Our resident cannabis connoisseur puts all three varieties by Canada’s fave celebrity stoner to the test
When Seth Rogen and his longtime filmmaking (and smoking) buddy Evan Goldberg announced they were launching three strains of cannabis with Canopy Growth, fans of movies like Pineapple Express and Superbad were overjoyed. But cannabis connoisseurs like myself? Not to sound negative, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these well-packaged buds to really judge them for myself.
So far, Houseplant is only available in Newfoundland & Labrador, British Columbia and Ontario, and there are plans to release infused drinks, gelcaps and prerolls under its name. But so far there are three flower types simply called Sativa, Hybrid and Indica available (more on what I think they really are below), at $13.61/g each — a lot higher than the average of $10.23/g tracked by Stats Canada.
Here’s the real deal on Houseplant’s three strains, each tucked inside attractive, recyclable packaging — in descending order of dankness.
Houseplant Sativa: The look and feel
First up, Sativa, which leaves a visually underwhelming first impression. A closer look doesn’t save it. The buds are scant in structure but yet look fairly good in development and trichome coverage. But coupled with the rough trim, the flowers don’t have the appearance of something that’s well taken care of.
The feel is about as bad as it can be. The buds are brittle, so fragile they’re unable to withstand any amount of force whatsoever. They grind to a dusty particulate which could easily blow away in a gentle breeze. Those using a vaporizer may not mind, but I imagine those hoping to smoke this may have difficulty.
Fragrance and flavour
Houseplant Sativa’s dominant terpenes are alpha-pinene; beta-caryophyllene; beta-pinene; humulene and myrcene. They produce a slight soapy-citrus aroma, with herbal notes burbling under the surface. Although the scent is subdued, it leaves a bit of buzz in the sinus. The character is prominent, but it doesn’t project when I first unsealed the jar — something I look for in a new selection.
As for its flavour when I smoke, it’s a blend of musky pine and earthiness that borders on sulphurous, trading the clean citrus aspect for a hollow, dusty tone. It’s a weak flavour, but it is long-lasting.
This nearly $50 eighth (3.5 g) is at the top tier of the market. But besides the decent macro visuals, it’s hard to argue that it’s priced well.
With an underwhelming appearance, aroma and flavour, Houseplant Sativa also lacks the tertiary consumer elements Tweed usually provides on their other offerings, like the true strain name and breeder. But it has been listed as a Chemdawg in a few different provincial stores, which you can buy from Tweed at a slightly lower price under another name, Donegal. There’s a good chance the two could differ where the buds are harvested from the plants if they are the same, or phenotypically or genealogically.
By the way, a number of other Canadian producers sell Chemdawg is available from a number of other Canadian producers (JWC, for example). For those excited by the Houseplant, this offering has a good side, maybe two. But I think Rogen, Goldberg and the Canopy team need to keep working on this strain before consumers can expect reasonable value for their money.
And considering this cannabis was packaged more than 300 days prior to when it was sold, the value proposition offered blurs the line between comedy and tragedy.
Houseplant Hybrid: The look and feel
On to Houseplant’s Hybrid, which is some homely looking cannabis. But it’s not all bad: Colouring is interesting, showing good distribution of light green to deep blue and violet. Definition looks good, structure is adequate but some of the buds show sparse growth with prominent stem and leaf. Most buds look rough from the top and even rougher from the bottom — the trim is lacking throughout. Within the crown of one of the smaller buds, I found one mature seed.
Again, these buds have a dry, brittle feel. A few of the larger sized buds are capable of withstanding a good amount of force, but ultimately give way and crush, instead of softly giving way to pressure.
Fragrance and flavour
With a terpene profile high in alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, humulene, limonene and myrcene, Houseplant Hybrid’s aroma is a mixture of pepper and dank earth. There’s a wealth of herbaceous notes in there too, with strong pine and some spiciness. It’s more aromatic than Houseplant’s Sativa, but still not of much magnitude.
When it’s lit, the flavour is sweet and funky, twisted into hollow earthiness laden with a slight tartness. The pepper notes make an appearance alongside light herbal greens and pine wood at the midrange of the profile. Although it’s also somewhat subdued, it’s a long-lasting taste, particularly in the tart-pepper department.
Is it worth it?
This flower has a few good features, but you have to go looking for them. And again, at nearly $50, it’s not the worst performer within the higher priced segment of regulated cannabis strains I’ve tried, but it is certainly amongst them. Comparing it to the best premium strains (Broken Coast, 7Acres) is like racing a new Ferrari against a ’06 Ford Fiesta: Houseplant Hybrid is so obviously lacking where performance matters — the olfaction.
And when you account for the seed and the relatively unkempt appearance, I have to say it’s not just overpriced, but generally unattractive.
When this line was first released, Hybrid was listed as a Blue Cheese, which is a common offering in traditional markets, but not very common in Canada’s legal market. Only a few producers offer it currently, most notably Whistler, for about 30 per cent more money than what we paid here. Let’s hope for more Blue Cheese in the regulated Canadian market soon.
Houseplant Hybrid has potential, if you’ll permit the optimism. But it has a long way to go, if you’d prefer the realism.
Houseplant Indica: The look and feel
Houseplant’s Indica has the most respectable appearance of the bunch, and there’s a lot to like. The container I received included three large buds and a collection of lowers that equate to about a half gram. Although poorly trimmed, the large buds show great structure and impressive development. The flowers are deep green, displaying some deep purple at the edge and the underside. Some of the trimmed leaf shows some evidence of nutrient burn towards the tip, but most of the observable elements are positive.
The flowers have a dry feel but are not fragile like the other two cultivars. Instead, these are delicate, with nodes that bend slightly, but will snap away with light force. It’s outside of the ideal range, but not obviously so.
Fragrance and flavour
The aroma of the Houseplant Indica is a mix of light petrol, flat fruit, strong pine, earth and a notable hint of cheesy funk. The dominant terpenes are beta-caryophyllene, humulene, limonene, linalool and myrcene. When I unsealed the jar, the deep, aromatic character projected better than the others, but it’s still not anywhere near impressive.
In a dry herb vaporizer, it has a pleasant, decently strong flavour of sweet gassy lime, pine couched in soft earth, and laced with lavender and delicate florals.
I found good use over multiple cycles in a vaporizer and thought there was a noticeable shift towards the citrus and pine notes in the composition.
Is it worth it?
Even though the Indica is far superior to the Hybrid and Sativa options, those looking to try the Houseplant brand should start with this one. You’re still paying a premium for the name, but at a less offensive premium.
Another reason you might want to start here is the genetics.
In some stores Houseplant’s Indica is listed as a 91K, and so it’s not too far a leap to think that it’s likely ’91 Krypt from DNA Genetics. The only other place you can find this cultivar in the Canadian legal market is through Aurora. I’d say that Houseplant’s is more intriguing (and expensive), but they’re such different phenotypes, it’s tough to compare.
Within the Houseplant line, the Indica seems relatively good, easily the best of the bunch. Quality is observable, albeit more potential than actual. But this offering doesn’t bring the same game as others competing in this top tier price point; this Indica is surrounded better value propositions. Which is a shame to say as the character of this flower is worthwhile, the positives just weren’t enough to shine past the many flaws but were enough to leave me wanting to see it again, hopefully in better condition.
|Producer||Canopy Growth||Canopy Growth||Canopy Growth|
|Price Per Gram||$13.61||$13.61||$13.61|
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Written by Kate Robertson