Connoisseurs of Cannabis

Connoisseurs of Cannabis
Posted by CN Staff on April 22, 2007 at 05:28:23 PT
By Katherine Seligman
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
San Francisco, CA -- Stephen DeAngelo bent and sniffed deeply over a clump of frizzy purple nuggets in a petri dish, one of eight sitting in the middle of a long refectory table. They were not labeled or arranged in any particular order, although to the experts assembled in DeAngelo's Oakland loft -- "cannabis is my calling," he says -- their identity was no mystery. "I would describe this as grapey, candy-like, sweet, with a slight undertone of spice," said DeAngelo, a longtime activist and hemp promoter who is now chief executive officer of Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland.
He was holding the tasting at home where he could properly and legally -- at least in the eyes of California, if not the federal government -- evaluate some samples. To prepare, he'd taken off his green tweed coat, loosened his tie and settled in a chair near his vaporizer, an apparatus that allows him to breathe vapor instead of smoke, because it's less harsh. "It is grapey, but I get flowers," said Rick Pfrommer, the dispensary's purchasing agent, as he inhaled a strain called the Purps. "I would use the word pungent. It has a pungent funk undertone." "It is grapey, with a hearty musty bottom," added Elan, the center's manager, who preferred not to use his last name despite the fact that he, like Pfrommer and DeAngelo, is a card-carrying medicinal user and dispensary member. DeAngelo arranged the tasting to show how far marijuana has come since the 1970s when, as a common joke goes, there were two kinds of pot, good and bad. These days, especially in the years since California approved medical use, there are too many to count. Harborside offers about 40, each recommended for various ailments and conditions. Sophisticated growers, who can manipulate color and cannabinoids -- pot's active ingredients -- bestow their seeds and strains with exotic names. Some have taken "landrace" or indigenous breeds from Burma, India, Mexico or California and crossed them to create, said Elan, "these crazy strains." Center clients can swap reviews or seek information on the Internet at sites like -- -- (for medicinal users) or newsstands about the burgeoning array of options. There are glossy magazines and cannabis cups, including High Times magazine's long-standing annual event in Amsterdam where pot smoking is legal. Marijuana guru Jorge Cervantes, author of a "Medical Growers Bible" and probably the closest thing the weed world has to the wine world's Robert Parker, appears in an online High Times video where he talks about his contest judging "system." Seated at a table covered with a white cloth and a few dozen samples spread in a semi-circle, he demonstrates how to squeeze the buds and rate olfactory nuance. "Some of the fragrances you should look for are sweet, spicy and musty," he says, dressed in a black jacket, a black beret covering his long black hair. "If it's sweet, what's it like? Is it like bubblegum? Is it like honey? ... Is it minty? What does that mean? Is it like a rose? Or a cherry?" As the quality and variety of marijuana products in pot clubs have grown, so too has an emerging marijuana connoisseurship or, as some call it, "cannasseurship." "I guess," said DeAngelo, when asked about the term after trying several samples, "I'm a cannasaurus." In medical marijuana circles, the treatment potential of a certain strain, whether it produces a "body high" or a "head high" that dulls pain or stimulates appetite, treats pain, nausea, sleeplessness or other ailments, is paramount. But to a distinct and discerning subculture, there is another dimension. Note: Like fine wine, growing medicinal weed has become so specialized as to inspire tastings and a new vocabulary. Snipped:Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Katherine SeligmanPublished: Sunday, April 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by whig on April 24, 2007 at 01:30:39 PT
Purple not as good as green?
I beg to differ, at least as to what was called Purple Kush. Quite nice tasting from the vaporizer, smooth and very potent.But I guess I'm one of those stupid Northern Californians now.
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Comment #2 posted by Dr Ganj on April 24, 2007 at 00:07:47 PT
For those of you who do not live in California, let me tell you how awesome it is to see all those fabulous THC products.
There's hash, honey oil, clones, trichomes, and of course the massive selection of all the great growers' buds.Interesting they didn't mention my Bubbleberry x Haze, Tsunami, Black Thunder#2, or Laffy Taffy. Maybe next article....
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Comment #1 posted by whig on April 22, 2007 at 14:47:49 PT
I wish I could afford to sample all of these fine varieties. I'm happy with what I get, but I can't sample what I don't buy, and at some places you can't buy less than an eighth of anything good.
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