Medical marijuana dispensary review: Pearl Co. in Denver

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This dispensary has closed.

Pearl Co. is on the little stretch of South Pearl Street, just down the way from Sushi Den.

This may have been purely coincidental, but I'd like to think not -- since very little goes better with a case of the munchies than sushi, and nothing tastes better after grubbing pounds of raw fish than a big, fat spliff.

The Pearl Co. 1445 S. Pearl St. in Denver 303-733-6337 www.wherestheweed.at

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Opened: 2010 Raw marijuana price range: $30/$40 price ranges for non-members. $25/$25 for members. Other types of medicine: Edibles, icewater hash. Handicap accessible? Yes.

South Pearl Street in the afternoons can be pretty busy thanks to people shopping in the small boutiques that line the shopping district. But somehow I managed to land a street spot directly in front of the light-peach house with purple and green trim.

Like other shops, including iVita Wellness in Denver and High Grade Alternatives in Boulder, Pearl Co. doubles as an art gallery that rotates out collections from local artists. I didn't catch the name of this month's featured artist, but I really enjoyed his colorful oil portraits, which hung around the foyer-turned-waiting-room of the old house.

My budtender, a woman in her mid-twenties, greeted me, copied my ID and my red card, and we were on our way to the back bud bar within a few minutes.

The little house opens up into a spacious living area that has been converted into the bud bar. My budtender told me that the house used to belong to a couple who ran a tarot reading shop out of it. The eclectic red, purple and green paint throughout the house, she says, are remnants of the former tenants. Still, the shop has a clean, bright feel to it, with minimal furniture and bright, sunlit windows facing South Pearl Street.

The bud bar itself is a six-foot-wide wood-and-glass display case that wobbled when I leaned on it. It fits in well with the scuffed wood floor and tall, heavy wooden bookshelves to the left that contained various pot literature. My budtender was welcoming and friendly, asking me how my day was going and if I had any plans for the upcoming weekend. We chatted for a few minutes about the artwork in the shop before I finally turned my attention to the herb in the cases.

Pearl Co. shares a grow facility with sister shops Cherry Co. and Teapot Lounge, though not all strains can be found at all three. Pearl Co. breaks down herb into two price ranges, with $40 being the cap on eighths for non-members. Prices don't represent the added tax, so be prepared to spend a little bit more to appease the state when you're in. I started with the bottom-shelf, $30 eighths, including a solid pre-98 Bubba and a Master Kush. The top shelf at Pearl Co. was where the nuggetry was at, though. The shop carries a crazy selection of genetics its growers have been producing, including a lot of OG's and OG crosses as well as some appealing Nevil's Wreck, a killer Lavendar and a solid Skywalker OG. But the greenery that I had to try was the Super Silver Haze x OG cut. Out of the jar, it was the most unique-smelling strain I checked out.

Pearl Co. also carries hash made by arguably the top hash maker in the United States, Selecta Nikka T. Nik is recognized for his mad-scientist approach to hash-making that includes using distilled water, exact temperatures and other secret methods he has yet to divulge. Whatever method he's using, the guy consistently pulls some of the smoothest, most strain-unique hash I've ever seen. I tried a straight OG hash from Nik a few months ago, and I can still taste the condensed OG Kush taste if I think about it hard enough.

The day I was in, the shop featured various micron-levels of Purple Alien. Each level represents different screen filtration sizes used when making the hash, with smaller micron sizes often pulling less smokeable material. I grabbed the 70 micron "solventless wax," so named because it melts down like a butane-created wax without using the chemical solvent to remove the cannabinoids.

My budtender was happy to split an eighth for me, as well as weigh out a half-gram of hash, putting me just under $60 for a weekend's worth of medicine.

Page down for reviews and pictures of the herb. By the way, my apologies for this review being a day late. I battle a pretty harsh stomach condition, and most of the time, the cannabis I use to treat it works well. But now and then, my stomach flares up to a full-blown attack. These usually last several hours and end with me dry-heaving stomach bile while sweating out any remaining fluid I had in my body. At that point, the only way I have found to stop the vicious cycle over the past ten years is to get a heavy dose of anti-nausea drug Fentanil as well as pain relief from Dilaudid. Yesterday, unfortunately, was one of those days. I'm back to feeling somewhat normal today, thanks mostly to the medical cannabis I was able to smoke this morning to curb lingering pain and nausea.

Lavender: $40/eighth This was my second choice, mostly based on the budtender's suggestion that it is her favorite all-around smoke. There was a truly lavender-like smoothness to the smell, which was relaxing enough without burning the herb that I sniffed the buds for a good half-hour before putting any flame to them. The bud was very pretty under the scope, with crystalline white trichomes covering most of the spindly, craggy bud. Breaking it up brought up more of the fruity, lavender funkiness as well as exposing some of the purple calyxes buried deep in the nug. It had a similarly enjoyable sweetness when burned, though the lingering smoke in the room wasn't near as perfumed as the taste. Medically, this was the herb I had in my pipe yesterday morning while trying to fight off a nasty episode with my stomach. Unfortunately, I lost the battle and ended up in the emergency room being pumped full of pharmaceutical drugs. Super Silver Haze x OG: $40/eighth Someone at Pink House is a mind reader. That is the only thing I can come up with as to how they crossed two of my all-time favorite medical strains into one unique plant. The smell was what got me first on this cut, as it blends the spicy, acrid haze of the Super Silver with the rubbery, sweet after-smell of an OG. This pheno seems to have kept a lot of the stringy, dark red pistils of the Super Silver while fattening up the calyxes through the OG and bringing out a much lighter green than I'm used to with a straight SSH. The buzz, though, was nothing like I expected. Normally, an OG is perfect for settling my aches while the SSH is my go-to strain for appetite. Mixing the two made it lose some of the appetite stimulation for me, but brought on an incredibly powerful mental buzz that was uplifting for my mood, if not a little bit racy and speedy for my body as well. I rolled up one big spliff of this earlier in the week and found myself cleaning the house soon after finishing. Purple Alien 70 micron "solventless wax:" $36/gram This hash had an incredibly potent, Pine-Sol cleaner smell that tickled my nose and made my eyes water up in the shop. The tears may also have been purely out of the joy of seeing such well-produced icewater hash on the shelves instead of the BHO that has taken over Colorado. Under the scope, the globs of uncompressed hash looked like brown sugar. When melted on top of a bowl, the hash bubbled and browned up, resembling a cookie baking in fast motion. The only baking was of my brain, though. The hash burned very clean, with an amazingly fresh strain-specific taste even on top of a bowl of flavorful Lavender. I knew I had one bowl of this left in my stash when I got home from the hospital Thursday, and it was the light at the end of the tunnel for me medically, allowing me to peacefully fall asleep and recuperate.

William Breathes is the pot pen name of Westword's medical marijuana clinic critic. Read more from him here in our Mile Highs and Lows archive.

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