Pot talk with Emily Hobelmann

The Heart of Humboldt

The Heart of Humboldt, also known as THCA, is a bustling medical cannabis dispensary in Arcata, California. The venue itself is fairly small, yet cozy at the same time. They have a broad selection of flowers, all lab tested, some grown on-site and some grown off-site by assuredly vetted vendors.

THCA has been around for years. Shoot, I used to shop there back when I was a student at Humboldt State University more than ten years ago! They’ve clearly got a successful business model, given that they’ve done steady business in the same spot for this long. Sure enough, there was a steady stream of people coming through there when I stopped by on Earth Day to grab some samples.

While there, I saw that THCA had signage on display advertising 420 weekend deals on flowers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, tinctures, seeds and sweatshirts. Nice. They also had a cool stoplight infographic on a whiteboard in the shop: the red “stop” light stood for indica, the yellow “slow” light for hybrid strains, and the green “go” light for sativas. A nice touch.

Budtender Erik Lashbrook was my go-to guy when I was picking out some samples. I consulted with him to be sure I was getting popular varieties. With his guidance, I wound up purchasing a gram of Candyland and a gram of White OG for a total price of $20. Both varieties are grown by Four Studs Dude Ranch in Humboldt County, Lashbrook explained, although THCA tends to grow most of the flower they offer on-site. However, they just have too many patients for what they can possibly grow themselves, so yes, they do work with outside vendors.

Four Studs grew the White OG and Candyland strains indoors — THCA actually didn’t have any outdoor available at the time of my visit. Their diversity of options available is dependent on the season and on what they are growing themselves. Check it: THCA grows over 70 different Clean Green Certified strains!

The White OG

The White OG is an indica dominant hybrid, testing at 0.5 percent THC and 30.2 percent THCA by CW Analytics. Leafly says it’s a cross of The White with SFV OG Kush. Lashbrook says it’s the highest testing cannabis they’ve carried, in terms of THC. “It’s got a really nice overall feel to it, an afternoon kind of a feel. It’s not something I would do during the day,” he laughs, “it’s just too heavy.” This strain is one of their fastest sellers, he adds, even though it’s got a pretty mild smell.

The two White OG nugs in my sample are tight and round little balls that are super dense. The concentration of trichomes is also super dense, lending it a rather light, almost white appearance, with a soft, sea-glass green, really. The tufts of hair on the nugs are a dark nectarine skin color, and I like its mild smell. It’s lemony — not your typical rich kush aroma.

When I ground it up to roll a joint, I was left with a fat pile of blonde kief. This weed has mad crystals. The flavor coming through a dry hit was gentle, definitely not a harbinger for its purportedly strong high. As for verifying that powerful indica effect, I leave it to you, dear reader, to get your hands on some White OG.


Candyland is a sativa dominant hybrid, testing at 23.54 percent THC and 0.05 percent CBD by SC Labs. According to Leafly, the parent strains of Candyland are Grandaddy Purple and Platinum Girl Scout Cookies, two classics, for sure. Lashbrook pointed out that in contrast to the White OG, Candyland has a much more profound smell and flavor.

The Candyland buds are sort of oblong and triangular. Its crystals shine brightly, a coat of vivacious trichomes adorning the soft minty and emerald green flower with sunbaked (but really indoor-baked) orange hairs nestled throughout. When you pull a flower piece apart, the trichomes inside stretch, it’s gooey!

Lashbook is right — oh, that smell! It’s heady, floral, like gardenia and jasmine — really quite nice. There is a pungency to it too, an earthy ripeness probably coming from that Platinum GSC lineage. A dry hit tastes nice and clean. Again, on the floral side. If you are into that cerebral sativa high, I definitely recommend giving this strain a try.

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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