There’s a scene in the 2001 Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg film “The Wash” where Snoop’s character, Dee Loc, buys weed from Tommy Chong. Chong claims to have driven his moped to Los Angeles all the way from Humboldt County in Northern California. After showing Snoop most of the options, Chong pulls out a single, tiny nug from his breast pocket. Naturally, the original famous crip from Long Beach laughs at the minuscule stash, but Chong argues back, “It’ll knock you on your ass man, it’s from South Africa. This is Durban Poison Weed.” He goes on to talk about its almost psychedelic effects and how it “wired him up” to drive a moped the length of California for two days straight. It’s so good, he won’t even sell it. He needs the famous landrace strain to fuel his trip back up the coast.
Chong’s humorous scene is rooted in truth. Here the stoner pioneer is pushing the citrus-y skunk strain at the start of the millennium, but Durban Poison goes back a few more decades. Originally a landrace strain hailing from the area surrounding Durban, South Africa in the 1970s, Durban Poison has always had a reputation as a stimulating choice for cannabis users. “Landrace”, with respect to weed, is a term that means the species of cannabis has evolved for many years in an isolated and specific geographic environment. Scientists and cannabis enthusiasts value these strains because they contain unique, unbothered and characteristic genetics. When the plant evolves naturally, it undergoes a much different process from when it is intentionally bred by cultivators. The slow, untampered evolution of landrace species leads to new, complex plants that are able to express novel quirks and variations. While many of these variations contribute to the plant’s overall survival in the wild, other variations could end up altering the potency, medicinal properties, and terpene profile. Unlike the many modern hybrids that occupy today’s pot dispensary menus, this historic landrace strain has existed for centuries and been known by many names. It’s claimed that famed cultivator Ed Rosenthal came across it in the late while exploring Africa in search of unique genetics and Durban would soon become an important cornerstone in sativa breeding for decades to follow.
However long its isolation and whenever it took its current form, Durban Poison weed developed into a highly unusual example of 100% pure sativa. It’s smell and taste offer rich citrus and pine notes, followed by its famous grapefruit-like aftertaste. Its vivid and stimulating effects are the energizing focus and creative headspace that fans of sativa look for. It’s a proud grandparent too, influencing the genetics of today’s favourites like Girl Scout Cookies.
Durban Poison’s THC levels float around 20 percent, high enough to pack a strong punch, especially in combination with its strong Sativa genetics but not too much that you can’t function. It is commonly used among medical patients for melancholic depression, motivating the user and giving them a rush of euphoria. At the same time, the anti-inflammatory effect will help in the long term to reduce the brain and body inflammation which is often at the root of depressive experiences. The strain’s stimulant-like effects make it an excellent choice for conditions attention deficit disorder without many of the drawbacks of traditional stimulant treatment for adult ADD and ADHD. Unlike stimulants, it will not leave the patient buzzing and unable to rest.
Whether you have access to Durban Poison or not, odds are you’ve enjoyed one of its progeny. It’s a diverse strain, used for ailments and stimulation, strong enough to sustain itself naturally in South African climate but familiar enough that you’ve probably seen it around. Do you enjoy toking Durban Poison? Do you use it for focus or relief? Let us know.