The history of cannabis is full of legendary personalities. From growers like Jorge Cervantes, who literally wrote the book on growing weed, to activists like Jack Herer, the story of cannabis has more colourful characters than most TV shows. One of those characters, DJ Short, left a lasting mark on the cannabis world thanks to the strain that bears his name: DJ Short’s Blueberry.
Nearly anyone who smokes weed has heard about DJ Short’s Blueberry. However, the breeder behind the strain remains somewhat of a mystery. Even after cannabis legalization swept across the world, he’s DJ Short has kept a low profile. He rarely speaks with the press, and you’ll almost never see him on camera. Even so, he’s one of the most significant breeders in the history of weed.
The Story of DJ Short
Like many of the most influential marijuana proponents, Short made a name for himself during the 1970s. Although some weed mogul might try to tell you that the Wild West of weed occurred during the 2010s with widespread legalization, that’s not exactly true. During the 1970s, weed breeders traveled the world on a quest to find unique genetics to cross with their plants. Short was one such breeder.
Although he would eventually grow to be one of the best-known weed breeders in the world, the story of Short has humble beginnings. Daniel John “DJ” Short was born in Detroit, but since then he’s rarely settled down. While he spent most of his youth bouncing around the US West Coast, Europe, and Asia, he currently resides in Oregon.
Short first began growing weed in 1978. He got his start growing clones under a desk lamp in his bedroom. Short says that he was inspired to pursue horticulture by his great-grandmother.
Born in Romania, his great-grandmother was a gypsy who cultivated cannabis and other plants for medical purposes. She was also an herbalist, and utilized the plants she grew to make medicine for her community. Eventually, she passed on her knowledge to her daughter, Short’s grandmother. She, in turn, passed the knowledge on to DJ Short himself.
Following in his family’s footsteps, Short became a proponent of using cannabis as medicine. He first smoked at the age of 14, and discovered that it helped him develop an appetite – something that he lacked nearly his entire life. Short even credits weed for helping his mother overcome pain after she suffered from a stroke.
The first time Short ever tried his hand at growing weed was in 1973. According to legend, he opened a box of cereal that came with a plastic germination kit. Short took the kit and sprouted his first seed, a Hawaiian phenotype.
Before long, he was hooked. Short dove headfirst into cannabis cultivation. He read High Times religiously, and rabidly consumed instructional books on how to grow weed. Like many growers of the time (and still some today), Short set up an indoor grow to avoid detection. He bought a few fluorescent lights, set up a garden in his home, and got to work.
Developing DJ Short’s Blueberry
Short first began cultivating sativas in his garden. However, these plants aren’t particularly well-suited to indoor grows. Sativas grow particularly tall and can take four months to reach maturity. As a result, they’re better-suited for outdoor grows. Short racked his brain for a way to overcome these limitations.
Then, Short saw a solution. Indicas, which began making their way to the US from Afghanistan, are short, bushy plants with a short growing period. Those traits make them perfect for growing indoors. After smoking an indica for the first time, though, Short wasn’t pleased. He didn’t enjoy the sedative body high that indicas provide. Instead, he wanted the euphoric, stimulating traits of the sativa plants he grew up smoking.
That’s when he was struck with an epiphany. If he could breed the two strains together, he might be able to make some sort of hybrid that exhibited all of the traits he wanted. So, in a 16 square foot closet in his Oregon home, Short began working on the project that would define him in the cannabis world.
By 1981, Short thought he was on to something. He’d developed a hybrid that grew short and provided the sativa-like high he was looking for. On top of that, it had a delicious aroma mixing sweet tones with the taste of berries. During this time, Short also developed Flo, another well-known and highly-regarded strain. He began to send some clones and seeds around the US West Coast and Europe.
DJ Short’s Blueberry – Effects and Genetics
DJ Short’s Blueberry features the unmistakable aroma and flavour of actual blueberries. While this is one of the strain’s claims to fame, it’s actually not why Short first bred it. Instead, he was simply trying to create a strain with the effects that he liked. The flavour was a happy accident.
While DJ Short’s Blueberry grows like an indica, it has effects similar to sativas. Smokers report that DJ Short’s Blueberry may help relieve chronic pain and inflammation, along with inspiring creativity and boosting mood. It also can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
This strain serves as the basis for nearly every other blueberry-flavoured strain out there. Part of that is because of Short himself. Unlike some other cannabis cultural icons from the 1970s, Short was enthusiastic about sharing his work with other breeders. He also sent his seeds to banks worldwide, giving anyone access to his carefully-crafted genetics.
Blueberry Buds Forever
Thanks to his tireless work breeding and sharing his growing secrets, DJ Short was inducted into the High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame. He’s still active in the cannabis space today, and frequently teaches classes and presents lectures on weed cultivation.
If you want to learn more about DJ Short’s growing techniques, you can pick up a copy of his 2003 book Cultivating Exceptional Cannabis. And if you want to experience some of his handiwork for yourself, check our online cannabis store where you can find Blueberry along with a slew of other premium strains.