At a million smokey Amsterdam coffeeshop afternoons, endless festivals throughout the 90s, and countless smoke sessions with our friends before we all started staring at our phones, this strain was there. Jack Herer is a potent sativa-dominant hybrid that has been a mainstay of the cannabis world for decades, with a long,long list of Cannabis Cup titles on its bookshelf. Named after a legendary cannabis legalization activist, today Jack Herer is a popular strain for medical marijuana patients and recreational smokers alike, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Decades before legal cannabis dispensaries across the US, there was the marijuana subculture, the illicit weed market, and a constellation of activists across the country working against all odds towards a day when buying an eighth would be more or less as easy as buying a slurpee. In this world of one-time outlaws, few were more famous than Jack Herer, aka “the Emperor of Hemp.” Herer published his pro-legalization tome The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and a little over a decade later in the Netherlands, a group of growers crafted a new strain in his name, and the rest is history.
First bred by Sensi Seeds more than two decades ago, the strain is one of the few recognized in the Netherlands as a medical strain, having been selected by Dutch medical cannabis company Bedrocan as its first herbal cannabis product. Since its first harvest, this indica-sativa hybrid has won nine first-place High Times Cannabis Cup awards and has become easily one of the best known strains in the world. And like its namesake it has had a lasting legacy – and has been used to breed no shortage of strains such as Critical Jack, Cracker Jack, Jack’s Cleaner, or Jack the Ripper.
Though Sensi Seeds has kept mum about the original recipe, Jack Herer is said to be the result of crossing Northern Lights #5, Shiva Skunk, and Haze.
According to Sensi Seeds, there are four main Jack Herer phenotypes, three of which are more sativa dominant. It is known for producing an energetic, cerebral high that makes it more of a daytime strain. That said, you shouldn’t sleep on the strong body high that it is also known for giving some fans. Jack Herer weed is known for having more of pine-scented, earthy and skunky aroma, perhaps fitting the relatively high levels of the terpene humulene in some of the phenotypes of this strain.
Jack Herer terpene profile
Thanks to marijuana prohibition, anyone working with cannabis over the better part of the past decade did it illegally (and quietly). This had a lot of implications. Firstly, an almost endless array of marijuana strains were bred. Strains were named by their creators, but never really had any trademark or standard. So the Jack Herer weed you got in New York, wouldn’t necessarily have the same components as the one you get in Minnesota – in fact they could be extremely different and just bear the same name. This is one of the reasons why people report different effects from the same strains; they are actually testing different products.
The second outcome of cannabis prohibition is the usage of the indica/sativa characteristics of a strain in order to predict the experience or medicinal value it’ll provide. Even today, many dispensaries still use this method, but as it turns out, indica and sativa are botanical terms, used to describe the morphology of the plant, its leaves, height, etc, and can’t really predict its chemical structure (i.e. its effects). This is why we gathered test results of the main cannabinoids and terpenes in products called Jack Herer, along with information from cannabis websites such as Leafly and Wikileaf. Not in order to define the chemical structure of this strain, but rather to give you a notion of what you can expect when looking for this chemovar. If you live in a legal state, ask from your budtender for the certificate of analysis and look at the cannabinoids and terpenes in it;this could give you a better understanding of how this product works.
Jack Herer’s THC concentration on average is 18% while CBD is usually very low (0.1% on average). One interesting fact about the chemical profile of the cannabinoids and terpenes in Jack Herer, is the prevalence of the terpene terpinolone (one of the rarest terpenes in cannabis). It is also high in BCP and has a relatively high THC concentration of 18%. Let’s see how these compounds in Jack Herer could affect you and what their medicinal properties are.
Jack Herer effects
This chemical profile could potentially help with a variety of medical conditions. Pain, inflammation and arthritis are the main ones. And there’s some preliminary research on terpinolene that shows it might be a potential treatment for acne, heart diseases and some types of cancer. It’s important to note that most of the research on these compounds is preclinical, and though they are considered as generally safe to use, their efficacy as treatment for these conditions is only a suggestion and lacks a more thorough clinical research.
The high-THC concentrations in the above Jack Herer, combined with these terpenes, could produce different effects – and it’s hard to predict which ones exactly as research is still ongoing when it comes to the synergy of cannabis compounds (AKA the entourage effect). That being said, most of these terpenes are thought to be sedative, so if this is the kind of chemovar you got, you can prepare some Netflix bingeing as a couchlock is most likely ahead of you.
The aroma and taste of Jack Herer can also vary, but according to the above profile it should be a mixture of floral (terpinolene) and spicy (BCP), with notes of earthy and herbal ones (humulene and myrcene respectively).
Jack Herer growing tips
Known for producing heavy, resin coated buds, Jack Herer is a relatively-easy to moderately-difficult chemovar to grow, which is part of what has made it such a cannabis world staple. The chemovar is also pretty resistant to mildew, mold, and bugs, which can definitely help less experienced growers. Jack Herer grows quickly, and can flower in as little as 8 weeks, with a sizable average yield of around 18 ounces per plant grown outside.
According to Sensi Seeds, the strain likes hot, Meditteranean or tropical climates, and does quite well outdoors. Jack Herer can also be reliably grown indoors including in hydroponic gardens, though it can get busy so make sure to space the plants out well.
When growing cannabis, the right seeds can make even an amateur feel (and look) like a pro. With the naked eye, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between regular seeds and those from a prize-winning strain. This is where buying from a trusted seedhouse comes in.
Jack Herer is most commonly-described as a cross of Northern Lights #5, Shiva Skunk, and Haze, representing two potent indicas and a sativa variety of cannabis. The chemovar also bears strong similarities to the strains that it parented, such as Jack’s Cleaner or Cracker Jack. Ultimately, a session with Jack Herer may well remind users of other strong, energetic hybrids that produce a cerebral high that makes you want to seize the day, along with a nice little body high.
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