We love the Jam Rock for a ton of reasons, but certainly for the cannabis. Jamaica law allows 2 ounces of personal possession for both residents and visitors and trust us, there is no shortage of cannabis in Jamaica. Our first trip to Jamaica was in early 2020 prior to really ramping up our business operations. We spent time exploring the island and the cuisine native to the Caribbean Island, but we also spent time with the Rastas exploring their cultivation methods, the usage of cannabis in Jamaica and how the locals really use the crops for medicine and healing.
Local Market, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 2020
We stayed up in the heights of Montego Bay on our first trip with the most excellent Air BNB host, Val. Val introduced us to Leonard who was the most excellent personal driver and guide, and now a very good friend! Staying in the city rather than at a hotel or in a resort provided us with an amazing perspective of Jamaican life. It also didn't hurt that the coolest dude in MoBay was our personal driver. Leonard has been driving in MoBay for what seems like centuries. He seems to know everyone and everything in MoBay. Traveling to and through Jamaica this way offered us an amazing viewpoint and provided an amazing and eye opening experience, especially towards cannabis.
Air BNB, Jamaica 2020
In America cannabis is often treated as a narcotic due to the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. THC is a cannabinoid that develops far into the cultivation window of cannabis. The stages are infancy, growth, vegetation, and flowering. THC only shows up in the flowering stage of cannabis. To our surprise many Rastafarians and Jamaican Locals use the infant plants more than they use the flowers from the cannabis. Why though? CBG and CBD develop early on in the plants. Before any cannabinoid is CBD or THC or CBN, it is CBG. CBG is the mother of all cannabinoids. If you follow our blogs regularly you know that CBG and CBD are much less of the recreational aspect of cannabis and more so the medicinal and therapeutic side of the plant.
It seems that while many Rastafarians do ingest the flowers for the THC, they also use the plant for a variety of medicinal and therapeutic applications. When we first began to explore the use of cannabis in Jamaica this was extremely eye opening. We were exploring CBD and non-psychoactive cannabinoids in America; however, we were completely shocked that the primary use of cannabis in Jamaica was for exactly this: Medicine.
In this blog we are going to (try) to explain some of the experiences we’ve had in Jamaica and tell you about the variety of uses, strains and applications of cannabis in Jamaica.
Cannabis in Jamaica
Jamaica is absolutely FULL of cannabis. Its everywhere, and everyone has some of it. But why? Well first you must understand that medicine isn’t as readily available in Jamaica as it is in more developed countries. As such, the culture has grown and evolved around natural remedies and herbal supplements which can be found on the island. Cannabis isn’t just smoked to get one high, and it isn’t used primarily for intoxication. Studies conducted in the US have shown significant benefits to cannabis beyond the recreational aspects. Cannabis has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress and anxiety, increase sleep and rest, decrease inflammation and swelling, decrease nausea, improve congestion and a variety of other things. Well, you tell us, if you didn’t have medicine and had a plant to help with so many issues, wouldn’t you cling to it as well?!
Drew with a "Stick", MoBay, Jamaica, 2020
Primary applications of cannabis in Jamaica pertain to medicinal or therapeutic uses. In America, especially in legal states, the potency of THC in marijuana is insane. Rastas and Jamaican locals seem to focus on other parts of the plant along with THC and for good reason. Don’t get us wrong, the Rastas love the Chalices, but everyday cannabis use pertains to headaches, nausea and overall wellbeing. Similar to our CBD oils, many Rastas will extract the cannabinoids from infant plants and place them into oils for easy, everyday use. Now keep in mind, there is no THC in these infant plants. So we have to assume it is the CBD and CBG that they are looking to extract for over all health! We would love to run lab analysis and see what is really in these oils and extracts!
Prior to our time with the Rastas we just assumed Jamaicans were smoking down on the finest of Doja all day everyday. Little did we know, they were primarily using extracts and CBD! But don’t get us mistaken. There are a TON of great growers in Jamaica with some exceptional flower!
The Best Weed in Jamaica
Weed in Jamaica is much different than American cannabis. American cannabis is potent, like holy moly wow potent (or at least can be). Most of the flower in Jamaica seems to be a hybrid of CBD and THC, but again, we would need testing to know. Rasta weed puts you in a very relaxed and in tune state. Its certainly a thing of its own. When you use real Rasta weed you feel like you are more in tune with your surroundings and with nature. The more you smoke the more in tune, relaxed and at peace you become. There doesn’t seem to be this overwhelming effect if you continue to ingest. There doesn’t even really seem to be a point of over ingesting, you just kind of quit smoking cause you feel so good.
The best weed in Jamaica can be found on the West End of the
Island in Westmoreland. Westmoreland is famous for its top shelf cannabis, even
in Jamaica. In 2020 we visited the Blue Hole in Westmoreland and discovered
some truly amazing strains.
Westmoreland, Jamaica, 2021
The Blue Hole is at an old plantation up in the heights of West Moreland. It is a natural spring that’s ever-flowing fresh water and the inside of the ‘cave’ is full of mineral clays which are amazing for skin health. The water level is 24 feet below the ground which makes for a breathtaking but fun fall into the freshest water you have ever swam in.
Blue Hole, Negril, Jamaica, 2020
We took a jump into the abyss and climbed back out both enthused and frightened from the drop. It wasn’t long before we decided it was time to grab a bite before we continued our shenanigans. That’s when it happened. I ordered food, some fries and chicken tenders or something, and stepped back to wait. While I was waiting, I was soaking in the scenery and checking my surroundings when I noticed a young local man breaking up bud with scissors. This guy was literally holding a solid blue bud, something I have NEVER seen before in all of our experiences with cannabis. I had to dive in, I had to try this flower and I had to learn how they grew it. So I approached the young man and said, “Hey mon, did you grow this stuff? This looks amazing.” He was beyond enthused at my compliments and was extremely excited to share his flower with us. He explained to me that the seeds were Blue Hawaiian that had made its way to Jamaica generations ago, and now it is called Blue Jamaican because they crossed this flower with Rastafarian genetics. But that wasn’t all.
He had Maui Waui, Blue Jamaica, some form of Sour Diesel and there was an older American gentlemen who also had his own strains that he cultivates on the island. A lot of the bud found in Jamaica would be like mid grade American weed. I was looking at 6 different strains of top shelf dispensary marijuana. I had to learn more!
Cannabis Cultivation in Jamaica - Westmoreland
These gentlemen went on to explain the cultivation methods and why this flower was so different from other strains I had encountered even in Jamaica. They invited us to go up further into the heights and look at the greenhouses and grows but we were staying about 2 hours from here and did not have the time in the day unfortunately, so we had to decline the offer, however, we spoke long enough for me to get an idea of the techniques. In our most recent trip (2021), I was shown the application.
Up in the cliffs of West Moreland the rocks are what they call Honeycomb rocks. Imagine something like lava rock, very porous and light rocks. It is in fact limestone. The West End locals put about 1 foot of naturally fertilized soil (more on this in a bit) over this rock and plant the seeds in the soil. As the plants root themselves they leave the soil and find these porous rocks beneath. Once they root themselves into this rock they open the door to a new world of cultivation that infuses hydroponic, soil and arid growth techniques all into one natural cultivar.
Video of a grow in Westmoreland, Soil over rocks, Jamaica 2021
When it rains the nutrients from the soil and the rain water flow downward into the rocks, becoming partially trapped, bringing in all sort of nutrients which improve the health, growth, vegetation and flowering of the plants. As the water works into the rocks, it releases further nutrients and mineral into the roots. Limestone is loaded with Magnesium, a nutrient that cannabis loves. The wind is flowing Westward through the Caribbean as well and being that we are talking about the west end of the island these plants are getting a wild treatment of minerals straight from the ocean, constantly. In addition, the Rastas say that the rock is so porous that the wind carries from the ocean surface through the cliffs rocks to the roots of the plants as well, providing the roots with additional arid nutrients.
At Best Buds we are all about cannabis. We love meeting new boutique growers and large scale farmers, checking out all the new growing technology and techniques and we certainly love seeing bud from all over the country. With that said, we can guarantee you that no where else in the World is cannabis being cultivated like they do it in Westmoreland!
Nutrients in Jamaican Cultivation
While we are sure there are people who fall out side of this
practice in Jamaica, true natural cannabis is a thing to be discussed as well.
In America we are prohibited from using pesticides and chemicals in cannabis growth
in both the hemp and marijuana industries. All the nutrients are organic and
safe, as they should be. However; in our most recent trip (2021) we learned that
while this is organic and absolutely incredible, by Jamaican standards this is not
TRUE natural cannabis.
'True natural' cannabis has to do with where its grown and where all of the resources came from to cultivate the cannabis. A Rasta man is more than a phrase, a religion or an ideology. A true Rasta man lives entirely independent of a system or of outside influence. That means that everything that they do is completely and entirely dependent upon the land that they own, cultivate, and use for all of their food, resources and income. True natural Rasta weed must be done in the same manner. All the resources, nutrients and water that the plants are grown with is entirely dependent upon what they have on their own land and at the disposal. ‘True natural’ cannabis is different between each farmer because they use what is at their disposal on the land that they own. This is why the BEST weed is in Westmoreland. Westmoreland is rich with nutrients, wind, rains and porous rock perfect for cultivating. You don’t even really need to do much. Its naturally supported by the environment in a unique, organic and plentiful manner. Outside of the nutrients which the environment provides we saw a unique fertilization technique being applied in both Negril and Montego Bay.
Drew with Natural Rasta Cannabis, Negril, Jamaica 2021
Rabbit manure is four times richer in nutrients than cow or horse manure. Rabbits also breed and mature quickly making for a great source of food that is cheap and easy to raise. Both of our Rasta friends had the same technique, 2 hours away from each other. The rabbits would be caged with a thick layer of compost, like wood chips or hay of some sort. The very front of the cage would be inclined from the back and covered. At the back of the cage their was a hole that was funneled into a tube and ran to the cannabis plants. When the rain came, all of the rabbits would huddle in the front of the cage on the top of the incline. They were dry, warm and safe. In the mean time the rest of the uncovered cage would be cleaned from the rain fall and the nutrients from the manure would funnel through the pipes and into the soil for the cannabis. Rabbit manure is absolutely loaded with nutrients and contains large quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. All of which cannabis LOVES.
In one swoop the Rastas are raising food, cleaning the cages so the animals would be clean and comfortable AND fertilizing the cannabis without raising a single finger. This is growing ingenuity in its finest, most natural form!
Best Buds Jamaica
That’s the header of our concluding paragraph and our future dispensary in Montego Bay! Jamaica has so much to teach the world and the world has so much to offer Jamaica. Exploration and innovation are at the root of our business’ philosophy and we encourage everyone to explore more and learn something new every single day! International travel can be irritating and confusing sometimes, but its never, ever, ever disappointing.
If you ever want to plan a trip to Jamaica, we certainly encourage your
efforts! We can help you get around Montego Bay and Negril with our trusted
friends who happen to be private drivers. While we might not be able to get you
to the Rasta man, there is certainly plenty to explore and learn in your own
ways! Just reach out to us via email and we can put you in contact with trusted
travel planners to help you get things going and connect you with our group of
friends via WhatsApp!
Shelby, Drew and Leonard (Private Guide), Montego Bay, 2020
Thanks for reading! If you like this content let us know in the comments below! This article is a little bit different than what we normally do, but we had so much fun experiencing it that it would be a crime not to share!