With Croptober on the horizon, it’s not an outrageous idea to reexamine our criteria for new cultivars.
There are tried and true methods like gathering suggestions from the homies, consulting a budtender or maybe sifting through review sites. But one local brand has a different way to explore, via its database: the Phresh Cannabis Strain Gallery.
“[Cannabis] language itself is a way that people gatekeep,” says Phresh operations manager Keenan McDonald. “We wanted to cut through the noise and empower the consumer.”
Founded in 2015 by chief executive and owner Art Boyd, Phresh is a Black-owned, women-led brand that, until recently, largely left customer outreach in the hands of dispensaries.
That changed with McDonald’s idea to aggregate data from her terpene tests, her grow team, and her own varsity pothead preferences to create a guide for customers and cannabis users in general.
McDonald developed Phresh Strain Gallery as a straightforward, user-prioritized way to explore strains based not on THC percentages, sativa-versus-indica arguments, or sales-driven predilections, but by cultivated cannabinoid- and terpene-led effects.
The 17 potential effects are presented in simple, user-friendly vernacular—relatable enough for new users and committed potheads alike. Each effect can be cross-searched and results suggest a variety of strains so users can filter through terp selection until they find their most attractive option.
The gallery pivots Phresh’s brand from marginally inaccessible opulence to wholly inclusive essentials, and maintains Phresh’s reputation as cultivators of premium cannabis while authenticating its proud “by stoners, for stoners” aesthetic.
We tried out the Strain Gallery, settling on four universally desirable effects. Each search brought back multiple results so we selected one strain from each. Here are the recommendations versus the reactions:
Effect Search 1: Euphoric
Strain Suggestion: French Bread
Our reaction: The perfume of this cultivar is super brisk, with heavy notes of pine that are tempered by a floral, woody foundation. The smoke is brutish: One pull from the bong and I felt dominated by the incoming high. Clutching my spiritual pearls, I expected to be laid out posthaste. The exhale, though, had the soft, poetic quality of a limited edition summer saison beer. It delivered mild underpinnings of hops, fermented fruit and slowly wilting summer blossoms being peeled apart by an early autumn breeze.
For me, the high was more spacey than euphoric. I smoked it in the early afternoon and, after waxing poetic about how much my bong load tasted like the indescribable sadness of summer’s end, I passed out with chocolate in my mouth. Your results may vary.
Effect Search 2: Creative
Strain Suggestion: Zweet Inzanity
Our reaction: Sketchbook time is sacred in my household, so cultivars that deliver that elusive combination of inspiration, focus and compulsion occupy the most sacrosanct position in my stash box. One of 11 strains the gallery suggested for creativity, I hit Zweet Inzanity hard before cracking open a brand-new blank book.
While this cultivar delivered both focus and mild inspiration, the high was a bit too sloppy to nail the landing. I found myself making too many stoner mistakes to completely commit to my page. However, I was hella down to take several notes about how the high made me feel, so low-stakes creativity rather than tight line work might be the name of the game with this cultivar. The perfume is gassy citrus with a tang of astringent, and it burns into a mild, super-smokable puff.
Effect Search 3: Relaxed
Strain Suggestion: Skunkberry
Our reaction: After a week of managing the hard transitions that come with a new school year, I was feeling both tightly wound and apathetically deflated. The gallery’s suggestion of Skunkberry felt very astute. In the nose, Skunkberry layers candy-sweet berries with a sexy, spicy funk. A sniff alone is invigorating. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, with a lingering smack of burnt sugar at the very backend. The high was indeed relaxing. More than that, it filled me with a lightness that a week of junk sleep and frantic mornings had robbed from me. The entire week melted away as I couch-locked, binge-watched Veneno and waited for the school bus to drop off my kid.
Effect Search 4: Energetic
Strain Suggestion: Orange Creamsicle
Our reaction: The perfume of Phresh’s Orange Creamsicle is both creamy and juicy, with a familiar piney afterburn. The profile is bracing but sweet, which will be inviting to sativa enthusiasts who equate confectionary citrus perfume with a toe-tapping buzz.
On an evening when I needed more hours than I had, a cup of black tea and a single bowl of this strain bolstered me through the tailend of my evening chores and cooled my manic temperament. Though I half-expected this strain to hit like rocket fuel, the buzz was manageable. Staying busy kept the high from overwhelming me, but the potential for a too-blazed scenario was certainly present. Either way, the strain gallery suggestion was on point.
Bottom line: Pack your bowl accordingly, and get ready to overthink or completely forget just how well the gallery predicted your results.
GO: Visit the Phresh Cannabis Strain Gallery at phreshcannabis.com.