The annual Cultivation Classic produced by Willamette Week and powered by Smart Cannabis™ has evolved into the most scientifically rigorous competition for craft cannabis grown in Oregon. These buds grown using organic and sustainable methods included both outdoor and indoor grows. In addition to recognizing the best Type 1 (high THC), Type 2 (1:1), Type 3 (high CBD) and Hemp (less than .3% THC) flowers, the Cultivation Classic also honors cannabis with outstanding aroma, terpenes, consistent effects, and more.

This year, 140 unique cultivars were assessed by 200 diverse judges, who received a random, blinded kit to evaluate over 30 days. In order to achieve an unbiased evaluation, judges were not informed of the producer’s name or the cultivar’s name, potency, or terpene profile.

These judges assessed the bud’s aroma and their experience smoking or vaping this bud along with information from the Resource Innovation Institute’s PowerScore™ tool. Also they were asked to recommend which activities they would enjoy doing with a particular cultivar. By asking judges which activities would work best for a given activity, this contest produced data noting those cultivars that work best for outdoor activities, socializing, or relaxing at home.

The data year’s Cultivation Classic 2020 pointed to some results that can help inform craft cannabis consumers in designing their preferred smoking experiences.

  • There is no relationship between THC potency and subjective enjoyment. More THC does NOT give consumers a better experience. This finding holds up even when they accounted for a person’s level of tolerance/frequency of use.
  • For the past three years, their data has shown that a great aroma is the single most important factor that contributes to a pleasant psychological effect.
  • This year, a hemp cultivar (Sour Space Candy grown by Horn Creek Hemp) was by far the most consistent and relaxing flower in the entire competition despite having only 0.8% THC.
  • There are biological sex differences in peoples’ preferences for flower. For example, Orange Push Pop #2 (Rolen Stone Farms) won the Ladies choice award. Female judges reported feeling “motivated” and “more thoughtful about future planning and organizing.” They enjoyed this flower significantly more than the men who sampled it.
  • People over 60 enjoy cannabis more than any other age group.
  • Lightscale Labs tested all flowers entered in the cup for 48 unique terpenes, and detected 27 unique terpenes in 3 different entries.

Photo credit: Sebastian Carosi



By Becky Garrison for