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Medical marijuana dispensary review: GreenWerkz in Denver

This dispensary has closed.

GreenWerkz appeared on my radar a few weeks ago, after we posted a story on Full Spectrum Labs and its quest to find strains high in CBD, the cannabinoid in ganja most able to ease muscle and joint pain. According to Full Spectrum, GreenWerkz carries one of the highest CBD strains the lab has ever tested: R4.

GreenWerkz

Location: 907 East Colfax Avenue (flagship)

Phone: 303-647-5310

Website: www.greenwerkzdenver.com

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Owner/manager: Todd Carstens

Opened: January 2010

Raw marijuana price range: $24 to $42/eighth.

Other types of medicine: Hash oil, hash, kief, edibles, candies

Handicap accessible? Yes

I usually lean toward THC-rich strains for their anti-nausea and appetite-inducing qualities, but a lingering lawnmower-pushing injury has left my back stiff and sore. This was the perfect opportunity to seek out the rare strain called R4 and see how beneficial it really was. So I headed straight for the shop that reportedly carried this miracle cut of cannabis.

GreenWerkz is in a small strip center with a hookah bar, nail salon and check-cashing place for neighbors. I parked on Colfax, dropped a quarter in the meter and walked in. A hipster dude in his twenties saw me from behind the security glass window and walked out to greet me, with a clipboard of paperwork to fill out.

The little waiting room was cozy, with tan-green paint on the walls and the type of generic, nice-but-inexpensive furniture and neutral artwork that made Jake Jabs a millionaire. I snagged a cup of water from the cooler and plopped down on the brown leather couch to fill out the paperwork. The pictures on the website make the place seem more spacious than it is, and don't capture the worn and well-used look that a lot of businesses on Colfax seem to acquire over time. The forms were pretty standard, and I filled them out quickly, then was let back into the heart of the shop.

The pictures of the interior on the website show a fresh, clean dispensary without a lot of clutter -- those pictures are outdated, to say the least. The wood and glass cases have been pushed towards the back of the room, with smudgy glass fronts and various weed stickers stuck on the inside shelves. It felt like my house in college when I sold beasters: huge posters of nuggets (not the kind that play basketball) on the wall, the television nobody is watching tuned to a bad cop drama, music playing over everything and the smell of mid-grade weed in the air.

Inside the cases were kief-frosted square jars, placed randomly on the shelves. My budtender, a short woman in her twenties with a badass tattoo on her upper arm, greeted me warmly; I asked her to give me the rundown. On the phone, owner Todd Carstens had told me that the Lemon G, a blend of Lemon Haze and G-13, was one of the shop's pride-and-joy strains. That was also the first strain the budtender reached for, and despite both of them telling me the strain was good, all I was presented with was leafy shake. It smelled nice and lemony, but the condition of the bud was borderline-insulting to the plant itself.

Better looking were cuts of Purple Kush, Jack and Durban -- though everything had similar, hay-like smells to them, with only minimal strain-distinct qualities.

According to Carstens, they run two gardens: one organic soil and the other both soil and hydro. While they typically trim wet and let dry and cure for two weeks, now and then they get product out early because the shelves are low, he said.

I ended my jar-sniffing session with the prized R4. Such a huge buildup no doubt led to my let-down when I finally saw the jar full of green, leafy herb. It was dried well and uncompressed, though the smell was reminiscent of my younger, more schwag-filled years. Carstens had told me it normally doesn't have much of a distinct smell, though judging from the look and smell of this, as well as the smell of the other house strains, I figure this was rushed through curing. But my budtender sold me on it when she said the R4 works better on her shoulder pain than a handful of Advil. The two of us had a good conversation about pain relief through cannabis, and I got the impression that she really knew her stuff.

The shop also had hash, butane hash and edibles in a separate counter off to the side of the room, as well as an impressive variety of strain-specific icewater hash -- though I ended up going with some of what I figured was GW's butane hash (more on that in later). As a first-timer, I was given patient pricing of $24.20 for my eighth. The dispensary also has a Sunday sale each week, when all herb is patient-priced for non-members, making it arguably the only day of the week worth shopping there. For under $25, I've really got nothing to complain about.

The meds had potential, but aside from the R4, there's not much reason to go to GreenWerkz over any of the other discount shops. The owner had mentioned that they were potentially partnering up with Budding Health. Though I have yet to see anything better than warehouse bud out of Budding Health, maybe the merger would give GreenWerkz some breathing room with inventory, and allow it put that little bit of extra time into their in-house meds that they need.

Page down to see what William took home this week.

Medical marijuana dispensary review: GreenWerkz in Denver

R4 $24.20/eighth (member prices)

This was my reason for giving GreenWerkz a try. The report from Full Spectrum Labs showed that it was 14.55 percent CBD and less than 1 percent THC, just a hair over what can be found in industrial hemp plants. For all I know, this could be from an industrial hemp plant, as Carstens didn't give any hints to its lineage. It had leafy, underdeveloped-looking buds -- though I've never seen this cut or anything related to it with which I can compare it, so maybe that's just how it grows. Very waxy feeling and under the scope you can see globs of plant resin on the teeny, tiny dark green sugar leaves. It smelled like a hemp shirt when broken up, and the taste wasn't much better. But taste aside, the CBD content is noticeable within five minutes of smoking a hefty bowl. Without a doubt it helped ease my back pains, especially at night when lately I've been jolted out of sleep by searing nerve pinches. It's really cool to see what such a unique strain can do for your health, I just wish I could see what this strain is like when it's grown to its full potential -- because everything else about GreenWerkz tells me it ain't.

Medical marijuana dispensary review: GreenWerkz in Denver

Purple Kush $24.20/eighth (member prices)

This was the most appealing strain in the shop the day I was in. The jar had a grape-like sugar-sweetness that was more distinct than any other in the shop. A few days in the little jar I took home removed away some of that funk and left it with a hashy, bland finish overall. As you can see in the picture, this harvest was left pretty leafy. I'm all about the "Colorado trim," but this one borderline looks like someone forgot to do a second round of dry trimming after the initial wet trim; it reminded me of the hand-trimmed outdoor I found in Jamaica last April. There was a good coat of amber crystals solid, though a few more days flushing and maturing into fall colors before harvesting wouldn't have hurt. Hashy with minimal kush-like flavor, it produced an overwhelming spicy burn at the back of my throat when inhaling that kept me from fully enjoying it. I was left with a rather blasé attitude about this cut. It wasn't bad for $24, but I wouldn't go back for it again if it's like this every time.

Medical marijuana dispensary review: GreenWerkz in Denver

Sour Diesel Wax $25/gram

After I paid for my purchase, someone mentioned that the wax was from the folks over at The Clinic. As usual, their wax is top-notch. I brought home the Sour Diesel wax that had a beautiful, orange-tan color and smelled pungent with Diesel tartness. The wax was crumbly and handled a lot like icewater hash. I was able to roll up small balls without it melting and sticking to my fingertips. It burned clean, with only a trace amount of residue left on the titanium pad. It was an easy, non-expanding smoke in the bubbler, and the smallest dabs were great for making me hungry.

William Breathes is the pot nom de plume for Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic. You can find his reviews here every Thursday at 4:20 p.m. and in our medical marijuana blog, Mile Highs and Lows.

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Green Werkz - Closed

907 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80218

303-647-5210

www.greenwerkz.com