Help a Weed Grower Choose New Strains — by Smoking Them


Veritas Fine Cannabis wants to give consumers a peek inside its grow through a new series of marijuana phenotypes.Veritas Fine Cannabis wants to give consumers a peek inside its grow through a new series of marijuana phenotypes. Scott Lentz

What if we told you that all marijuana strains that share a name are not actually one and the same?

This isn’t really a secret in the worlds of marijuana and botany, where the same plant seeds can produce different phenotypes or varying traits that result from genetics interacting with a surrounding environment. But the trials of choosing phenotypes, or “pheno hunts,” are usually private, unknown to the public.

Most cultivations avoid ever-changing marijuana characteristics by cloning a favorite strain to achieve more consistency, but those growing and breeding new cultivars typically start from seed, assign numbers for the strain phenotypes, and then choose their favorite to be grown commercially and possibly cloned for future harvests. So, for example, if a breeder had three phenotypes of Purple Kush, they’d be labeled Purple Kush #1, Purple Kush #2 and Purple Kush #3. Occasionally breeders will leave the pheno number attached to the name to signify differences from the original strain, like Gorilla Glue #4 or Northern Lights #5.

Some local dispensaries, such as KrystaLeaves and Den-Rec, sell numerous phenotypes of the same strain, offering five or six versions of their favorite cuts for their customers to try. Now Veritas Fine Cannabis, a branded wholesale cultivation, is taking a more formal approach, enlisting you, the consumer, as a middleman to help pick one of three phenotypes for future statewide strain drops.

“When we work in the garden, there’s a real disconnect between the decisions we make, our opinions and our preferences and what the general public might do,” explains Veritas grower Andrew Mahon. “Pheno hunts usually come down to what those guys in the grow decide, so the intent here is to open up that process.”

As part of the new Veritas Pheno Hunt series, a limited number of boxes that feature a gram of three different phenotypes of a strain (and a grinder, lighter and joint papers) will be available to curious consumers. The guinea pigs try them, then vote for their favorite phenotype online, with the winning cut becoming a regular in Veritas’s more widely available rotation of strains.

Mahon thinks that many consumers could have different flavor preferences from those of growers, who tend to lean toward more classic cannabis attributes of Kush strains, which carry more earthy, skunky flavors. Meanwhile, new or novice users flock toward strains that taste more like fruits or pastries than weed.

“Within a given strain, we don’t know which flavors the public would want in terms of potency and effect,” he says. “In general, those who I work with have a little more of an experienced palate and tend to go more old-school — more of the Kushy flavors, [but] it always surprises me how popular some of the fruity flavors are with people.”

The first hunt will feature phenotypes of LA Kush Cake, a hybrid of Kush Mints and Wedding Cake. Future Pheno Hunts will feature Tart Pops, a potent mix of Skunk, Tangie, Zkittles and Purple Punch, with Mahon keeping his eye on more classic varieties as well, to see if consumers will come back around to older, more original strains. However, it’s all about jumping in at the right time.

“I think the industry gets bored and is constantly looking for something new,” Mahon says. “Can these strains survive that lull when people stop being interested in it? With that in mind, I’m actively trying to chase down some old-school genetics. There’s a market for things that people haven’t seen in a long time: Island Sweet Skunk, Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison.”

The first Veritas Pheno Hunt collections will be available Thursday, September 10, and carry a suggested retail price of $55; dispensaries carrying the boxes can be found on the Veritas website and Instagram account.


Season 2, Episode 3: Veritas Fine Cannabis with Mike Leibowitz & Jon Spadafora

From:  Stoned Appetit

Veritas Fine Cannabis Co-Founder Mike Liebowitz and Marketing Manager John Spatafora (sp) join me on the podcast to talk about their Luxury Cannabis operation. We talk about how Veritas got started, how they’ve grown their brand, company, and what they have planned for the future. Why they were voted a top cannabis grower in Colorado, how they got involved with the Cookies Enterprise out of California, and what the dumbest name for a strain of weed is. In addition to the biz conversation, we also talk deadly hypotheticals and weird porn scenarios with cartoon characters… Absolutely great group of cats working in their cannafamily with 150+ passionate people who care for cannabis and their company, as I saw first hand. It really was a hilarious and informative episode.. If you like the episode, please hit that subscribe button and throw us a review (don’t be shy to make it 5 stars).

Listen to “Season 2, Episode 3: Veritas Fine Cannabis with Mike Leibowitz & Jon Spadafora” on Spreaker.


Terp Talk – Terpenes 101

Welcome to ‘Terp Talk’ where we will be sharing an inside look at what we do here at Veritas Fine Cannabis and what we look for in order to grow the highest quality cannabis. We will share educational tips, techniques and stories from our experienced growers and geek out on the history and evolution of cannabis. 

This week, we want to discuss the importance of terpenes. Terpenes play a significant role in the way we experience cannabis. Cannabis plants are known to produce well over 100 different terpenes, although only a few are commonly found in strains. When you crack open that jar, that distinct aroma that fills the room is due to terpenes within the oils secreted in the trichomes of the plant. As great as this smell is, these aromatic terpenes actually have an evolutionary function within the plant.

These heavy oils developed over time provide a form of defense for the plant by warding off herbivores, attracting predatory insects that feed on the plant’s ‘enemies’ and attract pollinators. Content and concentration differs between location on plant, growth, light, heat, & moisture. Cannabis isn’t the only place we find terpenes. They’re also produced by various herbs, fruits, and plants. Some animals also utilize terpenes (such as the Swallowtail Caterpillar, which stockpiles terpenes from host plants and uses them as a foul-smelling defense against predators) (Source: 

We are now in the age of the cannabis connoisseur. Pallets have evolved and growers are learning more and more about the properties of the cannabis plant and how to improve their craft. Understanding what truly provides the aroma, effect and taste of different strains will help you have a more enjoyable cannabis experience.

Our goal is to elevate your cannabis experience by providing you with the tools and knowledge to shop based on the desired effect or taste you’re looking for.‍ Understanding the various components, such as terpenes, of cannabis will take your cannabis experiences to new heights. Next time you shop, ask about the terpene profiles and don’t focus too much on the THC percentage.