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Strain Review: Dark Karma by Fig Farms

In an oversaturated market, it’s hard for cannabis cultivars to stand out. By now, the average smoker has already tried a Dr. Seuss-looking purple strain, or a pucker face-inducing citrusy sativa. Trichome-covered nugs and terpenes pungent enough to fill up the room simply aren’t enough to impress anymore. The line between uniqueness and irrelevant bells and whistles has become razor-thin. 

Fig Farms’ flowers, however, are consistently worthy of attention.

There’s very few companies whose product drops I will still track. But when Fig Farms’ Dark Karma popped up on my Instagram stories, I found myself driving 30 minutes across the Bay Bridge to pick up an eighth at my favorite dispensary that same day. For one, photos of Fig Farms flowers always look incredible. Often displayed on black backgrounds with bright, focused light, their trichome-packed buds nearly sparkle. But the taste and high are what truly make Dark Karma special. Like a top-shelf wine, the profile of a Fig Farms cultivar is particularly complex. 

Fig Farms’ target audience is the advanced connoisseur, and they tailor their potent and flavorful creations in such a way that consumers have to pay close attention to appreciate every flourish — these buds reward multiple sessions.

The Fig Farms website and social media pages are blanketed with zoomed-in, stunning photos of popping trichomes, complemented with rich descriptions of the genetics, tasting notes, and effects. Attention to detail is their specialty, and if you’re a nerdy, note-taking stoner, Fig Farms is right up your alley. 

Dark Karma, one of the latest Fig Farms strains to hit Bay Area dispensary shelves, is a cross between Dutch Treat and Strange Love. Dutch Treat is a fruity, piney Amsterdam classic less common on the West Coast, while Strange Love is a Girl Scout Cookies and Bubba Diesel cross from famed breeder Bodhi Seeds. The cross was bred by Fig Farms themselves, and the most recent batch became available for purchase in the second week of October. Fewer eighths are available by the day, though — Fig Farms has a following that likes to stalk product drops and buy them out fast. 

While Dark Karma’s effects are on the sleepier side, it still provides a nice, half-hour-to-hour euphoric buzz at the start. The physical effects, meanwhile, take a back seat until about an hour in. That’s when my limbs got that classic, weighted feeling. Fig Farms doesn’t classify their cultivars by the categories of sativa, hybrid, and indica, but I would say that this strains’ effects mimic what you might expect from an indica-dominant hybrid. However, rather than dulling the effects of either a head or body high, I experience both, potently, at the same time. 

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to say how a strain will affect any one person. Each user has their own unique brain chemistry, and factors like the medications someone takes to the food they’ve consumed can change a strain’s effects. For me, however, Dark Karma just feels cozy. When I smoke it, I feel warm, relaxed, and still a little social, like I’m drinking a big mug of hot cocoa around the fireplace with friends. There’s also something that feels very rich about the strain: my notebook reveals that I felt as if I had dived into a pool of thick, gooey maraschino cherry syrup upon my first taste.

Though testing numbers can be misleading (percentages may differ greatly depending on which company tested the flower, and potency is also impacted by terpenes and other cannabinoids), it’s worth noting that Dark Karma comes in at around 32 percent THC. The strain can sneak up on the inexperienced user, largely because of the heavy, weighted effect it can have on the body. However, while some high-THC strains have been known to give users a headache, Dark Karma gave me nothing more than chilled-out bliss. 

Just picking up an eighth of Dark Karma feels luxurious, not only because of the hefty price tag (Fig Farms eighths sell for $60-$70), but because of the photogenic appearance of the buds. Dark Karma boasts some of the longest, stringiest trichomes I’ve seen on a bud in a while — so much so that I confused them for the orange pistils upon my first, stoned inspection. On the Fig Farms Instagram, they claim that “only the best makes it into a Fig jar,” and it would seem that they definitely fulfill that promise. Just swipe through their tagged photos on social media and you’ll see a never-ending timeline of nugs so frosty they look like they’ve been rolled in sugar. 

Buying their weed would probably feel excessive or precocious if it weren’t for their farmer-first ethos: founders Keith and Chloe Healy are experienced farmers who grow the plants themselves in their Oakland facility. Colorful, star-covered packaging recalls the playful, artistic history of Northern California living, but in an unassuming way. Customers know they’re paying for quality, not branding. Because their strains are grown in small batches, too, customers know they are buying something they might never get the chance to smoke the exact same version of again. 

Potency: Not for the faint of heart
Smell: Fruity, bready, diesel
Effect: Smooth, heavy body high with a goofy headstate. Euphoric but not energizing.