Grand Black Northern/ Photo by Baynard Woods/ Courtesy Democracy In Crisis

I got sick earlier this year, in a way that combined the worst of the stomach flu and the worst of the flu-flu, with fevers and body aches and all that. I ended up going a week without caffeine or alcohol—for the first time in ages. For coffee especially, it had been more than 20 years.

But it flipped my script when it comes to weed. I’ve always been a sativa person—I like the racing thoughts of the cerebral buzz that the bright lemony flavors bring. I felt like I always needed to be going, even when I was trying to relax. You never know what the president will tweet now, so in my business you gotta be looking at the screen.

But when I was sick, it just forced me to shut my brain off. I tried one of the vape pen hash oil cartridges and it didn’t do shit to make me feel better. But I took one bong hit of some Blackberry Kush, and a wave of relief flushed over me, allowing me to relax and even sleep.

When I got well, I realized I didn’t need to be speedy for a while. I needed to rethink. I wanted to stay off the coffee a few days and go all in on the indica. I got a strain that combines Blackberry Kush with Northern Lights and Granddaddy Purple—all three famous and potent indica varieties.

The buds are ugly on the surface. At first they appear sort of brownish, but then you realize that they are suffused with purple, the way that vegetation in the desert takes on an ultraviolet hue sometimes. It smells purple too, if you’re feeling synaesthetic. The Blackberry and the Granddaddy Purple both have a kind of grape candy aroma and they combine for an almost over-the-top Grape Ape-sized flavor in this strain.

The sleepiness is the thing that has always scared me away from indicas, except at night when it’s time for bed. But I was thinking that perhaps I could function just as well if I just cut out the speediness. I wondered if I could do everything I do now but just without the speed buzz in the background.

So for a few days, when I’d wake up, instead of having my usual pot of coffee, I took one big bong hit first thing in the morning. It actually worked to wake me up and I didn’t get tired later in the day either. I’d take a small hit every few hours and I ended up working until well past midnight.

The Grand Black Northern, as I’ll call it for convenience, kept me on an even keel, working without feeling frantic or rushed. I was productive and relaxed at the same time. I am not sure I’d ever really felt that before. It was almost a miracle.

I couldn’t keep up taking a bong hit every morning—it just isn’t practical or sustainable—and I’ve gotten back on the coffee, but a little more moderately. Still, my experiment with all-day Grand Black Northern left me with the deeper lesson that feeling jacked up doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive. 

  • Strength: 9
  • Nose: Grape candy
  • Euphoria: 9
  • Existential dread: 1
  • Freaking out when crazy person approaches you: 2
  • Drink pairing: Kombucha
  • Music pairing: Warren Zevon, ‘Desperados Under the Eaves’
  • Rating: 8

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