Medical marijuana dispensary review: Colorado Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Colorado Alternative Medicine is one of the few shops I've heard good things about from patients as well as other dispensary owners. I've been hearing stories about its solid collection of connoisseur genetics and homegrown-quality herb for over a year now, and decided it was finally time to check it out.
Location: 2394 South Broadway, Denver
Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday noon to 5 p.m., Closed Sundays
Owner/manager: Anna Cozy
Mission statement: "Our goal is to provide high quality medicinal cannabis and other natural health care services, as well as to promote holistic healing and healthy living."
Opened: November 2009
Raw marijuana price range: $50 tax included. $45 tax included for members.
Other types of medicine: hash, minor selection of edibles
The shop is in an old duplex on South Broadway that has been renovated inside with bright lights, dark-wood floors and higher-end wood and faux-suede furniture in the waiting room. A beautifully illustrated anime-style geisha picture on the otherwise tan wall above the mantel of the cleaned-out former fireplace. The walls separating the waiting area from the dispensary only go part-way to the ceiling, leaving an open space across the entire shop and a strong smell of herb wafting from the back.
The bud bar is in what I would assume is the former dining room of the duplex. It is a cozy space: With just me, another patient and two budtenders, the room felt even smaller than it was. One guy helped the other patient while I tried to talk over the two of them with my budtender. Despite the mixing of conversations that occurred, I was given a decent tour of the shop's menu.
For such a little place, the variety was amazing and the sativa selection alone was enough to make me drool. The whole shop stunk with skunky goodness, and opening each jar was a real treat for my nose -- especially when I popped the lid on some amazingly well-produced Golden Goat. I know this strain well, and even its creator would have been pleased with these results.
I talked with my budtender for a few minutes about my craving for big flavors lately, and he started to pull out strains he thought I would like -- including sugar-coated popcorn nuggets of Chemdawg 4 kept in a plastic tub. Every strain is $50 for an eighth and $25 for a half-eighth, and mixing and matching strains was okay with my budtender.
Owner Anna Cozy says the shop is run by growers, and each of her budtenders has several years' experience growing. Cozy herself has nearly a decade of experience with small grows, and says the owners have tried to bring that basement-level quality to their commercial products. The center's grow space has been divided into ten small rooms with eight lights in each room. "It produces herb just like you would in a four-light setup," she explains. "You can give the attention to every single plant."
The attention to the herb shows, and it also means that this shop doesn't t devote as much space to other types of medication. The day I was in, there was only a handful of different vendor-done edibles in the shop and only one kind of bubble hash. In fact, aside from the impressive variety of organic herb, there's not much to Colorado Alternative Medicine. No massage rooms, no patient lounges, no huge displays of glass or edibles.
But then, the shop was never intended to offer "gimmicky" services like massages and acupuncture. "I'm not going to pretend to be something else," Cozy says. "I sell medical marijuana here."
Page down for William's cannabis pictures and reviews.
I went in wanting something with a mouthwatering, spicy chemdawg taste to it, and found it in CAM's Headband. This delicious cross of OG Kush, Sour Diesel and Master Kush looked great in the shop's jars, trimmed a bit loose but nothing I wouldn't smoke. Beautiful brick-red pistils popping out of the bulbous nugget that smelled like a new can of tennis balls mixed with fresh wet potting soil. The cut burned clean with a relatively strong spice to the otherwise rubbery finish. Overall, this was an extremely well-done cut to see in a dispensary. I really enjoyed the balance of this strain. It worked great as a pick-me-up in the morning as it gave me intense focus on my morning work.
Death Star - (Sour D x Sensi Star)
This famed strain originally out of Ohio had a very unique potpourri smell that overpowered any of the initial diesel pungency, and lime-to-forest green bud with tiny dark orange pistils (hairs) all dusted over with long, curling trichomes. The perfumed smell carried over to the harsher, more intense smoke of the herb -- with a very slight taste of pine from the Sour D in the lineage. Other blends of this strain with different names (Bio Diesel) carry more of the diesel taste, making for an interesting comparison of genetics. A small bubbler bowl left my head and body feeling oddly heavy and floating at the same time. Strange for a sativa-strong strain, it moved across my body and helped easy lingering leg and knee pains.
K-1(OG Kush and Durban Poison)
I would have gone for a third chem-related strain this week had the budtender not pulled out the tub of K1 to show me. The mix of the earthy piney funk of OG Kush and the spiciness of Durban mixed to create what smelled to me like Trainwreck on steroids. It had an overpowering lemon and wild herb smell that reminded me of eating at Little India, and a spicy smoke as well. This strain expanded huge on my first hit and sent me into a red eye-inducing coughing fit. On subsequent, smaller tokes, I could get some of the lemony flavor, but overall this strain's taste didn't live up to it's smell. Aesthetics aside, though, this India-strong strain was a real ass-kicker in terms of potency. I went into zombie-mode for twenty minutes or so after my initial session, stumbling though the making of a PB&J and leaving the kitchen a grape-slathered mess.
William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.
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