Take the highway down the winding coast of Western Canada to the state of California, just about an hour north of San Francisco, and you’ll see it: rolling hills and lush forests with emerald green as far as the eye can see. It’s weed and you’re in the middle of the Emerald Triangle!
Known by weed connoisseurs across the country as the backbone of the cannabis industry in the United States, and it ranks as some of the best cannabis in the world.
But what is the Emerald Triangle? How did they end up with such great cannabis strains? And how does it stack up against Canadian bud? Read on to learn more!
What is the Emerald Triangle? Emerald Triangle Definition
The Emerald Triangle is a hilly region that spans a cluster of counties on the coast of Northern California. It sits where Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and Trinity County meet.
While all three counties are known for their next-level marijuana, the crown jewel of the Emerald Triangle in Humboldt County is a relatively small wedge of land at just over 10,000 square miles– roughly 0.2% of the USA’s land.
Yet, by some accounts, it produces more than 70% of the annual cannabis production in the United States! Humboldt County weed is so good, it comes with its own proof of origin. and you can tell it’s high quality when you try it!
So what makes Emerald Triangle cannabis so great?
According to some tokers, there are a few factors.
The Emerald Triangle is a prime location for outdoor cannabis cultivation. The weather is temperate year-round, as is the case in much of Northern California. The balance between the rainy season and abundant California sunshine is perfect for growing cannabis.
It lends an authenticity to California cannabis– and especially to Emerald Triangle cannabis–that areas with more variable weather just can’t match.
When you’re growing your cannabis indoors, you definitely miss out on the natural benefits of outdoor-grown cannabis. Cannabis critics that this the region’s unique temperature and climate creates a “terroir” for the weed-grown there, similar to how the Bordeaux and Champagne regions of France have their own special micro-climate.
In some spots in Humboldt, the shade from giant redwood forests filters the sunlight on the cannabis to keep the crops cool. The land in this county is uniquely suited to grow weed.
Indeed, what Napa Valley does for grapes, the Emerald Triangle does for cannabis crops! But there’s more to the Emerald Triangle than just redwood forests and sunshine.
The Start of the Emerald Triangle
The Emerald Triangle has a bit of a storied history, and it all began with the hippie generation!
In the late ’60s, the Summer of Love was in full swing in California.
Hippies flocked to the San Francisco area to celebrate peace and love. They were inspired to live off the land and become closer to nature, and the relatively rural Emerald Triangle attracted many of them. And of course, as hippies, they smoked marijuana.
Lots of marijuana.
After the Summer of Love ended, many of the hippies that came to San Francisco never left California.
Those who settled in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties found that the weather made it easy to cultivate crops and live off the land. And, as hippies, they were more likely to become cannabis farmers.
The years passed, but these three counties kept their rich cannabis culture. You’ll still find 70-year-old hippies in the Emerald Triangle, smoking top-tier, AAAA gas bud cultivated with over 50 years of expertise as cannabis growers.
More recently, California legalized cannabis, taking much of the Emerald Triangle’s prime export off the black market and making it legal (and therefore easier to sell). This also caused more people to flock to the fertile land of the Emerald Triangle to grow cannabis themselves, further bolstering the cannabis industry in the region.
Between these factors, the Emerald Triangle is filled with people who know cannabis, smoke cannabis and grow cannabis. But they’re not the only ones on the West coast of North America that have grown extraordinary marijuana.
BC Bud – A Contender For the Best?
A place as rich in history, knowledge of cannabis, and good weather as Humboldt is a prime contender for the best bud in the world. But British Columbia is just 900 miles away– a one or two-day car ride. BC is also known for outdoor cannabis growing, and it also has mild weather, lots of sun and lush forests.
Someone visiting the area might wonder: which should I visit? Which is better, California bud or BC bud?
The answer, of course, is subjective.
Anecdotally, users rave about BC cannabis, with the far-western province sharing as much of a storied history with cannabis as the Emerald Triangle itself.
In the 1920s, prohibition was in full swing and many Canadians crossed the border to make their fortune. They created smuggling routes that still exist today, providing the foundation in the decades following prohibition that allowed for BC bud to flourish.
When the Vietnam war started a few decades later, some 30,000 draft dodgers and veterans left the states to seek refuge in the great Canadian north. As they fled, many brought cannabis seeds from Vietnam and America with them. With their newfound home sporting such lush forests, temperate temperatures and liberal attitudes regarding weed, they set up shop and established themselves as weed growers and they never looked back.
But which locale has the better weed?
More objectively, BC bud has won numerous awards, including The Cannabis cup: a prestigious award reserved for the best strains of cannabis in the world.
But what makes BC marijuana better?
There are many possible reasons. It could be small variations in weather or growing practices. But it may also come down to the PH in the soil.
At one location in Humboldt County, California, the California Soil Resource Lab’s soil measurements were mostly neutral at 7.0 PH. BC, on the other hand, has naturally acidic soil. One source states that 8.5 million acres of Western Canada soil have a PH between 6.1 and 6.5. While this is a problem for some crops, it’s great for cannabis.
In the world of weed, it’s said that cannabis plants grow optimally at a PH between 6.3 and 6.8 because this is the range in which they best absorb nutrients. “The pH in the growing medium of any plant has a massive effect on the availability of the nutrients in the medium at the plant’s roots,” one expert explains.
And while you can manipulate the PH of soil with various additives, there’s something to be said for an area with naturally optimal growing conditions.
So while both the Emerald Triangle and BC have great weather for growing cannabis outdoors, the BC cannabis may be absorbing more of that fresh air and sunshine.
The more nutrients they absorb, the higher the THC content, which makes it more potent, fresh and dank!
The Emerald Triangle – Better Than Bermuda
All of this comparison between Californian weed and BC bud is, of course, just theoretical.
It’s impossible to pinpoint what makes BC marijuana superior. But whether it’s the growing conditions or something else, in our opinion, BC cannabis is unmatched. BC bud offers a unique flavour when smoked and a different high than that of California cannabis. And when it comes down to it, even Emerald Triangle marijuana can’t compete with the best bud in BC.
But if you’re not convinced, we highly recommend making the drive through both BC and the Emerald Triangle to try them both. You won’t be disappointed with the weed in either place as they’re both exceptional.
And if you do make the trip to BC and the Emerald Triangle, make sure you let us know your favourite!