Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Holistic Life in Lakewood

Don't let the location in a rundown, shitty strip center that's years from its former glory fool you. Holistic Life may be in one of the grungiest locations on South Sheridan, but the herb inside is easily the best I've found during months of searching in the area.

See also: "Granby Board Okays "Emergency" Annexation to Block Pot Shop"

Holistic Life

1395 South Sheridan Boulevard Lakewood, Colorado 80232 303-935-2839

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $9-$13/gram $30-$45/eighth-ounce, $190-$240/ounce. Members receive about 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Edibles, tinctures, hash, solvent-extracted oils. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales? No.

Frankly, the shop as a whole doesn't fit with the cannabis quality. The neon green and yellow of the waiting room has the same level of eye-grating tonality found in fast-food restaurants of the 1980s. Anyone else remember when places like McDonald's were all orange, yellow and brown on the inside? Yeah, that was pure psychology to get you in and out as fast as you could possibly scarf your burger, all while keeping you hungry. Seriously.

Holistic Life's color scheme didn't make me hungry or make me desire weed any more, but I can't deny that I wanted out of that bright waiting room as soon as possible.

Another reason was the overwhelming plant-food smell. The place has a grow on site, and clearly a lot of the nutrient-rich feed and water is releasing some potent-smelling chemicals. In fact, had I not made it back to the bud bar to see the good herb on the shelf, I would have walked out and assumed all of the buds were jacked up with nasty chemicals and burned like pop rocks in a bowl.

I'm glad I stuck it out, though, because at the bud bar, the smells became much more organic and ganja-esque. The place is small inside, with more bright green on the walls, but the huge cutout window into the flowering room breaks the color and is a welcome distraction if you happen to be waiting in line. I spent about five minutes staring at the various trees through the window while the patient ahead of me went through the motions.

I eventually got antsy, mostly because the jars on display looked so freaking delicious that I wanted to jump ahead and put my face in them. The Lemon Kush, for example, reminded me of mornings working in kitchens cutting hundreds of lemon wedges for the iced tea of little old ladies. Super Lemon Haze was potently hazy, with a nose-tickling funk. Blue Dream was spot-on, with a soothing lavender odor, and the Golden Goat buds were the most chunky, round marbles I've seen in years. Great genetics grown well are a sight to see.

Flo was another standard that hit 100 percent of the checklist. The Golden Maui, a unique cut, was spicy and coated in trichs, and the Blackberry Kush reminded me of Welch's mixed fruit juice. In short: Everything was enticing and I couldn't have gone wrong with what I brought home.

Continue for the rest of the review and photos. The shop has the obligatory cheap glass pipe display set up in a cabinet by the window to the grow room, but really, the focus is buds and cannabis products. On the shelf, the store had about two dozen strains of herb, and at least half of those were unique and rare strains you aren't going to find at other medical shops -- notably, the borderline-grimy funk of the Gorila Glue, one of the most amazing specimens of bud I've seen in a shop in months. The strain is a relatively new one that gained notoriety after winning the 2014 LA Cannabis Cup, and seeing the buds, you get why. The frosted buds looked almost white with trichome coverage, and the rubbery stink was definitely reminiscent of the industrial duct tape that bears the same name as the strain; it gave off a very rubbery, turpentine-like funk right out of the gate.

The buds did have some residual fertilizer smells -- I couldn't tell if they picked that up from the ambient air of the shop or what -- but they burned down to a fine white ash every time, with only hints of the salty-chemical fertilizer funk. The grower at the checkout said this was either the shop's first or second batch, so staffers are clearly trying to get it dialed in. But keep it on your radar, because you'll want to get your hands on a bud of this super-potent Diesel-heavy strain. Very mentally uplifting, and it produced a strong appetite increase. Just a tiny bowl was enough to set me right for a few hours.

The Donkey Kong is another in-house strain you probably won't find elsewhere. The buds are a cross of Orgnkid Banana x CO Kong (aka Ohio Deathstar), and the result is a Deisel-looking bud with really subdued fuel smells under a latex-rubbery funk that grew stronger when the sticky buds were broken up, leaving my fingertips coated in a sticky resin powder (read more about it over at The buds burned down clean like the Gorilla Glue, but with a much more full flavor and none of the borderline fertilizer odors. A truly enjoyable smoke, it was a more sedative strain than the Gorilla Glue. I used small puffs of it to help curb some morning cramping and build up an appetite over the last week, and I still have more left in my jar thanks to the upper-level potency. This is certainly something you need to seek out for your own collection in the coming weeks.

The shop is also a great stop if you're a pot nerd and like talking about strains. The manager and I could have probably talked for a half-hour or more about growing techniques, genetics and everything else under the pot-sun -- but I figured I was giving myself away after we got into micronutrients and uber-rare genetics, so I shut up and went on with my day. Head's up though: Next time, I'm posting up and nerding out for at least an hour.

Cost isn't bad, either, though it is on the upper end of dispensary pricing these days, with quarter-ounces going for $80 out the door with a little extra weight to tide you over (my "eighth" was actually four grams). And yes, the overwhelming chemmy odor, like the springtime plant section at Lowe's, needs to be dealt with; I can't imagine going to work in that every single day. But minor problems aside, Holistic Life easily stands apart from its competition on Federal and, frankly, most other places across town.

You'll walk away feeling like you got your money's worth when your car starts to smell like the business end of a skunk before you pull out of Holistic Life's parking lot.

Read more reviews from Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic, William Breathes, in our Mile Highs and Lows blog.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes