While Breaking Bad writers might not know it, cannabis users who frequent a certain South Vancouver pot shop are more than aware: the legend of DEA agent Hank Schrader has been immortalized by a heavy-hitting strain of B.C. bud.
When The Healing Center’s owner, Spensir, decided he ought to come up with a clever name for what would become the dispensary’s house strain—a meticulously grown Bubba Kush-Rockstar Kush cross—he knew he needed something that served a dual purpose: it must appeal to people while also signalling the strain’s obliterating THC content and euphoric, blissful high.
“Around the time marijuana started becoming a lot more mainstream, I wanted to bring something new to the game and put marketing behind it,” he tells the Straight during a “safety meeting” in the alley behind The Healing Center.
“Five years ago, nobody had really done that here. My favourite show at the time was Breaking Bad, and dank is my favourite word—it’s just one of the best words to describe weed—so it went hand in hand.”
Not only does the indica-dominant hybrid live up to it’s name, Dank Schrader has been the dispensary’s top-selling strain since it opened in 2012.
Lab results from Hedron Analytical have shown that the strain has tested as high as 27 percent THC, and it has proven itself to be a favourite among medicinal patients and recreational users alike.
By combining the pain-annihilating qualities of Rockstar with the stress-killing abilities of its Bubba counterpart, Dank Schrader is often the owner’s top recommendation when members are seeking relief from chronic pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and anxiety.
After a few tokes, it quickly becomes apparent as to why so many of the shop’s members won’t buy any other strain.
Because the strain is so small-time, Spensir says, the grower can fine-tune every aspect of the process, “babying the plant” so effectively that I can confidently say it’s one of the heaviest-hitting, tastiest, and cleanest-burning varieties of kush I’ve ever had the pleasure of inhaling.
Fresh out of the bag, Dank Schrader emanates a tropical piney aroma with hints of bubblegum, mango, and earth. With the naked eye, its dense, well-trimmed conical buds are caked—and I mean caked—with crystals.
A closer look reveals a thick coating of sugary resin amid bright green leaves scattered with hints of purple and curly orange hairs. And the texture? This stuff is so sticky that the owner says if he sticks a bit to his finger, “it’ll hang there for a minute”.
As a bit of a traditionalist with a fairly high tolerance, I usually lean toward smoking a joint over using a pipe or a bong. Sitting on my balcony watching the sun disappear behind the horizon, I sparked it up and took a puff.
The first thing I noticed was the taste: tropical fruit and pine combine for a tart, slightly sweet flavour that coated my whole mouth. Visually, the ash burned near pure white, a signal that the grower had done his due diligence in flushing the plant and drying it out.
It’s rare for a strain to check all the boxes. Although some taste delicious and appear to be of high quality, they often hit like a truck—but Schrader is smooth, like a fine whiskey.
Two tokes in and I felt my stress and anxiety disappear. I had bruised my elbow and legs pretty badly a few days earlier during a grappling class, and whatever lingering pain I might have had simply melted away.
I’d been warned about it’s knockout power: “This is some serious real-deal stuff. When you smoke this, you better not have any other plans for the day.” (My only plan had been to start writing this column.)
I made it about halfway through the joint before I knew I’d hit my limit: either I put it out then and started putting pen to paper or I’d be crawling into bed and falling asleep to Netflix in a matter of minutes. (This from someone who’s usually a “no roach left behind” kind of gal.)
The high itself was clear yet relaxing, and after fighting off the slight urge to take a nap, I felt thoughtful, creative, and totally blissed out—not necessarily the perfect storm for writing but an excellent vibe for mellowing out on the couch and watching reruns of a certain Bryan Cranston show.
Sold at The Healing Center (6416 Main Street); $14 per gram, $40 per eighth.