Back in the day, there were fewer greater feelings for a young cannabis user than finding a new connection. Finding that steady hookup of sticky green bud was one you cherished as your friends were picking seeds out of brick. I hadn't thought about that sensation in a while, what with so many MMCs and herb growers everywhere. But Green Dream Health Services brought me back to those days, because just about everything I saw on the shelves made me want to bring it home.
6700 Lookout Road Suite 5 Boulder, CO 80301 303-530-3031 www.greendreamhealth.com
Hours:11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Online menu: Yes. Other types of medicine: Edibles, BHO (wax and shatter), icewater-extracted hash. Handicap accessible? Yes.
Located just east of the Boulder Reservoir in Gunbarrel, Green Dream is situated in a tree-shaded, single-story office park far enough off Lookout Road not to be visible from the street. The shop is in a narrow space marked by an unassuming sign and a green cross about face-high on the door. Otherwise, the center fits in well with the modest dentist's office and a few other businesses nearby.
I walked in and was greeted by Tim behind the receptionist counter, who took my card and identification and handed me over a few pages of paperwork to sign and date. (A bit off track here, but I've noticed that for first-timers, the shops in Boulder tend to all require paperwork as well as a copy of your card and ID, whereas shops in Denver tend to just copy the latter two.) Anyway, I snagged a soda from the mini-fridge and took a seat on the vintage mod leather couch at the other end of the lobby/patient lounge.
The shop is classy without going overboard. White walls prevent the cool vintage couch and chairs, wood floors and simple decor from seeming cluttery despite the relatively skinny space. The shop has a simple but established feeling to it. A manager I spoke with after my visit said the dispensary tends to pull a lot of customers from the nearby "country club" neighborhoods as opposed to the college crowd from the University of Colorado.
Off of the lounge was a window into an office for wholesale purchases (according to the sign on the door) and another room up front behind the receptionist desk set aside as the bud bar. A flat-screen television mounted in a built-in bookshelf was tuned to ESPN, and I sat and waited for about five minutes while an older man in front of me finished up his purchases at the bar.
Their bud menu was written on a chalkboard behind Pete, the budtender, breaking herb down into $35, $40 and $45 shelves. These days, $45 is on the high side, and a few more strains in the mid-shelves wouldn't hurt, but tax is included and "eighths" are four grams after 4 p.m. on weekdays and all weekend long. Ounce prices were even lower, with specials on strains like some killer Bruce Banner as low as $200.
A few jars were up on the chest-high counter, but most of the herb was kept in jars stacked on a shelf in the back of the bud bar and wasn't out for easy viewing. Instead, Pete took the time to do a small consultation with me, asking what I'm medicating for and which strains usually work well for me, even though two patients were behind me in line. One by one he pulled out jars from all three price ranges. Impressive were the lavender-oil-scented, chunky Blue Dream from the mid shelf, Madman OG from the lower shelf and the Kyle Kushman's Strawberry Cough from the top shelf. The latter was bursting with orange and red pistils.
Everything I checked out seemed to get better than the last. But what really sets Green Dream apart is its collection of OGs and OG hybrids -- most all of them clone-only cuts that don't find their way out into the general public very often. One by one we went through the Brain OG, the White Fire OG, the Ghost OG, the pre-'98 Bubba Kush, the 303 Kush. The list really keeps going, and they were all eye-popping at first glance.
The manager later told me that the shop's philosophy is that cannabis should be hand-raised. Herb is grown in coco fiber using pots that are hand watered and turned as if they were part of a small, basement caregiver grow. Herb is hand-trimmed and dried/cured for weeks. "The only automation we have is our light timers," my budtender told me. The extra effort shows, and I had a very hard time selecting two strains to take home with me. In the end, I let Pete do my picking and was very satisfied with his selections.
A Plexiglas case on the counter was filled with edibles from Cheeba Chews, Mountain High and Sweet Grass -- though as usual I opted to stay away from them, since I can only munch on my ganja occasionally. With my metabolism, I tend to get floored easily.
Hash and concentrate selection was pretty decent as well, and everything the center carries is made strain-specific, from Green Dream crops by Top Shelf Extracts -- a company we've featured in the past here at Mile Highs and Lows. Grams of wax are capped at $30, with shatter oil selling for $10 more per gram. The shop recently took first place at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup up with its 707 Headband shatter oil, which made selecting a concentrate pretty easy this week despite a menu of more than a dozen varieties.
First-time patients get a 10 percent discount, and signing the shop up as your primary center gets you a free eighth each month and discounts on ounce prices. The shop also runs a punch-card system for all patients, with the eleventh eighth on the house. I walked out paying just under $60 for more than four grams of top-notch herb and a half-gram of shatter oil.
I usually wait a day or so after my visit before dipping into the meds I purchase to review. No real reason; I'm just not in any hurry. But this week, I couldn't wait to try the aficionado-quality herb I found and was lighting up a bowl of within a mile of my wife's pulling out of the parking lot.
Page down for strain reviews and photos.
Brain OG: $45/eighth Part of me wanted to grab the entire jar of this OG phenotype in the shop and start running with it. Instead, I opted for a two-gram half eighth that I ended up savoring in small bowls throughout the week. Outstanding trichome coverage, perfect density and development and a smell that mixed the rubbery smell of new tennis shoes with a nose-tickling turpentine finish. Broken up, the bud stank up my ten-by-ten office within twenty seconds and had me drooling in anticipation of the first-hit taste. Out of a bowl, a vape and a bubbler, the herb maintained a consistent, strong flavor nearly identical to the potent smell that lingered well after the bowl had been turned to white, powdery ash. As Pete had promised, the Brain OG was a much more mentally uplifting variation of the strain than the Skywalker OG that I also brought home. A little went a long way, and snapping three or four fresh green one-hits was more than enough for solid appetite development (and a case of cottonmouth) after morning bowls. If you like your OG's, Green Dream has this cut dialed in and it's well worth checking it out.
Skywalker OG: $45/eighth Yes. The Green Dreams OGs were so good that I didn't have a choice but to bring two of them home -- a pair of the most gnarly, funky and appealing strains I have seen dispensaries carry. The Skywalker had noticeably more dense flowers, with fat, tightly packed calyxes throughout. The bud had a solid dusting of crystals and was sticky with oils. Crushing up a nugget in my palm left my hand greasy and sticky with resins. Though it definitely had the rubbery OG scent to it, a potpourri-like floral smell beneath it stuck around in my nose for a few seconds after pulling the jar away. Very well grown, dried and cured. The herb burned clean, with a thick, expansive smoke and an almost instant body buzz. Much more sedative and indica-leaning than the Brain OG, the Skywalker was much more relaxing and soothing both mentally and physically. It was good for releasing tension in my stomach and getting things moving, though early in the morning puffing nearly put me right back to bed.
Bruce Banner #3: $45/eighth Pete told me that this is really what the shop is known for, which was surprising considering how well the stack of OGs was grown. He insisted on sending me home with this sample and I didn't object. A mix of Strawberry Diesel and OG Kush, this Colorado-bred strain smelled light and airy in the jar at Green Dream -- hints of soil, sugary sweetness and cannabis muskiness. My batch lost that aroma, however, and was left smelling like a ten-year-old scratch and sniff fruit sticker. While it was a pretty, light green bud with nice trichome coverage that was peppery to the taste, the bud burned harsher than the OGs but packed a similarly strong punch. Uplifting, energetic and speedy, this was more of a house-cleaner than a couch-rider and was great for puffing midday with work left to be done.
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707 Headband Shatter: $40/gram As I mentioned, this shatter oil took first place in the recent High Times Medical Cannabis Cup concentrate category. Produced by the folks at Top Shelf Extracts from Green Dream's 707 Headband, the oil had a very strain-distinct Headband smell and was a rich, golden amber color with a slightly tacky consistency, like proper shatter should have. Extremely potent: Just a small tenth of a gram on a skillet nail was more than enough for some serious flight time of the mind. Medically, waxes and concentrates are great for quick use. Being able to take one hit of concentrate and be done with smoking is great when battling sudden nausea and you don't feel like choking through an entire bowlful in a pipe or vape. I've been laying off the wax for the last few weeks, and this was a much-appreciated welcome back: clean, full of flavor and strong. At $40 per-gram, it was the most expensive wax on the shelves. Others sell for $35, and everything also sold by the half gram as well.
Want more?Our friends over at KindReviews have put up some excellent strain profiles as well as photos of other flowers from Green Dream.
William Breathes is the nom-de-fume, er plume, of Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic. Read more of his reviews in our marijuana blog, Mile Highs and Lows and keep up with all of your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.