If you have read about the discovery of a new and strange species of cannabis from Australia, do not believe everything you have been told. The alleged research cited by several cannabis blogs about scientists from the University of Sydney finding a fourth species of cold resistant cannabis, cannot be found in the University's data base. The notice appears to be a simple copy of another older piece of research. The variety is real, but its existence has been known about for over a decade. It´s a fake.
A few months ago, a purported study from the University of Sydney flooded the cannabis blogosphere. As said by the notice, published at the end of the year by the NBC channel and reproduced soon after on ireadculture, a group of researchers had just certified the existence of a new and very strange variety of cannabis in the Australian mountains. The biggest story of the year in fact was an overly-elaborate Hoax with no punchline.
The cannabis activist Dana Larsen, former editor of the magazine Cannabis Culture, came out to state that this plant has been known about since 1999, and that he had already written about it. Additionally, the cited university confirmed to La Mota that they are unaware of the study as well as of the supposed research leader, a guy named "Christopher Pool" (Christopher Poole is best known for founding the ironic website 4chan). It seems that the information being reproduced by many in the media is simply a copy of an article published more than ten years ago, with data from an unreliable source.
As stated by the note on ireadculture, the new cannabis species was discovered in 2010, when a group of people found a plant very similar to marijuana in the Australian mountains. In line with the publication, a specimen was given to a laboratory at the University of Sidney so that the researcher Christopher Pool could analyse it to see if it was really cannabis. The plant described has a similar growth structure, but the leaves “barely resemble it
Consistent with alleged tests carried out by the laboratory, the species was resistant to freezing; it had smooth leaves, and could grow the way a bush does, which made it somewhat different to marijuana. The main problem for continuing research into this strain, as stated by ireadculture, is that Pool does not have seeds to grow, and that his department spent its entire budget trying to find another specimen.
La Mota has made contact with the University of Sydney, and they state that Christopher Pool is not registered in their database. Likewise, we have been unable to find the mentioned research.
However, among the comments that readers have left on the ireadculture post, there is one that is particularly striking. It is a comment by Dana Larsen, a well-known cannabis activist who was editor of the magazine Cannabis Culture for ten years.
Larsen affirms that the information had been published by him, way back in 1999. “That was me! We had our Australian friends telling us about this back in 1999”, he noted in the comment.
At LaMota, we have talked with Larsen in order to confirm that the variety of cannabis talked about on ireadculture is the same type referred to by him in writing years ago: “Yes, I think that we are talking about the same thing”. It appears that he has grounds to believe this, given that the current publication is very similar to his, published more than a decade ago.
The variety discovered in 1999
Cannabis Culture reported a strange new strain that had some similarities with normal marijuana, but whose growth pattern and appearance (quite strange) made it seem unlikely that it was cannabis. It was an Australian grower named Ayers who talked about the variety to Larsen, after hearing that a neighbour in Sydney had been arrested for growing it in the north of the country.
Ayers defined the plant as being incredibly resistant to frost, since it managed to survive temperatures that would be unthinkable for any other variety. Larsen’s writing describes how the leaves do not form a kind of fan shape like the typical leaves. Rather, they are quite small and short, irregularly distributed, and they grow in the form of a bush (an almost identical description to the current information).
This variety was named ABC (the initials stand for “Australian Bastard Cannabis”), and it seems to be less powerful than standard strains, as checked by the activist on one of his trips to Sidney. Larsen also states that he has received several comments from readers who claim to have come across the strain previously; however, the fact is that we know little about its origins. Some Australian growers have defined it as a mutant species: wild marijuana, an experiment by some daring grower, that perhaps did not turn out as was hoped.
In his articles, Larsen talked about the possibility of crossing ABC’s resistant quality with the potency of other varieties, such as Flo. The activist explained that at the time, there were enough seeds to grown that variety, and to even begin the innovative combination between Flo and ABC.
>In fact, Cannabis Culture acquired hundreds of ABC seeds in order to distribute them between producers and North American growers who got to work growing.
Some of the seeds were germinated by a grower known as Volcano in a greenhouse at 21º, between various heating lamps and on moist towels. The seeds took seven to ten days to germinate, and once the first stems emerged, the grower placed them in individual pots. The first leaves took a little over ten days to appear.
Growing began in March and the harvest took place nine months later, in November. The good results meant that Volcano weighed up the possibility of continuing to harvest the mix the following year.
The horticulturalist shared part of the harvest with the people at Cannabis Culture. The taste was clean, spicy, very Sativa (it caused euphoria) and stronger than expected, as described by Larsen himself. When the new strain was known about, many Australian media sources talked about it as “a dangerous new strain”.
This mutation, although it has not (for the moment) managed to become the future of cannabis –due to the low cannabinoid content -, had occasional success when mixed with other more powerful varieties. Research into the strain continues: what is rare is that so little is known about the plant ten years after its discovery given that it is such an original and well located strain.