Best Topical Product 2023 | Escape Artists Relief Cream | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Once your body nears around thirty years old, the knots, strains and sore spots pop up without warning, typically at the start of the day. Keep Escape Artists Relief Cream in the medicine cabinet, though, and you'll have a layer of defense against the aches and pains of exercise, awkward coordination and old age. Made with 800 milligrams of CBD, 800 milligrams of THC, a pharmaceutical-grade pain cream, and black pepper and cedar extract, this cream has helped us with sore necks, strained quads and arthritis flare-ups. And since THC lotions don't reach your blood, it can be applied as often as needed without fear of a failed drug test.
Jacqueline Collins

You can't just walk into the Marijuana Mansion and light up a joint — the eccentric space serves as a photo-shooting gallery most of the time — but the historic, potentially haunted Capitol Hill mansion also moonlights as a private cannabis-friendly event host. Rooms are decked out with curated historic decorations and local art, giving each area an individual feel, ranging from Victorian to glow-in-the-dark, while the mansion's century-and-a-half history includes everything from spirit sightings to the creation of legal pot. Before the mansion's current owners took over, the building housed the offices of several attorneys who co-wrote Amendment 64, the voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational cannabis in Colorado. If you want to experience the Marijuana Mansion with a joint in hand, keep an eye on Eventbrite listings for private parties, and follow the instructions to request an invitation if you're 21 or older.

Best Place to Run Your Weed and Liquor Errands

Green Remedy

When longtime Denver-area businessman Curtis Washington bought a building with a liquor store in southeast Denver last year, he had already envisioned a dispensary joining the party. A new licensee of Denver's marijuana social equity program, Washington and his son, Jordan Brooks, planned to turn half of the place into Green Remedy as part of a new venture together. Although they're the only two businesses in the building, the dispensary and liquor store have different addresses, allowing them to operate under the same roof independently. The rare distinction has already helped lure in customers, according to Washington, and the combo seems particularly smart when you're facing after-work errands during rush hour.

KC Christian

You can find a bag of Lay's and a bottle of Sprite at any convenience store, but It's a Bodega takes junk food to a whole new level. In fact, most of the snacks here aren't "junk," but imported rarities. From Japanese Kit Kats and Taiwanese potato chips to outlandish Fanta soda flavors and Chinese Oreos, KC Christian's exotic snack shop has munchies that will make you ooh and aah and ask "How many of those am I allowed to buy?" Shopping at It's a Bodega isn't just a fun trip for snacks, it's an experience of East Coast homages, nostalgia and edible creativity. You'll have to pay for the rarest items — Oreo Moon Pies from Thailand have gone for as much $25 each, and Christian once sold a $40 Fanta — but there are plenty of fun, tasty and holy-shit options that won't break your budget, like international Twix and a Canadian remake of Crystal Pepsi.

Scott Lentz

Who doesn't love a novelty vending machine? Missouri has a vending machine that sells barbecue burnt ends. Texas has a pecan pie vending machine. California has vending machines for eggs and sprinkles. And what are the robots selling to us in Colorado? Weed, of course. Cannabis vending machines have popped up before in the state, but Terrapin Care Station's in-house version is the first that doesn't require a pre-order or human employee to operate. You simply walk into the Terrapin dispensary on Mississippi Avenue in Aurora and flash your ID to the counter attendant, and that's where the human interaction ends. You can buy flower, hash, pre-rolls or edibles from the machine in seconds and be gone without a word. The vending machine is currently only at the Mississippi location, but Terrapin plans to roll them out at its five other locations in the future. Misanthropes and haters of the public, rejoice!

Best Way to Try Colorado Cannabis Products

Taste of JAD's

Jacqueline Collins

Cannabis farmers' markets can't really exist in Colorado because of laws surrounding legal pot sales, but something pretty close to one happens twice a month just outside of Denver in unincorporated Adams County. Every other Saturday at JAD's Mile High Smoke, the state's only licensed cannabis bar, you can attend Taste of JAD's, a marketplace meant to showcase new cannabis growers, extractors, edibles brands and more. After vendors set up at 2 p.m., guests sample each of their products (and the entire cannabis menu at JAD's) for various fees until 6 p.m. No products can be taken outside the bar, unfortunately, but all Taste of JAD's vendors are available in Colorado dispensaries, so take note of what to shop for next time.

Our opinion on the majority of pre-rolls are well documented and don't need to be repeated, but Red Roots is building a foundation of trust we can get behind. Made with quality flower, not plant scrapings, with a rolled snake of rosin placed gently in the middle, Red Roots is the easiest way to smoke a "hash hole" or "doughnut joint" for those who can't roll. The infused joint hits like a monster and burns like an ash doughnut, with the hash melting into oil and seeping into the flower as it burns, leaving a hole in the center as it goes. Red Roots joints are a little pricier than the free hot dog that comes with a big dispensary purchase, but their potency and quality can get you through multiple sessions. Or turn you into a deep-fried hush puppy. Whatever works.

Snaxland has been busy making a mark in other places over the past couple of years, opening a store in Oklahoma and expanding into Puerto Rico. Yet one of Colorado's most popular growers still didn't have a store in its home state. After purchasing a former Golden Meds dispensary in 2022, Snaxland was expected to open its first dispensary in Denver this year. As we still waited for the Denver outpost, however, Snaxland surprised us in February with a newly opened store in Boulder. The location, previously the Peaceful Choice dispensary, is now dishing out more than fifty Snaxland strains and flower from other growers, as well as concentrates from extractors like Green Dot Labs and Soiku Bano. You can still find Snaxland at dispensaries across the state, but going to the source pays dividends in the form of exclusive cuts and new releases.

7464 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

Bubba's Kush founder Chris Kaiser says he isn't trying to take over the world. Enjoying life with his beloved pit bull and company namesake, Bubba, off the fruits of his labor in the garden is enough for him — and that's a big come-up for us. When Bubba's Kush broke into selective dispensaries like A Cut Above and Eclipse Cannabis Co. in 2022, cannabis shoppers knew the small operation must be doing something right. After first-class trips to the moon with the Ordway-based grower's Georgia Pie, Orange Cream Cake and Super Boof, we're convinced that Bubba's Kush belongs in the conversation with cultivations like 710 Labs, Cherry and Green Dot Labs. Georgia Pie has been taken on by growers across the state, yet Bubba's peach-pit qualities stood out the most in a crowded pool, while Super Boof, one of our favorite strains of the year, was largely made popular thanks to Bubba's cut. We're still waiting for Bubba's Kush to grow the actual Bubba Kush, but we'll gladly take anything this true-blue cultivation produces in the meantime.
Tyler Getz/Green Dot Labs

If growing cannabis were prizefighting, then Green Dot Labs would be holding the championship belt right now — and sporting a few title defenses, as well. The Boulder operation is technically an extraction-first company, but Green Dot's flower lineup may be forcing founders Dave and Alana Malone to reconsider where their bread is buttered. Banger after banger has come out of the Green Dot grow over the past year, including the ROYGBIV series (each phenotype was named after a color on the rainbow), the artist series (Dalí, Monet, Picasso, etc.) and A5 Wagyu, as well as our personal favorite, Thunderdome. The visual appeal, unique terpene profile and marathon highs from Green Dot flower are second to none. Each release makes us more antsy than the next, and we can almost guarantee those new genetics aren't touching other gardens.

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