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Southern African nation Malawi is one of the most prolific grower of cannabis in its region. Primarily produced for (illegal) export, Malawi’s indigenous sativa strain -- known eponymously as Malawi, and sometimes Malawi Gold -- is prized internationally for its complex flavor profile and its strong, intensely cerebral high. Cannabis testing lab Analytical 360 has tested multiple samples of Malawi and found them to have a potency ranging from 14% to 24% THC.
Those familiar with the wispy, elongated buds characteristic of indigenous Thai sativas (sometimes known as Thai stick) will see a similar silhouette in Malawi’s flowers. The mossy green leaves are long and tapered, in contrast to the short and tightly-coiled leaves often seen in indica varieties and crossbreeds. These leaves cling together in a ragged, fluffy-looking bud structure and are easily torn away from their central stems. A high volume of trichomes also makes Malawi very sticky and difficult to break up without the use of a quality grinder. Malawi’s flowers give off a very sweet, almost candy-like smell, tinged with some berry fruitiness. The subtle aroma of coffee beans is also at play, lending a nutty and toasty character to the bouquet. A subtle lemon scent rounds out this strain’s odor and becomes even more prevalent on the exhale. When combusted, Malawi burns with a smooth and lung-expanding smoke.
Malawi’s high takes hold almost immediately, providing a burst of social energy and sharpening smokers’ senses. All surroundings and stimuli, however mundane, suddenly become interesting and dynamic on their own merits. Malawi’s power to provoke thoughtfulness isn’t entirely analytical, though -- smokers have a more hazy and dreamlike mood while exercising their enhanced powers of perception. Visual and auditory distortions are also commonly reported, adding to this strain’s psychedelic nature. Malawi’s easygoing and somewhat mystical high is particularly well-suited to spending time outdoors; many fans of the strain describe enjoying it on a hike, at the beach, or simply as a supplement to an idle stroll. Malawi can also inspire creativity, giving users the energy to work on innovative projects. Almost totally devoid of the physically relaxing effects that come with indica strains, Malawi is much more likely to keep users wired and energetic than lazy and couch locked. This high is long-lasting even for more experienced cannabis users and is best enjoyed during the day. Finally, as with any strain, the smoker’s set and setting can have a great impact on their experiences; as such, those planning to enjoy Malawi may want to curate their surroundings for optimal mellow vibes.
Malawi’s mental effects can have some psychological benefits for medical cannabis patients. Its euphoria and energy can help those with mild to moderate cases of stress and depression to temporarily let go of tensions and live more deliberately “in the moment.” Its sustained sense of focus can also help patients with attention deficit disorders to work consistently on single tasks. Because of its cerebral intensity, Malawi may prove overwhelming for smokers who have a low THC tolerance or are prone to panic or anxiety.
Prospective growers can purchase seeds of Malawi from producers like ACE Seeds. The strain has strong landrace genetics, fine-tuned over generations of deliberate breeding in the country’s high elevations and tropical climate. As a result, it is an especially durable and resilient grow: the plants are naturally resistant to mold and mildew, as well as to temperature variations. Although native to Southern Africa, Malawi can be successfully cultivated in regions as far north as New England. Plants grow very tall and may require pruning or trimming to fit inside indoor spaces. This sativa takes an incredibly long time to reach maturity, flowering anywhere between 11 and 14 weeks when grown indoors and ready for harvest in early November when grown outdoors.
Malawi may be somewhat difficult to come by, depending on your region. Although popular in American dispensaries in the Pacific Northwest, it is not regularly stocked further east. Seasoned smokers looking for a strong, long-lasting, and potentially spiritual experience should jump at the chance to sample this storied strain. Malawi’s stability has made it valuable in crossbreeding -- it has been used to create strains like Golden Tiger.