Durban Poison Strain Information & Review

Sophia Delphi December 09, 2022 - 6 min read
Fact Checked
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It’s not an exaggeration to say that Durban Poison is a legendary strain.

It’s legendary for its energetic, focused, and creative head high that doesn’t slow users down. It’s legendary for its deliciously sweet, spicy, and earthy taste. It’s legendary for its huge trichomes (great for making concentrates), its potential medical benefits, and the many beloved child strains like Girl Scout Cookies and Cherry Pie that it’s partially responsible for.

Most of those traits are due in large part to Durban Poison’s origins as a rare African landrace sativa, plus the work that legendary breeders did nearly 50 years ago to create even more desirable phenotypes of the strain.

What might be an exaggeration is saying that Durban Poison is a perfect strain. Ask regular users, though, and most will tell you that the description “perfect” comes pretty close.

Effects and Side Effects

Frequent smokers (and dedicated stoners) often rely on Durban Poison as their go-to wake-and-bake or daytime strain. It can provide much of the same effect as a cup of coffee (or two).

After just a few tokes, tingling effects in the head are followed by a potent cerebral high. It’s an uplifting experience: stimulating, energetic, and often euphoric. Many users find that Durban Poison gives them a boost in motivation and focus that’s equally helpful when they have to do creative work, or push through the work day to accomplish potentially-boring tasks.

The other reason this weed can be so energetic and motivating is that the active head buzz isn’t accompanied by a serious indica body stone. You don’t feel heavy when using Durban Poison and it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be locked to the couch.

You’ll be free to go about your daily business, enjoy the uplifting effects of the strain during a night on the town or at a party, or simply appreciate good music or TV while relaxing at home. Durban Poison delivers a sociable, enjoyable, happy experience that lasts a wonderful few hours.

The energetic high can cause issues for some users, however. It’s possible to get too amped up if you overdo the smoke, so go slow until you know how Durban Poison affects you. Slow is also the operative word for those who tend toward anxiety because this high THC level strain can make that anxiety worse or lead to racing thoughts.

Otherwise, dry mouth and dry eyes are the most common side effects.

Positive Effects:

  • Energy: 5/5
  • Creative: 4/5
  • Pain: 3/5
  • Stress: 3/5
  • Sleep: 1/5
  • Mood: 5/5

Negative Effects:

  • Paranoid: 2/5
  • Dry Mouth: 4/5
  • Dry Eyes: 4/5
  • Lethargy: 1/5
  • Cough: 4/5

Bottom Line: Durban Poison delivers a classic sativa high: cerebral, energetic, motivating, happy and sociable, without the indica body effects that might slow you down. It’s an ideal daytime strain, and just as good at enhancing evening fun.

Medical Conditions

Medical patients who use Durban Poison say they choose the strain primarily for its mood-boosting effects. Stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and OCD are among the conditions that may be temporarily relieved by the cerebral effects of this weed. The focus it provides might help patients dealing with ADD or ADHD, and its energy may benefit those with chronic fatigue.

Durban Poison isn’t ordinarily a favorite of those with chronic or serious pain, because it doesn’t provide the full-body relief and relaxation of indica-dominant strains. It is, however, often used to help deal with nausea or lack of appetite, both important benefits for chemotherapy patients.

Flavor and Aroma

This strain has a scent that’s all it’s own. It’s sweet, spicy, and dank, and you can notice pine and spice in the background. As you break up or grind the weed, the aroma becomes louder and skunkier.

The smoke is creamy, with a complex flavor blend. You’ll definitely notice vanilla, citrus, spices, and herbs, with sweetness and pine lingering in the aftertaste along with lingering pungency.

The scent and flavor may not be your favorite initially, but it grows on you — particularly as you grow to love Durban Poison’s potent high.

Flavor and Aroma Ratings:

  • Earthy: 4/5
  • Citrus: 4/5
  • Fruity: 3/5
  • Spice: 3/5
  • Wood: 4/5

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Durban Poison averages right around 19% THC content, but don’t be surprised if the flower you buy is more potent. That may be partly an “illusion” because of the strength of its sativa effects, but it’s also because many cultivators have fine-tuned their plants’ THC content to hit the low-to-mid 20% range. There’s virtually no other major cannabinoid content worth mentioning.

The terpenes that are primarily responsible for the strain’s unique aroma and flavor include terpinolene, caryophyllene, myrcene, and ocimene.


This strain originally grew wild in South Africa as a pure indica landrace. It was eventually named after that nation’s city of Durban, where noted cannabis cultivator Ed Rosenthal found the strain during the 1970s and brought home some of its seeds.

Working with another famed breeder, Mel Frank, the plants’ genetics were adjusted (it’s never been said exactly how) to maximize resin production and shorten the flowering time. That created “A” and “B” lines of the strain. “A” is what we now know as Durban Poison; “B” was given to an Amsterdam breeder who produces a similar strain.

Similar Strains

Other potent weed strains that deliver strong sativa head highs include Super Lemon Haze, G13 Haze, and Malawi. Alternatives to consider, with effects and flavor similar to Durban Poison, are Lime Skunk, Malawi, and White Durban (a cross of Durban Poison and White Fire OG).

Durban Poison Strain Review: FAQ

Q: Is Durban Poison a pure sativa?
A: It was originally. Any flower you’re likely to purchase probably has at least a little indica in it as well, though, because of the breeding that was done over the years to optimize the strain’s growing characteristics. But any indica content has virtually no effect on Durban Poison’s effects — which definitely mimic those of a pure sativa.

Q: What makes the cerebral effects of Durban Poison so potent and clear-headed?
A: It’s largely due to the extremely small indica representation in the strain, and of course, its high THC content. But some believe it may be due to Durban Poison’s higher-than-normal levels of THCV, a minor cannabinoid that’s almost identical to THC and most commonly found in African strains. THCV isn’t anywhere near as strong as THC, but it does alter the psychoactive effects of weed.