If you’re looking for the most enigmatic strains out there, Purple Haze will probably wind up at the top of your list. Like the name suggests, the strain is a member of the prolific and vital family of Hazes that exploded onto the scene in the late 1960s.
Contrary to popular belief, Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 classic Purple Haze has absolutely nothing to do with cannabis, LSD, or any substance at all, for that matter — it’s actually about a weird sci-fi novel inspired dream Hendrix once had. This isn’t to say that the song itself didn’t have a massive impact on the weed world as we know it; quite the opposite. To understand the Purple Haze strain, we have to take a look at the origins of its predecessor, Haze (a.k.a. Original Haze). In 1969, a lucky Santa Cruz surfer would pop a punto rojo bagseed, unknowingly starting a historic domino effect in the form of a spicy, fruity, uplifting sativa by the name of Haze. This strain would go on to change the course of cannabis history as we know it. The surfer, G, and his brother R.L (not to be confused with the East Coast’s Haze Brothers) spent years refining and improving on the cut, creating many unique phenos such as Gold, Blue, Silver, and Magenta Haze.
Not only is the ‘Original Haze Poster - The Cosmic Boogie’ one of the single coolest pieces of marijuana memorabilia out there, it’s also a testament to the phenomena of Haze in the early ‘70s. It notes that “...in 1975-76, top shelf cannabis was $50-$60/oz, and Silver Haze was introduced at $250/oz. The entire harvest sold in 90 days.” The Haze Brothers were three New Jerseyans studying in Santa Cruz at the time of Haze’s historic rise. These Brothers are responsible for bringing G and R.L’s Haze genetics back to the East Coast, while none other than Sam the Skunkman was taking them worldwide, most notably to Holland.
G has confirmed that Haze was in fact originally named in tribute to Hendrix’s song, but the actual Purple Haze strain was originally referred to as Magenta Haze or ‘the rootbeer pheno’ by those close to G and R.L. The Purple title only came to be as the strain started making its way into the hearts, hands, and bongs of the general public. Purple Haze, known for its abundance of beautiful namesake purple hues, and its distinct red sap (a common trait of Haze strains) is rumored to be a cross of Haze and Purple Thai. Alternatively, some suggest that it’s merely a distinctly purple phenotype of Original Haze. The ‘90s saw the rise of a slightly different variant, also dubbed Purple Haze, all the way across the country in New York’s Washington Heights area, better known to some as the Home of Haze. This headier blend of incense aromas was incredibly popular and sold at an average of $560/oz, until 2006, when local and federal authorities busted numerous individuals involved with the strain’s cultivation and distribution, including NYC “ringleader” Orlando Torres. It is not entirely clear whether this specific cultivar was the progeny of Santa Cruz’s Purple Haze, or a solid attempt at re-creating it. What is abundantly clear is that Purple Haze, in its various forms, is well loved around the globe, and has been parent to numerous foundational strains such as Purple Panty Dropper (a parent strain to legends GSC and Trainwreck).
Purple Haze Strain Effects: Indica or Sativa?
While there are many factors that determine the effects of a given cut of cannabis, it’s safe to say that Purple Haze is a classic sativa through and through. Sparking a joint stuffed with Purple Haze is comparable to lighting the fuse on a brain bomb chock-full of creativity and social energy. Diverging from some of the more intensely psychedelic vibes offered by the sativas of the time, G and R.L’s original Purple Haze provides its users with a more clear-headed, focused experience. The initial hit brings forth a tingling pressure around the temples or cheeks, and a rush of stimulating euphoria. The tingle in your head will gradually transcend to an invigorating full-body buzz which can last for hours. Stress, depression and social anxiety be damned; the right amount of Purple Haze will swoop in and improve your headspace no matter the occasion.
Purple Haze has been known to soothe minor aches and pains, but not to the extent that the strain is recommended to medical patients as an analgesic. This is also a strain that encourages users to abide by Gremlin rules, meaning you should avoid partaking in it after midnight. Even as the buzzy effects slowly wear off, burnout or even a general tiredness aren’t typically going to be present, making this a strict daytime smoke. Those with lower tolerance will want to be mindful of their dosage, as higher consumption can result in racing, repetitive thoughts which can be unsettling at best. Patients have also reported dry mouth and eyes as common side effects.
Purple Haze Characteristics and Terpenes
The West Coast Purple Haze is known for its musty, earthy aroma with subtle hints of sour berries and spice. The pungent, funky herb might not have the most appealing aroma, but this doesn’t deter well-read enthusiasts from breaking down doors to get their hands on some. Like many other Hazes, the sweet, hash-flavored smoke it produces comes in thick, smooth clouds that are easy on the lungs. New York Purple Haze features a more fragrant, incense-heavy profile. As Big Herb described in the article The True Origins of Cannabis, “The staples of taste and aromas of NYC Haze are spice, incense, cat piss and what we call basement or leather.” As you can imagine, this strains’s earth-green buds are littered with vibrant hues of magenta and purple. The spiky, conical buds come dressed with a heaping of shimmering trichomes and deeply burnt orange, almost brown pistils. The buds are typically medium to large in size, and like other sativas, have a loose, almost fluffy bud structure.
Lab testing shows that myrcene is Purple Haze’s dominant terpene. Myrcene, the herbal, hoppy terpene, is thought to have mentally relaxing, anti-inflammatory properties, but further research is needed to fully support this claim. Caryophyllene and limonene are among the other terpenes commonly found in Purple Haze, accounting for the spicy and sour notes commonly present.
Purple Haze Grow Info
Purple Haze seeds have never officially been sold. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a clone or a rare, legitimate seed, be prepared to accommodate towering plants. Even though it was referring to Original Haze, the advice on The Original Haze Poster still rings true: “The basis for any strong, healthy plant is the soil it grows in. Resin-producing herbs grow best in soil that is neutral to semi-sweet. The larger the bush or tree, whatever it may be, the larger the root structure needed to support it.” A total growth period of 63 to 70 total days can be expected, as sativas are known to take their time to flower.