Jack Herer is an unequivocally classic strain from 1990s Amsterdam, and named for cannabis writer and activist Jack Herer. Famous for the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Herer ran for president of The United States twice as the Grassroots Party nominee, in 1988 and 92. As such a classic and well-loved strain, according to Leafly.com, it’s branched into up to 4 distinct sub-strains – 3 of which are sativa dominant. The original is well known as a happy, 55 percent sativa daytime strain. Even delivery service Eazeup.com has offered three different versions of Jack that I’ve seen in a few months – a 40 dollar, a 60 dollar, and my strain at 55 – all labeled as sativa dominant. You could call Jack Herer the Blue Dream of its day, well loved by all for its balanced and optimistic effect with energy and focus. Reportedly, this comes from a parentage that includes both Northern Lights #5 and Skunk – hallmark strains in and of themselves.
My version came from Eazeup.com delivery in the Bay Area, this one labeled a moderate but respectable 19.9 percent THC. Visually, this Jack is pretty striking. Fluffy, almost foamy buds break off easily in your hand, with dark pine green speckled with lighter green leaves and orange hairs. The density of these buds is evidence of the sativa dominance in the genetics, closer to the fluffy rather than dense end of the spectrum.
Jack is particularly famous for its aroma, and without a doubt has one of the most distinctive flavors I’ve found in the cannabis world – one I would easily be able to pick out of a lineup. The first smell out of the bag is really robust, especially considering the relatively moderate THC content. Spicy, herbal, sweet and above all piney, with a sour finish. There are layers that resemble spearmint, grapefruit and sweet candy – sort of like if minty gummy candy was a thing. This piney/minty smell is the result of high pinene content, a terpene responsible for adding a clear headed and anti-inflammatory effect to the cannabinoids.
In general, the more experience I have under my belt, the more I become firmly entrenched as an indica fan. Consistently my favorite experiences end up being with pure indica strains. But from time to time, especially for certain outdoor, daytime activities like hiking, I crave a mellow yet upbeat daytime strain. Easily overwhelmed by the racing heart, stuck in your head side effects of some strong, psychedelic sativas, I found this the perfect middle ground. I think the somewhat modest THC content actually added to the mellow and balanced experience I had with Jack. This strain did not hit me over the head, the effects come on and off gradually, so there is neither a burned out come down period nor the sudden coming-on realization that you’ve bit off more than you can chew. It really is a mellow, easygoing sativa. There is a focused energy, but not a caffeine like stimulant effect. An upbeat, mild euphoria helps to also mitigate any sativa downsides, and the warming effects gradually fade away after an hour or less. If you want a sativa to hit you over the head and really wake you up and invigorate you, those strains are out there. If like me, you prefer sedative strains, but want something for an afternoon hike, or morning functionality, this is a strain to explore.
It’s not hard to see why Herer has maintained its popularity so consistently over the years. Like other popular hybrid strains such as Blue Dream and Sour Diesel, the sativa effects are balanced and rounded and not overwhelming. Effective for depression, pain, stress as well as fatigue, Jack Herer is a good choice if you lean towards indica, but want a daytime sativa option in your toolkit. Aroma enthusiasts will find the distinctive flavor reason alone to give it a try. Bear in mind on your search, however, that there are a handful of varieties of Jack after 20 years of worldwide popularity – all of which are likely to have different, if similar, cannabinoid and terpene contents, and effects.
After a lifetime fighting for cannabis law reform, Jack Herer the man died in 2010 – loved throughout the cannabis community worldwide and with a popular strain bearing his name. He didn’t get to see the full legalization in some states the following decade, but he would have been proud to see a new generation carrying on his work and finding success, and a classic strain to make sure his name won’t be forgotten anytime soon. When you try Jack Herer you can count yourself as taking part in modern cannabis history.