By the time I made my way down the mansion-lined switchbacks of the Northwest Heights and through evening rush hour to my house in Northeast, I'd been in my car for nine hours—another full day on the road as an "Uber Partner Driver," a job that, to no one's surprise, can leave a person wanting some weed at the end of the day.
Luckily, during my afternoon travels to Beaverton and the parts of Portland that are basically Beaverton, I stopped by (card-friendly!) Green Planet to pick up a strain that's become a staple for me over the last few months: Orange 43, an indica-dominant hybrid with a citrus flavor and a relaxing but creative high. It's perfect for when you wanna unwind but not totally check out of the waking world.
The "43" in Orange 43 refers to the strain's clone-only mom, WIFI 43. Mom got her name when the growers at Los Angeles' TLC Collective planted some 500 seeds of The White crossed with Fire OG, two lauded variations of the everpresent OG Kush. Each plant was numerically labeled, and the 43rd in the line stood out from the rest, outperforming its siblings in flower quality and testing above 29% THC.
As is common practice with exceptional phenotypes of cannabis, the 43 was cloned and distributed, earning an "elite cut" reputation and eventually making her way into the hands of the breeders at Franchise Genetics (formerly Obsoul33t Genetics).
Franchise then pollinated the 43 with their favorite Orange Juice Bud dad—a stud storied for its big orange scent and powerful terpene profile.
The resulting cross is truly remarkable.
This strain first distinguishes itself with its smell, an orange musk and OG fuel, followed by baby powder, vanilla, and lavender.
And then there's the nuanced high. Being indica dominant, Orange 43 relaxes the body. But it stops well short of a sedative, which is nice for doing things that aren't sleeping. Meanwhile, its sativa-associated terpenes kick up a sense of wellbeing and creativity, but don't go so far as to make a person jittery or anxious. The OJ tames the high THC content of the WIFI 43, resulting in a total cannabinoid content in the low twenties.
Don't let the stats fool you: from a psychoactive perspective, Orange 43 is far more potent than many strains higher in THC.
That potency comes from Orange 43's smell-it-through-the-Ziplock terpene content.
For those unfamiliar with terpenes, they're the compounds that you associate with the scent of certain plants. Essential oils are mostly terpenes. The cannabis plant has more than 100 of them, with some strains heavy on particular ones, and lately scientists have begun to understand what stoners have known for a long time: these smelly terpenes are also psychoactive, binding with many of the same neural receptors as cannabinoids.
All of the individual terpenes in cannabis affects the high a person gets when they smoke. Together, terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD combine forces for an "entourage effect," where they have different effects together than they would alone.
Oregon law doesn't require cannabis producers to test for terpene content, but the nose knows: just a light whiff of Orange 43 signals the strain's strength with an overpowering punch of citrusy fuel of what's likely limonene.
That terpene has a profound effect here, causing a strain with less THC and a huge nose to hit a lot harder than you'd expect.
Doubt me? Do what I did, and put this strain's 19.6% THC up against something with higher numbers but a lighter scent. Invite some friends over and see which one folks think is strongest. You might be surprised at what you find.
Once you open your nasals to the power of terpenes, you can begin to keep track of which smells correlate to which effects, and your experiences with cannabis can become more personally tailored and reliable.
Eventually, your familiarity with terpenes can develop into a more enjoyable relationship with pot… If that's even possible.