Matanuska Thunderfuck, or MTF, is a cult cannabis strain born in the Matanuska Valley in the 1970s. It’s like the Pulp Fiction of weed; those lucky enough to have tried it swear that there’s no other strain like it.
For years, MTF’s genetics were thought to be lost along with the generation that brought the strain into existence. But now, almost 50 years after MTF first hit the streets, cultivator and dispensary owner Ron Bass from Calm N Collective in Houston, Alaska, claims he’s found the real Matanuska Thunderfuck
I was in the kitchen making a cup of coffee when the phone rang.
I ran to my desk, fumbled for my headset, and took the call.
“Hey, this is Ron Bass from Alaska,” said the friendly voice on the other end of the line.
I’d been waiting for over a week to hear back from Ron after reading his name in a 2017 article from the Anchorage Daily.
Back then, Ron and a group of old-time smokers thought they’d found the real MTF.
But it turned out they were barking up the wrong bush.
“The stories surrounding that plant didn’t add up, and I also got it tested and it’s genetics didn’t match those of real MTF,” said Ron.
Matanuska Thunderfuck is rumored to be a cross of two landrace strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Most importantly, says Ron, it’s a grafted plant; while cannabis strains are typically the product of cross-pollination, MTF was created by combining the roots of one plant (known as the rootstock) with the top of another plant (known as the scion).
1975 – The Birth Of A Legend
In 1975, following the Supreme Court decision Ravin vs. State, Alaska became the first and only US state to claim that it’s residents, under their constitutional privacy rights, had the right to possess and use small amounts of cannabis.
That same year, High Times writer Blair Sachs-Benedict traveled to Alaska to cover the landmark decision and, together with her mysterious source Nordhoff, birthed the MTF legend with these paragraphs:
“Nordhoff carefully cleans out the bowl of a fossilized walrus tusk pipe and fills it with green leaf. The buds are huge, the size of a Malemute’s paw. He carefully picks one apart and crumbles it. ‘Matanuska Thunderfuck’ he declares, firing it up. ‘The finest pot grown in the 50 states.’
‘This weed is so strong it grows through the snow to find the sun,’ Nordhoff said. ‘Farmers in the Valley plant it alongside patches of cabbage so big it takes two men to carry them, tomatoes so big you have to cut them off with a chainsaw.’”
As is the norm with cannabis strains, the exact origins of MTF are shrouded in mystery.
Rumor has it that the grower who created this iconic strain went down in a drug bust in the late 1980s and that a handful of growers kept the strain alive for years to come.
After appearing in the Anchorage Daily, Ron Bass got a call from Jim Ross, one of these low-key growers.
“I got the strain in 1997 or 1998 from a friend,” said Jim in a 2018 documentary. “I just grew enough of it to keep me going.”
For the last 20 years, Jim had been growing MTF in his closet.
He would take large amounts of clones, preserve the strongest one as a mother plant, and cull the rest. He’d repeat this process roughly every 2 years.
It’s this process, says Ron, that has helped turn MTF into the powerhouse strain it is.
“MTF grows really weird. It can grow both really tall or short and bushy, so you need to know what you’re doing. It develops massive leaves with up to 8 fingers. Sometimes it’ll grow 2 or 3 leaves right on top of each other, and it’s done in roughly 7-8 weeks,” says Ron. “It smells like dank cat piss and cheese:”
Jim Ross passed his MTF strain on to Ron Bass and Cameron Van Ryn of Van Geer Enterprises, another cannabis cultivation facility in Wasilla, Alaska.
Together, they submitted their samples for genetic testing to Phylos Bioscience in Portland, Oregon, creators of the largest digital 3D database of cannabis genetics.
So far, they are the only MTF samples on that database, and Ron is working hard to milk that competitive advantage; he’s trademarked MTF in all of Alaska and even dropped a music video and rap song with Afroman titled “Thunderfuck.”
And Ron has his own unique of dealing with anyone who doesn’t think he’s MTF is the real deal:
“I’ve had people talk shit, and I always tell them the same thing; bring me the oldest dude you can find and I’ll let them smell my shit in the dispensary. Their fucking face will melt off,” he laughs.