Historically, most journalists are known to have two vices: alcohol, and caffeine.
While my taste for the former is limited to weekend indulgences in craft beer, coffee and I have been in a serious relationship since my second-last year of high school.
For years, mornings didn’t start until I’d had my three-cup minimum. In college, you’d be hard-pressed to find me without not one, but two portable coffee mugs. I must have gone through four or five french presses in as many years before a family member passed along her 14-cup coffee maker.
Now, I’m not quite sure what compelled me to drop it—perhaps it was the perpetual caffeine shakes, the 3 p.m. headaches, or a tip I’d gotten from a friend in the industry who said quitting coffee helped alleviate her PMS symptoms—but a few weeks ago, I took a crack at it, and brewed my last cup before putting that oversized coffee maker away for good.
In the absence of caffeine, those 3 p.m. headaches turned into 9 a.m. migraines, and my shakes made way for sugar cravings and irritability. For a week and a half, I was in a caffeineless hell.
The withdrawals eventually ceased. Without java running through my veins every morning, I’ve been on the hunt for a strain that could serve me in a similar fashion.
As a budtender, consultant, and head of solventless at THC – The Healing Center (6416 Main Street), Nick Naresh was quick to point me in the right direction with a little strain that made a big splash nearly 10 years ago (anyone else feeling old?), when Seth Rogen and James Franco starred in a film with the same name: Pineapple Express.
Naresh starts by telling me about where the strain lies on the sativa/indica spectrum: while varieties of Pineapple Express from other growers and regions vary, THC’s is a strong sativa.
“There are a few genetic crosses that go into it, but they are mainly of sativa lineage, so it holds that sativa value,” Naresh explains.
By combining the potency of Trainwreck, an earthy, sativa-dominant hybrid, with the unmatchable flavour profile of Hawaiian, a tropical, pure sativa, Pineapple Express makes for an excellent daytime high for the novice to intermiediate-level cannabis user.
From a recreational perspective, this strain brings about joy, euphoria, and an unbridled sense of energy and wakefulness—a perfect choice if you like to wake-and-bake. It’s extreme psychoactivity is great for spurring the imagination, and bringing about creativity in the face of some sort of artistic block.
Medicinally, patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress have found relief in Pineapple Express. It’s also shown to help with mild pain, but it wouldn’t be a chronic pain sufferer’s first choice.
“Every time you use it, it’s kind of like the first time,” says Naresh, who admits to starting most days with it. “It’s got a very euphoric, uplifting, energizing feel to it, and it’s something a lot patients with no ceiling, or a high tolerance, really like.”
Grown organically in small batches by THC’s growing team, The Healing Farm, Naresh says their proprietary strain has been the shop’s top-selling sativa since it was first offered to members four years ago.
“Visually, for a sativa, this has a very dense nug structure. Usually, sativas tend to be a bit more loose, but this is very compact,” Naresh says, while pointing out bright orange hairs, and leaves and stems so coated in resin and crystal that after holding the nug in my hand, I feel like I’m covered in glitter.
At home, I decide to break out my tiny jar late one afternoon before taking my dog out for a walk. I’d been told about the strain’s ability to motivate, and how it made for a productive, purposeful high. Naresh had said some members enjoyed using Pineapple Express before working out or playing sports, but all I hoped was that it would kick me into high gear while tidying up around the house.
Using a glass filter, I spin up a decent-sized joint and take my pooch to a nearby park.
At first inhale, Pineapple Express’s tropical aromas translate to flavours that are both sweet and sour, with slight notes of spice.
Halfway through, my mouth starts to tingle, and I feel a wave of relaxation wash over my body. My mind is crystal clear. I feel functional, like I could take my dog for a run around the block, grab groceries, and then head home and clean my apartment from top to bottom.
While my afternoon buzz had me taking on tasks I’d put off for a few days, I still wondered how time-of-day might affect my high.
On a seperate occasion, I decide to test out my original intention: It all sounded lovely in theory, but could Pineapple Express really replace coffee?
Opting to take public transit to work, I indulge in a morning bong-rip, which makes for a blissful SkyTrain ride into the city. At the office, I take on my to-do list with a renewed sense of vigor, and manage to pump out more work in two hours than I had previously thought possible.
With no crash, no shakes, and no headaches, it looks like Pineapple Express might just be my new caffeine alternative.