If you’re young, it may be hard to fathom just how underground the cannabis scene used to be. The drug war really was a war, and a lot of people have a lot of scars. It seemed then, in those grim years, that there was only one sane place in the world, one place you could go and buy buds without worrying about going to jail—and that was Amsterdam.
But in Amsterdam’s Red Light district, where people went to smoke, it could be too much. Your mind was still in fear mode and everything around you was bustling and crazy and it was easy to get paranoid.
I know because I did. I was in the Netherlands for a conference in the small, bike-obsessed college town of Groningen. But first I stopped in Amsterdam and wigged out. But when I got to Groningen, even though it was for an academic conference, I made plenty of time to go and sit in the “coffee shops.” (This is where weed is purchased legally throughout the Netherlands, though Amsterdam’s shops are by far the most famous.) It was such a relief to be able to calmly look over the wares and decide what you wanted to smoke. It was like heaven—even if the selection was far worse than the most paltry local dispensary you can go to these days.
I chose a strain called Dutch Treat. That was nearly two decades ago, so I have no idea how much the genes have mutated or if it is even the same strain, but Dutch Treat is a standard of the coffee shop scene and I felt electrified with a visceral thrill when I saw it again. The flowers, with the deep red of autumn underlying a glowing green fur, felt almost exotic, the odor reminiscent of something lost in another time, a quiet room with adults sitting around sipping coffee and smoking joints rolled with tobacco.
I wasn’t at all disappointed when I took a big rip out of a brand new bong. The pine-resin undercurrent was billowed by a kind of creaky funk, like backwoods kombucha and oyster-water. And the punch was near-perfect. In Groningen I would smoke, forget about the time, and then have to rush back to the conference, blitzed. But I didn’t stress it. And inside I was aware and alert—I commented on people’s papers and shit. And that was the feeling I’ve had these past few days trying out this pure sativa Dutch Treat. It gives an initial lift that kinda climbs up your spine and grabs you by the scruff of the neck and the eyelids and elevates your ass, but it’s also like it is cracking your back and chilling you out, like a long feeling of having had your back massaged. The overall effect is something like people claim for microdosing mushrooms, at least in the obsessive attention to detail that is still somehow lax.
- Strength: 8.2
- Nose: Kombucha, sap, and oyster-water on a flower petal
- Euphoria: 9.1
- Existential dread: 3.3
- Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 1
- Drink pairing: 4 oz. of black coffee with a shot of Jameson on the side
- Music pairing: The Magnetic Fields, “69 Love Songs, Vol. 2” (with volume knob at 4)
- Rating: 9.335