You know that a cannabis strain is significant when the deans of Oxford decide to define it! That’s right, the sativa landrace Acapulco Gold is listed in the 1964 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. According to Oxford dons, “Acapulco Gold” refers to one of the highest quality and highest potency marijuana landrace strains.
Although cannabis culture has changed since the 1960s, Acapulco Gold remains one of the best-known high-end cultivars. Beloved by pro athletes and Hollywood celebrities, this sativa-dominant hybrid lives up to its hype with above-average THC counts, delicious aromatics, and gorgeous gold leaves. While you might have to pawn some gold jewelry to afford this luxurious strain, most tokers say it’s worth the expense.
A Brief History of Acapulco Gold
Despite Acapulco Gold’s storied past, cannabis experts still have no idea how, where, or when this sativa emerged. At this point, we only know that Acapulco Gold originated somewhere on the Pacific side of Mexico near the town of Acapulco. Most tests reveal Acapulco Gold has an 80/20 sativa-to-indica ratio, but what genes went into this landrace is anyone’s guess.
It seems Acapulco Gold first entered North America during the swinging 60s. In fact, this sativa appears to have been most popular in centers of “higher” education. Get this: students at Columbia University allegedly formed an “underground railroad” to Mexico to get this strain on campus!
From the 60s onwards, Acapulco Gold became a catch-all term for “high-end weed.” It’s not hard to find references to Acapulco Gold in various films, songs, and books. For instance, listen to the live version of Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away.” Yes, Robert Plant added a quick nod to “Acapulco Gold!”
There are many explanations for why Acapulco Gold became so popular, but the main reason has to do with its incredible THC count. Average THC in Acapulco Gold is in the 20 – 24 percent range. Very few strains back in the 60s offered a high as intense as Acapulco Gold. Heck, THC over 20 percent is still considered high potency, so a dose of Acapulco Gold must have blown all those Baby Boomers away!
Acapulco Gold’s Appearance
Cultivators didn’t just name Acapulco Gold after it’s high-end status. Indeed, another one of this strain’s claims to fame is its unique gold color.
When properly cured, Acapulco Gold has a gorgeous assortment of orange and brown pistils that give it a remarkable amber sheen. The thick layer of resin and occasional streaks of yellow also help give this strain a luxurious “shine.”
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this golden appearance. Since Acapulco Gold is such a lucrative strain, some unscrupulous growers have used herbicides to give their marijuana a fake amber sheen. Indeed, investigative reporters found that many Mexican cultivars in the 70s had high traces of toxic compounds.
Due to Acapulco Gold’s high price and even higher reputation, customers must ensure their buds were raised on an organic farm. Hopefully, as the cannabis industry goes mainstream, it will be easier for customers to verify the purity of their Acapulco Gold nugs.
Acapulco Gold’s Flavors
Acapulco Gold’s aromatics are just as alluring as its gold appearance. People who are fortunate enough to try this strain often describe a wide range of sweet flavors like rich caramel, dark coffee, and honey. Other secondary flavors tokers frequently report include hazelnuts, pine, and ginger. If you consider yourself a “cannasseur,” you’ll have a lovely time savoring this strain’s decadent terpene profile.
Speaking of terpenes, Acapulco Gold cultivars usually have high traces of the woodsy alpha-pinene. Naturally found in pine trees, alpha-pinene is most responsible for earthy aromatics in many marijuana strains. Fascinating new research also suggests alpha-pinene may have uplifting effects, which could explain why sativas often have this terpene in high concentrations.
Another terpene that’s often in Acapulco Gold is the spicy beta-caryophyllene. Although most often associated with black pepper, beta-caryophyllene can also be found in plants like hops and cloves.
Acapulco Gold’s Effects
Unsurprisingly, Acapulco Gold’s effects lean on the energizing end of the spectrum. Although the indica traces help keep sativa stimulation in check, it’s not enough to make Acapulco Gold a bedtime strain. On the other hand, Acapulco Gold isn’t exactly a “wake-and-bake” strain.
While most people who take Acapulco Gold experience the standard sativa effects (e.g., head-rush high and euphoria), these energizing effects usually aren’t overwhelming. Unlike strains like Green Crack, Acapulco Gold is well-balanced enough to provide a clear-headed, euphoric high early in the day.
That being said, there’s always a risk Acapulco Gold could induce paranoia. If you’re new to smoking marijuana, you should approach Acapulco Gold with caution. Tokers should also know that dry eyes and a scratchy throat are common Acapulco Gold side effects.
How To Grow Acapulco Gold?
With its long history of outdoor cultivation, it’s no wonder Acapulco Gold seeds perform best in warm and sunny climates. It’s recommended you plant your Acapulco Gold outdoors in direct sunlight for the highest possible yield. Although Acapulco Gold could grow well in any warm region, it will always perform best in subtropical zones.
Of course, not every Acapulco Gold lover is fortunate enough to live in sunny Central America. Hence, many cannabis cultivators in Europe and North America have attempted to replicate this strain’s environment indoors.
At this point, even the best indoor cultivators can’t seem to match the high-quality of outdoor Acapulco Gold buds. Still, it’s not impossible to grow this strain indoors as long as you have plenty of space to accommodate its tall height.
If you couldn’t already tell, Acapulco Gold isn’t the best strain for beginner home-growers. Like most other sativas, this landrace strain requires a little extra TLC. Be sure to master your green thumb on easier indicas and hybrids before moving on to this costly and time-consuming landrace.
It usually takes about 10 – 11 weeks for Acapulco Gold seeds to reach peak maturity. You should expect moderate yields of about 1.7 oz per ft2.
What Strains Are Similar To Acapulco Gold?
Since Acapulco Gold is such an expensive strain, many cannasseurs ask whether other affordable cultivars offer a similar experience. While nothing quite compares with authentic Acapulco Gold, there are a few easier-to-obtain strains that might satisfy your cravings.
In terms of appearance and flavor, the hybrid Kelly Hill Gold is about as close as you could get to Acapulco Gold—which makes sense considering Acapulco Gold is one of its parent strains! Many tokers who smoke this amber-hued hybrid say it has all the sweet toffee and bitter coffee you’d expect in Acapulco buds. While this strain may look and smell like Acapulco Gold, it has a more sedating effect thanks to the inclusion of Chemdawg 4.
Another good alternative to Acapulco Gold is the sativa landrace Durban Poison. First created in the 1970s, Durban Poison is a rare 100 percent sativa landrace that has exceptionally energizing effects. If you’re going to try this licorice-laced strain, be sure to prepare yourself for a potent euphoric high.
Acapulco Gold – The Definition Of Decadent Weed...Literally
Despite ever-increasing hybridization in the cannabis industry, tokers are still clamoring for high-quality Acapulco Gold buds. No matter how much we learn about indoor growing techniques, many connoisseurs continue to believe Mother Nature grows best. Because Acapulco Gold was perfected outdoors, it’s one of the few strains that retains its connection to the natural world. Yes, you may have to trade a few golden nuggets to try these golden nugs, but we bet you won’t be disappointed.