Thailand took another step forward with cannabis in 2023. The quality amongst the top growers increased exponentially when compared to the market in 2022—while at the same time the ranks of excellent growers increased with new contenders finding their legs. The increase in quality threw my rating system into disarray. Indeed, buds which were getting the highest marks in 2022, and into the first half of 2023, would struggle when compared to the highest ranked on the back half of 2023. I expect the rating system to continue developing, with higher scores given to buds increasing in quality while lower scores will be given to buds which at one point in time would have walked off with championship like accolades. As the quality of buds increased, HighThailand’s own understanding and appreciation of Thai cannabis, our community, our growers and their capabilities has grown stronger.
The following is recap of some of my favorite growers, personalities, locations, flavors, and strains for 2023. I initially was going to put together a list of my top 10 buds of the year, but such a list does not capture my feelings and appreciation for our community. Furthermore, my favorite buds are not necessarily the best or highest quality buds. Indeed, I have emotional ties to some buds, as well as to the growers and purveyors. To this end, my list of my favorites has grown longer and more disorganized, but I have tried to organize them in a half assed way.
Most Meticulous and Detail Oriented (biggest nerds in Thailand—and I say this with admiration and love): these growers live and die within the smallest variations to their grows. They watch us and our reactions as closely as they watch their flowers:
Canis Major: The most meticulous man in Thailand would be successful in anything he touches. Favorites include, Da Funk (floral, prune, Dr. Pepper), Rozay Cake (syrupy sweet, concentrated coca cola cherry Slurpee), Exotic (sweet forest berry, cherry Twizzler, herbs, spiced anise).
Fire Farms: Their love and huge personalities are only surpassed by the loudness of their buds. Favorites include Jealousy (gassy, earthy sweet, roasted sesame), Permanent Marker Pheno 2 (sour citrus sweet soda, syrup, pepper), Candy Crush (citrus, berries, bananas, earthy, herbal, hint of spice).
Terpie Garden: the youngest in this group wins the Apt Pupil Award. Favorites include Truffle Treats (skunky layers of berries, green apple gas, nuts, earth, garlic and spice) and Jelly Donutz (berries, candy, gas and sex).
The Best of Academia: The two buds below are at educational facilities here in the Kingdom. We hope that in 2024 there is more of a concerted effort throughout our community and the education system to present the facts and actual knowledge on cannabis throughout the community. It is wonderful that the universities can grow great bud—but they must share knowledge and raise the level of understanding throughout society as well.
Teera Botanical (Kasetsart University): Colorado Chem (earthy, lime chemical, stimulated).
Grow Master (Chulalongkorn University): East Side Mac (sour, sweet, gassy, euphoric).
Biggest Mouth and Biggest Heart Award: Beer Soranut. Beer has been in the cannabis limelight since way before legalization. He is incredibly outspoken, expressing whatever is on his mind, seemingly sometimes, against his own interests. But Beer is a wealth of knowledge and understands the market like no one else. Beer has been a source of great information for HighThailand and myself. In fact, Beer opened our eyes to the connection between a cultural renaissance and the legalization of Cannabis in Thailand and routinely gives us an unfiltered view of what is going around in our community. At the same time Beer has been a great friend to HighThailand and he has personally supported me in difficult and painful times. The only thing bigger than Beer’s mouth is his heart. We love and appreciate him.
Best quality strain I am tired of, Emergen-C: Power Puff, Underground Grower and most recently Actera/Taratera have shown off their growing prowess with this Emergen-C. They all have demonstrated award winning capabilities with this super orange, tang like bud. I never thought I would be in a position of being tired of a superb and high quality bud—but I am. I need at least a three month break from Emergen-C to start off 2024.
Home away from Home: There is a long list of dispensaries and shops which we frequent and hangout in, but there are two which always feel like home:
Ganjana, the home of T-Rex, PowerPuff, Olive the Gardener and Underground Grower, is a quite a schlep for the Asoke based HighThailand team, but we find ourselves returning time after time to hang out with some of our favorite people and growers. Ganjana is a low pressure, super chill place to enjoy amazing buds (including their own cultivars of Robert’s Mints by T-Rex, and SSY7 and Sticky Jasmine from Underground Grower). Ganjana is such a chill, laid back place, it is easy to forget that it is actually a concentration of Thai cannabis history—housing the kingdom’s most prolific growers. For us it just feels like home.
Never Not High, managed and curated by Tops Deep and owned by the incredible bands the Jukks and Kiki, is a center of Thai cannabis culture in the heart of Chinatown’s Soi Nana. NNH has become the de facto headquarters for HighThailand as we put together our new UpperCut project where we both are allowed to host growers, and where Top’s has generously hosted us. NNH flows seamlessly with the rest of the Soi Nana neighborhood with food vendors, restaurants, cafes, bars all part of the NNH experience, and with NNH part of the Soi Nana experience. No trip to NNH is complete without a full meal, music, rich discussion, ice cream and even a quick trip to nearby dispensary Amelie. It is the ultimate example of comfortable culture.
Favorite Old School Grower: EightySix Cannabis Company.86 grows some of the most interesting strains from a wide array of cultivars. The buds generally have old school flavors and are presented with more traditional manicuring. Something I really appreciate. My favorite buds from 86 include special Reserve Cookies III (sweet and tart, dried strawberries mixed with cream), Red Chili Truffle (chili infused dark chocolate), Ghosts of NYC (pine, lemon/lime, gas, sprite and sex).
Honorable mention goes to OCG, who are growing and introducing exciting high quality strains to Thailand (Bath House and French Perfume—not necessarily old school strains, but old school attitude). We will be keeping a close eye on them in 2024.
Eye opening buds. We end our awards with a list of first impression buds from growers we were introduced to in 2023. These buds opened our eyes to these grower’s talents and we are super excited to see what they come up with next! For more details, read our reviews on HighThailand.com.
22BabyFace, Golden Poppy: floral, (citrus and mango and spicy)
Arasaka 420, Octane 91, (gas, pine, menthol and sweet earth)
Green Space, Night Moves, (dank, sweet blueberry, herbs and mint)
Medicana Lab, Purple Thai, (sweet kosher wine)
Tropical Thunder/Tropical Pistachio, Honey Tree (lavender, camphor, herbs, and kerosene)
Yoda Can Grow, Lemon Grab (lemon, honey, and tangerines)
That’s a wrap for 2023. We are jumping into an exciting new project in 2024 with the launch of our UpperCut Competition on January 14, 2024 at Never Not High in ChinaTown. We hope to see all of you there! Keep your eyes on HighThailand’s social media, webpage, YouTube and Discord for more information about UpperCut and our upcoming events. We plan to take the entire Thai Cannabis Community on a journey and hope you will join the ride in 2024.
Happy New Year!