Cannabis Strain Review, History & Origin: Jack Herer

October 12, 2016

Jack Browne, America’s budtender and most prolific strain reviewer, reminisces over a recent liaison with one of the most beloved strains, named after one of the most beloved (and legendary) American cannabis activists: Jack Herer, an American original.

Browne describes how after a late night at Pinche Tacos (or is it Pinche Tequila?), he was what could “generously [be] described as in rough shape.” No cannabis was to blame, that’s for sure! Tequila, on the other hand, oh, that evil Tequila! Clearly, “rough shape” is a kind way to describe how Browne must feel. Having never puked the morning after a bender, Browne feels dangerously close to that happening: “I’m ignominiously close to losing that record,” admits Browne.

Packing for a trip to L.A., Browne is looking for some fast relief. Alas, never fear, Jack Herer is here: “Within 10 minutes, the dull headache that had been forming like a man bun at the back of my head has been vanquished,” observes Browne.

Headache is feeling better. But, what about energy? “I loathe doing laundry, as you could likely surmise from the piles, but today I’m filling up baskets with gusto,” says Browne. “It’s a testament to Jack’s ability to move a body at rest into steady and occasionally frenetic motion.”

How energized is Browne? “I’m approximately a quarter as energized as the teen in the ’90s meth girl commercial.” Wow, that sounds energized to me!

“I’m approximately a quarter as energized as the teen in the ’90s meth girl commercial.”

Jack Herer: The Man, The Myth, The Legendary (Strain)

Jack Herer is one of those great strains, not just because of its impressive lineage, but because the man for whom the strain bears his namesake was a remarkable figure in the cannabis movement. Jack Herer was known as a feisty and tireless champion who fought for the rights we now enjoy. Herer’s seminal book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” is required reading. Required for who? I’m not sure. Anyone who cares about freedom? Nonetheless, it’s definitely essential reading. Herer astutely takes readers down history lane illustrating the absurdity of cannabis prohibition, colorfully weaving in anecdotes about Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (who grew a lot of hemp). Herer's informal narrative style makes this book well suited to read on a rainy Sunday afternoon huddled up in front of the fire with a smokey single-malt scotch -- and, of course, just enough Jack Herer to get your creative and intellectual juices flowing.

The Flower

Jack Herer has won seven — count them, SEVEN — first-place wins at the High Times Cannabis Cup. That should be no surprise. “The best Jack Herer borrows sharp lemon candy, fresh pine and light clove notes from its Northern Lights and Shiva Skunk lineage, while adding buttery vanilla undertones from its Haze background,” says Browne. “This was surprisingly complex for a mid ’90s creation, like the weed version of ‘The X-Files.’ It’ll also show a more sativa-like appearance, with longer branches and an angular structure, so look for a Christmas tree shape as opposed to a rounder, more bulbous structure.”

“This was surprisingly complex for a mid ’90s creation, like the weed version of ‘The X-Files.’"

A well balanced hybrid, Jack Herer generally tilts slightly Sativa at 55% to 45% Indica. THC can range from the high teens to low twenties, along with a notable amount of CBG (anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant). There’s little CBD content — not enough to write home about. But that’s okay: the strain makes up for it by producing a distinctive heady high that is cerebral, and great for “getting shit done.”

When Sensi Seeds created this strain, not only did they want to honor this legendary man, but make a 50% Haze cross that maintained the properties of the best sativas, but didn’t require a painfully long time — 6-months — to flower.

They did a solid job! While Herer’s ancestry has been somewhat secretive, most believe it is a menage-a-trois of three strong strains: Haze (sativa); Skunk #1 (a sativa-dominant hybrid); and, Northern Lights #5, (an indica-dominant hybrid). This three-way hybrid is a great contender for both recreational and medicinal users.

The Effects

Jack Herer, whose high is often characterized with words like: happy, bubbly, uplifting, energetic, creative, euphoric. Loved and desired for its sharp, sweet, candy-like flavors that pair beautifully with its remarkable resin production, and of course, an immediately uplifting high.

A well-produced Jack Herer will perfectly capture the signature cerebral elevation of sativa-dominant strains and the dense resin characterized by indicas. Swirling orange hairs, frosty white trichomes, pungent, earthy, woody with notes of pine.

Browne describes Jack Herer multiple talents: “Jack shows its versatile side, as it’s a malleable high that morphs like Play-Doh into whatever shape you’re embodying, allowing itself to be pressed through the Fun Factory of your mind. Even with a sea of tabs open, I’m still able to navigate the waters of my day.”

"Jack shows its versatile side, as it’s a malleable high that morphs like Play-Doh into whatever shape you’re embodying, allowing itself to be pressed through the Fun Factory of your mind."

Browne also notes Jack Herer’s “heady mood elevation and an uptick in energy, without being too powerful. In other words, it’s perfect for this hangover.” Remember, you heard it here: Jack Herer is great for hangovers!

The Nug reports: “Jack Herer is a great daytime strain—probably my first choice for a nice, clear headed, wake-and-bake strain. As with most clear (as opposed to heavy) sativa strains, users of Jack Herer can expect an upbeat, energetic high that is predominantly a head buzz. It has very cerebral effects, felt almost instantly upon the first toke. Warm feelings behind the eyes initially, which then spread throughout the brain and into the entire body.”

Few downside effects are reported, but no less, there are a couple, including cotton mouth and red eyes, along with occasional dizziness and paranoia (particularly if you overdo it).


Little known fact: In the mid-1990s, Jack Herer was created in the Netherlands where Dutch pharmacies carried it as a recognized (and reliable) medical-grade strain. Highly rated for stress, anxiety, depression, but also pain, fatigue, migraine headaches, and appetite. Notable cannabinoids are CBG .6 to 2.2%. It’s popular among veterans (and others) who find it effective at treating PTSD. Others report positive results for depression, migraines, and even ADHD.

Sound good? If you haven’t imbibed in a Jack Herer strain lately, get off that couch, head to the dispensary, and rekindle the romance. Chances are, you’ll be glad you did!

#RIP Jack Herer. Your legacy will never be forgotten!

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