Look & Feel








SCALE – 1 (Poor) 2 (Average) 3 (Very Good) 4 (Exceptional) 5 (Holy Grail)

Click to see the video review!


Welcome back to the red bench – it’s time for another Red Bench Review!

Thank you for joining us as we do something a little different this week. Usually we have a transcript of the video in this spot, but the transcript didn’t get finished in time – so here we are, the show goes on!

Lion Claw first caught my attention last month because of the name. Rather different for a cannabis strain, so I paused to check it out, and that’s when I discovered that this strain is a Ruderalis hybrid?!? Say what? Ruderalis? I immediately googled Ruderalis and started researching. You can read the results of my research in the section at the end.

The jar presentation is very nice. A dark, smoky amber jar that prevents you from seeing what’s inside… it also keeps cannabis-destroying light out of the jar! The jar just added to the mystery of the strain, and for days I would pick up the jar, turn it around and wonder what I’d find inside.

The other day we finally filmed the review and I got to see what was in this mysterious jar. Inside was a collection of small to medium nugs with one large nug that weighed in at 1.62 grams… the color was medium green with hints of purple and a scattering of orange hairs.

The contents of the jar weighed 3.57 grams! I was very pleased because I’m often surprised by the number of brands that skimp on their eighths, which is not cool.

I picked out one nug to cut up and put in the bong… the dense, well-cured nug cut up very nicely, like slicing through a hard cheese. The strong smell of sweet berries and pine were rising strongly from the tray. I was getting excited by what I was seeing, smelling and the stickiness on my fingers after the bowl was loaded.

“I have never smoked Ruderalis before,” I mused at the camera as I got ready to light the bong, “until right this moment.”

I felt the smoke slide through my mouth and it felt like a sugary berry Kool-aid drink being poured down my throat. Oh yum, I thought. I quickly took a second bong toke. Already the high was moving in and I messed up the take, so we did another and I took another rip… and that’s how it went for the rest of the filming. Soon I had taken about seven delicious hits and I was getting sooo stoned.

The effect – even at that unexpectedly high level – was thoroughly comfortable to me, but I do have a high tolerance. I would call the high “a solid cannabis high” – just like cannabis should feel. It wasn’t as “fuzzy” as some strains, but definitely on the relaxed side.

I would recommend that a novice smoker go easy on this one. The seemingly low THC level might fool someone into thinking this herb is lightweight. It isn’t, but if you just take a couple hits the buzz is very pleasant, and you’ll still feel like getting up and doing stuff or getting into a creative project. The buzz was very much like an Indica-dominate hybrid with a hint of OG.

After the filming, and consuming a little more herb than I had planned, we retired to the patio and watched the light fade across the hi-desert as twilight approached. I was in such a good place from the herb… I felt talkative and alert. The high lasted well into the next hour and faded into a comfortable body high – very relaxed and not groggy.

Will I get this one again? Absolutely! Two thumbs up to Heart Rock Mountain Farm for creating this strain and to Arcanna Cannabis Flowers for making this available to the masses.

Thank you for joining me this week and until next week, best of health.

The Follow Up

After we finished the video review, and several hours later when the high had worn off, I started wondering… does this herb have a “ceiling” on the high? Because I hadn’t reached it yet, even as high as I had gotten during the filming.

Every herb I’ve ever encountered has a certain level of high you can get to – a ceiling if you will – no matter how much you smoke. It seems that smoking too much can actually diminish your high. Many seasoned-smokers will talk about “smoking themselves sober” – smoking so much at once that by the time the sesh is done you’re actually feeling more sober than stoned. Strange, but I’ve experienced this a number of times in my life.

This ceiling is different for every herb. Some definitely have a low ceiling. Several hits in and you are there. Some have a high ceiling and you can take a lot of hits before the high turns to sober. And a few… it’s like there’s no ceiling at all.

While getting way stoned on the Lion Claw during the video filming – there seemed to be no ceiling. It felt like if I had kept on smoking, I would have just floated off into the clouds. The thought ran around my head for a couple days, until I knew what I had to do before this eighth was gone – I had to find the Lion Claw ceiling.

Last night, I decided to take one for the team and go the distance… I would smoke until I found that ceiling. I cut up over a gram of herb and packed the first bowl as full as possible – over a quarter gram of sweet smelling cannabis. We filmed the event, so as the camera rolled I started to count off hits.

By the fourth bong rip – in just a couple minutes – my head was starting to feel like it was growing bigger, as if my aura was blowing up like a balloon. I had to take a break after five hits and gather myself… how high am I right now?

I took one more hit to dust the bowl, emptied it in the ashtray and packed another bowl. At this point I felt about as high as I like to get, and usually I’d ride this buzz for the next couple of hours. But not last night. I knew I hadn’t found the ceiling yet.

The camera started rolling again and I took hit number 7. 8. 9… oh my. I was seriously eight miles high at this point. And when I say seriously, I mean it. This challenge had lost it’s humor and had become a relentless climb up the mountain. I grit my teeth and prepared to press on…

“Hit number ten,” I said to the camera, holding up all ten fingers. The bowl was nearly finished but still held one more big hit. I held it in and… I think I bumped my head on the Lion Claw ceiling. In a moment I was sure – after the tenth hit I felt just a bit LESS stoned than five minutes earlier.

I looked at the camera and announced we had reached our goal… and boy, that was a lot of smoke to inhale in such a short period of time. I got up from the red bench with my body still vibrating from the herb. I felt sooo good because the Lion Claw buzz is very pleasant, even when pushed to the limits.

I would like to point out that I could have kept smoking… I’ve been in seshes that went on way longer than just ten hits. But I had reached the point of diminished returns, and that’s a good place to stop.

Background – About Ruderalis

Ruderalis used to be considered the ugly stepchild of the cannabis world because it grew very differently from it’s sisters – Indica or Sativa – and most growers weren’t interested in getting involved with this cannabis type. Back in the day, books on how to grow cannabis recommended avoiding Ruderalis because of it’s low THC content and difficulty growing.

Ruderalis is a very short cannabis plant from Russia, Siberia and Central Asia. It only grows about a foot to two and a half feet tall. It tends to grow a single, main stem with limited side-branching which leads to a smaller harvest than an Indica or Sativa. Indica plants grow three to five feet tall, and a Sativa can grow up to twenty feet tall under the right conditions.

The Ruderalis type of cannabis does a thing called autoflowering. That means it will automatically go to flower after a certain amount of time (typically 20-30 days), no matter what the lighting conditions are. As you probably know, Indica and Sativa go to flower once the photo period changes to about half the day in light and half in darkness, just like when Fall arrives.

Because it autoflowers after just a couple of weeks of vegetative growth, the flowers are ready to harvest after just 70-110 days! But, as I mentioned above, the harvest size isn’t as big as it’s cannabis sisters. This can all be changed with breeding…

Ruderalis, in it’s natural state, is also high in CBD and low in THC. So until recently, no one was interested in this strange flower. But the interest in CBD and the desire to have cannabis plants that flower quickly on a regular schedule has changed that. Ruderalis is now getting some attention and certain breeders are now creating hybrid strains, crossing Ruderalis with Indicas and Sativas.

Ruderalis flowers are naturally chunky, solid buds and the strain we’re looking at today – Lion Claw from Arcanna Cannabis Flowers – inherits that quality. Seriously dense nugs.

Lion Claw is a Ruderalis hybrid that started with Ruderalis plants grown in Mexico and brought to Northern California where they were crossed with Lion’s Gate OG by Heart Rock Mountain Farm in Mendocino. The official genetics are: Lions Gate OG X Mexican Cultivar / Siberian Ruderalis.

The Lowdown

StrainLion Claw
TypeHybrid – Ruderalis
GeneticsLions Gate OG X Mexican Cultivar / Siberian Ruderalis
BrandArcanna Cannabis Flowers
Location PurchasedDesert’s Finest – Desert Hot Springs, CA
THC Level18.86
Purchase Weight3.5 grams – 1/8 oz
Actual Weight3.57 grams
Look & Feel
PackagingDark Smoky Amber Glass Jar
ColorMedium Green, Orange, Hint of Purple
FreshnessWell Cured
TouchMedium Sticky
Look & Feel Rating3.75
Look & Feel ImpressionsThe dark jar keeps the herb fresher! Nice nugs, very dense.
Base SmellSweet
Secondary SmellsPine, Fruity (berry)
Strength – SmellPronounced
Smell Rating3.75
Smell ImpressionA very complex smell
Flavor – OtherFruity (like berries), Sweet like a Kool-Aid
Smoke TextureSmooth
Strength – TastePronounced
Taste Rating3.75
How Much Ingested?7 hits (nearly a 1/2 gram)
Speed of OnsetCreeper
Where Do You Feel It?Starts in the head, moves down into the body.
Main EffectsPhysical, Relaxing, Narcotic, Creative
Strength – EffectsStrong
DurationOver an Hour
Effects Rating4.25
Effects ImpressionWith just a few hits this is a very social herb, easy going and good for daytime. The high has a very high ceiling. After 7 hits my head (or the aura around my head) felt like it had grown twice it’s normal size.
Total Rating3.9
Total Rating – Why?I wasn’t sure what to expect smoking a Ruderalis strain for the first time, but I really loved the high! A very good smoke all around!
Would I buy this again?Yes
Rating Scale1 (Poor) 2 (Average) 3 (Very Good) 4 (Exceptional) 5 (Holy Grail)
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