Created from three sativas—an early-‘70s Colombian Gold male, a Thai from the mountains near Laos, and a Swiss native land race—combined with an indica from Nepal’s Mustang State, Harlequin was initially bred to be a hash-producer.
Its creator, Mr. Green of the House of David Collective, was prompted to have its CBD levels tested when some of his friends reported that while they loved the smell, taste, and frosty appearance of the strain, it didn’t get them very high. Harlequin tested at a surprising 7% CBD and 7% THC—though it is worth noting that the specific phenotype reviewed for this article tested at an astounding 11% CBD, and a different phenotype of the same plant tested at less than 1% CBD. Harlequin is indeed a rare find.
The smell: On the live plant, Harlequin smells reminiscent of musky, sweet, sugar loaf pineapple. Mango-esque, tropical fruit fluffs up the melon and cantaloupe scents. The cured bud brings out deep currents of slightly-mentholated, overripe plum.
The dry hit: The soft scent of mentholated dried mango swirls around the tongue, punctuated by the flavor of overripe peaches. Mild, floral undertones balance out the deep richness.
The flavor: Harlequin coats the mouth with a thick, rich, almost Nepalese blond hash-like taste. Its dominant flavor is nonetheless fruity and sweet, like berry bubblegum, with candied ginger highlights. A faint tinge of organic non-sulfur dried mangos rounds out the bottom end, and a delicate touch of liliquoi lingers in the aftertaste.
The cloud: Exhaling Harlequin produces a dense fog of sweet incense, with a soothing, soft and spicy sandalwood scent.
The high: Harlequin has vast applications and affects people in very diverse ways. Many patients are blown away by it—often for its therapeutic benefits.
For those who wake up frequently in the night and rely on cannabis to get back to sleep, Harlequin may be the key to a peaceful rest. Still, other patients say that HQ wakes them up too much to be useful as a sleeping aid. Research confirms that CBD can both increase alertness as well as have sedative effects, depending on the dosage. Harlequin is also known as a pain reliever, among countless other things.
Breeder Mr. Green says that to him, Harlequin is “like a sunny day.” He likens the sensation to the “warm, glowy feeling that radiates from within” after a hot bath. It gives him an endorphin rush akin to that which results from love-making and exercise. It is not a psychoactive high; he just “feels gooooood,” he gushed. He’s also noticed that HQ’s subtle effects produce big results—just a few tokes and he instantly feels the tension in his shoulder, jaw, and brow dissipate.
At just 7%, Harlequin’s THC content is not enough to produce the sensation of “highness” that most other cannabis strains are known for. This has tremendous advantages for those who want to partake socially but still wish to keep their wits about them. Harlequin won’t cause a “pot-hangover” the morning after, making it a convenient choice for a late-night session. People with jobs that require them to be alert might find Harlequin a workable option, as may those who want to indulge yet remain fully present for school, workouts, or family functions.
Cannabis consumers overwhelmingly report that they experience no paranoia or anxiety when they ingest Harlequin, and some say it even cures anxiety and paranoia brought on by other, more THC-rich strains. For those who think cannabis is too strong these days, and are prone to nervousness, anxiety, and lethargy as side effects, Harlequin may seem ideal.
Meanwhile, still other patients maintain that whatever ephemeral effect Harlequin may have is eclipsed by its medicinal qualities. Perhaps the group that will derive the most benefit from teh strain are those using cannabis mainly for medicinal purposes. If the primary goal is to get rid of a headache, relieve pain and stress, treat a chronic illness, or keep nausea at bay without the side effect of an altered consciousness, Harlequin is a worthy contender.
Harlequin’s clear-headed, functional high complements its tingly, mild body stone. But in spite of the fact that it’s a sativa-dominant hybrid, many cannabis consumers describe the high as neither indica nor sativa. They say it deserves its own classification, even apart from other CBD strains: mildly opiate-like and slightly dreamy, that simultaneously relaxes the body and invigorates the mind.
The grow: This is a fabulously frosty, clone-only strain that flowers quickly and requires about 60 to 70 days to finish indoors. Unlike most strains, an extended flowering time for Harlequin can actually diminish its effectiveness, because CBD degrades earlier than THC. Thus Harlequin generally tests at around 7% CBD at 10 weeks indoors while at 8 weeks, it can deliver CBD levels as high as 11.9%.
Harlequin grows so full of crystals that it will probably need cola support during the last few weeks. A medium yielder with countless medicinal uses, Harlequin is nothing short of a medical marijuana patient’s miracle strain.
This strain review first appeared in Cannabis Now Magazine’s fifth print edition.
TELL US, have you smoked Harlequin?