers the present-day designation between indica and sativa to be completely fictitious because there’s no meaningful difference between the two at all per genetics. In fact, he published a peer-reviewed study on the topic you can read HERE that proves scientifically that it’s mostly nonsense.

So, can you see what I’m getting at? Everything started with the sativa and indica designation, but then everything was muddled due to the crossbreeding. But since the market started with the two indica/sativa categories, growers have been choosing one or the other designation to slap on their plants as a label, even though it’s not entirely accurate. The way they’ve been doing this is by looks: if the plant ends up short and dark, they call it an indica even though it might contain sativa terpenes, and if it’s tall and bright, they call it a sativa, even though it might be relaxing to smoke. It’s all very illogical and it doesn’t do you a bit of good as a shopper.

To be clear, here in our Durango dispensary, we’ve always classified our flower by effect, not by appearance, and we’ve paid extra for terpene tests at the lab in the past to take out the guesswork. If we grew something that looked like an indica but contained terpenes associated with sativa strains, we called it “sativa” because we wanted to make sure our customers got their desired effect. Yes, we smoke our flower often (VERY often), and besides the testing, we follow our noses and smell for specific terpenes before choosing a designation. Granted, this takes a bit of practice and experience, but it also takes knowledge, and that’s something I can give you. The next time you’re in our Durango dispensary, take some time up at the flower counter and ask what the strain smells like, and after you buy it, sniff it heartedly in an attempt to identify these terpenes:

Myrcene: This terpene is herbal, and at times, skunky (and hops also contains this terpene, which is why beer can smell skunky as well). If you smell this scent in one of our jars, expect a smoke that might be relaxing.

Pinene: Yes, this terpene is also found in pine trees, and it smells much like you’d expect. If you smell this, you might experience a medium-relaxing smoke that won’t glue you to the couch.

Caryophyllene: This terpene is difficult to pronounce, but easy to smell: it’ll remind you of spice or pepper, and it’s right in the middle of the road per effect.

Limonene: this is the citrus terpene that smells like lemon rinds, and it’s moderately energetic according to some smokers.

Terpinolene: This terpene is my favorite because it’s the fruity one. It can smell like many things depending on your pallet (anything from a strawberry to a lilac bush), and if you detect it, plan on a possibly energetic high with tons of euphoria.

Fun, right? When buying flower, if you let your nose decide rather that relying on your budtender, you can get an idea for what the high will be like (but you should still trust our budtenders because we do this for a living). And if you’ve ever visited one of the newer, swankier dispensaries in Denver, you already know that a few shops up there are abandoning the terms “indica” and “sativa” completely; you won’t find them anywhere in the newer places because it’s all been replaced by accurate terpene profiles.

But again, please don’t feel like you need to do all the work yourself. If you’d like to come in and make us do the sniffing for you by simply asking for a cultivar that we find to be relaxing, that’s good enough for us, and we’ll do our best to give you exactly what you want, because We’re Your Best Buds!