An Ode To Durban Poison

I love me a good sativa. I love starting my day – even before that first sip of coffee – with a hit of something that will fill my head with focus. That’s what sativas do for me. Especially the first hit of the morning. Coffee jolts one awake. The caffeine buzz is like pure energy spewing everywhere. A sativa buzz is quite different. First, a calm settles over you. A centeredness. Go ahead, Life – throw curve balls at me all day. I can handle em. Then, emerging from the calm is a sense of awareness. Whereas alcohol diffuses one’s thoughts, THC brings clarity.

I’ve tried writing while liquored up. It’s awful. I’ve played sports with a couple of drinks in me. They did not make me better. But, I write every day brimming with THC. I play tennis AFTER taking a hit. And, boy, does my game get better! I really see the ball – see the fuzz on it. Tennis is all about timing. Alcohol couldn’t possibly improve my timing – or my motor skills.

Every cannabis-using athlete – like me – is proof: THC doesn’t do to our brains what alcohol does. It’s long past time we stopped treating them like they were the same.

One of the best things currently happening in and to America is cannabis legalization. For starters, as I wrote about in my “Blunt Truths” series for Weedmaps a few years ago, racism and nothing but was the sole motivator for cannabis prohibition. Take America’s first drug czar – Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Ainslinger – out of the cannabis equation and cannabis would NEVER have been “illegalized” to begin with. That’s a fact. Anslinger and only Anslinger obsessed over “marihuana” not because he cared about its impact on anyone’s health, but because Black people smoked it – in particular, the Black people who invented jazz. And Harry Anslinger hated jazz.

Once America and American law bought into Anslinger’s racist rubbish about cannabis – about what it did to people – ignorance did the rest. It spread thinking about cannabis that just wasn’t true, filling the public’s head with stories about Black men smoking dope and thinking they were any white man’s equal. That, really, lay at the heart of every story in Harry Anslinger’s “gore files” – the cache of invented bigotry that Anslinger used in his public relations war on cannabis and the people who used it. What disturbed Anslinger more than anything about marihuana’s spread was white people taking up “the habit”.

The mood stabilizer I’ve been on for the past six years gives all alcohol a terrible grapefruit skin-like aftertaste making it completely unpalatable to me. At first, that broke my heart because I loved drinking. I loved ice cold martinis and big, ass-kicking, take-no-prisoners red wines. And I loved the whole drinking social experience. I’ve looked at Life from both sides, if you know what I mean.

While my cannabis use absolutely rose after I stopped drinking alcohol, it wasn’t at all to “fill in” for the empty hole alcohol sobriety created. Yes, I missed the conviviality of drinking with other people. It simply ain’t the same when you socialize and everyone else at the table is clinking lovely red wine-filled glasses against your ordinary glass of bubbly water.  Yes, before everyone else starts drinking, I’ve already nipped outside for a  hit of something. But, that’ll be it for me – for an hour at least. And THC doesn’t do to my brain what alcohol does to everyone else’s brains.

This is part of the nonsense left over from Harry Anslinger’s reign. Ya see, using racism the way Anslinger did, that cut out the “middle man” of the argument: facts. At no point did Anslinger – or any bureaucrat or law enforcement official – ever put down receipts to back up their cruelty. Oh, sure – there have been “studies” along the way that warned of cannabis’s impacts on our youth, our sanity, our motor skills. But, as science goes, that was all some pretty piss poor science.

Conservatism always fears new information because new information could force innovation when the old solutions stop solving new problems. Ironically, it wasn’t conservatism that foisted alcohol prohibition on America, it was progressivism. The temperance movement was concerned above all with the social harm drink was causing especially to American families. Prohibition was a massive failure because, right-minded as it was in some ways, criminalizing most American adults because of something they liked was doomed to fail. You would think that conservatism would take valuable lessons from Prohibition’s failure. Instead, as with Harry Anslinger, conservatives embraced the idea of punishing people because they hated them – while using an innocuous product they used for their own personal enjoyment – as the reason to hate them and to punish the shit out of them.

Durban Poison is a South African landrace strain. That means that though cannabis wasn’t native to South Africa, when it arrived in South Africa a long time ago, it adapted to the environment (having no access to any other cannabis strains) and, over time, domesticated itself as a unique localized strain. Think of Durban Poison as a cabernet sauvignon clone. The grape strain comes from France originally (from Bordeaux) but brows all over the world. In each place, the grape vine adapts to its local environment and the ways its growers manipulate it. That’s why two different bottles of cab can be so different from each other – while still being cabs.

Cannabis – being a natural product – works the same way. One can manipulate plants – encouraging some qualities while tamping down others. But – at its bottom line, a Durban Poison plant’s flowers when dried, cured and smoked should produce fairly similar effects on its users regardless of where they are. The only real difference will be the amount of THC in what the cannabis user is smoking.

A wine maker, by the same token, can manipulate the amount of alcohol in the wine their grapes produce.

The Durban Poison I’m smoking this morning sports a 30.13% THC load. That means that 3o% of whatever’s in my Genius Pipe (I loooooooove my Genius Pipe!) is THC. The high will probably be pretty intense (just how I like it). By “intense”, I mean “focused”. Whatever I think about, I’ll really think about. I’ll poke at it from every direction. I’ll turn it over again and again, reconsidering it from perspectives I haven’t considered before. This isn’t some disconnected state of mind. It’s entirely present. I can switch from deep thought on whatever I’m doing to my wife walking in my office door and asking me if I mind making dinner tonight.

I love variety. I love the thrill of the new. I collected wine when I drank and I take a similar approach to cannabis. If I can afford to have some choices, I’ll give myself choices. Right now, I’ve got a dozen different sativas on hand. Some are stronger than others. Some are more conducive to thinking about three things at once. Others are more conducive to focusing on one thing and going at it as deeply as possible. My baseline though, will always be Durban Poison and the “Durban Poison Experience”.

an indica will show you. But

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