I first realized I had a marijuana allergy in 2010.
As soon as I carefully undid the zip-lock on a QP of SAGE delivered to the dispensary where I worked, I started sneezing like a machine gun until it was sealed through watery eyes. “Clever prank,” I thought, until I inspected the rest of the strains and was perfectly fine. And of course, no one would intentionally ruin a thousand dollars worth of pot for a “gotcha” moment. That day, and every instance since, SAGE has turned me into a snot rocket.
I’m not the only one. Interesting fact: One of the best growers I’ve worked with breaks out in hives if a plant touches his skin. When I did a recent Reddit AMA, people flooded in with stories of adverse reactions they’d experienced when smoking what many tout as the safest plant on Earth.
Call me a masochist, but I couldn’t help picking up some Sage N Sour on a recent dispensary trip to see if the hybrid would set me off.
Sage N Sour by the numbers: $17/gram, $300/ounce at Chronic Therapy, 10030 W. 27th Ave. in Wheat Ridge, CO
Of the two dominant phenotypes on the market, I tend to prefer the one that leans more to Sour Diesel. Shocking, I know. There, you’ll notice more of the eponymous gas on the nose and bulbous structure that resembles a Christmas tree ornament. Instead, I wound up buying the SAGEier of the two: triangular, covered in bright orange hairs, like a haze strain that put on weight over the holidays.
As my amiable budtender Michael went to open the jar I prepared for the worst, and must have made a terrible face as I smelled it because he exclaimed, “Yeah, it’s musty!” While I had a slight tickle in my nose, this was surprisingly pleasant, as musty isn’t a profile most strains aspire to. Sneeze-free, I picked up white pepper and incense right away, with some soft pine as well. As for smelling like sage the herb, the name is actually an acronym for “Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium” and generally doesn’t have the lemony or bitter notes of the savory perennial.
Actually inhaling Sage N Sour is rife with apprehension for me, as I consider that my throat closing up due to allergic weed reaction would lead to some very interesting posthumous headlines. After Googling “How to perform an emergency tracheotomy,” I take two hits and relax, thankful this isn’t a more paranoia-inducing sativa. Relaxation is temporary, as I have things to do.
Chief among my list is restoring order to my office, as being sick for the better part of a week has led me to slough off my cleaning responsibilities. Putting on the latest episode of “Comedy Bang Bang” and exclaiming “Heynong man!” into the ether, my workspace is in desperate need of a reset. The Sage N Sour seems game, as it has the restlessness of a strong Blue Dream without as much of the mood-elevating head high. In fact, it struggles to elevate much at all.
Moving around the room, my mind frequently loses track of the podcast, a rarity for me after listening to shows for years while still accomplishing tasks. Instead, I find myself intently focused on minutiae. Questions like, “Where do I put pens, again?” needs a fraction of the mental energy I’m exerting to solve the mystery. Fortunately, my body is still keeping up after being plagued with that head-to-toe ache that has melted away further thanks to the Sage N Sour. By the end of the episode, I have a squeaky clean office, a vague understanding of what was discussed and a clear head. I decide not to double down on my high.
For those who love the creative energy of Sour Diesel, be prepared for a letdown as it simply doesn’t get there, instead lending itself to more meticulous work. I did conquer my fear of SAGE-related strains, however, and will keep this handy as more intense spring cleaning lies just around the corner, where all of my sneezing can be attributed to dust and not dank.