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8 New Cannabis Cultivars to Be Excited About in 2019

Nate Pennington from Humboldt Seed Company talks us through the newest weed strains that we’re excited to see hit the market in 2019.

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cannabis cultivars
PHOTOS | Humboldt Seed Company
Rocket Seeds

It’s that time of year again when we rub our resin-sticky hands together with anticipation of the newest cannabis cultivars due to hit the market.

Nathaniel Pennington and his team at Humboldt Seed Company (HSC) recently conducted a phenotype mega-hunt to search through thousands of plants which generated more than a few “Unicorns” of the cannabis genome. We caught up with Pennington to go through their newest strains that we’re excited to see in 2019.

The Bling

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the Bling will be your farm’s best bud. This strain is productive and fast growing, pest and mold resistant that boasts both insane trichomes and a heavy dose of THC. “Seriously though, this strain is no joke,” said Pennington. “Productive is an understatement and the trichome density on this beauty outshined the rest in a greenhouse with 3k unique seed plants at Happy Dreams Farm, who practices sustainable agriculture in beautiful Humboldt County”.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company/Happy Dreams Farms
  • Genetics: Humboldt Frost x Reserve OG x Humboldt Gelato
  • % Indica/Sativa: 75% 25%
  • Type: Indica Hybrid
  • Smell:  Gassy but also sweet and floral with hints of lime
  • Flavors: Alpha-Pinene, Myrcene, Limonene
  • Appearance: Silver/Green with hints of purples
  • Effects: Potent and intense, more ethereal than sedative

Willy G’s Lebanese CBD

Willy G’s Lebanese is taking the CBD cannabis world by storm. “From the legendary Bakka Valley in Lebanon through our product tester and cannabinoid specialist William Watson aka Willy G,” said Pennington. Originating as a landrace, it’s fascinating to think of the historic uses for this cannabinoid profile.

Upon discovering the unique cannabinoid make-up of this strain, HSC bred, phenotype hunted and selected four times to stabilize the cannabinoid levels of this silk road masterpiece of a medical breakthrough. This strain is incredibly unique and Willy G is a wonderful person who uses cannabis to help with the effects of his cerebral palsy.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Lebanese Landrace x Willy G’s #8 x Willy G’s #2
  • % Indica/Sativa: 20% 80%
  • Type: Sativa CBD
  • Smell: Terpinolene forward with a floral finish, hints of concord grape
  • Flavors: Very rich in terpenes for a CBD strain, some say jasmine or dill
  • Appearance:  Frosty lime green flowers with speckled with purple
  • Effects: Highly medicinal, many say muscle relaxant, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory

Vanilla Frosting

The genetics of this strain are an improvement on what we’ve seen coming from the common various Gelato lines over the past few years. “Vanilla Frosting steers away from the short squat flowers of Gelato and heads to the skies,” said Pennington. Strong stalks leading to less breakage from the heavy dense buds that will fill your 1/8 jars or pipes for days… months, years.

The huge, proud trichome-covered buds with perfect gaps between the nodes lead to easy hand or machine trimming. An uncanny sweet vanilla nose at first followed by a straightforward fuel finish and often a 30%+THC producer.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company x Happy Dreams
  • Genetics: Humboldt Frost OG x Humboldt Gelato Bx3
  • % Indica/Sativa: 65% 35%
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Smell: Creamy Vanilla with a Heavy Fuel Finish
  • Flavors: Oddly Vanilla but OG at the same time
  • Appearance: Silver/Green Flowers with Purple Tones
  • Effects: A lofty high that’s super potent

Lemongrass

“Lemongrass is a new strain that we are extremely excited to share with the world,” said Pennington. With high THC levels complimented by juicy terpenes just gushing with lemon flavor, you won’t be left wondering why it’s called Lemongrass! The plants are huge and display hybrid vigor, meaning disease, mildew and mold resistance is high and flower structure is perfect for machine or hand trimming.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Lemon Kush Bx5 x Humboldt Gelato Bx3
  • % Indica/Sativa: 70% 30%
  • Type: Indica
  • Smell: Lemon Drops, Sour, Fuel
  • Flavors: Sweet Juicy Lemons with Vanilla and Fuel Finish
  • Appearance:  Frosty Lime Green and covered in Trichromes
  • Effects: Extremely potent but uplifting

Banana Mango

With dominant banana and mango aromas, this strain packs a punch that might leave you on a tropical beach soaking up the sun for a little while longer than usual. “The terpene profiles that come together to make these unique seeds are relatively rare in our experience,” said Pennington. Huge plants and amazing vigor are another feature that you will certainly appreciate. THC levels are around 22% and trichome production is high. But it’s the nose that makes this strain so special!

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Mango Trees x Banana OG x Blueberry Muffin
  • % Indica/Sativa: 25% 75%
  • Type: Sativa
  • Smell: Bananas and Mangos with a hint of Terpinolene
  • Flavors: Banana Candy and Mango Nectar
  • Appearance:  Frosty Lime Green and covered in Trichromes
  • Effects: Many claim that this is an excellent medical strain and calms nerves

Magic Melon

“Many inappropriate names were tossed around for these gorgeous melons before we settled on a tame alliteration. We couldn’t help it, it’s uncanny how these buds smell like a luscious honeydew or cantaloupe, said Pennington.

Get ready to feel the magic when you take a toke of Magic Melon because this one hits hard and may bring out the philosopher in you. When it comes to growth and vigor this strain may be the largest growing most productive plant you’ve ever see. The THC levels are not bad, around 22% with around 1-2% CBD on average. The entourage effect of the cannabinoids has great potential to cure whatever ails you.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Mango Trees x Honeydew Melon x Mango Sherbert
  • % Indica/Sativa: 40% 60%
  • Type: Sativa Hybrid
  • Smell: Literally smells like sweet cantaloupe/watermelon with a gas finish
  • Flavors: Uncanny Melon Flavors
  • Appearance:  Lime Green with hints of purples, orange hairs, frosty
  • Effects: Potent and intense, many say sedating

Very Cherry

“Very Cherry produced record amounts of terpenes in extraction and is literally one of the best smelling varieties that we have ever created,” said Pennington. “That says a lot considering that we created the Blueberry Muffins!”

The strain is likely to only produce around 18% THC but it’s incredibly loud and very unique. Bred it from seeds that were passed to HSC by a local old-timer several years back. One plant from that population smelled just like cherry cough drops and they have continued working that into this sweet cherry blossom masterpiece over the last few years. Simply for flower or definitely for sauce or terpene forward projects, this strain will not disappoint the discerning nose.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Old Timer Seed x Lemon Kush Bx3
  • % Indica/Sativa: 30% 70%
  • Type: Sativa
  • Smell: Intense Sweet Cherries and Jasmine
  • Flavors: Slightly tangy with a floral finish
  • Appearance:  Frosty Lime Green and covered in Trichromes
  • Effects: A lofty high that won’t debilitate you. Great mid-afternoon smoke

Caramel Cream

A Phenotype Mega-Hunt winner, meaning that this plant stood out in a sea of 10k plant, scoring a perfect ten in the scent category. This one was a terpene forward selection although the growth, bud structure, disease, pest, and mold resistance were good. “We were so glad that we captured this terpene anomaly in clone form,” said Pennington. “For some reason, the smell captivates you and brings you back wanting more and more, it’s an oddly habit-forming smell.”

Naming this strain wasn’t as easy as naming something like our Blueberry Muffin though, it’s not fruity, it’s a bit fuelly, and it’s a bit nutty, but mostly it’s rich with uncanny salted caramel and cream flavor. Just like it’s namesake candy, it will have you gorging on it again and again.

  • Breeder: Humboldt Seed Company
  • Genetics: Humboldt Reserve OG x Royal Highness x Old School Cookies
  • % Indica/Sativa: 60% 40%
  • Type: Indica Hybrid
  • Smell: Salted Caramel and a Fuel Finish, Very high terpene content!
  • Flavors: Literally smells like Caramel… with a salty finish
  • Appearance:  Silver and Green Frosty, Purple under leaves at harvest
  • Effects: Really strong but still uplifting

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Cannabis

Why Independent Third-Party Cannabis Testing Is Important

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Cannabis Testing
PHOTO | HQUALITY

During cultivation, the cannabis plant acts like a sponge. It absorbs everything it is exposed to, from pesticides, nutrients, and heavy metals present in the soil. For these reasons, it is essential that reputable and reliable third-party labs carry out cannabis testing to assure safety and efficacy of the product.

Lab testing of cannabis products is an essential part of the regulated market’s supply chain. It detects offensive chemicals or contaminants that can lead to adverse health effects when consumed, while additionally providing cultivators and retailers with efficacious cannabinoid and terpene profiles of legal cannabis products. 

In Canada’s regulated market, batch release quality control testing is required for potency and product safety, so it is necessary to measure substances like pesticides, mycotoxins, bacteria, and molds. Unfortunately, reports on potency and contaminants can vary from lab to lab, while recalls of contaminated products threaten consumer trust of legal products. 

Sigma Analytical Services is a full-service pesticide, elemental, molecular, genetic, and pathogen analysis laboratory for cannabis, hemp, and cannabis-derived products. It delivers reliable science for cannabis products to the cannabis industry and cannabis consumers.

Cannabis Aficionado spoke with Ashton Abrahams, co-founder and COO of Sigma Analytical Services, to learn more about the importance of cannabis testing and Sigma’s strict processes.

Cannabis Aficionado: Tell me about your entrepreneurial journey to cannabis.

I’m a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in starting and growing several successful ventures. In 2017, when Canada was in the process of legalizing cannabis, my partner and I saw an opportunity to focus on a different side of the new cannabis industry — ancillary testing and quality reassurance requirements. We knew there would be new products in the market, and they would all require testing. So, we started a testing lab that focused on cannabis and cannabis products, and this is how Sigma started.

What sets Sigma apart from other testing labs?

We want to ensure products available in this new market are efficacious and safe, and ensure the levels of both remain consistent. Sigma is the only GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, cannabis-focused lab in Canada and the only cannabis-focused lab with cross-continental operations. We developed and validated our methods back in 2018 and 2019, so we are the frontrunner in Cannabis 2.0 product testing and are set up to test a comprehensive list of cannabis products — including flower, edibles, beverages, and topicals. 

Sigma also has validated methods for quantifying and testing 16 cannabinoids and 43 terpenes — one of the highest in the market — and our analytical and microbiology tests are compliant with Health Canada, EU, and US Pharmacopeia.

Additionally, Sigma was awarded the Best Cannabis Lab/Testing Facility in Canada at the Grow Up 2019 awards.

Inside Sigma Analytical Services’ state-of-the-art lab.

What need does Sigma fill in the global cannabis industry?

Sigma brings reliable science that is already available in food and pharma to the cannabis industry, its products, and consumers.

Cannabis, food, and pharma share certain quality requirements. However, there is a big difference: in terms of quality assurance, food and pharma have decades of testing experience, while cannabis is a new industry, and the science is still being developed. 

What kind of samples do you test?

We have developed and validated testing methods for many different types of cannabis products, from traditional dried flower and oils to Cannabis 2.0 products , such as concentrates, beverages, edibles, and topicals. From a testing standpoint, each and every one of these products is different and can have a different matrix. In turn, we develop a testing  method for each one.

What should customers be looking for to see reassurance that a product’s been tested? 

Make sure their products are purchased through legal channels. It’s the regulatory bodies’ responsibility to make sure the products launched in the market are not just tested, but tested specifically by qualified labs.

Moldy cannabis is a problem in legal markets and there are numerous reports of Health Canada product recalls after customers discovered moldy flower. Can you talk to us about how you test for these pathogens?

From day one, instead of using the traditional culture-based method, Sigma has tested for mould and all microbial contamination using a newer technology called qPCR (quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction). When we first started it in late 2018, nobody was familiar with it in the cannabis industry, so we had to take time to explain to our clients that it was a better, more reliable, and faster process. In the last six months, however, we have seen a huge shift in attitude. Not only have the cannabis producers accepted qPCR, but more cannabis labs are starting to use the technology to test for microbial contaminations.

Cannabis Testing
Moldy cannabis. PHOTO | LabRoots

What are some of the most exciting developments in cannabis testing?

Using qPCR for microbial contamination is very new for the cannabis industry. We’re happy and excited about it because we see the benefits and we hope the whole cannabis industry embraces it. 

Secondly, the challenges of formulating, developing, and testing new products. The developments in the past six months have been really promising.

Thirdly, discovering more about the cannabis plant and what ends up in cannabis products is really an exciting development. As we progress, we are sure to learn more about the effects of cannabinoids and terpenes.

What’s your pinnacle vision of cannabis testing?

There are two sides to it. There is a regulatory side, and there is the testing side. On the regulatory side, it’s about what needs to be tested, and how it needs to be tested. 

A very important part of the quality assurance initiative for cannabis is ensuring the testing sample is representative of that batch. There are different factors in place. Is that batch homogeneous or not? Are the characteristics consistent or not? Cannabis is a plant. It’s an agricultural product. It’s not something that’s coming out of a machine, so we cannot expect all of the plants to have exactly the same characteristics. I believe one key is to limit the size of the batch. Other jurisdictions have clearly defined regulations. For example, in California, it clearly states that each batch cannot be larger than fifty pounds. In the Canadian regulations, there is no definition at all.

Secondly, labs need to get more serious. Some labs are testing cannabis products with outdated instruments or unvalidated methods, meaning their results cannot be truly accurate or reliable. Cannabis labs cannot use a 15-year-old second-hand instrument and expect to get the same results as pharmaceutical labs that use the best, most advanced instruments. Some people might think that testing cannabis products is not as important as pharmaceutical products, but it is just as important.

Cannabis has a very complex matrix which requires complex testing methods. Not all labs have good enough or validated methods. However, I’m optimistic that it’s a matter of years, maybe between five to ten, for cannabis testing to get there.

How is Sigma helping to foster the growth of a responsible and safe legal cannabis industry?

I think everyone active in the cannabis industry has a responsibility to make sure they are doing a good job and providing safe and efficacious products to the consumer. That’s because, if the consumer is not happy with what they’re getting from us, it will translate into unhappiness with the whole legalized framework.

Finally, what’s next for Sigma?

We are going through some expansion at our headquarters in Toronto and we’re about to acquire a lab in British Columbia, which will be our second lab in Canada. Additionally, we have a joint venture in Colombia and are setting up the first GMP certified cannabis lab in South America.

We are also becoming more involved with helping develop formulations for new products, and testing them, especially for the producers that follow GMP requirements either in pursuit of higher quality or for international cannabis markets.

We also recently received our GMP clearance from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (“TGA”). The approval designates Sigma as an approved testing laboratory for Canadian companies to introduce their products into the Australian cannabis market.

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Cannabis

Pink Lemonade: This Sparkling Strain Is Both Pretty & Potent

The frosted pink buds of Pink Lemonade might dazzle the beholder with glittering layer of golden trichomes, but this gorgeous flower isn’t all looks.

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Pink Lemonade
PHOTO | Anna Wilcox

Dusted with a glittering layer of golden trichomes, the Pink Lemonade strain is endowed with a mystical appearance that embodies everything curious, attractive, and intriguing about cannabis flowers. Tightly bound calyxes dazzle with a bouquet of pink, violet, and sage coloration.

Cracking open one of these flowers emits a comfortable herbal aroma. A burst of crispness teases the nose, somewhat akin to the tart fizz in a carbonated cherry drink. This dessert-like aroma nicely compliments a definite happy hour high. Calm, relaxed, and downright chill, Pink Lemonade is a true afternoon delight.

The Pink Lemonade High

Put on some chill beats and pour yourself a nice drink. This plant is smooth, easy, and well-rounded. If inhaling Pink Lemonade feels like the first meaningful breath you’ve taken all day, you might be pleasantly surprised as a subtle relaxation works its way along the limbs and through the muscles.

There’s no doubt about it–this plant is a go-to strain for mellowing out. While often described as thoughtful and creative, the herb is better suited to leisure activities than it is serious concentration.

While solo consumers may enjoy putting on some Netflix after a little of this plant, it’s peaceful and contented nature is ideal for social gatherings. Spending time with friends may always be fun, but it’s easy to sit back enjoy a pleasant conversation after a few tastes of Pink Lemonade.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that cannabis affects everyone differently. The herb tends to be a mood enhancer rather than an instant remedy for happiness. If you are in an easygoing and relaxed environment, expect even more mellow after enjoying a little bud. If you’ve been having a bad day, strains like Pink Lemonade may provide relief by softening negative emotions and making them more tolerable.

Pink Lemonade Strain Background

Today’s cannabis market is truly a craft one. To say that the lack of federal recognition of the herb is problematic is an understatement. However, one benefit of state-by-state legalization is the development of truly local, expertly crafted products.

Pink Lemonade is a superb example of such a flower. There are many renditions of Pink Lemonade out there, yet the particular version pictured is a cross between two contemporary hybrids, Lemon Cheesecake and Huckleberry Soda.

Each parent strain is exceptional in its own right. Lemon Cheesecake is a sativa-dominant flower with a sour cream aroma and substantial THC production. Huckleberry Soda is a craft hybrid from Annunkanki Genetics, an intriguing cross between two hybrids, Black Cherry Soda and Huckleberry Hound.

Pink Lemonade Strain Benefits

As a craft flower, Pink Lemonade was arguably bred more for enjoyment than serious medical potential. It’s frosted pink buds dazzle the beholder, showcasing the fact that this plant is truly a treat. However, this gorgeous flower isn’t all looks.

The flower produces upwards of 25 percent THC. This means that the plant may be useful to those who benefit from high-THC therapies. Those interested in making a full-extract oil, hash, or other forms of concentrates may also enjoy experimenting with this sugary herb.

This plant is not too energizing nor is it overly sedative. However, those hoping for a little extra help falling asleep at night may find the flower helpful. The relaxed flower may also be beneficial for anxious individuals in search of a social lubricant.

However, the high-THC content in Pink Lemonade can inspire the opposite effect in some people. Bottom line: if you are prone to social anxiety or often respond poorly to THC, this potent flower is likely not the best choice.

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Cannabis

Everything You Need to Know If You’re New to Dabbing

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or patients that need a quick, controlled dose of cannabis.

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Dabbing
PHOTO roxxyphotos

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or for medical users that need a quick, concentrated and controlled dose of cannabis. However, it can be confusing, even for long-time pot smokers. In fact, unless you’ve done it, seen it, or read up on it, dabbing can be a total mystery.

Dabbing is a relatively new way to consume cannabis and it is has become very popular in recent years despite rumors that it is dangerous.  It is a highly concentrated experience, with THC at levels much more elevated than most regular flower you would encounter in a joint.  For patients, dabbing can be a very effective way to dose because the effects hit the user very quickly and can typically be measured more easily. For those with a high tolerance for cannabis, dabbing can be a way of feeling the effects of pot with more potency.

Before you can get into dabbing, you need to know a little about cannabis concentrates and extracts. Shatter, budder, wax, crumble, pull and snap, and hash oil are a few of the most popular types of cannabis concentrates and extracts. Extracts and concentrates are named so because they are products of a process where THC and other cannabinoids are extracted from the flower. Sometimes, during the extraction process, a solvent (like alcohol or butane) can be used and other times a solvent is not used. Either way, the final product is a smaller, stickier package that packs a powerful punch.

The Dabbing Process

Keep in mind that nails and domes can get incredibly hot. Like, RED hot, literally. Do not underestimate the heat that can occur — be cautious to prevent any burns.

First, you will need something to dab. We have heard the recommendation more than once to keep away from alcohol-based extracts when dabbing. Consult your budtender about this one, or just skip alcohol based-extracts — your call. There are a lot of concentrates and extracts to choose from, enjoy the hunt for your perfect pick.

Next you need something to dab out of. You can purchase a dab rig or just convert an existing glass water pipe with glass dab attachments. You are also going to need a titanium, ceramic, quartz or electronic nail that fits the glass dab attachment you are using. A typical nail is going to require the use of a dome in order to trap the vapor before it dissipates into the air. A dome can be as simple as a glass piece that fits over the reservoir where the extract or concentrate is vaporizing.

Get your dabber ready. A dabber is a tool that is ceramic, metal, glass, that is used to place the dab, or concentrate/extract, on the super-hot nail.

Lastly, unless you are using an electronic nail or e-mail, you will need a mini torch. Some less patient dabbers will use a full-on, propane-fueled torch in order to more quickly heat their nails — experiment at your own risk. In case the dab is a little overwhelming for you and your body, the safest place for you to be is sitting down to avoid any falls.

Turn on your e-nail OR use your torch to heat your nail until it is red-hot. Allow it cool for at least 10 seconds (for titanium) and up to 45 seconds if you are using ceramic or quartz nail.

Once cooled, use your dabber to place your concentrated dab on the nail. Place the dome over the nail as you inhale. Then, exhale. Victory!

If you weren’t already sitting down, you probably will be now!

Take these words of advice to heart — start small. If you haven’t tried dabbing at all before, don’t make your very first dab a large one. You won’t regret taking a small dab, but you might regret taking one that is too big. Always ask your budtender any questions you have about your purchase and if the product you are buying is the best thing you can buy for dabbing, vaporizing, smoking, etc.

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