Mellow Gold

Testing the throwback super-strains of the '70s.


Acapulco Gold

21.13% THC, 0.11% CBD (Green Leaf Lab)

$10 a gram at Five Zero Trees, 10209 SE Division St., Suite 100.

Though this epic sativa comes from Acapulco and its thick coating of glittering orange hairs resemble gold, some say it got the name because from how much people were willing to pay for it. Described as the perfect cerebral high, with a calming physical buzz to boot, this strain was considered one of the finest ever grown. It's difficult to find any Acapulco Gold these days, much less top-shelf versions, but this crop by DF Industries gave me an impression well worth the $10. My mind unwound within the first few minutes after a bong hit, and the taste was fresh and citrusy long after I finished exhaling. This batch is strong for the first hour, but the relaxing high eases up before you lose motivation.

Northern Lights 5

17.5% THC, 0.2% CBD (Going Green Labs)

$10 a gram at Five Zero Trees, 10209 SE Division St., Suite 100.

Considered one of the most influential strains of all time, Northern Lights first hit the scene in the late 1970s and early '80s, and many credit this strain to a grower called "The Indian," who lived just north on Hayden Island. The "#5" refers to the phenotype of Northern Lights this was grown from, and supposedly #5 was the best of the bunch. Stimulating both mentally and physically, Five Zero Trees' flower is a standout example of this strain's notorious psychotropic effects. My body felt at ease, and I quickly zoned out, feeling comfortable and no longer remotely aware of my to-dos. I felt creative and curious; had I been out on a clear, starry night, I could have very well seen some Northern Lights of my own.


26% THC, 0.1% CBD (MRX Labs)

$10 a gram at Kaleafa, 5232 SE Woodstock Blvd.

An intense indica with federal-level folklore, G13 is the strain supposedly bred by botanists hired by the U.S. government. According to legend, they gathered the strongest strains from breeders all over the world in the 1960s, creating super-hybrids in secret labs. An unnamed technician allegedly stole a single cutting from the plant labeled "G13" and grew it for the public. This batch at Kaleafa has an especially floral fragrance and a sweet, kushy flavor that envelops your taste buds with the first smoke. The indica high hit my body immediately, inspiring me to stretch as soon as I had the leg room to do so. It would be great for solo yoga or insomnia, but this strain is too heavy for the average weekday of most smokers.

Jack Herer

25.42% THC, 2.1% CBD (MRX Labs)

$10 a gram at Pure Green, 3738 NE Sandy Blvd.

This strain is a hybrid bred from four different Cannabis Cup-winning strains in the early 1990s: Northern Lights #5, Skunk (#1, most likely) and Haze, which is a sativa blend. It was initially known as "4-way," until Jack Herer, the renowned marijuana advocate and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, expressed his favoritism for the strain. It has gone by the name "Jack Herer" ever since. The frosty, citrusy scent and flavor make it hard to put down, and the creative, invigorating high is just as addictive. When the sun came out the morning I first tried these Small Axe nugs, I couldn't get outdoors fast enough. Jack gets the gears in your brain moving, without running you off the tracks like some sativa-dominant blends can. Head to the Third Eye Shoppe at 3950 SE Hawthorne Blvd. for more Jack Herer lore—he opened the head shop back in 1987, and his son, Mark Herer, is the current owner.

Durban Poison

26.87% THC, 0.11% CBD (3B Analytical)

$12 a gram at Canna-Daddy's Wellness Center, 16955 SE Division St.

Hailing from the South African port city of Durban, the consensus is that the first of these pure sativa seeds were brought to the United States in the 1970s by famed horticulturist Ed Rosenthal. The sweet, piney smell and taste have maintained a loyal fan base, and although modern crops supposedly don't have the same kick, it's still a fantastic smoke. My particular batch had a fragrance so sweet, almost aniselike, that my taste buds watered. It's a wholehearted, uplifting sativa, without much of any body sensation. Expect an energetic head rush that gets you on your feet, while staying smooth and steady.  As one of the most notable "building-block strains," a few of the famous children of Durban Poison are Girl Scout Cookies and Cherry Pie. 

OG Kush

29.24% THC, 0.04% CBD (MRX Labs)

$10 a gram at Pure Oregon, 11134 NE Halsey St.

B-Real of Cypress Hill mentioned this strain in multiple songs, popularizing this mysterious Kush along the West Coast. The hip-hop introduction led to the assumption that its name referred to "Original Gangster," but the growing community affirms that it stands for "Ocean Grown." The controversy around this strain doesn't end there, and the name doesn't help. Although Kush signals an indica strain, it smokes like a sativa. The high is euphoric and happy, with a relaxing mental buzz that curbs anxiety. No one's totally sure of its genetics at this point, but Leafly hypothesizes Chemdawg crossed with Hindu Kush. A few origin stories lead back to a seedy bag of unknown, extremely dank weed in Miami. Other connect this strain to the Grateful Dead tours of the early 1990s. Whatever the parentage may be, one won't be able to forget the distinct, forest-pine scent of a solid batch of OG Kush.

Sour Diesel

23.4% THC, 0.1% CBD

$12 a gram at Brooklyn Holding Company, 1436 SE Powell Blvd.

Named for its sickly-sweet, gasolinelike aroma, Sour Diesel is another strain with the haziest of origins. The name and scent seem to refer to Original Diesel's genetics, though some say it is a cross of Skunk and Chemdawg 91. Others claim a lucky New Yorker found the odd seed in a random ounce of Mexican Sativa x Chemo. All stories are probably correct, because the types of Sour Diesel available today vary in fragrance, taste and effects; true Sour Diesel is most likely extinct. The crisp flavor leaves a tangy taste on your tongue, and the clear-headed high sharpens your focus to a pinpoint. Sour Diesel has a happy, refreshing buzz that alleviates any level of depression. If what we're smoking now is a watered-down version, I can see why there was so much infighting over this strain. One master grower told me the beloved sativa was so sought after that the name began to refer to how "sour" people became when they ran out of it.  

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