The first time I inhaled Trainwreck marijuana and felt its mule-kick to my head that lasted several hours, I was sure the strain’s name was meant to indicate that your brain feels like a train wreck when you use this powerful mostly-Sativa strain.
But when I talked to long-time cannabis breeders in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle weed empire where Trainwreck was created, I got a totally different story. These growers agree that Trainwreck is a wickedly potent Sativa, but insisted that the name Trainwreck came from an actual train wreck that happened near Arcata, California.
According to the growers, Trainwreck started out as a fire cross between rare Mexican and Thai Stick Sativas mixed with a pure Afghani Indica to create a hybrid that was 60% Sativa and 40% Indica. This cross was made in a remote part of Northern California decades ago when most domestic high-grade American cannabis was still grown outdoors.
Trainwreck was first known as E-32—sturdy, adaptable plants that grew to 10 feet tall, were almost as wide as they were tall, and had very sturdy main stalks and branches providing support for small buds with vanilla-frosting crystals, extremely dark-green leaves, and orange, red, and gold-colored pistils.
So how did E-32 become Trainwreck? The growers say a train derailed and fell off of its tracks near a grow site in rugged wilderness terrain where E-32 had been developed and was being perfected. The growers were living on site. Seeing the train wreck catastrophe, they realized there’d soon be helicopters, bulldozers, fire trucks, ambulances and police crashing through the woods trying to reach the derailed train.
This was very bad news for them—marijuana growing was 100% not legal at the time, and the large plants were nowhere near ready for harvest. Even if they had been, there wasn’t enough time to chop them, bag them, and get the hell out of there.
Fortunately, the growers had already taken clones of the most impressive E-32 plants that had shown female pre-flowers. They wrapped the barely-rooted clones inside humidity chambers, grabbed their guns and other gear, jumped in their trucks, and fled the scene in the opposite direction from the direction the emergency crews were coming from.
The clones were given 20 hours per day of artificial light to make them grow as fast as possible, then placed outdoors to finish in natural sunlight. Some of these plants self-pollinated, and seeds were gathered. Next season, a couple hundred self-pollinated seeds were germinated. Growers studied the plants, selected the best phenotypes and gave the strain a new name: Trainwreck.
They worked on the strain for a couple more years to get rid of hermaphroditic traits, shorten bloom phase and do further back-crossing. They ultimately stabilized and perfected Trainwreck, which became a cannabis consumer favorite first in California, later throughout the USA and then the rest of the world.
An alternative version of this story comes from another very old grower in Humboldt. He agrees that the original plants used to breed Trainwreck were being guerrilla grown next to a train track in Humboldt County. At harvest time, when the growers first tested this new strain, one of them said, “I’m so high, I feel like I’ve been in a train wreck.”
Staying on Track Growing Trainwreck
Trainwreck has two phenotypes. One phenotype is shorter and stockier, expressing more of its minority Afghani Indica influences. The other phenotype is more Sativa (taller, more viney, weaker branches, longer bloom phase) but still gives off a Kush-y, piney, lemony scent. Both phenotypes have the extremely dark green leaf color Kush is known for.
Outdoors it takes 60-75 days to finish, depending on the grow site’s climate and latitude, but I’ve only grown it indoors using regular photoperiod non-feminized seeds made by the New420Guy Seeds company. I’ve grown several seed strains sold by New420Guy and each strain has been a champion. Their version of Trainwreck isn’t a pure Trainwreck. I’ve never found a truly pure seed version of Trainwreck, but I have grown the rare clone-only “Arcata Trainwreck” that is claimed to be a descendant of the original E-32.
The New420Guy Trainwreck is a cross between a premium Trainwreck female and a male pollen donor AK-47. AK-47 is a Dutch legendary strain, nicknamed the “one-hit wonder” because of its crushing potency. AK’s knockout punch is a surprise given that AK-47 is a mostly Sativa strain. The original breeder, Simon of Amsterdam’s Serious Seeds, says AK-47 contains 80% Sativa genetics from Mexico, Thailand and Colombia, and 20% Afghan Kush. This genetic line-up is almost the same mix as the original E-32/Trainwreck, except AK-47 has Colombian Sativa genetics and old-school Trainwreck doesn’t.
Simon brought AK-47 into the Dutch cannabis coffee shop scene nearly 35 years ago, and recalls that people weren’t used to its high THC content and immediate knockout punch, and there were many incidents of people falling over after inhaling.
Cannabis coffee shop budtenders started warning AK-47 purchasers they should be sitting down in a safe place, and not planning to operate any dangerous machinery or attempt complex tasks, when they were going to use AK-47.
Given that AK-47 and Trainwreck are similar genetically, Paul of New420Guy Seeds realized that making Trainwreck seeds using AK-47 pollen was almost as useful as breeding Trainwreck with its own pollen. And as I’ve grown his Trainwreck strain, I can affirm his version of Trainwreck smells, looks, and tastes similar to Arcata Trainwreck, and gives me a long-lasting high with just enough sedating Afghani influences to keep me from experiencing paranoia, panic attacks, and heart rate increases that sometimes happened to me when I consumed outdoor Arcata Trainwreck.
Paul’s Trainwreck seeds had a 100% germination rate, and I was glad to see a favorable female to male ratio with no signs of hermaphroditism. This strain performed better than the other three I was growing at the same time the same way in a high-C02 LED grow lights grow room. I topped it once before flipping it into bloom phase 31 days after germination, and this created bushy plants with a higher than average number of side branches.
The buds were fully formed and in peak bloom by 35 days into bloom phase. They were as dense and gooey as Kush buds, but much larger than typical Kush popcorn buds and intermittently gave off the skunky-piney-peppery Kush scent.
As the buds got larger and heavier, several branches snapped from the weight. But even though the branches snapped, they didn’t break completely off the plant… so the buds continued growing normally, even though their branches were broken and hanging down towards the floor.
I harvested the earliest-maturing Trainwreck plant after 62 days in bloom. I probably should have let it go on longer, but some of the resin glands were amber, the pistils were changing color fast, and I wanted to try the strain. Harvest time for the other Trainwreck plants was from 65-71 days.
Outdoor growers tell me they get a kilo or more from each Trainwreck plant. I averaged 4-5 ounces of extremely dense, rock-hard buds per indoor plant, and was quite satisfied with that, especially because the plants were relatively short, ranging from 48-59 inches high, and easy to grow.
As I cut and trimmed the buds, I was impressed by the massive amount of sticky resin glands piled on top of each other, and by the sexy, penetrating scent, which was like a peppery lemon drop backed by hints of skunk and pine.
Vaping incrementally at temperatures between 387-421°F, I tasted specific, delicious, intoxicating flavors that reminded me of Kush, Haze, and some of the Subcool Jack the Ripper family of strains. Because the buds are so dense and hard, a gram of bud gives me 10-15 lung-filling doses of tasty vapor. Trainwreck buds are quite valuable on the retail market. Popular with young and old alike, even at high retail prices.
One fun fact is Trainwreck buds sometimes give me a shot of pepper that make me feel like sneezing. Cannabis contains some of the exact same compounds that some types of pepper contain, with the same sneezy effects. These effects are also medicinal. Upon vaporization and inhalation, Trainwreck buds often send a cleansing peppery burst into my sinuses and behind my eyes, giving me clearer eyesight and respiratory pathways.
A Very Stimulating High
It’s hard to describe for you what a specific cannabis strain’s high is like because getting stoned is a very personal experience. Each of us has our way of interacting with cannabis. I’ve known people who get super paranoid on Indica and fall asleep after inhaling Sativa!
That being said, novice cannabis consumers and people with anxiety disorders shouldn’t use Trainwreck. I’m a chronic marijuana smoker with a high tolerance level who can handle nearly any amount of any form or kind of cannabis (including way too many space cakes eaten in one hour). Trainwreck pushes me near to the edge of an unpleasant paranoia and extreme nervousness, almost to a jangled, frantic place I don’t like to be.
Notice I said almost. I know how to manage even the most overstimulating Sativa high and very much enjoy the extra alertness and enhanced psychic abilities it gives me. If you’re an experienced cannabis consumer who prefers Sativa strains, Trainwreck will become one of your favorite strains.
Trainwreck is motivational and revealing. For example, I use it before I ride my carbon-fiber road bicycle for 20-30 miles. The Trainwreck high makes me hyper-aware of everything and everyone. The skies are bluer, the clouds are whiter and puffier, the grass is greener, the flowers are more perfumed. I feel my body strengthened and revved up by the Trainwreck high.
It’s also true that bizarre people look more bizarre when I’m high on this weed, and I feel like I can read people’s minds, which isn’t always pleasant.
For the first 60-90 minutes of the Trainwreck high I get a reliable burst of creativity and esoteric abstract thoughts that are all very profound—too bad I can’t remember any of these deep thoughts later on when I’m sober!
Other activities enhanced by Paul’s Trainwreck include swimming, concerts, movies and video games, making love, yoga, and playing music (as a musician).
The potency is 10 out of 10, a very fast onset–nothing to be trifled with. Lab tests have shown THC percentages of at least 24%. Sometimes I put a half gram of Trainwreck and a half gram of an Indica or Kush in my vaporizer bowl to get a more balanced range of effects.
Because I’ve grown AK-47 from Serious Seeds recently, and New420Guy Trainwreck contains AK-47 genetics, I’ve looked back at my cultivation notes and compared the two strains. Both of them are winners. Very entertaining high, delicious scent and taste, beautiful flowers. Both are Sativa-dominant. Both give you heavy harvests. Both are easy to grow.
Of the two, the Trainwreck is slightly more potent and more heady, and the buds are harder and chunkier. Both strains are relatively easy to grow, but the Trainwreck appears to be slightly more vigorous and resilient than the AK-47.
Trainwreck is one of several New420Guy Seeds strains our team has grown. We’d never heard of this marijuana seeds company until we met a professional grower who won awards with several landrace strains he got from New420Guy.
When we talked to the company’s owner and founder, Paul, we were glad to have met one of the most honest, grower-centered, and skilled people in the marijuana seeds industry. Paul has a unique talent for finding breeders and fantastic strains, and testing seeds. His prices are much lower than what other seed companies charge, and his seeds are very reliable and grow out to be exactly like the strain description.
Paul asked us to test his latest acquisition, which we will do next season. It’s Sour Plums from Sugar Camp Genetics. This strain originally came from the legendary Crockett Farms, and is a cross between Sour Diesel and Plum Crazy.
Sour Plums is a very resilient 50-50 Sativa-Indica hybrid, Paul says, and can be grown indoors, outdoors and in greenhouses. It has a 9-10 week bloom phase. The buds smell like diesel, plums, and caramel, and the high is medicinal, offering pain and stress relief, and also helps people who have trouble sleeping or who suffer from PTSD.
Paul’s version of Trainwreck is a very special Sativa that gives you large yields, the sturdiness of Kush, and a stimulating, euphoric high that also has some body to it. Take a look at the photo accompanying this article for an example of the frosty colas from this superior strain. New420Guy makes seeds in small batches, so it’s a good idea to stock up on Trainwreck seeds if you want your train to jump the tracks and have a wild Sativa ride.