The debate between the $5-dollar gram and the $15-dollar gram
The Experiment Parameters
We all have our preferences when it comes to cannabis. Some are looking for the best deal, some look for the best quality, some are looking for the most potent, and some look for the highest THC. No matter what we look for in our cannabis we can all agree on one thing; we at Mary Jane’s House of Grass do our best to make sure we have an option available for everyone.
Since we have a lot of options, I decided to do a direct comparison between a strain that was available from one of our top tier farms, House of Cultivar, and our budget friendly option, Cowlitz County Cannabis. They both offer a strain called Honey Bananas. For this direct comparison, I have decided to smoke each one and vape each one then supply my findings and opinion. For this strain review I used both, a Special K Bullet Beaker and the Ghost MV1.
Background of the Farms
Cowlitz County Cannabis (CCC) is a processor for Hydro Pro which were the producers of this batch of the Honey Bananas. Hydro Pro is a Tier 3 producer/processor dedicating their resources to its sun-grown cannabis using no pesticides. The heads got into the cannabis industry when they identified the additional benefits of cannabis when put into other mediums than smoking, such as topicals. They maintain an extremely low overhead which allows them to keep their cannabis at a competitive price no matter what variances the market gives. They roughly crop over 2,000 pounds of cannabis per harvest but understand at the end of the day, quality will shine through. In their practice they maintain quality knowing that the best weed stands out and consistently sells because no one wants their product associated with dry dirt.
House of Cultivar is a Tier 3 State-of-the-art producer/processor who recently took the DOPE Cup for Seattle essentially making them Washington’s premier level cannabis. The founding partners started in medical, although on separate projects, back in the mid 2000’s, then making the move into the I-502 market in September of 2016. They have also revolutionized using tissue culturing with cannabis as an alternative to cloning to minimize and prevent genetic drift a strain gains over time. Genetic drift (also known as allelic drift or the Sewall Wright effect) is the change in the frequency of an existing gene variant (allele) in a population due to random sampling of organisms. A population’s allele frequency is the fraction of the copies of one gene that share a form. In other words, a strain can lose key characteristics over time thru consistent cloning, which can make it less potent overall, grow differently, yield less, etc. Tissue cultures are the growth of tissues or cells separate from the organism. This is typically facilitated via use of a liquid, semi-solid, or solid growth medium, such as broth or agar. Using this process, which House of Cultivar have fine-tuned, they were able to figure out how to reset a plant’s genetics back to its original state.
The $5 Gram
Hydro Pro’s (Cowlitz County Cannabis) Honey Bananas tests around 15.22% total cannabinoids. This was the first to be sampled for the experiment. For the first test I smoked using the bong. Initially opening the bag, you do get the whiff of the banana smell. It broke up nicely by the fingertips when breaking down to load it in the devices used. The initial pull got a decent dose of the banana flavor with a bit of honey on the aftertaste but after the second hit, the taste was no longer present. The onset of the stone was immediate and I noticed the feeling down into my shoulders. The feeling from it wasn’t super intense but noticeable and probably would have gotten a heavier stone out of it if I had consumed a little more.
When vaped the concentration of the banana flavor came out and was consistent through the whole vape session. The stone felt a bit more intense than when I smoked it but not incredibly so. If I were to grade it on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being un-smokable and unpleasant and 10 would be best thing ever, I’d give it a 7. Knowing the variety of outdoor cannabis here in Washington, keeping a pesticide free environment outside can be a hassle or a constant state of maintenance and they show they’ve done an excellent job at that. Flavor is about what I expected out of it and even though it is possible for the plant to perform better; Maintaining 450 plants each with its own genetics is a Herculean task of its own. At the end of the day it is outdoor which means that it had to face the elements instead of focusing its energy entirely on growing to the best it can perform.
The $15 Gram, Washington’s DOPE Cup Winner
House of Cultivar’s Honey Bananas test around 21.6% total cannabinoids. Initially opening the bag, you get a heavy whiff of the banana smell and it gives of a sweet musky tone. It was a bit stickier than the outdoors version of the same strain and the hues from it looked more of the lime green look with noticeable hairs. The initial pull gave a heavy dose of green banana with the honey being more present on the exhale, but the biggest difference I noticed was how long the flavor lasted on my palette after taking the initial pull, which lasted about another 3 minutes. The flavor lasted throughout the rest of the bowl even on the charred bits. The other noticeably different thing was I felt about twice the initial stone compared to the Hydro Pro iteration of the same strain. Also, I felt more of the cannabinoids and terpenes affecting my body since I felt it affecting the top of my head down to my shins.
When vaped everything was amplified even more, and felt more of the Indica traits from it feeling slightly sleepy afterwards. If I were to grade it on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being un-smokable and unpleasant and 10 would be best thing ever, I’d give it a 9. They did a really good job with the honey bananas as far as maintaining the true genetics. The only reason for it’s score is that I feel they can push the genetics a little further and they also had other strains that came in at this time which caught my attention more so than the honey banana.
Now if we compare the two we must note the noticeable differences. One was grown in an environment where it was able to perform at its best, with the environment around it being tailored to its every need; the other having to battle the elements of mother nature to be a producing plant grown the way it has for thousands of years before modernized growing practices. One is working to be competitive with pricing, the other being competitive as the best farm Washington has to offer. The winner of the two is obvious, House of Cultivar. But is it that much better to invest the extra $10 for it? If we compare cannabis to alcohol and the way we shop for it, are we always looking for the highest alcohol content or are we looking for taste? That is going to depend on the kind of person you are, the tool being used, and the kind of experience you are going for.
Some people are completely opposed to outdoor weed and will spend the extra to know that someone has taken the time, effort, and special care to make sure they are getting the most out of their cannabis. Some people are looking for the best deal they can get. Some people would pass over these since the THC level isn’t what they are used to getting. I do see the value of the $15-dollar gram and it’s my personal go-to, since I believe that the other cannabinoids are vital to a strain’s experience. I also have, in my opinion, some of the best devices to consume cannabis. Not everyone has a vape, bong, pipe, or even want to use glass, but in the same sense not everyone can roll. Not everyone has the knowledge base of a bud tender or wants to use a bud tender to help select strains.
We are all going to see value in cannabis a bit different than the next person, but the value a person sees in cannabis is directly tied to a person’s knowledge and experience with it. We mustn’t forget though, the grower sees value in cannabis as well and price point is usually linked to the grower investing time; which is months at a time for a batch of a strain; resources such as nutrients and pesticides; money for electric bills for indoor growing; maintenance & care which is even more important when growing with the sun; and most of all love for producing a product that people will consume and creating the desire and drive for people to come back to their product. House of Cultivar has a state of the art facility with the drive and passion to push bud genetics to their limit and Hydro Pro lets mother nature facilitate the growth of cannabis the way nature intended. Now whichever one you decide on is completely up to you.