Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a small, spineless cactus indigenous to desert regions in Mexico and the southwestern United States. It resembles an armored tubular mushroom and contains the powerful entheogenic hallucinogen known as mescaline, which has been used for more than 5,000 years as a visionary sacrament and medicine.
In particular, the indigenous Cora, Huichol and Tarahumara people of Mexico have used peyote in religious and medical rituals and for artistic inspiration for at least a thousand years. I first became interested in peyote after seeing an exhibition of psychedelic art made by indigenous people who were inspired by the effects of peyote.
As with many entheogens, including psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca, peyote is federally illegal in the United States. To sample the cacti, I traveled to the highlands of western Mexico, and having built trust with the tribes’ modern-day descendants, I was allowed to procure a thick, grayish paste made from peyote, although I wasn’t allowed to use any with tribe members. So, I camped in a remote spot and followed their instructions, putting several grams of the paste under my tongue.
The terrible bitterness of peyote was a grotesque shock, as if my tongue were allergic to the paste. I immediately felt sick, vomiting more than a dozen times over the course of an hour. It felt like my stomach had a demon in it. At the time, as my guts twisted into knots, I thought peyote was nothing but an uncomfortable and prolonged ordeal.
While my digestive system flipped out from the harsh alkaloids of peyote, the psychoactive effects kicked in hard, reminding me of the psychedelic drug DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), except peyote didn’t come on fast and disappear within an hour, as is the case with DMT. Instead, I experienced peak peyote intensity from hour two until hour six, and a pervasive, dreamy high for the remainder of the 24 hours.
Partly because of the vomiting and gastrointestinal distress, the peyote high was never what I’d call recreational. I wouldn’t want to be at a party while on peyote, or anywhere else in public for that matter. Peyote is a substance that many say forces you to have a religious experience. Its colorful, three-dimensional, vivid hallucinations are archetypal, emotional, symbolic and narrative, rather than just random, quirky hallucinations one might experience with LSD. It’s as if someone made a book or movie about your most private self, turning your life into a psychedelic graphic novel.
Meeting The Peyote Purple Shaman
When a cannabis clone breeder known for rare strains wanted to get me high with his recently harvested Peyote Purple strain, my first question was, why was the word “peyote” used in the name? After all, the peyote cactus is green, not purple (although, its tiny flowers are indeed purple blue). The breeder explained the strain name is because the marijuana strain is purple, with a high that’s “trippy like peyote,” with foliage of a bluish-purple tint starting early in grow phase. He said his Peyote Purple was a one-mother-plant variant of authentic Bubba Kush, an alien phenotype that emerged from Bubba’s Chemdawg, Hindu Kush, Pakistani Indica and Lemon Thai genetics to become its own unique strain.
I never saw that mother plant or any other Peyote Purple plants, but I did see freshly dried and cured buds, with the color a mixture of scarlet and purple, and no hint of green leaf. A thick frosting of resin glands gleamed in stark contrast to the leaf hue.
Weirdly, the buds gave off no scent until you crushed them slightly. Then, a bizarre combination of scents would waft out, including the aromas of mustard, vanilla, cacao and lemon. These scents were also present in the taste when combusting Peyote Purple in a simple glass pipe.
And when I did just that, something crazy happened: I had a peyote flashback.
Following the first and only time I tried peyote in Mexico, I had never wanted to do it again, so having a flashback while smoking Peyote Purple wasn’t something I wanted to experience, either. Fortunately, there wasn’t any vomiting this time, with the flashback consisting of temporary body paralysis and a return of the bizarre hallucinations — surreal visuals of angels, devils, disasters, friends and lovers — that I experienced from my peyote trip. It was like no other cannabis high I’d ever experienced, and was too powerful and unsettling. It scared me away from purple strains for a long time.
Cultivating Green Gummy Cannabis
A few months ago, my Peyote Purple clone master breeder called to tell me that a variation of this plant was being used in an elite European breeding program. He directed me to Exotic Seeds, a commercial cannabis seed breeding group based in Spain and the Netherlands.
Exotic Seeds has a feminized photoperiod strain and an autoflowering strain called Green Gummy. The feminized photoperiod Green Gummy is a cross between a Peyote Purple variant and H.O.G., a famous High Times Cannabis Cup winner that’s a cross of Hindu Kush and Afghani. The H.O.G. was first bred in Tennessee before being migrated to Europe. H.O.G. hoglets are often used in sea of green gardens, where they bulk up into incredibly dense, heavy buds.
The Peyote Purple used in the Exotic Seeds breeding program came from CannaBioGen, another respected European cannabis collective. Much like the Peyote Purple I tripped out on, the CannaBioGen version is described as a rare Bubba Kush variant.
More out of curiosity than any desire to once again experience a cannabis-induced peyote flashback — and because I had a low-cost growing option to cultivate outdoors until the middle of bloom phase — I procured and germinated Green Gummy photoperiod seeds. They had a germination rate of 100 percent, with seedlings showing above the surface of my soilless mix within two days of planting. I topped them once, at 23 days post germination.
After 28 days in grow phase, and only exposed to direct sunlight from six to nine hours per day (depending on weather and the angle of sun above the horizon), the plants were 23 to 25 inches tall. I had them in 12-inch-tall, white, aerated pots. Knowing bloom phase stretch at least doubles plant height, and wanting to keep total height below 62 inches to maintain sufficient space between my grow lights and the plant canopy, I forced flowering by placing the plants in a dark grow tent following 12 hours of direct and indirect light per day.
I did a flush and changed my base nutrients to Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect Connoisseur Bloom, along with implementing the supplement Bud Ignitor. Within five days, I had pre-flowers, and within 15 days I had numerous early flowers. I was extremely pleased by the breeding quality evidenced by identical phenotype traits of all the Green Gummy plants. They looked and grew exactly alike. That kind of consistency is rare. They all handled fertilizer dosing, lighting, watering and pests in much the same way. I was able to use a high parts-per-million feed program and the plants ate it up.
Outdoors, they’d been mostly immune from standard cannabis pests such as spider mites and thrips. There were very minor infestations by leaf miners and aphids, easily dealt with by using a neem foliar spray.
After the flowers reached peak bloom beginning at 24 days into bloom phase, I stopped using sunshine and the great outdoors so I wouldn’t have to worry about the likes of aphids. I moved the plants into a large grow tent lit by LED grow lights. Total stretch was almost exactly double, with plants that started bloom phase at 25 inches, ending up 50 inches tall. Canopy height was uniform, and each plant had a fat double cola on top, with similar fatties arrayed on side branches beneath. The top colas were three to six inches in diameter, and some were as long as 12 to 15 inches.
I was fascinated by the unique floral structure development. All along the bud stalks, blooms about the size of pingpong balls formed and piled up on each other. The floral structures filled in through this unusual process to become thicker and wider in circumference. In a Bubba Kush bloom phase, the buds are known as popcorn buds because they develop apart from each other. But with Green Gummy, the popcorn buds piggybacked on each other. At harvest time, the top colas were as thick as my wrist.
Much like Peyote Purple, Green Gummy buds gave off no scent, which is a useful trait for stealth growing. I was growing Green Gummy outdoors during part of bloom phase and had no worries about the aroma attracting any nosy problems. The breeder says the strain is supposed to smell sweet, like gummy candies, but my nose could only find the slightest hint of scent, if at all. I wondered if the strain was terpenoid deficient.
Green Gummy can apparently be harvested after eight or nine weeks in bloom, but at day 56 (eight weeks), almost all resin glands were still clear, fat and round with no degradation, so I don’t see eight weeks as a realistic bloom-phase estimate.
I fed Bud Candy, Rhino Skin, Big Bud and Nirvana, and watched the buds get thicker and more resinous all the way to harvest. I also saw purpling and reddening of the buds, although this was not as pronounced as with pure purple strains.
By the end of bloom phase, the buds were so thick, dense and gooey that I had to water less often and with less water than was typical. I also had to ensure grow-room humidity was below 52 percent, because gray mold started to form inside a couple of the thickest buds when I’d been watering normally.
While harvesting the heavy buds 67 days post bloom phase, I crushed resin glands by mistake and was surprised by the powerful terp scent similar to Peyote Purple buds: mustard, vanilla, chocolate, pepper, lemon and a hint of sweet fruit. Pungent mustard and pepper scents were the strongest elements and there was a modified version of the acrid smell you get from diesel cannabis strains.
Another surprise was the taste of Green Gummy. The astringent mustard and pepper components of broken resin glands receded, while chocolate and lemon took over. The vapor was smooth and silky, but be warned: Even vaping this bud at 380° Fahrenheit, which is far below combustion temp, the vapor in my lungs made me cough.
The two things that count most when growing a particular cannabis strain is its high and yield. Photoperiod Green Gummy was a very heavy yielder, averaging 157 grams of dense, frosty, dried buds per plant. Branches didn’t quite break from the weight of the fat buds, but only because Green Gummy is a strong-structured strain. Of course, it helped that the plants were exposed to strong winds outdoors during early growth, so stalks and branches acquired extra tensile strength.
Consuming The Green Gummy Cannabis Strain
Fortunately, Green Gummy’s creeper high didn’t give me a peyote flashback, but I did notice one thing it has in common with Peyote Purple and with peyote itself: Green Gummy gave me the same glowing, exaggeratedly vivid colors I’d previously experienced when consuming peyote and Peyote Purple.
During my first sampling session, when I didn’t feel high for two or three minutes after vaping, I worried that I’d once again grown a dud. But then the high came on strong, reminding me of a potent combination of Blue Dream and Bubba Kush. The high consists of an early creeper period, an hour or two of stimulated euphoria and enhanced visuals, and then the Kush genetics take over to give me an utterly restful, couch-lock bliss. On a scale of one to 10, the potency was a nine. And although Green Gummy isn’t as resinous as Gorilla Glue strains, it does come close, making it useful for processing into bubble hash, dabs, dry sift and kief. The buds were gummy chunks of resin, with few leaves.
Total crop time was 95 days from germination to harvest, which is impressive for a photoperiod strain. If I’d been growing indoors the entire time so the plants had 12 or 18 hours of direct light per day, it might have been an even shorter, more productive crop cycle.
Green Gummy is a heavy-harvest, resilient, potent, very enjoyable photoperiod strain well worth growing. Based on my great experience with this strain and what I hear from other growers, I’m sure Exotic Seeds’ entire catalogue of autoflowering and photoperiod strains is full of similarly unique winners.