From a sun-soaked, state-of-the-art indoor grow facility in California’s Salinas Valley — known as the “salad bowl of the world” for its ideal growing climate for vegetable crops — comes California Bud Company’s Miss USA, an unforgettably vibrant strain that lives up to its parent company’s slogan of “cultivating happiness.”
Both relaxing and invigorating, fruity and spicy, Miss USA is a gloriously upbeat bud that strikes a palatable, delightful, and deceptively sophisticated balance of aromas, flavors, and effects. California Bud Co. says it takes great pride in its meticulous efforts to “curate a selection of the world’s finest strains, ranging from industry classics to rare exotics.” According to the company’s website, the cultivation team infuses a carefully controlled growing environment with ample natural sunlight and no harmful chemicals or pesticides.
You may be hard-pressed to find a cultivator that doesn’t claim to produce top-notch flower using top-notch grow methods, but not all of them deliver a high-quality final product to back it up. Fortunately, it was clear to me upon first glance that Miss USA was cultivated with precision, passion, and care. My eighth of Miss USA was all sufficiently dense buds sporting a vibrant light-green color, peppered with well-manicured mint-green sugar leaves and evenly distributed tiny orange hairs. And every bud glistened with sugary crystal trichomes.
Miss USA was tested by Cannalysis Labs at 24 percent total cannabinoids, including 808.5 milligrams of total THC with 0 g CBD. That means this is a sufficiently potent strain, resting at the higher end of the 20-to-25 percent THC range of the quality bud you find at most California dispensaries.
The Smell Test: ‘Like Unwrapping a Magical Starburst’
Before I ground the flower and packed my pipe, I took the time to really indulge in Miss USA’s aroma, which I highly recommend to any of you lucky Californians out there who can get your hands on this sweet bud. A hybrid cross between Strawberry Banana and Kosher Dawg, Miss USA has resulted in a delightfully intriguing fruity scent with subtle hints of mint upfront and dark traces of mocha underneath.
After taking one, two, or three too many whiffs from the jar, I put a nug through the grinder and found that its fruity aroma had become louder, tangier, and spicier after it had been agitated. Grinding this nug was like unwrapping a magical starburst.
Flavor Saver: ‘My First Coughless Smoke Sesh in Ages’
Once I finally lit up and smoked Miss USA through a pipe, I found the strain’s flavor to be slightly less pronounced than its delicious aroma, but no less distinct and intriguing. Strong herbal and piney hints, perhaps from its Kosher Dawg parent, broke through and rooted the strain’s sweetness in a classic cannabis taste. The smoke was exceptionally smooth, not only carrying the flavor beautifully, but also affording me my first coughless smoke sesh in ages. As far as smoke, smell, and flavor are concerned, Miss USA is a true dessert strain akin to the type of new-age confection you’d get at a hip, upscale restaurant.
Is This The Real Life?: ‘My Body Was Relaxed, But My Cerebral High Was Nothing Short of Electric’
After two or three tokes of Miss USA, I felt a clear, tingly buzz creeping up my head and shoulders, and growing at the base of my spine. It was the end of the day and I was more than happy to feel a solid body high coming on to carry me through the rest of my evening at home. I decided to put on some tunes from my Queen playlist (having just seen the new Freddie Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the night before and still high on Queen songs) and that’s when the full effects of Miss USA took center stage.
With “Action This Day,” a dance beat-heavy track from Queen’s disco-influenced 1982 album “Hot Space,” booming in my ears, I was engulfed in the “cultivated happiness” that California Bud Co. promises, getting about as close to full-on dancing as possible without getting up from my seat. My body was relaxed, but my cerebral high was nothing short of electric — dense and hazy between my temples and behind my eyes, but flighty and invigorating everywhere else.
Next up on my Queen playlist was “Radio Ga Ga”, another dance-happy ‘80s tune with gorgeous synth flourishes and romantic riffs from Brian May that uncannily mirrored the bursts of good vibes and cannabis euphoria that seemed to flow for the next hour. The cerebral effects of Miss USA are distinct and euphoric, but make no mistake: This strain is an absolute mood booster. Maybe I was just getting swept up in the music, but I really appreciate a strain that engages my emotions uplifts my spirits so vividly.
The work that California Bud Co. has put in to craft a uniquely uplifting bud is apparent with every toke, in the colors, the density, and the sweet, sophisticated aroma. In the words of Queen, “God knows I’ve fallen in love” with Miss USA.