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Why is Hawaiian the world's finest? It may surprise you.

History of Tropical Cannabis & THCV

in Hawaii

So the story goes, herb today is far stronger (better) than the weed of the 60’s and 70’s. It may be true that the common market ha s generally more potent and fresher ganja but that can be explained by the loss of Mexican cannabis entering the United States because of changing laws.

Back in the day, the herb crossing the border was almost at least a year old and seeded. A lot has changed since then but the one hit quit shit was around way back then but it was rare and exotic.

Hawaiian cannabis was one of those rare, exotic types of marijuana. With strains like Maui Wowie, Puna Budder and Kona Gold (to name only a few) Hawaii’s reputation for growing the world’s finest took hold. But that was then.

Along with the war on drugs came ‘green harvest’ and Hawaii’s monster sativas were easy to spot by the eradication helicopters. Ten foot plants soon became as rare as the Hawaiian NeNe (endemic goose).

It wasn’t long before seeds from Tibet, India, Afghanistan, Amsterdam, British Columbia and California began to replace and water down old Hawaiian genetics. By the early 90’s Hawaiian “landrace” strains were the exception. Growers didn’t’ want to wait 5, 6 or 7 months for a harvest, the exposure was too long and pot trees are easy to see by helicopter even with the cover of deep tropical bush.

I remember when “90 day wonder” strains hit the islands. Short and fast, these plants packed a punch – but at a cost.

By 2000 Cannabis Cup winning strains like White Widow (the Dirty Widow), Blueberry and Skunk hybrids contaminated the island’s genepool even more.

Effects of THCV

Today ‘Skunk Dawg’ is popular in Maui and old school sativa is nearly impossible to find and rarely as good as the high caliber smoke from back in 1979. What has been lost, or more accurately, has been traded away is THC-V (THCV, THCv). Also known as the “sports car of cannabinoids” this molecule is far more psychoactive than it’s cousin THC delta-9.

But wait there’s more…

Hawaiian Sativas guerilla grown in Hawaii by Jason Lamoore 1997

Not only does THCV have a stronger cerebral effect that is closer to a hallucinogenic – giving users that super high ”cartoon land” buzz, you know…when everything is like a dream or as if you’re in a movie and every time you blink it’s like a new scene. Like really high. Like high energy high. Not only does THCV have this effect, it is of a shorter duration (2 hours)and seems to have “no ceiling”. That is, there is no limit to how high you get. No crash and burn. The THCV high makes food less than appealing. Yes, you heard me right, anti-munchies.

THCV (THCv THC-V) hits quick and hard sometimes-leaving smokers feeling less than comfortable initially. This is where the term “one hit quit” came from. Unless you’re an older stoner you wont have a clue as to what I’m talking about. There are tales of old speaking of ‘one toke choke smoke’ from back in the day. Try talking story with an old auntie, uncle or hippy about Hawaiian sativa from the 70’s and early 80’s and how good it was, and tasted. Sativa is Latin for ‘good tasting’.

Genetic Varieties of THCV Cannabis

High THCV cannabis strains are known to be mainly found in African equatorial sativas but this information is incomplete. In fact, THC-V is found in equatorial sativas from all over the world. Fact is, there is no such thing as a Hawaiian “landrace”.

Cannabis from Mexico, Columbia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam is where the many of the genetics for “Hawaiian” sativas originally came from. There is no true Hawaiian cannabis. With this being said, cannabis is a wonderful plant and Hawaii is a wonderful place. Plants acclimate to their environment over time. Genetic changes take place and over time, the plant actually does “become” from that area.


Today it is difficult to impossible to buy or find high THCV strains.

Another challenge is to grow a lanky sativa or large hybrid. They are too big or take too long to finish for indoor grows. Strains like Pineapple Purps, Asian Fantasy, Black Beauty and Doug’s Varin are the definition of rare. Levels of 1-2% THC-V (THCv, THCV) are considered high. A ratio of 1:1 THC to THC-V would be a game changer.

Hawaiian strains of old may have the very genes that produce THC-V over months of flowering under Hawaiian sun. High ultraviolet light has been associated with THCV production and smart indoor growers have recently been supplementing with UV L.E.D.s in an attempt to reproduce the tropical sun.

There are growers in Hawaii working hard on finding, preserving, breeding and offering high THCV strains and hybrids suitable for indoor and temperate climates. But the quest for super high THCV will still be challenging and only truly dedicated breeders will succeed since it is theorized by many that the genes responsible for high THCV may be recessive and/or masked.

As the cannabis industry grows and Hawaii regains its rightful seat as the premiere pakalolo paradise, soaring, skyrocketing, trippy tropical strains will find their way to the very top of connoisseur’s lists everywhere. Hawaii will surely lead the way and the world of weed will never be the same again.

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