Michelle Hettinger took to the streets of Phoenix in search of a potent, effective cannabis strain that could relieve the intense pain from an injury that ended her weightlifting career. Hettinger had only experienced relief on occasion from one black-market strain she found in her native Florida. She hoped a similar strain existed in the legal world.

“I grew up in Florida and moved to Phoenix in March because I wanted to find a legal strain for my pain.” Hettinger said. “I had injured myself in competitive weightlifting and it rippled throughout my whole body.

“The pain is neurological and is similar to what happens to MS patients,” she explained. “I occasionally found relief from a black-market strain, but I could never identify what that strain was.”

The official name and origin of most black-market strains are rarely known and finding a regular supply of a favorite strain can be very difficult.

Determined to find a legal alternative that actually worked, Hettinger, age 33, hit the streets on 4/20 when specials were offered at every dispensary.

“I drove all around Phoenix and bought four strains and four cartridges to see if I could find it,” she said. Then Hettinger found Modified Banana, an award-winning strain from Shango.

“I got it because it was the highest percentage of THC they had and it was buy one, get one free,” she said. After taking a few hits, Hettinger knew she had found the ideal strain.

“I wish I could trade all the others for more because this strain targets the pain right down to a pinpoint,” she said.

Hettinger immediately sent a letter to Shango, concerned that the strain might eventually be discontinued. This is what she wrote:

“I’m writing to let you wonderful people know how much the strain Modified Banana means to me. This strain has an effect on me that is unlike nearly every strain I’ve tried over the course of 15 years.

“I have chronic neck, back and hip stiffness and pain. In general, cannabis alleviates my pain, but every once in a while, a strain comes along that targets the exact areas where my pain is before I even feel stoned. The stiffness instantly goes away, my body adjusts, and I feel like I can move and walk with ease. I’ve had a lot of Indica strains that were relaxing but didn’t have this targeted effect down to a pinpoint exactly where it hurts the most.

“I looked up the lab results for Modified Banana and there’s little CBD in it. The only other major cannabinoid is CBGa (cannabigerolic acid), but I’m not sure if getting another strain with a similar lab readout and ratio of THC to CBG would have the same impact. This concerns me since I know strains come and go or get crossed and evolve into new strains.

“I’m sure Modified Banana will be crossed and phased out, but it really is the perfect strain for me as it is. I’ve been sleeping without bodily pain for the first time in years. What more can you tell me about this strain and its current usage in medical patients?”

No worries, Michelle. Modified Banana is here to stay.

“Modified Banana is one of our best sellers,” Shango Controller Julie Dubocq said. “It is a strain of true fire. We’re ecstatic to hear about Michelle’s success and we can assure her that this award-winning strain will be around for a long time.”

Modified Banana won top honors in the Concentrates category at the 2021 High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona. Shango Arizona also scored three second place awards in the Flower categories, including one for Modified Banana.

Founded in Amsterdam in 1988 by former High Times magazine editor Steve Hager, the Cannabis Cup has grown into the world’s premier cannabis championship, with annual competitions taking place in more than a dozen cities. This year marked the first High Times Cannabis Cup in Arizona and the first People’s Choice Edition, in which the general public participated in the judging.