While it has a name that conjures up the sinister American defense contractor or the epic Game of Thrones battle, Blackwater is a heavy indica strain with a much more laid-back vibe. This variety is a cross between two celebrated California strains: the fruity Mendocino Purple from NorCal and L.A.’s own hashy San Fernando Valley (SFV) OG Kush. With very sticky flowers and a pleasant, floaty high, it’s no wonder this strain won 3rd Best Indica in the 2014 Cannabis Cup. Blackwater’s THC, as measured by cannabis lab Analytics 360, can range from 10% to a potent 20%.
Blackwater’s chunky buds have a classically indica bud structure: leaves are densely-packed and tightly curled in on themselves when properly cured. High resin production makes the leaves adhere in large, solid flowers rather than popcorn-like nuggets. The flowers appear dark green, with some phenotypes showing flashes of purple inherited from the Mendocino Purple parent strain; this latter color comes about when high concentrations of specific pigments are activated by colder than average weather in the cultivation process. Blackwater’s large, colorful buds are covered in a substantial layer of trichomes, often making them difficult to break apart by hand. This strain’s “bag appeal” persists even after the bag is cracked open -- users will notice a deeply sweet smell of berry and grape to complement its purple hues. Taking time to break open the flowers will also show evidence of the Afghani landrace lineage, with an unmistakably herbal, hashy smell. When burnt, Blackwater gives off an incense-like smoke that is surprisingly smooth for an indica. The satisfying hit finishes with a fruity and vaguely skunky cloud that may linger for a while.
Definitely a strain made for staying in and not venturing out, Blackwater offers a palpable indica body stone. Although it mounts slowly, smokers shouldn’t underestimate this high’s ability to comfortably pin them down in their surroundings. Within minutes, a sense of calm envelops the core and spreads down through the limbs, allowing users to breathe comfortably and easily. Although there may be some psychedelic changes in perception like visual distortion, cerebral thinking isn’t common; users should expect a more dreamy high, perfect for unwinding with a movie or some favorite music without bothering to follow along or reflect too intensely. This full body high intensifies as greater amounts are consumed. Medically speaking, these narcotic effects have diverse applications. Blackwater’s physical numbing makes it an effective painkiller for those with aches and pains, whether incidental from exercise or injury, or more chronic caused by conditions like fibromyalgia. It can even relieve some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy treatment. Blackwater is also helpful for stress-related conditions like anxiety and PTSD, temporarily melting away preoccupations and concerns. In large enough doses, this strain can induce deep sleep for those who suffer from insomnia. With a high that lasts longer than average, Blackwater is known to be one potent indica, even for those with a high tolerance for THC.
Although it may be more difficult to track down, Blackwater can be grown as a clone, from clippings of other plants, or from packaged retail seed. Cultivation can happen in or outdoors. Outdoor growing requires a consistently warm and semi-humid climate, with daytime temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Growers have more control over conditions indoors, and the short, bushy plants -- which are as classically indica as this strain’s buds -- take well to limited grow spaces. Growers are encouraged to “top” plants throughout the vegetative process, by trimming any broad, light-blocking fan leaves to allow light and air to reach the lower flowering branches. Blackwater flowers within 8 to 10 weeks when grown indoors and offers an average yield. Because of this strain’s prized taste and THC content, growers should also take care to properly cure their buds, first hanging them for a week in warm surroundings with 50% humidity and then jarring them (and regularly checking them for mold) in similarly warm conditions with 60-65% humidity.
Increasingly popular in recreational west coast markets, Blackwater is a great strain for kicking back in the evening -- or at least during a slow day without obligations. Its heavy body stone and great flavor are a treat whether you’re alone at the end of a workday or kicking back with some good friends. Blackwater’s high resin production can also be valuable when producing hash or other concentrates; its unique flavor can carry over into these concentrates as well. A true knockout, Blackwater can be a fun introduction to indicas, but newcomers should moderate intake pending their individual tolerance.