My Soulmate Strain: 7 Respected Smokers on How They Found Their Perfect Pot Pairing
Everyone has a story about falling in love with their favorite strain. We talked to a number of notable weed aficionados about how they found their marijuana match.
Published on July 10, 2017

Lead illustration by Molly Rose Dyson

If you’re on this website, it stands to reason you’re down with cannabis. The specific nuances possible from there are endless: vaping vs. smoking joints vs. tincture vs. bong rips vs. medicated bath salts (oh, it is real and it is glorious). Then there’s frequency and environment and mood and so on. But, just as people have a preferred pizza topping that seems to pair well with most circumstances, there’s also soulmate strains; the specific strain that makes things click.

Weed is great for a lot of reasons, but a large one is variability. I hoard my Pineapple Kush oil for taking the edge off of especially anxious social situations (like that Fourth of July rooftop shindig, featuring special guest appearances from two exes. Puffing that PK helped melt shoulder knots like a champ) but then the CBD-heavy sativa hybrid Harlequin is my BFF for prepping to tackle the monstrous kudzu takeover in my backyard. However, I find the mellow clarity of Blue Dream usually appropriate (as does another subject, detailed below). Naturally, these preferences vary by person, as everyone has their own tolerance, productivity windows, etc.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strain out there for every person for every occasion but that’s one of the most exciting aspects of green living: You’re never done discovering. That being said, dig into seven folks’ stories of their soulmate strain — how they met and how their harmonious affair continues to play out. Get inspired, get lifted, get your own.

Image via Strain Spot

David Bienenstock
Weed Legend, Author of “
How to Smoke Pot (Properly)

Strain: Dr. Grinspoon

Dr. Lester Grinspoon is obviously named after Marihuana Reconsidered author and psychiatrist Dr. Lester Grinspoon, godfather of the medical cannabis movement and a huge legalization advocate. It’s a purebred sativa, almost 100 percent sativa. I first encountered it while I was at Amsterdam’s Barney's Breakfast Bar. It stirred me to find a purebred sativa like that. It's very wispy. They generally harvest really low so you get a small harvest off them. They take much longer to mature. That's why most people don't grow them. It gives you a really incredible uplifting cerebral high.   

Then Dr. Grinspoon himself has been like a mentor to me in cannabis as a journalist and as an advocate — I even wrote about Dr. Grinspoon smoking pot with Carl Sagan.

I can confirm that Dr. Grinspoon himself has had a chance to sample the strain and heartily approves. The strain is very uplifting. It's very cerebral. I think it enhances creativity. That's one of my favorite reasons for cannabis.

I enjoy all kinds of cannabis. Ideally you have at least a small variety of options on hand at any time if you're fortunate enough. It's definitely a rare treat to have something that really just knocks your socks off and leaves total out of interesting thought experiences like Dr. Grinspoon.

Photo via The Nug

Abdullah Saeed
Host of
VICELAND’s “Bong Appétit”
Strain: Sour Diesel, White Girl, or OG

In general, Sour Diesel is just a good, reliable strain I could smoke all day. That's a big one. Then, when I went to Colorado, when I was first doing the very, very first Weediquette video, which was about BHO, there was a strain called Golden Goat. It's a Colorado strain. Me and Brian Anderson from Motherboard — who was shooting the Motherboard weed doc at the same time with the same crew and a bunch of the homies — got down on this strain a lot. We smoked a whole ounce of Golden Goat. It has a similar aroma to Durban Poison in some ways and Durban Poison is another strain that I've really loved for a long time.

Then, more recently, there's this Hawaiian Lights strain. It's like a Northern Lights crossed with some Hawaiian skunk or something. I’ve recently been gravitating to that because the buds are so frosty, they look like little dried like sugared plum. Like those little Asian dried fruit things that are all covered in powdered sugar, but they're really sour.  

Oh, and also just being in Cali filming Bong Appétit and smoking OGs and stuff like the strain White Girl. It’'s an OG, essentially, but that stuff is super fucking key. I love it.

To me, the best strain is one you can smoke all day: nothing too sweet. As much as I enjoy the fruity flavors and stuff, if I had to pick one strain for all day it would be like OG out in Cali, something like that White Girl maybe, or Sour Diesel out in New York.

Image via All Bud

Steven Grubbs
Sommelier and Wine Director at Atlanta, Georgia’s
Empire State South
Strain: Berkeley

It was a strain called Berkeley and me and some friends were going to get together to help one of us brainstorm on a comedy routine that he was working on, which is something that he does and something that none of us do, but we thought it would be fun. It might be productive, might not. Anyway, so we get together and part of the idea was that we would smoke this really great weed called Berkeley and then that would help us be geniuses, I guess.

We smoke this weed and we started talking about how great this weed is and how you feel really clear-headed and there's almost like a mintiness — like Alpine wintergreen clear, you know what I mean? Like the air in your head was clear, where it's airy and wonderful and you just feel really sharp and excited. I remember saying something to the effect of, "I don't feel dumb at all. Just really sharp and great." And the person who chose not to smoke it was like, "Are you kidding me? You guys are so stupid right now." And she points to her boyfriend. We turn and he's just sitting there with a bowl of empty pistachio shells, his hand combing through while he stares at them. So I guess there was a lesson there, which is that even the weed that makes you think you're smart, doesn't actually.

We actually did end up coming up with some decent comedy routine ideas. I think the fact it was sativa energized and got us motivated to try to be funny — as opposed to like, a heavy indica. I think a lot of other strains of sativa did that for me but could be kind of nerve-wracking. It was like all the good stuff of sativa without the bad stuff.

Image via The Nug

Caitlin White
Managing Editor of
Strain: Blue Dream

I was a late adopter when it came to smoking weed. As a very serious high school runner and division one college athlete, I never touched the stuff on the off chance I'd be tested and it would ruin my season. To me, running was much more important than whether or not I'd tried this random drug. Also, I was already an anxious-tending-toward-paranoid person, so I wasn't even sure that weed was for me. In my early-20s though, after I'd stopped running competitively, I did want to finally see what all the fuss was about, so I began to occasionally smoke weed. However, my tolerance was super low and I'd often oversmoke because I was partaking with peers who had been doing it for years. I never really found it that enjoyable, and oftentimes, it led me right back into the anxiety and paranoia that were already so close to the surface.

I was confused — wasn't weed supposed to diffuse those negative emotions? In particular, when a traumatic situation with my family erupted a couple years back, any time I smoked I would laser in on all the negative feelings about that drama, and obsess over it in really hurtful ways. So I quit smoking weed almost all together. Plus — no shots, I lived in New York at the time, and the weed there is just bad if you're used to the freshness and variety of the west coast.

Then, last fall when I moved back to California, a friend who has a close proximity to weed through work asked if I'd like some. I agreed, but let him know that I'd had trouble enjoying it in the past. Whether or not he purposefully chose the strain knowing that, I don't really know, what I do know is that he gave me a big fat joint full of Blue Dream, and that forever changed my relationship to marijuana. Finally, I felt all the peace and random, burbling joy that I'd seen and heard so many of my friends describe in their use of the drug. This strain made me feel free and light, it made music sound better, it made me find everything around me beautiful — including myself. All the anxiety and self-hate melted away when I was high. I even began to take selfies high, fascinated with my own face and the ability to capture it.

I'm not sure it will work for everyone, but when I spoke to some friends about the strain, they all enthusiastically echoed my thoughts — it is a well beloved strain by many. Blue Dream is a hybrid, heavy on the sativa, that originates, duh, in California. It's created by crossing Blueberry indica and sativa Haze, and according to Leafly, Blue Dream has achieved "legendary" status. I'm not sure about all that, but I do know Blue Dream made the positive effects of weed available to me for the first time, at the tender age of 29. And even if I'm approaching 30, this strain makes me feel like I'm a little kid shooting my shot into the big, bright world of substances for the first time, and coming away with nothing but net. If that isn't a soulmate strain, I really don't know what is.

Sativa Vape Cartridge via Clean Green Patient Services and SC Labs

Open Mike Eagle
Strain: Sativas, generally

Naturally, I’m like a mute. I am naturally like a very clumsy, awkward person. I've been fortunate enough and somewhat determined enough to jump headlong into so many raw and powerful awkward situations that I've learned some social skills. I had zero to start with. When I smoke indica, I turn back to how I was at age 13 and didn't know what to say to other humans, ever.  

When I smoke any sativa strain, I feel great and like I can do stuff, even something that I never did before. Which is unheard of for me, especially when I'm high. I tend to do the same shit all the time. On a recent West coast tour, we all needed a passport, of course, to get into Canada. But I left my passport at home, and I didn't realize this until we were on the tour bus. I got woken up in the middle of the night, on our way to the border, like, Oh my God, I do not have my passport. I never put it in my backpack.   

I ended up having to get dropped off at this weird little town called Ferndale, Washington, in the northernmost part of Washington. And the tour party got me a Super 8 room. The room was actually for all of the weed that was on the tour bus that they didn't want to try to take over, but because I'm a human being, I got to sleep in the room. Just me and the weed. And instead of a passport in my backpack, I had tons and tons of sativa vape cartridges.

I spent that entire day stoned walking the streets of Ferndale, Washington, and telling myself that I was the mayor. I created an entire video adventure, capturing the whole thing on Instagram stories. I was challenging people, I was changing laws, I was bettering lives in Ferndale, Washington. Ended up actually getting followed and retweeted by the official Twitter of Ferndale, Washington. And I am the mayor, if you ask me. They try to tell me that they'll make me the honorary mayor. I'm like Fuck your honorary, I'm the actual mayor.

All of my political power is due to the sativa that I smoked the day that I had to spend in Ferndale, Washington. I had the sativa to thank for it. Because if I had only had indica, I would have never left the Super 8.

Image via Main Street Marijuana

Jessica Catalano
Author of "The Ganja Kitchen Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine"

Strain: G13

There's so many amazing strains out there, but my soulmate strain would be G13, because the mystique around the strain is very exciting, the whole idea that it was a government-grown strain and G stands for government and the 13th letter of the alphabet is M, which stands for marijuana. That it was developed in the Mississippi research lab and then eventually smuggled out by somebody and then distributed by people, not the government — that in itself is very attractive to me, that mystery surrounding the strain.

The effects are absolutely amazing. I love the euphoric, body high that it gives you; it's very narcotic and it's very warm and it washes over your body like a big hug. It's very comforting and the strain itself is physically beautiful; it's a dense nug, super crystally and just very appealing.

I'd heard stories about G13, but when I was actually working in a dispensary in Frisco, they actually had a clone-only strain, G13, and a rotation for clones that were for sale. I fell absolutely in love with it after the first hit.

If I'm having any migraine issues —  I have chronic migraines and I chew cannabis for that — G13 is ideal. But that’s just one example. I also love it before bed, because it's really relaxing and comforting. Again, the high just washes over you, it really swells you into a deep, ‘laxed state that's optimal for sleeping. Also, just lounging on the weekends or at nights with your friends, if you're outside in the mountains or by the beach — G13 is just a good strain to share.

Image via Medical Jane

Aaron Lammer
Founder and host of the Podcasts
“Stoner” and Longform
Strain: Chemdawg

I'm not really a strain person and as a New Yorker, I don't always even know [what I’m smoking]. I remember having a bag of unlabeled weed that I really was enjoying. As I finished it off, I noticed a hand-scrawled etching on the plastic, "Chemdawg."  I've never done any research into Chemdawg until now, but a cursory Googling suggests that it's a legendary seed that changed hands in a Grateful Dead parking lot in 1994:

"History of the Chemdawg Family!!!! At a Grateful Dead show at Deer Creek Amphitheatre, 'joebrand' (aka 'wonkanobe') and 'pbud' met 'chemdog' and sold him an ounce of very high quality pot for $500. joe and chemdog exchanged numbers and they later arranged for two ounces to be shipped to chemdog on the east coast. According to chemdog, one ounce was seedless and the other had 13 seeds.”

The multi-page Leafly review that mentions the Grateful Dead parking lot exchange above goes on to describe an interminable genealogy that descended from said 13 seeds, including the parent plants of Sour Diesel and OG Kush. Sour Diesel was the first weed I ever bought in Amsterdam, circa 2000. OG Kush is ubiquitous in the rap world. Headband, another strain I've enjoyed, also seems to be a descendant. All from those 13 seeds in a bag of a weed sold in a Grateful Dead parking lot in 1994!

I looked up the Deer Creek Amphitheatre and it’s in Noblesville, Indiana. It appears that five months earlier, I would have been seeing the Grateful Dead at the Oakland Coliseum with my father. Small world.

Chemdawg is kind of a platonic ideal of what I'd like weed to feel like: engaging, fun, crisp. It's strong, which isn't really what I'm looking for, but so is most of what's available. It has a nice neutral smell and I could see keeping a nice cookie jar full of it at home.

Image via

Julia Kugel
Guitar and Vocals for The Coathangers
Strain: ACDC

I guess my favorite strain of weed is ACDC, it's a high-CBD content strain and only about 14 percent THC. I got to know a lot about weed when I moved out from Atlanta to Long Beach.  When I lived in Georgia, you just got weed. It's like, "It's weed." And here it's like indica or sativa or blah blah blah, this and that. What I found was that sativas made me anxious. And I thought I was an anxious person my whole life, 'cause I've dabbled in smoking weed for a long time. I didn't realize, a lot of it was my anxiety was induced by smoking weed. I just thought I had anxiety.  

ACDC is a hybrid of sorts. It's got the most CBD content out of any weed out there. Because it's so high in CBD, it can be used to treat cancer symptoms, and all sorts of medical needs. I sort of tried it as an accident, 'cause I was worried CBD wouldn’t even get you high. And then it was like, Whoa. Like, I feel really good. It makes me high, but at the same time, it promotes a lot of communication. So all of a sudden you're having these conversations about how you feel and what you think about this and what you think about that. ACDC doesn't dumb you out.

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Beca Grimm
Beca Grimm is an Atlanta-based culture writer. Her dream date is a stoned bubble bath with nachos in reaching distance. Follow her on Twitter.
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