Sweet and schnarfy
Today's review is another cultivar heavily hyped as among the best legal weed on the market, Pedro’s Sweet Sativa from WeedMD. It is named after their chief cannabis officer and long-time cultivator, Derek Pedro.
The name itself taps into one of the biggest mistakes in cannabis everywhere—the classification of cultivars into sativa and indica.
When I say this is a mistake, it is not to ignore a huge body of anecdotal data indicating the smoking public tends to separate the cannabis experience into two broad categories. In my experience the two are: weed that makes you relaxed (indica) and weed that is more energizing (sativa). This anecdotal data clearly has value, and should not be overlooked just because the terms associated are not quite right.
This considered, the terms are wonky for a few reasons.
First, the sativa and indica classification system is based on morphology, or appearance of the plant. This doesn’t dictate the plant’s effects; the chemistry does. So, when someone smokes an ‘indica’ and gets a relaxing stone, that should be attributed to the chemical type (chemotype) of the plant, not the physical appearance.
It turns out that thin-leafed plants, a common characteristic of “sativas”, just have thin leaves. It isn’t really an indicator of perceived effects.
The next issue that points to this classification system being outdated and inaccurate is that there are many more than two types of cannabis, including those rich in cannabinoids other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
By trying to classify based solely on appearance and regional origins, we are ignoring the fact that the genetics of modern cannabis are all mixed together, without a whole lot of purity. Even having a legal ‘variety’ of cannabis is difficult today, as that requires a certain uniformity when grown from seed, and current cannabis seed populations tend to be highly variable. Thus, asserting that each cultivar should fall into these oddly specific definitions based on appearance alone is doing a disservice to consumers.
Finally, the origin story of these two terms is also of interest, even if it is just a tall tale.
This story goes that the two original plant examples were a broad-leafed sample from Afghanistan, where many kushes and hashplant varieties apparently originated, and a thin-leafed sample from India, which has produced more tropical thin-leafed plants like those from Kerala.
This gets a bit convoluted, but the overarching name for the genus is Cannabis, with the species underneath being called Cannabis sativa. The two example plants were classified as subspecies, with their own names based on place of origin. The chosen names were Cannabis indica, from India, and Cannabis afghanica, from Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, according to folklore, there was a labelling error. The term “indica” was erroneously applied to the sample from Afghanistan, and the umbrella term “sativa” was applied to the Indian sample. Afghanica was left out.
This is a legend, at least as far as I know. I can’t point to proof that this is what happened, but it makes a hell of a story. If you want to dive into a more academic look at the conversation, check out this excellent summary from noted cannabis scientist John McPartland.
If true, and it was a simple mistake, here we are decades later and that mistake persists in both our casual and commercial cannabis vernacular.
I understand that none of this will prevent the use of these terms any time soon, as they have become part of the cannabis lexicon, but it does seem silly that we are following a classification that may just be based on an error in the first place.
Getting the weed
This sample came from the shop down the road from my house. I went specifically looking for it.
I have grown a number of so-called “sativas” in my life, some for a long time. I ran the notorious Congolese for a few years, and have dabbled with many landrace seeds in the past. These do tend to take longer in flower and grow much taller than broad-leafed varieties, so they can be a challenge to grow inside.
I also consume cannabis partly as a focusing substance. I find it can be a performance enhancer for me if I choose my cultivars properly.
In my hope to try something energizing or uplifting, this seemed like a good choice.
To my surprise, when it got rung up, it was only $31 for an eighth! Many illicit shops are charging more than this today. While it won’t affect my scoring, this is nice to see.
Everything but smoke
Okay, while the price is nice, the presentation failed on a number of levels.
First, the good. The weed smelled great. It smelled citrusy, with overripe fruit and some funk in there. When I say “funk”, I mean a smell that borders on bad, like dirty socks or meat that is slightly off, but in a good way.
Honestly, it reminds me a bit of the Vancouver Island favorite, Mountain Jam, created by Chimera Genetics. It’s been a Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club (VCBC) staple for years (VCBC is the oldest compassion club in Canada).
Thus ends the good, and begins the bad.
This eighth looked terrible. It was a bunch of extremely tiny buds in a cheap plastic container that could fit ten times the product. Seriously, I don’t know how this got to market. If this is sold as full flower, what goes into the pre-milled product this company sells?
There were more that 35 individual buds to make up 3.5 grams, meaning each bud averaged less than 0.1 gram. Ridiculous.
Of course, with all that room in the container and such tiny nugs, it was a bit overdry, but not as bad as I had expected.
The smoking experience was okay. The joints tasted nice at first, but got harsher as they burned. They smoked well enough, but not as clean and tasty as most high-end samples.
It did carry a flavour reminiscent of Mountain Jam, too, with a herbal, rotten mango, citrus taste. It just wasn’t quite good enough to make me want to come back to it.
Effects were minimal. I really didn’t get high enough to say much about it. I did feel a slight increase in blood pressure and heart rate, but that may well have been placebo.
I am not sure I will smoke the whole eighth
WeedMD - Pedro's Sweet Sativa
This was a fail. I would not buy it again. It may be the toughest to give a rating to yet. It smelled great, but otherwise was a waste of time. This eighth was a bunch of micro-buds that didn’t really get me high. I gave it close to 50 per cent, only because of the smell and the fact that it was decently smokeable.