Favourite Canadian Cannabis Strains
By Justin Allec
One unexpected benefit of cannabis legalization was affording licensed producers the ability to experiment with strains for a mass market. Canadian growers now have the freedom to produce strains for an eager public that are unique or unavailable to the rest of the world. Rather than clandestinely producing a strain in secret to supply the black market, a Canadian cannabis company can produce a strain, try it on the market, gather feedback, and tweak the recipe. That explains the astounding variety currently available at your local shop, including a few that have become national favourites. Because cannabis strains are created by blending and curating desired plant characteristics, each strain grows out of what came before. The original cannabis strains found in the wild became known as the landrace strains. These are the ancestors of our modern strains, and formed the building blocks of how cannabis exists today. Landrace strains like Kush from Afghanistan and Acapulco Gold from Mexico, for example, are distant kin to all modern strains. New strains building on the landrace ones were developed over generations, mostly by American growers: Northern Lights, Haze, and Skunk are examples of three heavyweights whose genetic fingerprints are all over new developments. Mango Haze (Sativa, 4.50–13.50% THC, 6.00– 13.50% CBD) This balanced sativa hybrid has become a national favourite thanks to its distinctly fruity aroma and a taste that offers both sour and spicy. Part of its popularity is probably due to how light it feels; this is a great daytime strain for an energetic afternoon while still leaving you with some feeling for the evening. The strain genetic lineage is a combination of Haze, Skunk #1, Northern Lights, and an unknown CBD strain. Except for the CBD one, the other three strains were all hugely influential on cannabis culture in the 1990s, thanks to California growers. It makes sense that versions made by Canadian companies, like Color Cannabis, are flourishing north of the border, as Mango Haze almost comprises a “greatest hits” of desired cannabis characteristics: not too potent, great taste, and easy euphoria. Blue Dream (Sativa, 18– 24% THC, 0–2% CBD) A combination of Blueberry and Haze strains, Blue Dream is a potent sativa hybrid with some misleading numbers. Even though it’s mid-range for THC (typically around 17%), its combination of characteristics and deliciously sweetened berry taste makes this a great strain to accompany your creative endeavours. Blueberry (or Berry Blue as it's sometimes called) is a Thai indica strain adapted by American growers in the 1970s. Haze has a similar origin, first appearing in California during the 60s, which had the perfect conditions for the strain’s long growing season. Blue Dream has become a Canadian favourite thanks to the flavourful punch that it provides, and producers such as Pure Sunfarms, Spinach, and Station House grow tonnes of it to satisfy the demand. Chemo (Indica, 27% THC, 1% CBD) A true “made-inCanada” strain, Chemo was first developed by the University of British Columbia in the 70s to, as the name suggests, treat the side effects of chemotherapy. It’s a strongly flavoured indica with a heavy earthy aroma reminiscent of B.C.’s deep woods. This strain goes mostly towards the body because of its origins: expect total body relaxation while countering insomnia, chronic pain, and appetite loss. Not to be confused with the excellent Chemdog strain, Chemo only appears sporadically in Ontario, but is more common in Western provinces. If you have the chance to try this Canadian classic, bring some back for the rest of us.