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Strain review: Jack Skellington


Jack hits hard and fast. - BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods
  • Jack hits hard and fast.

Two tokes from Jack Skellington and my head started to pulse. It wasn’t unfamiliar — if you’ve smoked enough weed, you’ve felt space-time start to quiver like it was about to fall into that horrible lizard-eye-looking black hole of terror that the scientists managed to photograph — but it was quicker than I’ve ever felt it come on, like the second I exhaled the second toke. Then I took a third.

I’ve come to think that perhaps the ideal high is one that teeters perfectly on the pitch between terror and sleep, where it feels like it could teeter precipitously either way, but doesn’t, remaining in the golden mean of awareness (because, to be fully aware is likely to be terrified).

In its warbled way, the three tokes of Jack Skellington came pretty close to meeting this ideal. It is a super-speedy Sativa that rushes toward terror without ever getting there, a roller coaster ever rising, where waiting for the rush is the rush. But it also relaxes the body, lulling, so the whole thing is like Roscoe Holcomb’s “Trouble in Mind,” where the vocals about a rocking chair are belied by the frantic binging about of his banjo hand.

A cross between Jack the Ripper and Killer Queen, Jack Skellington is possessed of what may be the brightest green buds I’ve ever seen. And it’s not just the spring, which is making everything seem to shine with an inner green. This stuff is bright like artificially colored candy under convenience store neon lights. The hairs and the crystals and the thick, folding leaves feel airbrushed and artificial and cartoonish. But in a good way. 

The incongruent thing is the smell. Jack Skellington looks like it would be loud with a capital L. Instead, I had to almost cram it up my nose in order to get anything more than the vaguest whiff of lemony-clove odor. It ramps up into a subtle but pleasant floral cloud after combusted. All of this makes it a nice carrying-around weed. Not loud but potent, where a quick toke on the go gets you going.

The strain was named after the skeleton wearing the pin-striped suit with the souped-up collar in the 1993 Tim Burton flick, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Why? Hell if I know. I’m so done with all the dumb-ass weed names. Jack Skellington is a popular character, I guess, among the tween Hot Topic set. He is also a character at Disney World and Disneyland and the like, which reminds me of “You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” a great — and greatly titled — story by John Jeremiah Sullivan about managing to toke in the Magic Kingdom ( So I guess that’s maybe the only good thing about the dumb names people give to their weed, because, however stupid a name, it may set off a chain of associations that ends somewhere fruitful.

And that’s kind of what the experience of Jack Skellington is like. You go from something that seems sudden and bright and in your face and all of a sudden you end up in that same place, but perhaps with a little more insight or fortitude.

Strength: 8
Nose: Lemon with cloves stuck in it
Euphoria: 6
Existential dread: 5
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 5
Drink pairing: Sazerac with too much absinthe
Music pairing: “Trouble in Mind,” Roscoe Holcomb
Rating: 8

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