Powerful indica strain plays important role in Caliva’s cultivation program
There is nothing extraterrestrial about the top-shelf strain Alien OG, but it’s potency is otherworldly. At Caliva, we celebrate this potent indica, devoting as much as a quarter of our production to its cultivation.
“From the beginning, it stood out the most. It was so robust, so resistant to pest and disease issues. We also found it had a decent yield, especially for an OG,” said Chloe Cowles, manager of cultivation operations at Caliva. “It’s gorgeous.”
Now, a year after adding Alien to the Caliva line-up, the cultivation team has dialed-in an eight-week life cycle for the strain, which is ideal for Caliva’s ambitious flower program. With each harvest, Alien OG breaks Caliva records and gains more and more passionate followers.
High THC and Reliable Experience Key for Alien OG
Its mounting popularity stems in part from its THC quotient. A recent Certificate of Analysis (CoA) measured a batch of Alien OG’s THC at 35 percent — a record for Caliva, and some of the highest testing flower in the state.
In response to how we achieved such a high THC batch of Alien OG, Ryan Brantley, Director of Cultivation, emphasized that it was really a team effort. “Over the last year, we’ve standardized our production and post-harvest practices, resulting in increased yields and higher THC levels. I truly believe we have the best cultivation team in cannabis. We’ve implemented processes so we can replicate our success for cannabis production across strains and grows.” Ryan went on to also credit the cannabis plant saying that his team is simply “unlocking cannabis’ medicinal power that intrinsically exists in every plant.”
The elevated THC draws people towards the strain. But the overall quality of the high — body melt plus slightly psychedelic cerebral buzz plus a sense of sheer contentment — is what keeps them coming back for more and more of the strain, which is a cross between Tahoe OG and Alien Kush.
The stocky plant, with its earthy aroma (Chloe describes it as a blend of coffee and lemon), wide leaflets and deep green color, serves as a model for Caliva’s cultivation program.
“It’s such an exciting time right now for genetics, but it’s hard to vet everything,” says Chloe. Thousands of strains now flood legal cannabis marketplaces nationwide; some of the strains are worth serious commitments of money and time; many are not. “With Alien and our other flagship strain, Black Jack, all of the boxes get ticked: high yield, high potency, vigor, pest and disease resistance, terpene profile. Right now we are on the hunt for more Alien-like strains.”
Alien OG a Caliva Flagship, Increasingly Popular Across California
While Caliva’s embrace of Alien OG has raised its profile in Northern California — no other cultivator pursues the strain with Caliva’s degree of passion — the strain is becoming increasingly popular across California. In January of this year, when California kicked-off recreational cannabis sales, Alien OG did not crack the top 15 strains sold across the state, according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics. But in August, consumers spent about $560,000 on the strain, vaulting it up to the 15th spot.
Caliva’s acre of cultivation now includes up to a dozen strains, but the long-term goal is to bring that down to between six and nine strains, all of which possess a range of traits as reliable and sturdy as Alien OG. Too many cultivation programs spread themselves thin, dabbling in dozens of strains with varying degrees of consistency, vigor and long-term health. Alien OG has helped direct Caliva towards a more sustainable and customer-forward approach.
“If we have somebody who has grown to love Alien OG, who always wants it in stock, then we have to be able to deliver that product,” says Chloe. “And it’s important that the Alien OG they smoked six months ago, and loved, is the same Alien OG they are buying today. Consistency and reliability are so important — not just for growers, but for consumers, too.”