Medical marijuana dispensary review: Tetra Hydro Center in Denver

I've been thinking for the past few weeks that I would take up golf this spring. I don't know why I suddenly like the idea of paying someone so I can walk around a field for hours going from cup to cup, but given the enjoyable outdoor temperatures recently, I figured I would give it a shot. So I snagged my father-in-law's clubs and headed over to the only driving range I know, at the John F. Kennedy golf course in southeast Denver, to chip a few balls, as they say. And before long, I needed some medical treatment.

Tetra Hydro Center

9206 East Hampden Ave Denver, CO 80237 303-221-0331

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range members: $10/gram $35/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Raw marijuana price range non-members: $13/gram $40/eighth-ounce, $225-$250/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO, pressed bubble hash, candies, sweets, medicated capsules. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Turns out I suck just as bad at golf now as I did ten years ago, when I first tried that miserable sport. But now that I'm older, my poor form not only inspires me to dangerously shank balls toward other golfers; it apparently also causes my back to go out almost instantly.

I was already planning on stopping at Tetra Hydro Center after my practice session. But instead of looking for something for my appetite and nausea, I was instead on the search for something indica-heavy that would help me relax and recuperate. The shop is pretty incognito, in an out-of-the-way shopping center just a five-iron shot from the course. It's is in a shaded corner in the center's southeast corner, with only a small green cross above the door to signify what's inside. Otherwise, it blends in with the oddly modern Scandinavian Design center across the parking lot.

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Pictures of the place from 2011 show that not much has changed in the past two years. The same black leather couches are still set up along one side of the space, with two coffee tables loaded with magazines and strain-information books. These days, the couches are a little bit tatty and worn, and the walls have lost their fresh-painted clean finish and have been scuffed up here and nicked there. And thanks to the winter shadowing from the building next door, it's currently pretty cold.

But get through the locked door to the bud bar and you're hit with a wave of hot, wet air -- like getting off a plane in Florida or walking into the Denver Botanic Gardens in February. Rounding the corner, it's clear what's causing the artificial season change: a massive closet packed with rooted clones in various stages of growth. My budtender told me that the clones are only for looking, as the shop doesn't have a license to sell them.

There are more cannabis plants to behold on the walk back into the bud bar from the small hallway; they're tucked behind UV-coated glass windows on either side of a door leading back to what I assume is Tetra Hydro's main production facility. Holes are cut out in the top of the peep-show windows to vent the warm, skunky air directly into the bud bar itself. I never get tired of seeing cannabis plants in various stages of bloom, and I took a few seconds to admire the girls while my budtender pointed out the three separate cabinets with sativa, indica and hybrid strains on display. She was a great guide through their harvest, not rushing me or pushing any strains she needed to move.

Strains on each shelf were priced at $35 an eighth/$70 a quarter for members and $5-$10 more for non-members. That's fair enough, but the twenty or so on sale weren't all at the same quality level. Buds like the larfy Purple Diesel, stringy Apollo 13 and what was left of Jilly Bean bits and pieces were still sitting at $40 an eighth even though they clearly weren't worth that price tag. The Lamb's Breath was so leafy that when I pointed it out, my budtender said she would take $5 off per eighth on it -- which still seemed high.

There were a few strains in the middle of the quality range, with a pink Kosher that was slightly underdeveloped, with a smell like crushed dead pine needles instead of the true earthy OG funk it should have had. Same goes for the Bio Diesel, which had the characteristic neon-lime-green color and bb-like calyx development but was underfed, wispy and nowhere near what it should be. But they were on the right track. The Bio Diesel showed promise, as did a number of other strains, like the black peppery Jedi. At worst, the buds looked underfed, tiny and at times premature.

Continue for the rest of the review and more photos. Even so, there were some real stinkers. Like the Pixie Stick-grape Grape Ape, Chemdawg that burned your nose with it's citrusy, diesel-fuel kick and a tangerine Dutch Orange that I ended up taking home with me. The buds in the Dutch Orange stock jar were the same popcorn size as the ones in the photos, which didn't make them all that appealing at first glance. But the orange-rind smell that took over my nose and coating of amber trichomes made this one of the top choices. A nice, mellow indica, the Dutch Orange crept on slowly. It didn't provide instant relief for my golf injury, but after about a half-hour, I realized I was stoned enough that I forgot I was in pain. At $40 an eighth, though, I would rather have had a few more plump buds and a little less shakey-shake.

Just like the Dutch Orange, the Skywalker OG bits and pieces I brought home were nowhere near the large, chunky buds I would rather see in my baggie. But the olfactory force was strong with this one, mixing the rubbery funk of a new superball with the moist, earthy musk of a pine forest after a rainstorm. Nowhere near as dense and pine-cone-like as other Skywalkers around, the buds from Tetra Hydro were nevertheless crammed with silvery trichomes. Probably thanks to the leafiness of the buds, the taste wasn't half as strong as the smell. Still, it was a smack to the face of heavy indica buzz that quickly spread to my entire body. It wasn't day-wrecking, and I was still able to function, but sitting on the couch, doing nothing but listening to KUVO, was much more my speed.

Hash from Tetra Hydro Center.

For edibles, the shop had a decent assortment of candies from Bakked, Cheeba Chews, Dabba, Dr. J's and EdiPure, plus a few baked goods and confections from Bakked and Dr. J's. For hash and concentrates, Tetra had in-house bubble hash that was nothing more than hard, brittle black chunks selling for $15 a gram and BHO processed by Huxley's from Tetra Hydro's facility going for $20 per gram.

If you're not in the area, the shop probably isn't worth your drive. But with a little work in flowering and some pricing changes, things could change in a few weeks. The one thing Tetra Hydro really has going for it right now is its location, in the southeast corner of Denver just on the edge of municipalities like Aurora that have banned medical marijuana businesses outright.

That, and a golf course that I won't be going back to anytime soon.

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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