Editor's note: William Breathes became the planet's first professional medical marijuana critic when he joined Westword in 2009, and since then, he's emerged as the local expert on all things cannabis.
Today, he lists the ten dankest marijuana strains of 2013.
Check out his choices below, and click on the accompanying links to read his original reviews of the shops that made the cut.
Number 10: Acid -- Medicinal Oasis
The budtender at Medicinal Oasis suggested some Acid the marijuana strain, not the mind-altering psychedelic wonder chemical. The funky, rotting-grapefruit-peel smell was intriguing, and the budtender gave it high marks, so I took a discount-level eighth home for $20. While the dozens of miniature popcorn buds I ended up with didn't have high bag appeal, they were nevertheless tiny rockets of THC that packed a buzz on par with chugging a couple of grande lattes and running laps around the block until you're lightheaded. Appropriately, the Acid had an acrid, hazy flavor to match the funky citrus smell in a vape and a bubbler. It was a jolting way to start the day, because it gave me a huge appetite, and just two or three hits kept me going until well after lunchtime. Number 9: Bubblegum -- Boulder Wellness
I've had a personal aversion to Bubblegum for years after seeing way too much of it back in college, and I usually pass it over. But I'm glad I didn't skip this batch at Boulder Wellness. It was easily some of the best Bubblegum I've seen, and I instantly forgot about my bias. Instead of the leafy buds of my youth, this was perfectly plump, and dried and cured to perfection. The near dead-on Bubblegum smell and flavor oozed from the buds like the glassy crystals coating the calyxes. A much heavier nap-time indica than I remember, this Bubblegum would be solid for relieving pain, soothing anxiety and putting your ass to sleep. Continue to keep counting down the ten dankest marijuana strains of 2013. Number 8: Bleu Cheese -- Lush
I can't stand real bleu cheese, but this batch of Bleu Cheese from Lush was my kind of salad. It had a spicy-sweet licorice punch up front, with a lemon-furniture-polish body underneath that grew exponentially more pungent when the oily, waxy flowers were crumbled up in my hand. My thumb and forefinger were left with the citrus smell and a waxy feel, as though I had just dusted my house with Pledge. When I smoked it, the flavor wasn't as potent as I expected. Instead, it really came out in a vaporizer with a clean whip and wand (I use a Silver Surfer). A bowl-pack was enough to help me ease up on my back tension and, at the very least, get stoned enough to forget about my pain for a couple of hours. Puffing more than two bowls in a session was a prescription for sleep. Number 7: Bruce Banner #3 -- Trenchtown
Something about the Pine-Sol freshness of this Banner in the jar was too nice to pass up. The finger-shaped buds had a tight trim, but they were still sandblasted with silver crystals deep into the maze of calyxes and silk-thin orange pistils. The flavor was even more pronounced, and while I've never smoked pine sap, I now have a rough idea of what it might taste like. As potent as it was pungent, the Banner was a solid sativa for stimulating the old gut into action, and I had no choice but to make a massive breakfast in the morning to satisfy the hunger urges. For those paying attention: I've gained seventeen much-needed pounds over the past year from a little yes-I-cannabis like this. Continue to keep counting down the ten dankest marijuana strains of 2013. Number 6: Flo -- Colorado Harvest Co.
The baby-carrot-sized buds of the Flo at Colorado Harvest Co. had a ripe lavender smell that hit the nose instantly, followed by a hashy undertone. Broken down, the silver-trichomed buds scoped clean and left a dusting of crystals behind on my table after I broke them up. Smoked and vaped, the buds had a smooth, full flavor and a mellowing potency that was enough to arouse an appetite while still helping me maintain enough mental energy to get through the day. There were a few other sativa strains on par with the Flo even better, in some cases (like the tangerine-scented Red Diesel), but at $30 an eighth, the Flo was the most reasonably priced strain for my money. Number 5: Alien OG -- Healing House Lakewood
Healing House had a number of Kush and Kush hybrid genetics: Tahoe OG, Kosher Kush, Raskal OG, White Fire OG (several different phenotypes) and at least two or three more. I opted for the Alien OG, with its chunky, faintly purple buds the size of duck eggs. The smell was at the level of funky, Super Ball-rubbery, lemon-terpene OG goodness so aromatic that you felt compelled to open and close the jar at least ten times simply to get that popped-tennis-ball-can blast. The Alien was potent, as well, with a balanced hybrid effect that started out mellow and heavy between the eyes and then progressed to a buzzy, fresh-from-a-nap energy. Continue to keep counting down the ten dankest marijuana strains of 2013. Number 4: Texas Hash Plant -- L'Eagle Services
LEagles Hash Plant, which allegedly comes by way of Austin, Texas, hit the mark in terms of potency and bag appeal, with an awesome Tangerine Haze-like fruitiness that immediately hit your nose out of the jar. The flavor wasn't as pronounced, but it still came through well in a vaporizer and clean bubbler. This was nap-time ganja; there's really no other way of putting it. It soared you high and pain-free into the stratosphere for about 45 minutes before slamming you down, face-first, into a pillow. Aches, pains, headaches, nagging in-grown hairs, deadlines: They all drifted off along with my consciousness. In smaller doses, it had Valium-like sedative properties. Number 3: Spirit of 76 -- Kindman
The rare Spirit of 76 at Kindman was very impressive. The popcorn-sized buds in the sample jar all had a hint of purple under a slathering of sandy-colored crystals. In the shop, I got a strange, fruit-punchy Bubba Kush smell, but at home it had more of a grapey-lavender finish. Smoked, the potent little buds had a sweet, earthy taste and were great for mellowing out and easing anxiety after a stressful day. I also was struck with a mean case of the munchies soon after puffing a bowl, despite the fact that I had just finished a meal. At $25 an eighth, it was a perfect purchase, and one I've been back for many times. Continue to keep counting down the ten dankest marijuana strains of 2013. Number 2: Headband -- Green Man Cannabis
The most potent, sour-smelling strain on the shelf at Green Man was the Headband, with its perfectly dense, marble-sized buds crammed together on stalks to form beautiful, spiral-like flowers. When I cracked it open, the strength of the brand-new, rubber-ball funk took over my office and put an instant smile on my face. If you're a fan of this strain (and who isn't?), this is the level at which you want to see it grown, with a great earthy, slightly limey taste through the bowl, clean white ash to finish and a growing head buzz that starts before you finish exhaling your second hit. The Green Man budtender said this strain always puts him in happy cannabis land, and its definitely great for appetite and all-around mood enhancement -- the type of bud that could cause world peace if everyone grew a few plants in their back yard. Number 1: Amnesia Wreck -- Verde