In 2021, celebrity weed brands are far from a new phenomenon. From Seth Rogen and Travis Scott to Justin Bieber and Jay-Z, famous people cannot stop digging their hands into the fertile soil that is the modern cannabis space. But scanning the names above, it’s hard not to notice that most of those famous faces seem to be dudes. This despite the fact that according to Forbes, a 2019 study found that 37% of executive-level positions in the cannabis industry were held by women — much higher than the national average across other industries.
Still, famous women don’t seem to be scooping up weed partnerships at the same rate as famous men. Where is our Rihanna or Doja Cat weed? Ariana Grande doesn’t have a strain yet?
Enter Forbidden Flowers, actress, model, and singer Bella Thorne’s new cannabis brand. Forbidden Flowers, at least by marketing standards, is a breath of fresh air in the cannabis space, with its aggressively feminine branding splashed across colorful pre-rolls and sparkling flower jars, it’s probably the only weed brand with packaging that can be described as “pretty” (though Rogen’s Houseplant, with its fancy tin boxes, comes incredibly close).
“I wanted the brand to be an embodiment of my free spirit and personality,” Thorne said in an interview with Forbes in March. “That is why you see the fun, soft, glitter aesthetic. I feel this type of flirty aesthetic is something you don’t see a lot in the industry.”
Though the aesthetic is front and center, it seems Thorne is relying less on her famous face to move product and more on an eye-catching visual and a smart partnership with a cultivator that knows what they’re doing. Each strain of Forbidden Flowers has been cultivated by beloved California brand Glass House Farms (Mission Health Associates) and feature sun-grown cannabis straight out of Santa Barbara.
On paper, that all sounds great. But all that really matters is how it smokes. To get a full picture of the brand, we smoked four different strains from the line to see whether Forbidden Flowers is merely another celebrity vanity project or if it deserves to sit amongst the best of celebrity-branded cannabis. Ready? Let’s smoke.
Presentation & Labeling
The full line of Forbidden Flowers consists of four different strains all curated toward specific moods or mindsets. Each jar contains the strain name, as well as an indicator of the strain’s general vibe but refrains from disclosing whether the strain is an indica, sativa, or hybrid. I’m not totally against this idea — as I’ve always considered sativa, indica, and hybrid to be very vague umbrella terms for bud that can impart a wide variety of different effects and moods — but that might matter to you, so it should be mentioned.
The labeling also leaves off any terpene information and only lists the THC content, CBD content, and packaging date. It’s pretty barebones.
The moods and strains are as follows: Hype Up — Topanga Sunrise, Chill Out — Midnight Thornberry, Turn On — Violet Daydream, and perhaps the weirdest Zone In — Low Key Lazy. That last mood and strain name don’t match up, but I love how evocative the presentation is. When coupled with that colorful glass jar and sparkly top, the whole thing helps to create a sensory experience before we even smoke it. We’ve come a long way from the days of illegal cannabis when we’d get strain names like “Chemical Cat Piss” in tiny ziplock bags
On presentation, we give it a B+. Any time a weed jar makes for great decoration while still providing an air-tight fit that’ll keep your bud from stinking up the room, it’s a winner, but we’d have liked to see some more concrete information on the labeling for the hardcore stoners who like to get granular on the details.
Zone In — Low Key Lazy
Contradictory strain name aside, Low Key Lazy’s labeling suggests it’s aimed toward focus and productivity, and it pretty much delivers on that front. If you’re expecting a strain that will somehow boost your creativity, I don’t know that any truly can, but what Low Key Lazy will do is not weigh you down, and that’s important if you’re in the mindset of getting things done.
On the nose, this bud is pungent with a slight sweetness that makes it a pleasure to smoke. The high comes on quickly, but not in a way that makes you feel heavily stoned. It’s mostly cerebral but doesn’t leave you feeling spacey or forgetful. After a few minutes, I started to feel light-headed and a glossy glaze covered my eyes, so I’d suggest this strain as an accompaniment to more menial work that you need to get done, rather than your passion projects. If it’s something that requires a high level of focus, this might make you a little too high if you aren’t an everyday smoker with a high tolerance.
Hype up — Topanga Sunrise
I love a good wake and bake strain, and Topanga Sunrise offers just that. This one is geared toward energy and motivation, and while I can’t say a big bowl of this stuff made me motivated or energetic, it is the sort of strain you want to smoke before entering an amusement park, going on a hike, to a concert, or the beach. It gets you incredibly high, without feeling lazy or like you can’t function. The high is completely cerebral, almost psychedelic. It’ll make you marvel at shit like glittering sun rays or the smell of wet grass, while still allowing you to feel fully functional.
It’s very sweet on the nose with a dirty earth and pine flavor. It’s not the best tasting strain, so I wouldn’t reach for the vaporizer or bong to get a better taste. Roll this one up as a joint or a blunt and make whatever daily activity you have ahead of you a million times better.
Chill Out — Midnight Thorneberry
Midnight Thorneberry is easily Forbidden Flowers’ most flavorful strain. On the nose, you get deep and fragrant berry notes and that smell thankfully translates to the flavor. This strain smokes smoothly and is not in the least bit harsh or cough-inducing. Midnight Thorneberry is geared toward chilling out and it delivers, after a few minutes my eyelids felt heavy and my body was vibrating in euphoric tingles. It’s the perfect strain for binge-watching marathons or any other activity that involves snacking and hanging out on the couch.
Unlike the other strains this one doesn’t pack as powerful a punch, so just because you smoke it, that doesn’t mean your day is done as you sink deeply into the couch. Having said that, if you’re trying to kill some intense pain or a headache, you’re going to need something a bit more powerful than this. But for de-stressing, it’s perfect.
Turn On — Violet Daydream
Now here we are at the strain everyone is going to be most interested in, Violet Daydream. Violet Daydream is sub-labeled as Turn-On and is geared toward intimacy and connection. That sounds nice but we know where your head went. Everyone wants to get their hands on the strain that’s going to get them to f*ck, and marijuana can absolutely be a sexual enhancer in multiple ways, but it’s a case-by-case basis. There is no single marijuana strain that is going to turn people on, we need to accept that, but marijuana can help people better perform in a multitude of ways, whether that’s from simple de-stressing, lowering inhibitions, anxiety, or upping your sensory experiences.
This is the sort of case where knowing which terpenes are present in the strain would help some people. Will Violet Daydream definitely turn you on? No, not necessarily. But it is a great social strain.
On the nose, Violet Daydream is very sweet, almost strawberry-like with frosty green nugs and a sweet fruity taste. The high provides you with a giggly euphoria that will remind you why getting high in a group so fun. This is a great one to bring out when you have a house full of people you haven’t seen in a while and want to connect without any awkwardness. It opens you up socially and in general, just makes you feel good.
The Bottom Line:
Overall Bella Thorne’s Forbidden Flowers exceeds what we’ve come to expect from a celebrity-branded weed. It doesn’t sacrifice quality or try to upsell you with Thorne’s famous name. One major gripe I had with the bud was that each jar featured a fair share of thick stems and overall wasn’t quite as sticky as I’d like it to be.
Shortcomings aside, this is one of the better celebrity-branded cannabis brands out there and we look forward to how they continue to evolve. As of now, the crown still belongs to Rogen though.