You can finally some Tommy Chong while you watch Cheech & Chong. The stoner legend officially released his line of cannabis, Chong’s Choice, last week in Portland, Oregon.
A partnership with Oregon’s Shango dispensaries, Chong’s Choice is now available at all five Shango locations in the Portland area. Perhaps cannabis’ first truly national brand, Chong’s Choice also appears available in quite a few California locations, one Arizona location, and plans to spread its wings to Colorado, Arizona, Montana and Washington.
Chong’s Choice offers a wide array of products like pre-rolled joints, flower, vape oil cartridges and THC breath strips. The brand features a smiling, 77-year-old Tommy Chong and a clean, modern design that definitely signals the commercialization of cannabis.
Here’s a look at the pre-rolls:
While not the first celebrity cannabis line to launch–that would be Snoop’s Leafs–Chong’s Choice seems like the brand with strongest foothold in numerous legal and medical marijuana states. The cult figure will soon have more company from the likes of Willie Nelson, Wiz Khalifa, Whoopi Goldberg and more, but for now, looks like the early leader in the cannabis clubhouse.
You can call it capotalism or you can just call it the natural progression of an industry that is reaching its inevitable potential and fate. Whatever you call it, it’s impossible to fault one of the original cannabis crusaders for achieving what he’s worked so hard to earn.
Stay tuned for some reviews of Chong’s Choice in the near future!
Strain: Death Star
Genetics: Sensi Star x Sour Diesel (Click here to read a Sour Diesel Strain Review)
Grower: Green Goddess Gardens (Oregon)
Dispensary: Farma (Portland)
Lab Results: 25.7 percent THC : 0.51 percent CBD
I like my bedtime cannabis overpowering. I want to take a couple of hits and then crawl into bed and drift off to a deep sleep. Death Star does the trick. It is aptly named and doesn’t mess around.
I picked up this strain by Green Goddess Gardens at Farma. Green Goddess Gardens are run by a husband and wife team in lush southern Oregon who practice organic greenhouse growing techniques.
Farma is a unique Portland dispensary. White, bright, and clean, they have completely done away with “sativa” and “indica” classifications in favor of terpene profiles and a scale that indicates whether each cannabis strain is an energetic “up” strain or a relaxing “down” strain. For this reason I will not divulge whether Death Star is an indica, sativa, or hybrid, but I bet you will be able to deduce it based on the terpene profile.
In order to provide a full terpene profile, Farma has all of their strains tested at labs that test not just for pesticides and THC levels, but that map all of the medicinal compounds in each strain- all of the known cannabinoids as well as a terpene profile. This batch of Death Star was tested as Green Leaf Labs.
Farma’s grams of flower also come in the absolute cutest little plastic containers. Another plus.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes:
In addition to 25 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol), this strong bedtime strain is also relatively high in CBC (cannabichromene) and CBG (cannabigerol). CBC has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidepressant properties. CBG is a base cannabinoid that turns into others, including THC and CBD. CBG itself, however, it is also believed to counteract the paranoia that can come with high THC levels. A 2013 Italian study found CBG has anti-inflammatory properties and might be particularly useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease.
Terpene profiles are becoming more common, but it is still unusual to see a full terpene profile pulled for a strain. Farma goes the extra step to run a terpene profile for most of their strains. Unlike cannabinoids, terpene levels are usually very low, zero to two percent. But that is still enough to affect the flavor and effects of a strain. Terpenes give plants their scent; limonene produces a citrus odor, for example. As more research is done into terpenes, we are also discovering that certain terpenes produce specific medicinal effects as well.
Death Star has limonene, beta-myrcene, linalool and beta-caryophyllene. Limonene, in addition to its citrus aroma, is a stress-relieving and mood-enhancing component in cannabis. It also may help relieve heartburn. Myrcene is found in mangoes, hops and basil. A 1997 Swiss study found myrcene to be the most common terpene (out of 16 tested) in cannabis. Myrcene has been shown to have lots of medical potential- it possesses analgesic (pain killing), anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. It can also make you drowsy, and that is on full display in Death Star. Additionally, myrcene has been shown to increase the permeability of cell membranes, improving the absorption of cannabinoids. Linalool gives lavender its scent and is associated with relaxation, pain relief, and can promote sleep. Beta-caryophyllene is a spicy terpene found in black pepper and rosemary. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to relieve depression and anxiety.
A good terpene profile should provide information on scent, flavor and some effects a flower will have, which is more information than a sativa or indica classification alone will provide. Based on its terpene profile, before even smelling the flower, I expect Death Star to have notes of spicy citrus. It should help with pain and inflammation with a little bit of muscle spasm relief. It should also be an uplifting and relaxing experience that may make you drowsy. (Can you tell whether Death Star is a sativa or an indica based solely on the terpene profile?)
Scent, Taste and Appearance:
Death Star smells rich and skunky with subtle notes of pepper and orange. The terpene profile missed the most powerful scent. It is pale green and coated in tiny white crystals and brown-orange hairs also thick with crystals. These hairs and crystals are also known as trichomes and kief. It is well trimmed and neither dense nor fluffy, so you don’t need to grind it, but you can if you would like.
The orange and spice terpene profile is more apparent in flavor than scent. My nose burned and my eyes watered after my first hit, like I got a snout full of pepper. The sensation lessened but remained on subsequent hits. The flavor reminded me of an orange studded with cloves, sweet and perfumed, like the pomanders wealthy people used to carry to “clear the airs” of the odors of the unwashed masses.
When I smoked Death Star in the evening, tired but unable to sleep, either from racing thoughts or pain, within a half hour my eyes grew heavy and I dozed off to sleep. When I smoked in the morning (it is unusual for me to smoke something so strong so early) the relaxing and uplifting mood predicted by the limonene and linalool prevails over the myrcene drowsiness. Although as time wore on, the couchlock effect got stronger. I was surprised I did not nap, but I also did not get very much done. I would save this strain for the evening. Both used in the morning and the evening, Death Star worked well for my pain.
I could get used to knowing so much about my cannabis before I smoke it. Unfortunately, with the cost of broader testing and the limited labs that perform such testing, Farma is likely to remain one of the few dispensaries that offer full profiles of their flowers, at least for the foreseeable future.
As for Death Star? It is a potent smoke that will uplift and mellow your mood while easing pain. It is super relaxing until you fall asleep. . . This strain is ideal for bedtime use or for dozing on the couch through a mediocre movie. Death Star may not destroy planets, but it might obliterate you!
(Death Star is definitely Indica dominant. Could you figure it out?)
Colorado has been a tourist destination since before it became a state in 1876. The beauty of the rough landscape and the Rocky Mountains is undeniable, even to those who aren’t normally inspired by such natural majesty. Traditionally, the tourism enjoyed by the Centennial State has been for activities such as skiing, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and nature photography. In 2016, however, cannabis tourism, or cannatourism, must officially be added to the list. Needless to say, those interested in such excursions should be 21 or older.
It has been two full years since Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize adult use cannabis. Since its debut, sales of permitted pot has poured tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues into the coffers of the state’s municipalities and school districts. A significant part of this growth — and much of the money — has been generated via cannabis tourism.
Some ski town dispensaries have claimed that 60-80 percent of their business is derived from those traveling from out-of-state, typically on a personal vacation. Frustrated fans of cannabis in prohibitionist states are visiting Colorado in record numbers, seeking a taste of freedom and regulated safe access, similar to how North Americans used to travel to Amsterdam to sample a more liberated environment for cannabis consumption and fellowship.
Toking in Legal Limos
Cannatourism services are available in many forms. These include cannabis-friendly limos that will make a beeline from Denver International Airport to the nearest reputable dispensary, specialty tours that explore quaint mountain dispensaries, and cannabis-friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts. The future may even bring cannacafes and social gathering places for cannabis consumers, much like how those who enjoy alcohol can visit a tavern or pub.
Let’s spend a fantasy weekend in Denver, a city that — much like Portland and Seattle — is becoming a mecca for patients and lifestyle cannabis consumers who prefer to partake of strains like the rare sativa Durban Poison or top shelf samples of Girl Scout Cookies when vacationing. Given the stress of modern life, a weekend learning about and responsibly consuming cannabis, in a variety of forms and among plenty of fellow enthusiasts, might be just the ticket to managing anxiety and maintaining a healthy, balanced perspective on life, including family and career.
The first stop on this cannabis vacation isn’t a stop at all, but rather a ride in the 420 Airport Pickup limo that travels directly to the dispensary that best caters to one’s preferences. Really into concentrates? How about edibles? Want to try that hip new whole plant extract called live resin? Given the number of specialty shops in the Denver metro area, this canna-shuttle can help, allowing patients to medicate before they even reach their lodging. This company also offers cannabis tours and a nice discount to those who purchase a round trip. Travel back to the airport in style — and avoid the worry and hassle of returning a rental car or getting busted while driving stoned.
Stocked up on cannabinoid-rich medicine, the next stop is the hotel. There are many options for canna-friendly lodging in the Mile High City, including a chain of locations by Bud+Breakfast and a premier downtown hotel that just happens to allow residents to toke up in its sumptuous suites. Bud+Breakfast (the company with the tag line “We’ll keep the bowl burning for you”) offers multiple properties, including the famous and classically beautiful Adagio Bed & Breakfast in Capital Hill, as well as multiple mountain cabin properties.
Located in one of Denver’s most beautiful historic neighborhoods, the Adagio B&B is a beautiful Victorian — and a stark contrast from the company’s cabin properties that are nestled within the mountains. The Adagio offers six “elegantly decorated” private suites that range from $200 to $300 per night and provide ready access to the attractions of downtown — including dispensaries and retail outlets.
At $300 a night, the company’s smoke-friendly cabin in Aspen isn’t cheap, but considering that it provides the utmost in beautiful mountain scenery and consummate privacy for up to six adults, it can actually be very reasonable. Another option is this hospitality company’s cabin in Silverthorne, Colorado, which offers five suites priced from $130 to $250 per night and is perfect for a romantic getaway while vaping a nice concentrate or smoking some sticky buds purchased at the dispensary stop on the drive from the airport.
Another option is The Nativ, a swank hotel in downtown Denver that just so happens to be friendly to cannabis (and owned by culture-friendly entrepreneurs and advocates). This luxury destination offers 24-hour room service and features suites replete with a 60-inch high-definition display panels, private patios, and oversized hot tubs. The Nativ’s focus on luxury may not appeal to the more bohemian members of the cannabis culture or those on a budget, with room rates ranging from $330 to $535 per night.
However, those who prefer or are habituated to high-end accommodations, especially international business travelers, will appreciate the ability to smoke or vape without risk of being booted from their room or paying a ridiculously steep fine for having smoked in it. Nativ offers a rare mix of old school luxury and a 21st century respect for cannabis consumers, including a coffee and champagne bar and the ability to chill in style with several friends in a full-size Jacuzzi — or by oneself with a bowl of medical-grade flowers or a handy vape pen. All legally purchased and consumed.
Denver is nothing is not a hotspot for cannabis themed tours of nearly every shape and size. Many focus on dispensaries, while some offer tours of large cultivation facilities. Others focus on mountain vistas and dispensaries or retail shops that serve the slice of the skiing community that embraces cannabis for mind, body, and spirit.
The High There Bus, dubbed the Hopper, is a 20-passenger limo-style, cannabis-friendly party bus that tours Denver. But there’s a catch: Tour guests are users of the High There app, a Tinder-style dating service targeted at cannabis users. The Hopper is a legal alternative for cannabis tourists who may find a lack of desire to violate their hotel smoking policy or toke in public and risk encountering a strict police officer.
What is interesting about the Hopper, which debuted in 2016, is that it is free to ride. It is legal and, theoretically, safe to consume cannabis on this party bus, but the intent is obviously to promote the High There app. Until cannabis lounges and bars emerge that allow safe, casual use of cannabis for tourists, the Hopper will be a valid alternative — for those who are willing to sign up for the High There dating service, that is.
Some of the best, and most affordable, tours in Denver are offered by My 420 Tours, which features dispensary and grow tours beginning at only $50. A unique Sushi and Joint Roll dinner is available for $60 per person. Most tours, including the four-hour Budz & Sudz Tour (that includes time in a brewery tour, a tasting session, and dinner), carry a $100 fee, including a popular cannabis cooking class.
There’s no doubt that Denver currently offers some of the best, and most interesting, cannabis-centric tours in the nation. Another example is Cultivating Spirits, a tourism company offering a range of unusual cannabis excursions, including a three-course “cannabis pairing” dinner and a Food, Wine, and Cannabis tour.
For foodies who love to consume superlative cannabis, get the munchies, and dine in style, Cultivating Spirits is a dream come true. Wine fans who would never walk into an incense-drenched head shop may love the classy tours offered by this company. Although pricey (the Food, Wine, and Cannabis tour is $250 per person, but offers the advantage of being limited to only 10 guests), tours from this company last several hours and have received praise from picky guests. Said one customer:
“I was taken care of the whole night by the guide, never having an empty glass, dull moment, or question unanswered.”
Another credible source of pot-friendly tours is Colorado Highlife Tours, which proudly proclaims that it has been providing “safe, fun, and discreet” tours since 2013. The Denver Stony Saturday Tour, which costs $90, is a 3-4 hour sight seeing jaunt that allows guests to smoke or vape while riding the party bus. The tour includes stops at a glass blowing shop and an indoor cultivation facility, as well as a 4:20 pm smokeout that makes available vaporizers, dab rigs, and water pipes. Guests can smoke or vape virtually any way they desire — even if they come to the party unprepared in terms of a smoking implement.
The Unique Stuff
From the perspective of its psychoactive effect and euphoria, cannabis is known to both generate and enhance creativity. For painters, those who practice yoga and meditation, and many other artists or creative types, pot is arguably a performance enhancer, aiding sometimes intrepid artistic efforts for both amateurs and professionals alike. For many, cannabis eliminates “writer’s block.”
Puff, Pass, and Paint is one of the more successful, as well as unique, cannabis-centric businesses that has emerged during the dawn of the age of adult use legalization that began in Colorado in 2014. Offering classes in the three top legal cannabis hotspots — Seattle, Portland, and Denver — this funky “cannabis-friendly, all-inclusive art class” is both daring and rewarding in its embrace of students puffing down or vaping their own herb or oil while trying to get inspired to create, learn, paint, and mingle.
A new class in the mix is Puff, Pass, and Pottery. Class fees are very reasonable and range from about $50 to $65. Said the chain’s owner, Heidi Keyes, “Puff, Pass, and Paint is a 420-friendly art class, which basically means that it is providing an environment to come and create — and feel very comfortable doing that.” She added:
“And also to be able to partake in cannabis, if you choose to.”
Those wishing to break from the traditional couples vacation should seriously consider Denver and the entire state of Colorado for their next adventure. A full catalog of services allows patients and consumers of all age groups and budgets.
The only unfortunate thing is the fact that cities like Denver, Seattle, and Portland are among the very few places in all of the United States where patients and fans of the cannabis culture can travel to enjoy legal adult access to regulated, lab tested, high-quality cannabis medicine and related products and services. Hopefully this will change in the coming years, especially if more states legalize adult use in the 2016 elections.
Some Advice for Cannatourists
One final piece of advice, especially for novice cannatourists. Those interested in Colorado edibles should seriously heed the mantra start low, go slow. Good tours will expose guests to professional budtenders who will preach likewise and give real world dosing (titration) advice to customers, with a full slew of warnings for first-time consumers. Due to the abundant sources of safe, tested, and properly labeled edibles in the state, visitors are warned to avoid edibles from the black market.
Photo credit: Bud+Breakfast (The Maryjane Group), Puff Pass and Paint, My 420 Tours
Massachusetts offers its citizens a medical cannabis program that went into effect in 2013 and covers conditions like cancer, ALS, Crohn’s, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s. Registered patients in the state are permitted a 60-day supply of cannabis and can engage in limited home cultivation. More than 23,000 patients have signed up for the state’s program to take advantage of safe, regulated access to medical cannabis.
Among these medical cannabis patients in The Bay State is 71-year-old Boston sportscasting icon Bob Lobel. Lobel has undergone a series of serious operations, including two rotator cuff surgeries, two knee replacements, four back surgeries, and procedures for dual femur fractures. All of this surgery has resulted in a great deal of post-operative pain for the veteran sportscaster. Said Lobel:
“My issue was strictly pain. I didn’t want to take any more OxyContin or oxycodone or Percocet, for a variety of reasons. The biggest thing I was worried about was addiction.”
Lobel described how the pharmaceutical pain killers he was prescribed drained his energy and made him tired. “It was hard to function and I couldn’t go on TV all drugged up,” he said. The results of Lobel’s experiment with medical cannabis to treat his conditions?
“It was really about helping with the pain, and it did.”
Unfortunately, Massachusetts hasn’t been quite as efficient in granting Lobel a medical exemption as the cannabis has been at combating his pain. During a three-day trip to Portland, Oregon to visit his daughter, Lobel visited a certifying doctor, applied for a medical card, and obtained it. Next thing he knew, he was legally purchasing and consuming cannabis — but only in Oregon, thousands of miles from his home and work.
Lobel is still waiting for Massachusetts to grant him the legal right to gain safe access to cannabis medicine in his own state. “I don’t want to have to fly across the country and deal with drug-sniffing dogs at the airport. I want to do everything legally here,” he said. The famous TV personality says he does not enjoy smoking cannabis, but instead uses oil. He has experimented with edibles like candy and cookies.
Lobel described how cannabis is effective in treating his pain, but allows him to avoid the negative side effects of the opiates he previously consumed. He said:
“In terms of pain relief, [cannabis]…really helps.”
Until Massachusetts grants him a medical card and he is allowed to gain safe access within his own state, Lobel says he is able to “take the edge off” using the cannabis he obtained in Oregon (no word on how he got it back to the East Coast). He said another challenge has been overcoming the stigma associated with “marijuana.” “It’s more than a reasonable alternative [to opioids] once you get past the stigma like you’re under a railroad bridge smoking pot,” he said.
Lobel has been impressed by the selection of cannabis products and the myriad ways in which it can be consumed, calling his options “incredible.” To show his newfound support of medical marijuana, he referenced former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee.
“When Bill Lee was talking about marijuana and his brownies back in the ’70s, he wasn’t kidding. He was just ahead of his time.”
Photo credit: Boston Herald, CBS
In a recent study conducted by Nerd Wallet, some nerds got together to take a look at how the 50 largest American cities stacked up against each other when it comes to health. They looked at fitness levels, obesity rates, and healthcare accessibility to determine which city deserves the title of America’s healthiest.
The results of the study were in no way groundbreaking; 4 of the top 10 were west-coast metro areas. You know, the kale smoothie yoga types. While we could anecdotally say these folks are the Whole Food shopping hippies, they have one other thing in common: legal pot.
1. Boston – A hub for medical research, Boston ranks first in the nation with the highest number of doctors per capita. They also rank highly for exercise rates and, on average, are covered by health insurance a higher percentage of the time.
Along with healthy residents the state of Massachusetts has established a medical marijuana program that will allow up to 35 dispensaries for the state.
2. San Francisco – San Francisco ranks second for healthiest city in the nation. The city is among the most fit in the nation and scores very highly for walkability. The city did it’s part to establish the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the country, and until recently, California led the nation in progressive marijuana laws.
3. Portland – Portland ranks third in the nation with a high rate of healthcare coverage and an extremely active population. Known for bike commuting, it’s no wonder that Portland has secured it’s place at the top of the list. In November, Oregon residents voted to tax and regulate recreational marijuana for the state.
4. Seattle – Coming in 4th is the rainy city of Seattle. Their high scores for the fitness index and healthy body weights pushed them to the top of the list. Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana back in 2012 and in July of last year they sold their first recreational joint.
5. Denver – Denver rounds out the top 5 cities because of their extremely active population. Outdoor sports like skiing and hiking keep the Denver population active all year round. As the first major city to experience recreational marijuana, it may come as a surprise that residents are among the most active in the nation.
via Smell The Truth