Colorado’s Grow-Off is like Iron Chef for marijuana, a competition to find out whose prowess reigns supreme under controlled conditions. Instead of receiving the same theme ingredient (i.e. pork), 40+ growers throughout Colorado received an identical clone of a mystery cannabis strain.
Without knowing the strain’s genetics, each of these growers spent six months nursing their clone from veg to flower to harvest. The harvest date was at the growers’ discretion, and varied from grow to grow depending on when the plant went into bloom. Once harvested, entries were submitted for judging on three factors: yield (weight in grams), potency (THC %) and flavor (Terpene %).
The competition organizers submitted each cultivator’s finished product to a cannabis laboratory for testing to discover the test plant’s THC and terpene percentages.
After the lab results were tallied, the competition’s winner in both the potency and flavor categories was The Herbal Cure, a Southwest Denver dispensary. Here is what their finished product look like:
Here’s the full list of the winners with accompanying figures:
Potency (THC %):
- Herbal Cure – 23.777
- Veritas – 23.004
- Northern Lights – 22.924
As of 2015, Colorado’s average THC% was reportedly 18.7%. OG varieties typically test north of 20%.
Flavor (Terpene %):
- Herbal Cure – 2.0615
- The Clinic – 1.8603
- The Farm – 1.6506
The two prevailing terpenes found were Limonene and Myrcene, two commonly found in OGs. 1.5-2% is a rather low terpene percentage as OG strains have a more subtle piney than an overbearing fruity flavor.
Yield (Weight in Grams):
- High Country Healing – 1,598.55
- The Clinic – 1,435
- The Farm – 1,358.4
Plant yield depends on many factors. Since these plants could stay in vegetative state for two to three full months, they entered flower at a large size.
To determine how The Herbal Cure performed so well in the competition, Marijuana.com caught up with head grower Konstantin. While he couldn’t reveal every facet of their special recipe, Konstantin did tell us that The Herbal Cure used a “proprietary mixed light spectrum that helped achieve more flavor and give the plant a higher potency.”
In addition to an innovative, mixed spectrum, The Herbal Cure told us they treated the plant just like every other plant that comes into the garden — except this one was bigger thanks to its long veg. Konstantin said the strain was not particularly finicky or difficult to grow; he suspected it was some variety of Lemon OG throughout the process.
The Herbal Cure provided some basic garden information that helped set their clone apart from the competition:
- They water their plants multiple times a day.
- The soil/base is coco.
- The grow rooms are small, 20 light rooms designed to dial in genetics and cultivate boutique cannabis. Smaller rooms allow for less variation throughout the growth process.
- The Grow-Off strain used an older vented light. The company will be using Gavitas for next year’s grow off.
- The colas on The Herbal Cure’s plants are some of the largest I’ve ever seen in a grow.
- They staked (not trellised) the plant.
- Above all, they gave the plant LOVE.
There was no secret sauce or steroids shot up into The Herbal Cure’s champion Racefuel OG. The strain was just grown very well by a passionate group of growers dedicated to cultivating boutique cannabis in Denver.
Their grow rooms are some of the smallest commercial ones I’ve ever witnessed — standing inside I felt like I was in a basement. The immense level of care and devotion to those plants is clear in the company’s garden.
Next year’s Grow-Off begins just after 4/20 and will feature medical marijuana gardens.