Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Dab Lounge at the NW Cannabis Market - the Stoner Living Field Trip Report

Hash Oil Dab Bar by Hubba Hubba for Stoner Living
Artist's Interpretation of a Hash Oil Dab Bar by Hubba Hubba
In the back room of the NW Cannabis Market, the dab lounge makes it possible for patients to sample extracts from the medical marijuana vendors up front. The NW Cannabis Market on Seattle's Rainier Avenue is open 7 day a week. Access is restricted to medical marijuana patients authorized to use medical cannabis in Washington State.

At the dab lounge, a budtender skillfully wields the blow torch, making it possible to relax and do nothing but inhale the vaporized fumes of the many extracts available. Prices range from $3 - $7 suggested donation per vaporized puff, and a wide selection is available. Basic extracts are priced at a recommended $3 donation (and Tuesdays are 'double dab' Tuesday where 2-for-1 pricing applies to selected dabs), CO2 extracts priced at $5, and some special extracts priced at $7 donation.

For $7, I tried a cryo-purged BHO (Butane Honey Oil) product. The budtender took out the small container of extract, and pulled a tiny amount onto the metal dabber stick (I selected the one with the Godzilla head on it). She fired up the blow torch and heated the metal bowl (the "nail") at the end of the glass waterpipe until it was glowing red hot. When I was ready, she 'dropped the dab' onto the side of the 'nail' as I inhaled through the cooling water.
Cinex BHO hash oil extract from Local Roots dispensary - Dabs
Cinex BHO from Local Roots

She warned me not to hold the smoke in too long as it would expand in my lungs. I took her advice and exhaled the first hit mostly through my nose to enjoy the full aromatic spectrum of the extract. I survived with my lungs in tact but a distinctly peppery burn in my lungs. It was smooth, but I certainly felt the power of the concentrated smoke.

At the end of the exhale, the budtender smiled and handed me a cup of cold water.

Before preparing a dab for my companion, she opened an alcohol wipe and cleaned the mouthpiece of the waterpipe.

We sampled a $3 dab next. The difference between a $7 dab and a $3 dab is primarily smoothness (the $3 dab was a bit rougher on the throat going down) as the potency seemed similar. Most concentrates sold at the market reportedly range from 60-90% THC.

A heavy hand during the extraction procedure can strip all the delicate aroma and flavor rich terpenes from an extract. Likewise, failure to completely remove the solvent can lead to off tastes and outright toxic products. All of the 'dabs' we saw and smelled during our visit to the NW Cannabis Market appeared to be acceptable - and in some cases excellent - products.

The dab lounge at the Galaxy location of the NW Cannabis Market is open 7 days a week. The White Center location also has a dab lounge open on occasion. Because the product is vaporized and there is no smoke involved, it seems that indoor smoking ban legislation does not apply to such operations. Of course, a multitude of other prohibitive legislation will slow the spread of such establishments.

A home set up for enjoying extracts can be purchased from one of the vendors of glass smoking accessories at the market.  There are specialized devices as well as 'nail' attachments which can be attached to a multitude of standard waterpipes. Concentrates may also be mixed with cannabis flowers and rolled, or smoked through a pipe or waterpipe. 

Editor's note - A full Stoner Living report on home options for enjoying BHO or 'dabs' is in the works for April.

Reported by Stoner Living field reporter Greta Kraftt

-------- (c) 2013 Stoner Living

Friday, March 8, 2013

NW Cannabis Market: America's Only Daily Cannabis Market

Stoner Living Field Trip Report: NW Cannabis Market
New Galaxy Location
2329 Rainier Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144

The new Galaxy Location of the NW Cannabis Market opened on February 13th, 2013 and it was business as usual when we stopped by on Tuesday, February 26th. The NW Cannabis Market serves the medical cannabis community and a proof of medical authorization is required for entry. The market is open 7 days a week, with a group of 'core vendors' up front, and an area in back with rotating vendors offering a variety of changing inventory including clones, extracts and even a 'dab lounge' where extracts can be sampled on the spot in special vaporizing devices (the dab lounge wasn't open for our visit). It is uncertain how the implementation of I-502 will impact existing medical marijuana access point operations such as this.

Illustration by Hubba Hubba - Interpretation of a typical vendor's booth at a cannabis farmers market
Interpretation of a typical vendor's booth by Seattle artist Hubba Hubba

The paperwork at the front desk was simple; they examined my medical recommendation paperwork and identification. The people at the reception desk were very friendly and gave a sample of cannabis for being first time visitors/patients.

The first booth upon entering is Peoples Champz Medicated Edibles. The cheerful proprietor let me sample all four flavors of his medicated juices including grapefruit, cherry/apple, tangerine and strawberry/lemonade. Think of the quality of beverages like Naked or Odwalla, but made with fine cannabis extracts and available in 1 gallon containers for a $40 donation. The tangerine was excellent - crisp and vibrantly flavorful, and I purchased a glass ($7). He sold us the last of his Black Berry (4.5 grams) for his 1/8 oz donation of $35. The Black Berry was light and fluffy, with a soft sugar dipped look. Its loose, resin crusted clusters reminded me of the early afghani hash strains.

Next door was the Modus Vivendi booth. They had a variety of extracts including ominously packaged Rick Simpson oil in a syringe that showed the dark blacky greenish tar like goo within; warming it under warm water was recommended to loosen it up. A dab 'the size of a grain of rice' is all that is needed, or so we were told by several vendors. Rick Simpson is a famous California cancer survivor who claims he healed himself with this formula. The edible oil has been heat activated and is a whole plant food grade extract - chlorophyll and all.
KRS One Capsules

I was intimidated by the $30 syringe (it looked like the plunger on the thing could easily discharge in my bag) and opted for a package of KRS One kif and extract capsules which they promised offered a significant body effect. They gave me a 1 g sample of the cannabis of my choosing for being a first time customer. I chose 'Green Crack'. The 'green crack' sample was comprised of two buds - one larger, dense bud about an inch long by a quarter inch; and the other about a quarter inch square. It produced a thick, hearty smoke and a euphoric happy high.

The Van'Z ice cream booth occupies a prime spot directly across from the market entrance. In addition to their flashing lights, Van'Z  had an assortment of glassware, clones, medibles and cannabis. The ice creams I sampled were outstanding. I tried the Peach Cobbler and the Dark Aztec Rocket Fuel. The rocket fuel came out darker than intended, they confessed, but I loved it and bought a 1/2 pint ($15). They had a wonderful glass waterpipe which looked phallic to me, but my friend saw it as a  cannon...'yeah...people see a lot of things in that one' the gentleman behind the counter remarked.

The Urban Healing Collective was next, offering a good selection of cannabis including elusive strains such as 'Girl Scout Cookies'. At the counter, I heard something about 'Pineapple Dog Shit'. I thought it was a joke until I saw the jar of it proudly displayed with a suggested donation of $11/g. I laughed and the guy who was buying the Girl Scout Cookies said he liked the Purple Dog Shit very much; that it offered an unmatched all-day high that didn't need 'topping off. But alas, there was only the Pineapple Dog Shit, so I opted for an 1/8 oz sampling of  the Super Lemon Haze which presented nicely with mid sized buds and silvery white frosting. The citrus aroma is pronounced in an almost lemon-pledge way and the high is cerebral and wirey. I also tried their Cascade Goo, for a little indica heavy hybrid variety.
No Sea Bird Poop Was Used to Fertilize the Cannabis in these Brownies

They Guys from Seattle's Best Cannabis Medical Cannabis Co-Op were next door with their spectrum of 'vegan organic' cannabis. So, what exactly does that mean, I asked? I inquired specifically about the use of guano - manure - a staple in organic farming. The gentleman said that he uses bat guano (they eat fruit and stuff) but not sea bird guano (they eat anything). He had a variety of strains, including lovingly handled, non compressed, fresh and organic product. I imagine these guys will become one of my regular providers of medical cannabis. But I had already purchased my allotment of cannabis for the day, so sampling their wares will wait for a later visit. They did provide samples of their vegan, organic chocolate brownies.

Grassroots Seattle had an Impressive Booth
The Grassroots Seattle booth was professional, and their knowledgable salesperson discussed Rick Simpson oil with us and let us sample some medibles. I got a package of four medicated chocolate peanut butter cups ($20) and sampled their Snickerdoodle cookies, which were excellent too.

Overall, TheNW Cannabis Farmers Market New Galaxy location has done well to avoid most of the flea market dinginess that could easily plague such an operation. Vendors have official looking booths - not just folding card tables. Some are a bit tacky with flashing Christmas lights, but most are standard retail fixtures. The 'dab lounge' will certainly be worth checking out, and a variety of vendors will bring seasonal variation.

The Galaxy location of the NW Cannabis Market is open 7 days a week and is located behind the legendary Italian Borachini's Bakery at 2329 Rainier Ave. South, in Seattle (2 1/2 miles south of the heart of Downtown Seattle).

Article by Greta Kraftt, field reporter for Stoner Living Blog.
Illustration courtesy of Seattle artist Hubba Hubba, you can check out his art here or visit his Etsy store.

--------------(c) 2013 Stoner Living Blog

The author is in no way affiliated with the NW Cannabis Market.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Visit

I selected The Green Door, my neighborhood dispensary, for my first medical marijuana 'access point' experience. In addition to their convenient location, they had over 40 reviews online and were voted best medical marijuana dispensary by the Seattle Weekly in 2011. They are discreetly tucked into a multi level strip mall at 12th and Jackson in the International District.  The exterior could be mistaken for a spa - I went past it twice before locating it.
The Green Door: discreetly tucked away in a strip mall in Seattle's International District

I rang the bell and was buzzed into the humid, skunky smelling waiting room. The walls were green with dark wood accents and a flat screen television playing a Bob Marley documentary. Mike, the gentleman working there, introduced himself through the glass window. He was an easy going 30ish guy with long dreadlocks tied up in a turban. He reviewed my medical authorization paperwork and my drivers license. I had to complete a single page of paperwork which included a reminder of the limits of how much marijuana I can legally posess in Washington State (24 ounces of dried cannabis) and a statement to the effect of designating the Green Door as one of my medical cannabis care providers through some sort of collective gardening agreement. After reviewing my paperwork, they took my photograph and ushered me back toward the bud room.

The legal marijuana experiences I've had in Europe were heavily slanted toward hashish - coffee shops in Amsterdam and the open air hash market in Christiana, Denmark have relatively little cannabis flower selection. But the Green Door is a legitimate enterprise with a wonderful selection of cannabis. There were over two dozen different varieties of dried cannabis available - not including concentrates.

Really?? Really... Collards with Cannabis! Fun new product from CannaHaute cuisine
The bud room was well organized, clean and inviting. One wall had all the dried cannabis arranged in jars from 100% Indica to 100% Sativa, with hybrids in between. Another Mike, a mid-twenties gentleman with short brown hair, served as my budtender. I followed Dr. Z's advice and described my condition to him and asked for recommendations. I wanted to try a range of different products, so I selected a full indica, a full sativa and a few hybrids. Information about the producers and analytical data on the strains were not available.

For the full Indica, I went with one of Mike's recommendations and selected the Grandaddy Purple.  The medium sized buds were indeed quite purple and had the classic floral sweet 'purple' aroma and a decent frosting of crystals. It gave a soft, pleasant smoke that conveyed a fragrant 'purple' taste with a bit of a kick to it.
Cannabis from the Green Door

I decided to go with the Sour Diesel for a Sativa dominant strain (90% Sativa, 10% Indica). The buds were small and compact with an aroma dominated by a waxy fuel-oil aromatic note which was disappointingly subdued. A slightly musty aromatic note came through during smoking that tasted a bit flat. This Sour Diesel was intensely psychoactive, but not a flavor I'd seek out again.

My favorite strains tend to be Indica dominant hybrids and I've been curious to try some of the 'cheese' strains I have heard about these past few years. The Blue Cheese (80% Indica, 20% Sativa) came as nice chunky nuggets, but they lacked the aroma intensity I would expect from a strain named after something as pungent as blue cheese.

Medibles from the Green Door
The best strain in the bunch was the Ace of Spades (70% Indica, 30% Sativa). I asked Mike the budtender about the provenance of the strain, and he told me was a hybrid of Jack the Ripper and Black Cherry Soda. The aroma intensity of the Ace of Spades was stronger than the other strains I obtained from the Green Door. The smoke was thick and strong, without being harsh or hot in the throat. Psychoactively speaking, this delivered a pleasant buzz that was relaxing without giving the partial lobotomy feeling. I did, however, get the Motorhead song 'Ace of Spades' stuck in my head for a few days which didn't make me feel like much of a genius either.

In general, prices ranged from $10/gram to $12/gram, some strains were on special for $8/gram. Volume discounts are available for all strains. For being a first time patient, I received one pre-rolled joint - I chose the sativa strain Cynex as my free gift.

There was a case of medibles which were all expensive ($10 for a brownie, $8 for a bon-bon, $10 for a soda) but I tried a few products anyway. I was a little disappointed in the chocolate caramel brownie from The Chocolate Cure. Its portion was generous and its potency was good (one brownie was at least two, and probably more safely four doses). Unfortunately, the cannabis butter flavor was a bit dirty - something that could be easily improved by incorporating an additional water washing step in their oil/butter extraction process to suck out some of the chlorophyll contributing to that grassy taste.

All of my medicine was labeled with my name and the name of the strain. While Mike was weighing and packing my order, I thumbed through a copy of 'The Emperor Wears No Clothes' by Jack Herer. Thinking back to reading the book back in college about 20 years ago, I was saddened that hemp is still not legal in the US. But I was heartened when I realized that I was purchasing better quality marijuana, at a better price, from a better selection than ever before. Maybe the legalization of industrial hemp is next!

-------------(c) 2013 Stoner Living Blog