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Why Is Cannabis Now So Different From 1970s Cannabis?

August 7, 2013

They came in kilo bricks. By boat, in trucks, and in cargo planes, pounds of dried-up flakes and pieces of cannabis plants worked their way up from Colombia to be distributed and sold in the United States. While cannabis has been a part of American culture since the country’s birth, cannabis today is certainly not what it used to be. Not only has the industry changed, but so have the plant’s potency and general appearance.

So, what exactly were those free-spirits smoking in the 1970s? Since cannabis was named a Schedule 1 drug in 1970, the Natural Center for Natural Projects Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi has been testing marijuana samples confiscated in U.S. marijuana raids. In agreement with popular belief, today’s marijuana is 57-67% more potent when compared to samples from the ’70s. In this instance, potency is measured by the levels of psychoactive cannabinoids present in individual plant samples. The reasoning behind this massive increase in potency, however, is quite complicated.

Beginning in the 1970s, the majority of cannabis consumed for recreational use was imported illegally from source countries. In the 1970s, around 72% of cannabis in circulation was brought into the U.S. rather than produced on the homefront. Of that 72%, between 50 and 60% was brought in from Colombia. Between growing time, transportation, and distribution, the cannabis found in the 1970s was on average much older due to time it took to get from farm to consumer.

An increase in general knowledge about cannabis has also had a huge effect on the quality of the usable product. Back in the ’70s, much of the cannabis brought in to the U.S. was a mixture of leaves, stems, flowers, and hodgepodge pieces of the plant. Very little of the brick-packed, mass-produced product was actually the feminized flower (sinsemilla) that we now expect when walking into a dispensary. This means that when people used cannabis, they were not using the plant parts high in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the most well-known compound in cannabis that produces psychoactive effects. Rather, members of the “Me Generation” were getting the leftovers.

It wasn’t until hydroponic systems became prevalent in the 1980s that marijuana imports slowed and we saw a jump in potency of the average sample. This new technology allowed more Americans to grow discretely right in their own backyards (or, more likely, their basements), which resulted in fresher marijuana closer to home. This new ability to produce cannabis on a local level meant the beginning of the boom in higher quality connoisseur strains.

Another big jump in potency occurred in the early 2000s. While brick marijuana was pervasive throughout the 1990s, imported brick product was out of favor by 2010. In 2000, 3.2% of sampled cannabis came from sinsemilla, yet by 2010 sinsemilla became the norm, representing a whopping 60% of seized samples. As more marijuana was being produced right in the United States, there was opportunity for research and observation. In perhaps one of the most revolutionary moments in cannabis culture, industry members distinguished the sinsemilla as the best source of cannabinoids in the plant. Now, just a few years later, the potency of marijuana continues to increase as the cannabis industry becomes more high tech than ever.

After all of these statistics, there are a few questions which need to be asked. How much more more potent can cannabis get? Each year, more and more states legalize cannabis for medicinal use. The Green Rush to legalization is a step toward turning reality into safe policy. Yet, as technology continues to advance and strains become more specialized (bred specifically for potency and targeting for medicinal effects), the potential for turning cannabis into a different plant altogether only increases. Are these increases in potency a hopeful sign for the medical marijuana industry, or do they suggest that cannabis is going down a different pharmacological route? Right now, the future of cannabis seems wide open.


Bagley, B. M. (October 01, 1988). “Colombia and the War on Drugs”. Foreign Affairs, 67, 1, 70-92.

Sevigny, E. L. (January 01, 2013). “Is today’s marijuana more potent simply because it’s fresher?”. Drug Testing and Analysis, 5, 1, 62-7.

University of Washington. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. “Potency of Marijuana” (June, 2013). Date Accessed: 8/6/2013

  • unkleluc

    its lit

  • Fievel Mousekewitz

    Truthfully I don’t really care why it is stronger, I am just glad that it is.

    • Pelu Maad

      LOL….when’s the last time you sifted seeds out of your dime bag? Viva progress!

      • Fievel Mousekewitz

        My seed will actually die soon, as they only last so long. Sometimes there’s no seed to pick out.

      • Eric Kent

        We started getting real sinsimilla in about 1975 and looking down our noses at most Colombian and Mexican weed we used to get 10 dollar lids which would be a 5 finger lid hahahah those were the days a guy in my neighborhood had a greenhouse full of weed that was seedy but got you stoned and you could always get a BIG bag of Homegrown for 5 or 10 bucks ounces for 40 50 bucks back in the day for primo Like Maui Wowie was a one hit weed one hit and you never wanted more until hours later was so smooth and tasted sooooo good.

        • thatotherguy

          Was a big smoker in the 70’s but my job required that I quit. 32 years later I’m retired and looking forward to smoking weed again. WOW! Very disappointed it’s so powerful. Like wanting to drink some beers and only being able to drink 151 Bacardi.
          Living in So Cal we smoked Mex weed and it was great. Once in a while Columbian, Maui, or (my Fav) Thai stick. $10 lids were the norm in the day.
          Where can I get weed like this? It must be throw away compared to today’s stuff.

          • kingdietrich

            mentioned Thai Stick above. Loved it too…remember it being formed like a little hash brown (the potato variety) and tied to the stick. One hit and we were blown away. From what I’m discovering having had my initial foray into the dispensery grade world, that stuff was mere child’s play. That or I’ve been getting some mediocre stuff the last 35 years, which I hadn’t thought was the case.

          • Lawrence Munroe

            There are plenty of low thc strains today ,those are the ones I avoid because I am always trying to get super high .Bang for the buck so to speak .

          • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

            I beg to differ. I find the weed today is pretty…nice looking, smelling, tasting bud, but no real kick. Maybe it’s because I’m old. (That’s what the kids say)

        • kingdietrich

          We never used the word “lid” by the time I started smoking in ’79, but my best friend’s brother, who was nine years older than us, told us about the old days and the lingo and got us the best pot around. Back when I started it was called a dime bag because it was $10, but was only one finger). You could also buy a “nickel” for $5 and a “quarter” for $25. I remember buying an ounce for $40 that was really good and blew us away. Yeah, and always had the seeds, and sometimes tons of them, which always pissed us off because they weighed down the bag and were useless filler we paid for. But then you’d just get the Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd album cover out and “de-seed” it :). Except when we were able (friend’s brother again) to get the good stuff like Thai Stick, “Sinsemella” and Acapulco Gold which had virtually no seeds and was so exotic. Didn’t grow too well that we knew of in suburbs of Kansas City.

          The young ins’ today have no idea. All our parents, the last generation that didn’t get high, thought pot (no one called it weed) was the mother of all gateway drugs.

          After just being introduced into the whole MM world recently, my how times have changed. Finding it all so overwhelming (the strength particularly), but it’s a lot of fun.

        • Saturn7

          I too remember the early sinse from late 70s (winter of 78 I believe) and I remember being hesitant about the cost (10 bucks for an eighth!!, instead of the usual dime) but got it home and taste and high was clearly a class above the normal street mess. I still maintain the real Colombian Gold was the best!

  • BenCon

    Great article!

  • Gerry P

    what ever happen to the Colombian gold I got in Miami in the 70’s?? it was unreal!!

    • Eric Kent

      I was just talking to someone about Santa Marta Gold Colombian Gold it was full of seeds but it was all buds and it was outrageously good it was such a good gold looking weed and got you righteously stoned.

      • DocteurRalph

        That’s what they called it when I was getting it around 1975 to 1978… Santa Marta Gold for $35 an ounce. Plenty of stems and seeds too… lol Columbian redbud was $30 and Mexican was 20-25 dollars and ounce. Times they are a changing.

        • Phyllis Denise Klaper

          Hahaha….I was telling my son who is 20 that an ounce of pot in the mid-70s cost 20 bucks. He could not believe it! Apparently, it’s $80-100 now. Truth be told, I was a serious stoner in the 70’s but I haven’t smoked in 35 years….I’m actually a bit scared of the potency of today’s pot…CBD on the other hand is a miracle drug for just about anything.

          • orionstarman

            Most of weed we got back in the day (80-90%) was stale old Mexican. Grown under poor conditions with poor genetics, full of stems and seeds. If you were lucky enough to get some top shelf Colombian, Thai Stick or Maui Wowie they were/are just as good as today’s weed. There just wasn’t very much of it

          • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

            I dunno though…I agree with what you said, but today’s “Top Shelf” bud with 30% THC & little CBD, just doesn’t seem to have it. I get a good buzz and all, but it doesn’t take long before i get immune to it I find. I know a guy in he mid nighties who grew some outdoor skunk bud, a small island worth to honest, tricked it with tarps, fertilized it with 10-52-10…it was so potent…wheelchair weed we called it. I just don’t see any strains as good as that anymore. Maybe I just don’t get around. LoL.

          • Bluesy51

            thats hilarious .. “wheelchair weed”… I know what you mean

          • William A

            that was the case here as well until a 6 years ago where i live. now i dont see any brick weed from mexico… i dont think ive seen bad poorly grown brown weed in the last 4 years.

          • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

            The weed today is not as good as it used to be, to be honest…the homey that everybody grew was bunkish, but if you knew what you were doing, and some folks did, you could grow great potent bud…I know cuz I was actually there in the ’70’s…not some kid born in the late 1990’s telling me that weed was bunk “back in the day”. Back in the day kid? When was that? Last year? Lol.
            Today’s weed seems like the same strain…a cross between sativa & indica…call it Kush…call it This Kush & That Kush…and Top Shelf Kush, and Top Shelfer Kush and Top Shelefest Kush. Gold Kush, Strawberry Kush, All Talk No Action Kush…it’s gone ridiculik…I’m done. LoL

          • jgibsosman


          • Raechel Lyn Frantom

            Me too… I haven’t smoked for decades and I’m really worried about what gets added to it.

        • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

          To be honest, I liked it better before. The weed is all interbred…”this” Kush & “that” Kush…it’s gone retarded. People who were against it 5 years ago, are making million$ today from it. It’s bull$it.

          • Saturn7

            totally agreed. Between the SM Gold and the “REAL” hash that would come around , stuff now ain’t got nothin on it. Sure there was your glut of dirt weed back then, but plenty of authentic exotic stuff back then too.

        • Doug Wiser

          I remember Mexican in 1976 being $25 an ounce, seeds and stems. I had a friend rotate back from Hawaii around 1978 who up with some Hawaiian sinsemilla and it was the first weed I experienced without seeds and stems.

        • Saturn7

          ha! I recall the SM Gold would sometimes fetch 40$ oz. (late 70s)

          • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

            Up here, in Northern Ontario, we got Mexican buds…seedy and dry usually. Occasionally it would be Mexican Flower Tops, which was just better taken care of Mexican pot. It was $20/25 a “four finger ounce” No scales back then, just as high as four fingers in the bag. Then it was Columbian…gold & red for $600 a pound…or $65 an ounce at lower levels. It was as good as any of the pretty manicured stuff you by from the legal distributors today…I don’t care what any of the kids say. It’s easier to say you know something if you were actually there when it happened eh. I constantly get these kids telling me about something I knew more than they do about it now, before they were born.

          • Gene Price

            Every type described in detail in High Times , I experienced , the best of the best from all over the world . The exotic stuff was my specialty. The quality was superior Hawaiian Sinse so fluffy that 4 gallon ziplocks contained a pound . Today’s product pales in comparison to the original strains .

    • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

      I know eh? $65 a bag…an ounce. Gold & Red bud from Columbia…seedy but kick-ass.

    • Saturn7

      my question exactly! I’ve already commented below on this but that stuff from the late 70s was truly in a class by itself! it would make it’s way up the east coast a few time a year, and would fetch a few extra $$ per OZ. The taste and high was unparalleled by even today’s standards iMO. It was blonde and reddish, thick and gummy, lots of tiny seeds but that was fine, because one or two tokes and you were laughing your butt off! It was very hard to hold a hit in as i recall. You knew it immediately when you got it. Seems like it just vanished after the early 80s.

    • thomas.h.pickering

      I remember that back then, and especially that sweet unique aroma, loved it. Most of what I got in Texas in the 70’s was Mexican pot, seeds, stem’s etc … but it was ok, $10 a 3 or 4 finger lid, or $100 for a pound brick in Houston, but up in New York at the same time, that amount was going for about $30+ a lid. I sampled some of the pot today from a friend, it was much more potent and had like a very different odor and more pine like, hard to describe. I also got some in Miami back in the 70’s, really good and that sweet odor, but it was around $25 a lid … yeah, loved that stuff back then

  • Tasslehoff Burrfoot

    I am happy with the potency increase however I fear we are building up too much of a single aspect of the plant. I have had high THC concentrates and they do help but I find that a more well rounded concentrate often with slightly lower THC gives me better results. I am quite affected by the terpenes and prefer specific tastes and smells. When I ask for specific flavors or aromas most bud tenders look at me funny. I will always use the dispensaries for their quality and selection but when we make cultivation legal I will grow my own plants too.

    • Two Bears

      I agree. I like moderate THC. 12-18% and cbd as high as i can get it.

      Cant wait to pop Hawaiian Dream (Maui WauixBlue Dream) 16% THC 8% CBD.

  • $parkle Puss

    Honestly, weed is just too strong for me these days. I grew up on that Mexican brickweed which was horrible in a different way (headaches, mold, dampness, seeds, etc). But the medical-grade pot is freakishly strong. I’d rather play around with quality plants that contain high CBD, CBN & other cannabinoids than keep increasing the THC levels into the stratosphere.

    • Zachary Champoux

      Isn’t there a balance between CBD and THC in a plant? Like if a plant his high THC, it will have low CBD and vice-versa? When given the option, I will almost always choose the strain high in CBD. Marijuana is a medicine. If you consider that big pharma is lobbying against marijuana’s legalization to prevent a drop in sales of prescription drugs, you have to wonder what other medicines they are withholding from us.

      • Uberdankness

        Only a few strains have high CBD nearly all are at 1-2% and less. CBD is a great way to balance your High effects but not that many places carry it.

        • Two Bears

          There are some incredibly high CBD now.

          I vaped stuff 8% CBD and seen strains higher than that.

          • Uberdankness

            Still difficult to find at dispensary, especially here in SoCal. Almost all CDB products are in edible form, I want to some CBD flower.

          • Oni

            Are you still having problems? Harlequin is pretty famous and has a nearly equal 1:1 ratio. Then many hybrids of Harelequine are either 1:1 or better ratio. Shiskaquine is popular, and it has something like 0.5%THC to 14%CDB ratio. Some dispensaries list their product on their pages, and you can call ahead asking about high CBD strains.
            There are also web databases that list dispensaries (or at least city) where certain varieties are found.

      • Two Bears

        All depends on what the breeder is going for.

        • Uberdankness

          It’s like 95% HIGH THC and 5% CBD strains that’s the problem.

    • Uberdankness

      I agree 100% with this statement and I think it will become the core discussion in the industry in the coming future.

  • Uberdankness

    Walk into any dispensary today it is filled with lab weed. This shit is not even cannabis. It looks the same and smells the same but its a Frankenstein version of what it once was….Lots of people can’t enjoy it anymore because money and potency has taken over the fun high part.

    • L.A. Lee

      OMG that is so true!! The marijuana today is way to strong and is a completely different high that I use to get in my younger years! There is such a science with cross breeding and all this stuff, like I just want to 100% all natural bud!

      • 407

        Bud is still natural wtf are u talking about? It’s a plant, like most plants it evolved. Cross breeding Is Nature taking its course…yes with the help of humans in the sense that some strains may have never came across one another “naturally” but none the less it’s still natural, just more potent. And shit weed still exists, the one you’ve been longing for with seeds….just got to the ghetto of your’ll find..

      • Uberdankness

        The best thing you can do is find some home grown outdoor herb, like maybe on CL people sell some and don’t use the dispensaries, it’s all greed and crazy high THC killing to fun of smoking.

  • Uberdankness

    It is possible to create (grow over time) High Quality but low potency strains but that’s not what the industry wants to do right now. Maybe in the future but now it’s all about Looks, Smell and High THC content. The vanity of pot is becoming the end of pot as we knew it…..

    • Two Bears

      How about Charlotte’s Web. Its less than 1% THC. Seen reports at .3%

      • Uberdankness

        Sounds good but very difficult to find.

  • Kurt Mack

    You guys must be crazy! The old “import” weed in the US was like smoking a moldy dishrag 95% of the time. I personally haven’t tasted mold in a decade, and I sure a hell don’t miss sifting out the seeds either. I love the science behind extracting too… but until we are able to harvest 95% clear from the colas, I say, keep on advancing the “strain technology”.

    • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

      Were you even there kid? How old are you? What year did you first smoke marijuana? And no, I’m not a cop…I’m an adult…an old fucker who was actually there and saw it…and smoked it. lol

  • kingdietrich

    Just made my first MM purchase here in Illinois for the first time
    Saturday which I vaped that night. After a on-line crash course on all
    the strains, ways to administer and all the lingo (good grief) before I
    went to the dispenser, I chose Durban Poison. I remembered getting some
    “primo” African in the early 80’s (oh, and my mom is from South
    Africa). It’s Supposed to be one of the few pure Sativas around. All
    these years of smoking and I never heard of Sativa v. Indica or CBN/CBD! We thought Sinsimilla was a strain back then! A damn good one, of course.

    I got so freakin’ high! And it was not good. Partly, probably, because I
    was just learning how to use my vaporizer and took too many puffs.

    The effect was (as described) clean, alert, and as I’ve learned the kids
    say, very “cerebral.” At first. Then it was also as we used to call
    “creeper” and I found my self way too high and wired like a freak for
    hours. Not so much euphoric as speedy. I couldn’t eat or go to sleep
    even five hours later and even after I tried to drink a couple glasses
    of wine to take the edge off. It wasn’t relaxing–at all–and my
    concentration was terrible. My husband and I are usually goofy and
    giggly…none of that either. Don’t know if the “flower” (as I’ve
    learned the kids say) was the cause, but I had diarrhea all the next
    day. Normally, my stomach and intestines have an iron constitution.
    I almost felt like I was on acid (which I dabbled in back in the day).

    also bought another Sativa in wax form called Sour Diesel I tried this
    morning, which I did enjoy though still a bit too intense even
    with one medium puff on the vaporizer. Was much better, and fun for a
    while, but then even after taking a nap I still (now, twelve hours later) feel a stoned hangover, something that never happens to me after all these years with what I’ve come to learn has been garden variety
    illegal weed that all along I thought was pretty good. All these years of toking has all been child’s play, it turns out.

    Who knew? Obviously a lot of you. Pot was never a
    big focus of mine after high school and I wasn’t all that into it from a technical aspect (strains, etc.) like some of my bigger pot head friends in high school and college…I love it, but could never do it all day like they did (no judgement)…just
    something I liked at a party or before/after clubbing, before a good
    movie, etc., maybe after work to unwind once in a while. But I have
    been a fairly regular user all these years with occasional periods of up
    to a year off.

    We probably smoked a lot of “brick stuff” back
    in the day (though I never heard it called that until my recent
    research). Not so great weed we used to call ditch weed, but we got some good stuff too (or so we thought) that was probably
    that too. I remember all those seeds weighing down the bag. The
    really killer stuff we got once in a while didn’t have any seeds at all
    (Thai Stick, Afghan Blond, Colombian Gold, hash, and even hash and
    honey oil, as I recall).

    I have noticed in the last 20 years or so pot
    doesn’t have any seeds like it used to, which this article explains was
    the Mexican brick (never heard that then) and Sinsemilla was the good stuff since it was the bud of any strain that contained all the action (does today’s generation even know what “sift” is :). But even that primo stuff we
    sometimes scored, I don’t ever remember being nearly this intense. I
    never would have made it through high school, let alone college!

    I just think the high potency-strains now might turn off a lot of first
    time users and medical referrals. Or maybe they should be given a warning that it’s not their father’s Oldsmobile. I think a
    mid-grade strain would be well received.

    Some people just want to sip beer, not do five tequila shots in as many minutes. I thought I had
    a pretty high tolerance, but apparently not! I generally don’t want to
    get blasted, I just want a nice, mild high and I chose the two strains I
    did because I also wanted daytime energy and pain relief…I got
    wakefulness in spades, but not the motivation to get off my ass. I must
    say the pain is at bay, which is encouraging (I’m an amputee).

    I’ll keep experimenting with different strains and hope to find that
    old-timey medium grade weed which was always just enough for me.
    Amazing to learn about this whole world out there and what different
    strains help what medicinally (a strain for energy?). My generation mostly had no idea…we just thought it was
    all either good or bad pot.

  • bruce davidson

    Sure, in the 1970’s, the $10 an ounce brick weed was awful, but I didn’t buy that stuff, it was full of seeds. The primo stuff from back then was stronger than any legal weed I’ve tried. We called it dynamite for a reason – you could trip on the really good stuff. After hydroponics and indoor grow became popular, it went downhill.

    We had Thai Stick – everyone had a relative in Nam. And the wonderfull sinsemillas from Oaxaca and Michoacan. And Bhuda Bud from Hawaii. I lived in AZ, so we also had the domestic that was grown in the Superstition Mountains, it sold in hand painted mason jars (the nightly weather used to give a marijuana pollen count).

    One thing – the hash oil back then was the same as now. Few people bothered with it, it seemed disapointing. There is much more to the high than just thc. Modern growing conditions inhibit the more exotic canabinoids like thcv.

    • thomas.h.pickering

      Wow, just listening to you brings back alot of great memories! … I had a good line for awhile on blonde lebanese hash back then, and just loved the taste and high too. We had them $10 lids of Mexican weed here in Texas, I would buy it by the pound brick at times in Houston area for $100 a pound

  • OddMan

    I disagree. We were growing killer weed in Hawaii in the early 70’s. Rolled fat joints we called one hit wonders, one hit and you wonder where you were. We had hash that tasted like chocolate and gave a high that lasted for hours. We had elephant weed from Thailand that would knock your socks off.
    Not everyone smoked ditch weed from Columbia.

    • fddsdf

      There was killer weed in the mainland as well. It was just very rare and hard to find compared to shitty weed. It makes people think the weed magically just jumped in potency when really just more people learned how to grow good weed.

    • jgibsosman

      Favorite was late 1970s, grown outside, from big Afghani seeds. I call it fukawi (pronounced fuh KA wee) Couple of tokes and pretty soon someone would say “fukawi?”
      as in “where the..”

  • Daniel Platten

    The article is a lie. Weed sucks today. You might get some real non GMO weed in other countries but not here.

  • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

    Hey, I smoked my first joint in 1972…the guy who smoked it with me called it Mexican FlowerTop. It was already rolled into big blimpy joints…seeds, stalks, bud, everything, all twisted up in a thick paper. Me him and two girls puffed away two fat doobies, coughing, gagging on the lumber in it…then I had to lie down across from the school…I heard kids screaming and it echoed back and forth from the buildings…I got TOO zapped. For weak weed, it sure kicked my ass…but I was only 12 then. Pot was cheap and it always got us high. Maybe the “homey” some folks grew locally was bunk, but they never knew the “tricking” process back then, now everybody knows how to sex a plant, fertilize it…everything on the internet. The best pot I ever smoked, was grown on an island on Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario…that was in the mid 1990’s. That skunk bud was pure sticky deadly bud that got us ripped every puff…I seriously haven’t seen pot near as good from anywhere since.. All these cup winning high test bud contest winners…I’ve tried them all…legally. None of it was half as good as the skunk I’m talking about grow 2 miles away on the lake. I don’t know where these kids get to say the dope was weak back then…they weren’t there, I was.

  • John

    In the mid to late 70’s a pair of us would regularly fly one way from the Midwest to Ft. Lauderdale, rent a big mercury or ltd from Hertz, and meet up with ex-pat buddies in south Florida to pick up a trunk load of weed and Bolivian marching powder fresh off their fishing boat. The Colombian gold was bricked, oily, and dank. We always came away with a special bag that were just large buds for ourselves. To this day I haven’t come across a strain that had that same smell and sandlewood taste…probably hard to imitate unless grown in the same microclimate/soil? Easily as nice and long lasting high as present day strains. By the time we reached the Georgia/Florida line we had perma-grins and scary red eyes. Driving thru the south was harrowing, local cops would stop you for any infraction legit or not. We didn’t relax until we reached the airport and our own cars some 30+ hours later. Years later, I told my father of our youthful excursions, and as an old templeton rye bootlegger in the 1930’s I think he was secretly proud of us, but would only say that we were “crazy kids”.

    • Saturn7

      Ha! I hadn’t read your post before I commented on this a few days ago. So you’ve had it!? The Santa Marta Gold from the late 70s! I try to explain this to the youngsters and they just think I’m spinning a tale. It was gummy blonde/reddish colored buds. We used to get it maybe three times a year straight from the bale, and it would fetch a few more bucks$$ per OZ. Yes it had a very pungent, thick smoke, and when blowing out your nose after a hit (if you could manage to hold it in) would taste like sandalwood! I CANNOT for the life of me find anything matching the tase and high from that today or since then. Last time I remember seeing it was about 1980! I agree with you in that this was a product specific to the environment highlands of Colombia, and the seeds were of landrace, prior to being cross bred with all the other crap. II’ve heard the drying practices were unique for this stuff as well. I just wonder if that stuff still exists today down in Santa Marta region.

  • Lawrence Munroe

    I grew up in the 70s and smoked more than my fair share of marijuana and I can say without a doubt ,there were occasions where the weed easily rivalled some of todays high THC strains .We had a heavy dark bud called Jamaican,Thai stick, Hawaiian in fact the variety when I was in high school was unreal and yes seemed to be imported from all over .

    • Beverly Hassel

      Yes I remember Jamaican. Dark brown leaves.Acapulco Gold also.Rosco Boulanger’s comment above for an “heirloom ” grow sounds interesting.

  • zeph

    They took one of nature’s oldest medicines and perverted it, all for the sake of greed. Until we subdue and break the AMA, we’re all nothing but docile experiments. Weather, culture, news, NOTHING IS REAL. Why can you receive color therapy in Europe, or buy valium over the counter anywhere else? Because we got fat, lazy, stupid, and forfeited our freedoms to the point we can’t even grow a fucking PLANT in our own HOMES. And now that we are all androids trapped on social networks, here they come with 5G to finish the job.

  • PFMaggotBrain

    A truck load of weed from Colombia would have had to cross through five countries minimum including the Panama Canal zone which was under US control before it ever got to Mexico. This never ever happened. Not once. Most Colombian weed was transported by truck from the growing regions to a peninsula in northern Colombia on the Caribbean coast and loaded on mother ships that held tens of thousands of pounds or put in planes to fly to small isolated airstrips in the southern US. It was taken by ship to the gulf coast or the east coast sometimes all the way up to New York. The ships would anchor off the coast and small boats would ferry the weed to the shore usually using local guys to unload it and move it to stash houses. Some Colombian came up the west coast. In the 60s and early 70s most weed probably would have been Mexican brought over the southwest border but later in the 70s more Colombian, Jamaican and Asian varieties began to be imported more and more. The west coast got huge shipments of Thai Stick brought in by surfers trying to fund their endless summer. Some Asian varieties were imported by military personnel. Jamaica is only 90 miles by plane to Florida so that was an easy trip around Cuba. In the late 70’s the US started forcing Mexico to work with it to stop the flow and began poisoning the fields with Paraquat. Importing shifted to Colombia and according to the CIA by 1985 75% of weed imported into the US came from Colombia. And believe me, the CIA know a lot about drug smuggling. In the late 80s US production began to increase enough to compete with imports and it got easier to get US weed that imports. The DEA’s CAMP eradication program had driven growers to grow almost exclusively Afgan hybrids because they were small, fast maturing and easily hidden. People lost interest in the landrace varieties and eventually those local landrace populations were contaminated with Afgan genetics. It’s a sin that the war on drugs cost us most if not all of the unique cultivars I enjoyed as a youth. There is no diversity with this Disney bastard weed we have now. The genetics have been so homogenized so that it’s all pretty much the same. The old weed was much more psychedelic.

    • jgibsosman

      in about ’77 A good friend went to to Fla. to help unload a ship (in one night). He told me he was paid $30,000. That was in 1970s money.

  • Gerald Dixon John Cummings

    Yep, the average bud you get now is pretty good, no skanky weed like in the old days, no dried out Mexican all squished into dense bricks of hay & seeds & lumber…you know, a 30 gram “four finger bag” had 17 grams of seeds…nice if you liked seeds. I shouldn’t be so critical, but they got it down to an exact science now…Kush this & that, 80% Indica 20% sativa with 27% THC & 2% CBD…bla-bla-bla… it took the mystique out of it…I’m old as the hills eh, maybe that’s my issue…? lol I miss the Thai Stick…from Thailand, the Lebanese hash, red & blonde, the true vintage “sinsemilla” from Hawaii, the Afghani opioid laced black hash…you just don’t get that exotic stuff anymore, no need, they do it all at the homes now…no police to worry about. To be honest, because I’m old as fuck, I prefered it the way it was. lol Whatever Old Man. lol

  • Paul Greve

    The ‘me’ generation? The author seems to have an opinion and a point she is trying to make. She doesn’t actually know what she’s talking about, however.

  • Rosco Boulanger

    Perhaps there needs to be an “heirloom” grow movement. We could still apply modern cultivation techniques, but stick with landrace weed that has not been so drastically genetically manipulated. I too am puzzled why this modern lab weed can be so strong, but ultimately so uninteresting in effect. I am reminded by how terrible grocery store tomatoes became in the late 70s and 80s – firm, beautiful shine and perfect red spheres, but were mushy and flavourless. At some point they figured it out, and I think it had something to do with going back to heirloom tomatoes. Comments anyone?

  • jgibsosman

    I was always in favor of legalization, but never thought it through. Now after ten or more years of only MM being available- during which time I’ve seen no more than half a dozen seeds- I have serious concerns that, essentially, the pot of the sixties and seventies has been changed almost beyond recognition.
    It- the new designer weed- has different effects, and stronger effects, supposedly (even that is debatable, THC or no THC) but the effects that were foiund in some of the old Mexican or other types which are now considered “low grade”- I mean those “special” effects, that make a person really get something out of his high- that are inspiring, that bring realizations, you old-timers know what I mean– are harder and harder to find.
    Sure, the buds are very photogenic of the new, more potent, designer weed. The colors, the crystals of resin, not to mention the way the buds are groomed, trimmed so neatly- all that is very nice, I suppose, (I find it creepy, for some reason) but it doesn’t smell like the seventies pot.
    it doesn’t smell like pot at all, in fact.
    Or sometimes it has an incredibly strong, but offensive smell, so that you can’t put a little bud on a table for five minutes without stinking up the whole house, but not with that old-time wonderful smell pot had.
    The new smells are chemicall-ly and perfume-ey.
    It used to be that you could tell it was pot when you got a sniff.
    Unless it was “K-pot” with no detectable pot odor nor getting high effects (I think it was left over from legal hemp fields in WW2 time but am not sure… some people call it ditchweed.).
    But except for the ditchweed, you could tell when you smelled marijuana because there is no smell like it. It’s a beautiful aroma, before it’s lit, and after it’s lit.
    Now it smells terrible, whether before or after. It reeks. These designer strains. They may have increased the THC, and grown really photogenic buds, and put it in a sealed multilayer bag so difficult to open and use – you need tools to open it, sometimes, or it seems that way!- It’s way too high-tech. All this is, in my opinion, contrary to the marijuana “ethos” or whatever it might be called- (“vibe” of it might be more accurate) an ethos which was not just about high THC content and photogenic buds, but was part of a larger counterculture world and community with so many other relevant factors.
    This is hard to explain but I’m sure many will know what I mean.
    Essentially, nowadays, the business of growing and selling pot is not about the high or the good old philosophy of the hippies, who were and are much-maligned and misunderstood. Nowadays, it’s about business and investment/return. Money money money. And I mean big business. Now, the same people who proofit from arms manufacture are investing in weed. There used to be a sort of code of honor, believe it or not- not that it was always honored, but it was there- in the pot-smoking community. Now, that’s pretty well gone.
    It was always business, of course…. but not so much in the actual community of pot smokers, I mean of the Woodstock (’69 that is) generation.
    I would even go so far as to say that the MM situation is very much related to the general moral malaise afflicting our country, with corruption and deceit so pervasive that it is accepted and normalized (and a president who– well never mind) and war normalized, and self-censorship for the sake of “civility” and political correctness, just turning us into zombies and clones- and always, always, the pursuit of money, which is primary, and which overrides all other motivations.
    I worry that as the old generation of potheads dies off, the new generations will be smoking stuff that has almost nothing in common with the good weed, even good old shake, which made my generation become devotees. And that they won’t understand the way it used to be, not at all.
    The fact that sensimilla is now about the only kind that can be purchased means that the user doesn’t have the option to save the seeds from a good ounce, and means that seeds that he buys are highly modified from the seeds of the backyard Jamaican or Afghni of forty years ago. I think it’s a shame. Then there’s the whole area of patents and so forth, and the probability- almost certainty- of the “Monsanto effect” taking over soon, if it hasn’t already..
    To my generation, pot smoking was a spiritual thing. I don’t see that happening anymore.
    With the exception of legal matters, (i.e. busts and jail and prison for possessing or smoking pot), I think things were better before all this legal pot business took over.
    And then there’s that concept of “medical marijuana”, which, although it has some validity, is actually a marketing gimmick, which reminds me of the “chemical imbalance” concept that sold Prozac and the other SSRI antidepressants (only to find out years later that really the stuff didn’t work as advertised).
    Duh. Marijuana was always medical. That’s why we smoked it, probably, without knowing why.
    More THC doesn’t translate to better weed. That’s somehow been forgotten, it seems.
    In another twenty years or so, few 60’s and 70’s pot smokers will still be alive. It’s very possible that the newer generations smoking only sensimilla MM will, in time, have no idea of what pot is supposed to smell like or taste like, and no idea of the effect it is supposed to have- or rather, the effect it had on my generation- because it is not the same plant now, not at all.
    Lots of people say the new stuff is better because of the high THC content. But to me, as an old-timer of pot smoking, they’re ruining it.
    They’re getting too damned creative, and changing the plant beyond recognition, so that sometimes I not only don’t want to smoke it but it actually repulses me.
    It’s that awful perfume-ey stink it has now. Whether burnt or unburnt, the smell is rotten. They’re ruining weed. But the generations to come won’t even realize that. They’ll think that the high they get off the designer strains is the way it should be. But it’s SO different.

  • Larry

    You could get commercial Mexican for $15 a “lid” back in 1974-1976. Brick pressed Columbia Gold was from between $40-50. To put the money in perspective, I was 17 and earning $1.65 / hr at a summer youth corps project summer of 1974. Gas was 33.9 cents a gallon.
    A “lid” was a bit less than an ounce. Pot was sold by the finger, that is one finger depth on the bottom of an alligator bag. You could get Jamaican for $25 (3 fingers) sometimes about then too. People asked if you wanted to buy a lid. Nobody sold grams, that was unheard of in the 1970s. This was the pot scene in Missoula, MT back when I was a student at U of Montana. Missoula was known by some as the Hippies Last Stand. It was all decent smoke in spite of the pot being seedy. You had to clean your pot before smoking it. People usually had a shoe box or cake pan they put some pot in then hold the box at an angle and take a playing card to sift with. Cheech and Chong, “no stems no seeds that you don’t need Acapulco Gold is bad ass weed”. I grew a couple plants back then that were pulled long before they budded and just smoked leaf because I got too paranoid. I got high off it lol. The sinse bud didn’t show up until the mid 1980s.

  • Bluesy51

    Is it my imagination or does pot smell like skunk now.?. I cant stand the smell. Back in the late 60s and early 70s wehn I used to smoke it had a sweet pungent odor.. but now it smells terrible.!! Funny I have no desire to smoke again..

  • Bluesy51

    i was around in those days too.. I remember Thai Sticks and Lebanese hashish.. I remember smoking Opium once.. it was a sticky ball. Man I miss those days.. The high was better when it was underground.. it was cooler than.. Now everybody smokes.. its like cigarettes.. there is no magic to it anymore..Im glad I lived to tell the tale

  • Bluesy51

    thats what I was just saying.. the memories.. ahhh

  • Bill Joyce

    Does anyone remember “The One” from the early 70″s??? High grade herb mixed with oil, sold in glass vials with glass pipes and instructions on how to smoke.

  • Richard

    The best strain I ever smoked was Lamb’s Bread (or Lamb’s Breath) back in the mid to late 1970’s. I smoked it a few dozen times between the years ’76-’78, and never had a better high. It was a sticky green bud with dark brown hairs running thru it, and it actually smelled like it could be comparatable to what a lambs breath might smell like….I don’t know, I really never smelled a lambs breath….I’m just sayin’. To me, it was like micro dosing on 25-30 mics of LSD, it brought on a very heady high that sometimes reached religious proportions. I later found out it was Bob Marley’s favorite strain as well, & often smoked by Rastafarian’s in Jamaica.