Who Was Jack Herer? A Cannabis Pioneer and Classic Strain

If you follow our cannabis blog, you may have read our recent post about sativa cannabis strains and how they’re renowned for their energizing, creativity-inspiring effects. That’s why today’s strain profile is something of a twofer, highlighting not only one of the greatest sativas of all—the Jack Herer strain—but Jack Herer himself, a monumental figure in the history of cannabis. In this post, we’ll share everything we know about the Jack Herer strain and the man who inspired it, including:

  • Who was Jack Herer?
  • What are some characteristics of the Jack Herer strain?
  • What are Jack Herer effects, and what is the strain recommended for?
  • What are Jack Herer strain genetics?
  • Is Jack Herer an indica or sativa?

Ready? Let’s get rolling!

Jack Herer: Flower Power and the Birth of a Subculture

If Jack Herer—the strain—is as famous as it is unusual, it’s got nothing on the man who inspired it. As author of classic book The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy, Jack Herer helped inspire and shape the global cannabis revolution. And what may be most unusual about him is his unlikely path toward becoming a marijuana activist in the first place!

Jack Herer was born in New York City in 1939. For the first 30-odd years of his life Herer was a straight arrow, serving in the Army and later moving with his wife and three sons to Los Angeles to work for a neon sign company. As it turned out, his glass-working expertise would eventually lead him towards a “higher” purpose, so to speak. When he finally tried cannabis, in 1969, it was his “lightbulb moment.” As his friend Ellen Komp later recalled, Herer’s initial reaction was: “Why is this stuff illegal?” He’d spend the rest of his life trying to change that.

As an avid reader, Jack Herer immersed himself in the world of cannabis and hemp lore. In addition to helping organize state ballot initiatives for cannabis legalization, he opened High Country, his first head shop, in order to sell his handmade pipes and bongs. Serial police raids regularly hampered his business. By the 1980s Herer could often be seen on the Venice boardwalk instead, advocating for cannabis reform in his trademark—read: highly enthusiastic—style.

But after the publication of The Emperor Wears No Clothes in 1985, Jack Herer’s trajectory bent upward once again. Hailed by those in the cannabis world as a classic, the book launched Jack Herer’s final act as a fiery activist and lecturer. After delivering a typically rousing pro-cannabis speech at the 2009 Hempstock event in Portland, OR, he suffered a heart attack and died several months later at the age of 70.

Jack Herer Strain Info: What You Need to Know

So, that’s the story of Jack Herer the man. But what about Jack Herer, the strain? First created in the Netherlands in the 1990s as a tribute to Herer’s passion, Jack Herer flower may be one of the most famous sativa strains in history. Often described as imparting the “perfect blend” of cerebral and physical effects, Jack Herer typically provides a deeply relaxing but invigorating experience. While sources are split on whether Jack Herer is a true sativa or a sativa-dominant hybrid, one thing’s certain: It often inspires a burst of creative energy and focus, making it especially popular for daytime use for recreational consumers who seek a creative edge.

In terms of flavor and smell, Jack Herer is beloved for an appealing, citrus-kissed taste tempered by hints of earthy pine. While the exact genetics are a closely guarded secret, some speculate this flavor profile is due to the presence of Haze, Shiva Skunk, and Northern Lights #5 in its genetic backstory. Some describe the aroma of burnt Jack Herer flower as “clean and sage-like,” which may serve as a hint to the strain’s clear-headed effects.

What about cannabinoid content? At a typical range of 15% – 24%, Jack Herer THC levels are moderately high but not overwhelming by modern standards. This middle ground THC content makes Jack Herer particularly well-suited for medical patients, as well. That said, this famous sativa strain contains almost no CBD—so if you’re looking to leverage this powerful cannabinoid’s effects for symptoms such as anxiety, we’d recommend trying a high-CBD strain instead.

Speaking of medicinal effects, let’s explore the medical uses of Jack Herer in greater depth.

Jack Herer Effects: One of the World’s Most Beloved Medicinal Strains

We’ve written previously about the surprising health benefits of medical marijuana, including the ability to help us fight pain, find better sleep, and tame anxiety. As we mentioned a moment ago, the Jack Herer strain’s signature blend of physically relaxing and cerebrally stimulating effects has made it one of the most beloved and sought-after medicinal strains in the world.

While we’re on the topic of medicinal use, we’d like to point out an interesting fact about cannabis. Those who are interested in Jack Herer effects may find that, as is often the case with medical cannabis, less may actually be more. As studies suggest, many of us actually derive greater benefit from smaller amounts of THC, the cannabinoid most directly responsible for the plant’s intoxicating “high.” That’s one reason we advise trying Jack Herer flower (or any other formats) to “start slow and go low,” waiting to assess one dose’s effects before having more.

What Strain Is Jack Herer? Wrapping Up

As we hope today’s post makes clear, Jack Herer was a major player in cannabis. His authoritative book remains among the classics in the annals of cannabis history. The eponymous sativa-dominant strain created in his honor is one of the most beloved cannabis strains in the world and a frequent feature on our dispensary menus.

As a family of dispensaries now spanning multiple states, we’re experts in helping our customers get the very most from cannabis. We invite you to read a little bit more about Mission Dispensaries, and if you want to know more about the Jack Herer strain or the use of medical cannabis, just ask! We’re always here to help.