Strain Heritage Series: Strains of Hawaii
Published on 1/17/23
No matter how you look at it, it's crystal clear that the legal cannabis industry has come a long way in the last few decades. After all, growing from an underground illicit, black market drug trade fueled primarily by high school burnouts growing a few poor-quality dirt weed plants into a widely accepted and increasingly legalized multi-billion dollar industry is quite the come-up.
As folks in North America get increasingly interested in cannabis culture, it's pretty much impossible to ignore that cannabis and humanity have been attached at the hip since we started walking upright and came down from the trees. Humans have been using cannabis for medicine, relaxation, and spiritual rituals for thousands of years, so it's only natural for the planet to have a rich and storied relationship with this wonderful plant.
But finding and exploring all of the best landrace stains from all corners of the globe is far easier said than done. Many folks don't have the finances to be jet-setting all over the world and trying these strains in their native lands. And, not to mention, some are still a little anxious about travel and airfare coming off the last few years.
That's why we here at Where's Weed have been producing our Strain Heritage Series, giving our readers insight into some of the best landrace strains from different regions, climates, and cultures. This week, we're focused on some top-notch strains from The Aloha State, the incredible island paradise that is Hawaii.
Not only will we go in-depth on some of the very best Hawaiian landrace strains available for consumers today, but we'll also touch on the rich and somewhat complicated history of cannabis on the Islands of Aloha.
So with all that in mind, sit back, relax, and start with a deep dive into the unique history and culture of cannabis in the U.S.'s 50th state!
The History of Cannabis in Hawaii
While it's pretty much impossible to know for sure how cannabis got introduced to the folks on the most geographically isolated island chain on the planet, researchers and cannabis experts alike, do have some compelling theories. Some credit the wide varieties of beautiful Polynesia-based birds migrating back to the island with cannabis seeds from elsewhere in their digestive tracts. Some think seeds and spores might have been carried there by the wind currents or ocean drifts. Some even consider the idea that it might have been brought there intentionally by natives or sea-faring explorers from distant lands.
At the end of the day, no matter how it got there, native Hawaiians took to it and made it their own! It soon became a sacred and incredibly useful plant to Hawaiian natives, with cultures using cannabis fibers to create tools like rope, fabric, and paper, while the psychoactive buds were used for medicinal and ritual purposes. In fact, cannabis is so embedded into the fabric of native Hawaiian culture that its use dates back to as much as 8000 B.C. They even devised their own name for the plant, calling it Pakalolo, which means "crazy/numbing tobacco" in their native language.
As a result of this rich culture and appreciation for the plant, along with Hawaii's hospitable, warm, and wet climate, cannabis thrived on the islands. Even today, true Hawaiian Pakalolo is some of the best medical cannabis on the planet. Cannabis was being cultivated and produced all over the island, and it was about as good as it gets in terms of quality, flavor, and effects. Not only was it widely spread around the islands for personal and medicinal use, like it had been for centuries beforehand, but it was reaching the mainland U.S. as well.
Unfortunately, however, many of Hawaii's wonderful landrace strains have been lost to the sands of time due to outdated and misguided War on Drugs-era propaganda and misinformation. For Hawaii, the War on Drugs came in the form of Operation Green Harvest.
Launched in the 1970s on the Big Island, federal, state, and local narcotics officers caught wind that some of the best weed reaching the mainland U.S. was coming from its 50th state. As a result, they launched a systematic campaign to eradicate cannabis on the islands, spending much of the 70s and 80s scouring the landscape in helicopters and descending with automatic weapons to destroy grow operations from native cultivators.
Naturally, this campaign, along with the harsh legal penalties for getting caught cultivating cannabis, led to the extinction of many Hawaiian landrace strains that we'll never get back. Thankfully, dedicated growers and cultivators on the island did their best to preserve some strains, giving us the wonderful landrace strains we know and live today.
With Hawaiian landrace strains increasingly in demand and facing possible extinction, it's worth considering grabbing some seeds of your own if homegrowing is legal in your particular state. Just punch something along the lines of "best Hawaiian landrace seeds" into your search engine of choice, and you'll likely be able to find some top-notch seeds at a price point you're super comfortable with. After all, protecting the rich and diverse pakalolo from the Aloha state is a must for cannabis enthusiasts looking to enjoy some of the strains we're about to highlight for years to come!
Despite that rich and often tumultuous history with cannabis, things have rapidly changed for folks in the 50th state over the past few decades. Not only was Hawaii among the handful of U.S. states to propose and establish medical state-level medical cannabis programs, but they've since passed legislation to widely decriminalize cannabis possession and use as well! Beginning in 2020, this new legislation made possession of up to three grams of cannabis punishable by only a fine. Previously, getting caught in Hawaii holding even a tiny amount of cannabis would cost you up to $1000 and 30 days behind bars. No matter how you slice it, it's clear that things are moving in the right direction regarding top-notch Hawaiian cannabis.
Top Landrace Strains from Hawaii
Now that we've taken the time to deep-dive into the rich and often somewhat complicated history of cannabis in Hawaii, let's take a look at some best and brightest cannabis strains that cultivators on the island have to offer modern-day consumers!
Let's start our list with a modern-day classic, shall we? This cross between Hawaiian native landrace strains and a mystery strain from the mainland gives users all the tropical flavors and stress-relieving qualities of native medicinal Hawaiian Pakaolo.
From its sweet flavors of pineapples, mangos, and other tropical fruit to its motivating sativa nature, this strain has a little bit of everything for everybody. Perfect for leaving users feeling energized, uplifted, and happy as can be, thanks to its moderate 16 percent THC levels, this strain is ideal for taking the edge off without leaving you too high to function properly and enjoy the island weather.
No matter how you look at it, there are many reasons why this strain has been popular since the early 60s. If you haven't already, we highly recommend grabbing some for yourself on your next trip to your local dispensary!
Often known as Kona for short, this strain is a well-regarded world traveler. Despite being born in the volcanic soil of Hawaii, this strain has spread far and wide thanks to its cerebral effects, tropical flavors, and uplifting sativa effects!
A few puffs of Kona Gold leave users feeling energized, focused, and creative, all while hitting a strain that tastes like pineapples, mangos, and an assortment of other tropical fruits.
A relatively mild strain in terms of THC, sitting at only somewhere in the ballpark of 12 to 15 percent, this strain is perfect for medical use for issues like PTSD, muscle spasms, depression, and stress/anxiety conditions. And since it's great for both experienced and novice smokers, this one is an accessible option for pretty much anyone who walks into a dispensary.
We highly recommend checking out this top-notch Hawaiian landrace strain!
Last but certainly not least on our list is Kaui Electric, a top-notch sativa with a cannabinoid profile built and cultivated for maximal relaxation. As if a trip to a tropical paradise like Hawaii wasn't relaxing enough, doubling down with this top-notch strain is your key to finding your beach no matter where you live!
With flavors and aromas that remind users of guava, passionfruit, and sweet berries, along with an earthy, grounding aftertaste, this strain is as delicious as it is potent. And speaking of potent, let's dig deeper into that cannabinoid profile, shall we?
With an average of 17 percent THC and a staggering 4 percent CBD, this strain is about as well-balanced as you'll find a modern-day sativa. With more than enough CBD to get the entourage effect going strong, it's no wonder users end up feeling happy, social, and euphoric after only a few puffs.
Great for medical users looking for relief from issues like insomnia, depression, and appetite loss, along with its explicit recreational purposes, this is a great example of a strain offering a little bit of something for everyone!
We highly recommend this strain and think it's worth grabbing the next time you stop by your local dispensary!