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Chem Dog: The Man, The Myth, and the Legendary Plant

Randy Robinson
Chem Dog bud up close

According to the men who bred the plant, Chemdog’s genetics are responsible for today’s most popular cannabis strains.

Blue Dream. OG Kush. Northern Lights. AK-47. Skywalker.

Those are the names of cannabis plants you’ll find everywhere, legal or not. One can supposedly trace these popular strains’ lineages back to Chem Dog, one of the first chronically dank buds to ever grace American soil.

According to the legends, Chem Dog was bred by a man named – you guessed it – Chem Dog. And he insists it’s spelled d-o-g, not d-a-w-g.

The story begins in 1991 at a Grateful Dead concert in Deer Lake, Indiana. At the time, Grateful Dead concerts were nothing like the commercial music festivals we see today. The band’s fans, known as Deadheads, would travel from all over the country to attend shows. Essentially, for the most devoted Deadheads, the Grateful Dead was life.

And if Deadheads loved one thing as much as they loved Gerry Garcia, it was weed. Really, really good weed.

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Grateful Dead concerts weren’t just places where people saw their favorite band jam out for hours on end. They also served as venues for cannabis growers to meet, share information – and exchange seeds.

That’s how Chem Dog, a small-time grower, met P-Bud and Joe Brand, the men who introduced him to an incredibly potent strain called Dogbud. He first bought an ounce. Then, he mail-ordered more Dogbud from these same men.

It was the mail order that delivered 13 Dogbud seeds to Chem’s home in Massachusetts. Eager to raise his own, he cracked each one and planted them.

Mystery Genetics

So, even Dogbud’s biggest dealers, P-Bud and Joe Brand, don’t know where it originates from, exactly. According to a High Times interview, they believed it came from somewhere along the Oregon/California border.

Furthermore, Dogbud’s genetics remain hazy. Ironically enough, the grandmama of today’s most popular plants boasts an unknown lineage. According to Brand, he thought the buds tasted “chemmy” (i.e. like chemicals) when smoked. That led to the nickname “Chemweed”.

Chem combined the two names, Chemweed and Dogbud, to give the mother plant its new moniker: Chem Dog.

What gives Chem Dog its “chemmy” flavor and potent high? According to Leafly, data shows it produces higher amounts of myrcene and caryophyllene, with lesser amounts of limonene and humulene. Since terpenes give cannabis its characteristic scents and flavors, we can probably attribute the plant’s bouquet to the mixture of these compounds.

Of course, this assumes the testing data represents an average for genetically consistent Chem Dog plants grown under similar conditions by multiple growers.

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Via Leafly

What is Chem Dog Good For, Medicinally?

Some cannabis brains believe myrcene contributes to the plant’s “couch-lock” effect. However, the science behind terpenes and cannabis highs remains unresolved, so this is pure speculation, for now.

Both myrcene and caryophyllene may also contribute to cannabis’s analgesic, or pain-killing, effects. Of course, that pain-killing effect could partially explain the relaxation induced by its “couch-lock” attributes. But again, the scientific jury is still out on this one, too.

As for THC to CBD content, Chem Dog is definitely a THC-rich, lower-CBD chemovar. In other words, it’s probably good for just about any medical condition that other home-grown or commercial weed plants can treat. The medicinal effects of THC are increasingly coming forward, with research centering as much on this compound’s abilities to combat cancer and other illnesses, as well as bring in spiritual healing.

In the end, it’s personal preference. Each patient is going to have their preferred strains, and the chemical, THC-rich traits of Chem Dog may not be for you. That said, if you’re open for a trial run, this is certainly the THC-heavy strain to test.

Randy Robinson

As someone who wanted to know everything but couldn't decide on anything, Randy completed degrees in English, World History, and Molecular Biology. During their studies, they received an externship at the biotech firm Cannabis Science Inc., focusing on phytocannabinoids as anti-tumor and anti-cancer agents. Based in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, you can find Randy on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium @RanDieselJay

1 Comment
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    The truth

    How does chem dog have anything to do with blue dream, norther lights and ak47..more likeley that the parents of these strains are the building blocks of chem dog

    December 11, 2019 at 10:38 am Reply

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