Why Humboldt Grows The Best Cannabis In The World

By: Josh Young, Earth Green

There’s nothing like walking amongst Humboldt weed early in the morning. When the plants come alive in the early morning they look really juicy with morning dew on them. I love the plant, and I always love to see it. It’s always nice to look at plants, however. In the morning, you can tell they are sleepy. As the day wears on, their leaves point up and track the sun. 

But, in a lot of interior Humboldt, we still get those hot days, but it's not nearly as hot as anywhere else in California. At night, it cools off, too. During the heatwave in early 2021, for example, Humboldt was on average 15 to 25 degrees cooler than most places s in California—even places around here like Salinas, Shasta, and Trinity.

The Humboldt climate—hot days and cold nights—mixed with the coastal moisture at night make the perfect climate for growing cannabis. A lot of times there's definitely a percentage of nights where we can get a little coastal air. That coastal mist is coming off the sea, so it probably has nutrients from the ocean. 

Whatever it is, something makes things grow nice in Humboldt. We have the biggest trees in the world. We have abundant rivers, too—they're just all manipulated and diverted by the state. Otherwise, we would have nice flowing rivers, too. When you smoked Humboldt weed, you taste the forest. In the cannabis flower grown in Humboldt’s soil, you could taste the forest and the rivers. It just had that hard, piney taste—that real Humboldt taste.

Here in Humboldt, the forest floor is so rich, we make compost out of it. There is a four to six-inch layer in the forest where, when you peel the leaves back, you can see the white veins of the mycorrhizae. Using the dirt here, so the plants can take up the local terra, as they say, gives it a flavor that is unique to Humboldt. 

Typically, even best case scenario on a lot of these bigger grows, even if they are using somewhat natural organic inputs, they're still trucking in their soil. So, they're using the same soil that everyone else is using. They're using the same genetics that everyone else is using. They're pouring some generic, organic fertilizer best-case scenario. And then there are very few legacy farms, where people are schooled in organic gardening and use those methods to benefit their cannabis. 

There’s nothing like checking out some freshly grown Humboldt nugs during harvest season. I love going out there in the morning and making sure everything is all good—that there’s no mold, etc.  The main thing that I am doing during harvest is just smoking tons of weed, kicking back, and reflecting on the blessings of another Humboldt crop. It’s a tough job, but I make it work. 

You can grow the best cannabis in the world just by putting it in the ground here in Humboldt County. It doesn’t need lights or greenhouses like so many of the industry grows. You don’t even need to truck in your own dirt. We got the dirt right here in Humboldt County. 

With all these different green rushes across the country, Humboldt has been a bit overshadowed and lost its luster. There’s also been a dilution of the product pool as more people have come here and started growing. It is so easy to grow here, that inexperienced people can grow a poor product here. So, even though the name has been lost a bit, Humboldt has the best herb in California. I knew the minute I smoked Humboldt bud that I was going to come here and grow it. 


Humboldt is very unique. “We have lots of microclimates in Humboldt,” says Scott. “But, we have probably one of the best places to grow weed in the country, because of our warm, dry, summer months. We have warm days and cool nights and the plants really like that.”

And it's just like growing wine, he says. “You got the Napa Valley around here, which is world-renowned for growing wine,  because of the climate that's there. Humboldt holds its own unique climate. Its own terroir that is unique probably to anywhere in the world.  

The terroir here provides the terpenes to be able to express themselves in ways that they haven't in other climates, a lot of these strains that are around have been bred in Humboldt. “A lot of weed has been grown here and bred here. These strains are meant to be grown here because this is where they've been bred at. So they've become acclimated to this climate. And it's just one of the most beautiful places in the world, as well. And I'm blessed to call it home. I love Humboldt County.”

There’s some really good soil in Humboldt; many types of soil, as well. “We’ve got everything here, from clay rock along with desertlike climates and boggy wetlands, as well as places where its possible to dry farm. There’s not a lot of places in the world where you can dry farm. You can dry farm in places that have river beds, where the water table is low enough that the plants are able to tap into that water and follow the water down, as the season dries up. They're able to grow without using any water at all on dry farms.”

The culture here in Humboldt is storied, and it's been so for a long time. “It's been building since you backfill, started coming up here from the city back in like the late 60s or mid-60s or whenever they started coming up here. There's a lot of weed culture here that’s really blossomed. It's exploded. Some people like it and some people don't. There's a little bit of pushback over the years, but it's probably like the only place that you can go to where there are so many people that grow here or used to grow here. A lot of us have shared information, and we talk with each other, we help each other out.”

As this big community of people shared ideas with each other over the years, over time cannabis was legalized state by state.

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Photo credit: Lacey Johnson