I have a theory that everyone has a weed soulmate—a particular strain that perfectly complements your body chemistry and makes you feel everything that you've ever wanted to feel. Mine is a pure sativa called Panama Red, an old-school classic that was popular in the late 60s and 70s amongst the hippies for its buzzy, cerebral, and super psychedelic high.
I came across "her" earlier this year through a mutual acquaintance in New York. We spent a beautiful night together and I knew, right from the moment she touched my lips, that she was the one. Apparently I wasn't the only one to fall for her; New Riders of the Purple Sage—a psychedelic rock band from San Francisco that included several members of the Grateful Dead—devoted an entire album to her in 1973 called The Adventures of Panama Red, which included a hit song written in her name.
Sadly, Panama Red is a bit of an enigma these days. The landrace strain has a longer-than-usual flowering time and doesn't grow well indoors, so most breeders don't really bother cultivating it, opting for more economically efficient plants instead. Which means Panama Red is extremely hard to find—apart from that one glorious night, I've never seen her again.
Ever since then, I've become so obsessed with finding out other stoners' weed soulmates that I've decided to devote an entire column to it.
First up: J-Cush, a New York-born, London-based DJ and producer who heads up Lit City Trax—a club music label that spans genres like grime, footwork, and ghetto house. He's also a member of Future Brown, a collective of four electronic musicians whose name speaks to their underlying mission: creating diverse, non-white, experimental sounds that offer unique cultural perspectives. J-Cush also lives up to his monicker—he's one of the most devoted stoners I know.
J-Cush's weed soulmate is an indica-dominant hybrid called Private Reserve OG (or OG #18) that's one of the most powerful kushes out there—it's been called the "Mike Tyson of strains" by Marijuana.com for its tendency to knock you out with one hit. It's also a champion: between 2009 and 2010, it won the High Times Cannabis Cup (twice), as well as the Europe Champions Cup and Spannabis Indoor Hydro Cup.
Below, J-Cush tells me how he met the kush that became his lifelong partner, and why his approach to smoking weed reflects the way he thinks about romance—it's gotta be a slow burn.
J-Cush on why he loves Private Reserve OG:
Private Reserve OG is a very, very good kush—I'm called J-Cush for a reason. It's existed for a while, and was the first good kush I got in England two years ago. It tasted like real good American kush—that's why I like it. It's always very consistent. It tastes like kush, squared: very gas-y, earthy, and definitely not fruity. It fucking stinks, and I'm someone who likes taste. You could give me something that everyone loves, but if it wasn't cured right, the taste isn't on point.
I can only figure out if I love a certain kind of bud—if it agrees with me on a deeper level—after I've smoked a lot of it. It's kind of like the idea of a soulmate: you might gel with someone straight away, lust after them, think they're awesome, and want to spend more time together. But you don't know if they're your soulmate straight away. It's very hard to jump into a serious relationship with someone off one encounter.
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The first time I smoked Private Reserve was in LA. I got it from my boy Prince Will. Fucking hell, we would just get baked and play Mario Kart all day. While recording the Future Brown record, I always had at least an eight ball of it lying around.
Now, whenever I go to dispensary, I get eighths of a bunch of different strains, and a half-ounce of Private Reserve. I like it because it's very versatile. You can be active in the morning or smoke it at night. If you've got migraines or back pains you can smoke this shit and it will go away. It's strong and medicinal without flooring you or ruining your day.
But maybe that's just me; I'm a heavy smoker. If you've got that anxious bone in your body, it could make you paranoid. I made someone smoke this the other day, and he ended up under the table in the studio trying to hide because he didn't know where he was.