Strain Spotlight – Durban Poison (Sativa)

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Landrace strains are few and far between in today’s modern cannabis landscape. In the early days of recreational cannabis, people were fortunate enough (or possibly in their eyes unfortunate enough) to mostly smoke pure Indica’s and Sativa’s. Due to overbreeding and crossing of genetics, it is incredibly rare to find a pure landrace strain these days. The original Haze strains have all but disappeared as they’ve been replaced by the results of their crossbreeding. No one is sure what the original Kush strain is anymore. Durban Poison, however, is a pure landrace strain, making it an unparalleled Sativa. Named after the Durban Port in South Africa, this native strain was popular for a long time on the local scene. Eventually, American Ed Rosenthal found the seeds and brought them back to the US.

Ed Rosenthal


Once there, he gave it to his friend, the prolific grower Mel Frank. An entire blog could, and likely soon will be dedicated to Mel Frank and his contributions towards cannabis. Just know that his impact on weed is still being felt by everyone smoking cannabis in North America today. If you’re curious, you can check out his Instagram where he still posts pictures to this day of his adventures in growing and his memories of the cannabis industry. Frank mastered the strain and passed on the genetics to Sam the Skunkman in the Netherlands, where the strain flourished in popularity.

The result of their combined efforts is not only one of the best Sativa strains, but one of the best strains in cannabis.

Mel Frank and friend in Cazadero, Sonoma County, CA, 1977.


When you open the bag you’re met with a powerful wave of pleasant herbal goodness with a citrusy tang. It has that smell that is unique to Sativa’s with that kind of lemon zest smell. The taste is incredible. The inhale and exhale taste like a fruit salad. Some cannabis can smell amazing and even taste good on the inhale, but you’re left with a burnt taste that reminds you that you definitely just smoked plant matter. Durban Poison has none of that. It tastes clean and remains that way the whole way through. Tastes really nice in a joint but would be great in a bong or vaporized too.


Depending on the batch, some buds are covered in gorgeous purple, while all have dark shades of green covered in a thick frost. Every time I see it come in, I can recognize it by sight. That is if the smell doesn’t give it away first. The buds are hefty and spongy, all very sticky with resin. You can get some huge nugs out of Durban Poison, however, it all depends on that specific phenotype.


A lot of people can be somewhat put off by Sativa’s as some feel overwhelmed by the euphoric and energetic effects, and they would not be blamed in having the same concerns regarding Durban Poison.owever, this strain manages to encapsulate all of the best Sativa qualities while remaining very manageable. You should still take it slow, as with any new strain, but this is an ideal beginning of the day or after-lunch strain to keep your mind focused and task-oriented. Just have snacks and water on hand.

Final Thoughts

You know a strain is good when its genetics are used to this day to create other award-winning strains. The proud parent of Girl Scout Cookies among many others, Durban Poison really is a bud to behold. It looks, smells and tastes like just the refreshing breeze you need right now and packs a serious punch!

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