Medical marijuana dispensary review: Sense of Healing in Denver

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Is there a better stretch of road in Denver than Federal? Colfax, maybe. But Federal has the best food, the best people-watching, the best classic cars regularly cruising by -- and it's one of the last thoroughfare in the city whose character developers haven't tried to steal in the last ten years.

Too bad Federal doesn't have the best dispensaries.

Sense of Healing

1005 North Federal Boulevard Denver, CO 80204 303-573-4800 MedGrass.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $18-$25/eighth-ounce, $120-$165/ounce. Non-members pay about 10 percent more. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Sense of Healing is in what I guess was formerly a convenience store judging by the Kwik-E-Mart appearance of the place. The shop has the parking lot to itself and I doubt there's ever an issue of finding a space. Inside, the building is sectioned off, with an up-front foyer locked off from the patient waiting room and bud bar in the rear of the shop. My budtender met me at the receptionist window, took my card and told me to head on back.

The shop is in the middle of some construction right now, held up by city permits on the build-out of the in-house hash lab, according to my budtender. Because of that, one half of the patient waiting room is framed off in an aluminum structure, while the pimptastic white leather sofas and American Furniture Warehouse-style generic coffee table in the lounge occupy the other half. Otherwise, the place was remarkably clean if not a little generic -- like some salesman had set up a display of what your basic, average dispensary was like.

The bud room was more of the same, with clean wood-and-glass display counters, two high-end computer systems for patient sales and jars full of herb on display. The bud bar is split into two sides of an L-shape, with special reserve buds, hash, and cheap, likely Chinese glass pipes and oils in the center, indica flowers in jars on the left wing and sativas on the right. Each bud was situated in the case underneath a detailed label that broke down each strain's reported medical properties as well as the lineages. It's a simple, easy approach that should be standard in shops but for some reason is not. The shop also has clones on sale that are kept in a display over near the one of the corners for $15 a pop or $60 for six. They were all small, but I didn't get a good look other than to note some Chernobyl and (I think) Casey Jones on the little white plant stakes next to the sprouts.

The lone jar of reserve buds was full of Girl Scout Cookies. Or, at least a strain that someone told them was Girl Scout Cookies, because it flat-out wasn't GSC. If anything, it looked like fat, orange-haired phenotype of an Island Sweet Skunk or something equally as skunk-fruity. But it didn't have any of the bud structure of true GSC or any of the fake-but-still-solid GSC versions that come from bag seeds and the like. For that alone, it wasn't worth an extra $10 on the eighth. But even if it was GSCm the buds weren't grown to any greater standard of quality than anything else on the shelves. In fact, some of the lower-priced buds seemed more appealing.

Continue for the rest of the review and more photos. Appealing might be the wrong word, though. Most of the buds seemed underfed and underdeveloped. The fact that most of the jars were filled half with buds and half with the loose, dried, shakey bits that had broken off from them didn't help the look much either. The Black Bubba Kush, a cross of Black Dahlia and Bubba Kush, looked like it had been harvested three weeks early. The same with the Super Power, a Super Silver Haze cross that was in crumbles. Other strains didn't seem to match up, like an OG cross dubbed Jedi 41 that smelled like oranges instead of the earthy, piney funk you'd expect. Other jars, like the White Widow and Island Sweet Skunk, weren't even worth considering.

There were a few worthwhile selections, though -- namely the two purple strains in the shop. The Grape Drink buds were like golfballs and had a thick, earthy and Concord grape-like smell, and the Urkle looked like someone had plugged the Grape Drink buds into an electrical socket and lit them up like neon. The frosted orange and purple nuggets wouldn't have even looked like real cannabis if you didn't know pot came in purple. It was like the fake buds people used to sell in the back of High Times.

Despite that, I brought home the oddly named South Park 1187. According to my budtender, it was a cross of an unknown indica x Skunk 1. I couldn't find anything else on it, but it looks like a thin, under-fed Sour Diesel to me. It has the same rubbery, fuel-like Sour D smell broken up and the tan pistils over the dark green sugar leaves look pretty much the same as well. The crispy buds crackled when smoked, though, and tasted more like unflushed nutrients than anything else. That same chemical smell was on my fingers after breaking up the buds for a doobie later in the day. Potency wasn't an issue, however, and the strain (whatever it was) has some sticky, resinous trichomes. The staffers just need to flush them a lot better than they are doing currently.

Like the South Park 1187, the Golden Goat had a strong, potent smell -- but then again, the wildly stinky, rotting sweetness of the strain makes that pretty much a given. The sharp, pointy spear buds were as good as it got at Sense of Healing. But looks and smell aren't everything. The flowers I brought home were dried to a crisp and snap-crackle-popped their way to a black ash in my bowl every time. They also suffered from the same flushing issue as the South Park and had a chemy taste to the Kool-Aid/baby powder sweetness of the strain itself. Despite its flaws, the buds put me in Pac-Man mode in my kitchen for the morning, ruthlessly gobbling everything in sight.

Prices are low for member patients, with eighths starting at $18 on the discount shelf and $25 an eighth for most everything else -- so you aren't going to break the bank. But as dispensary shopping goes, you'll find me on the lesser roads of Denver for now.

Read more reviews from Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic, William Breathes, in our Mile Highs and Lows blog, and keep up with all your Colorado marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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