Time flies when you're flying high, and this year we've managed to stay nice and medicated thanks to more than fifty metro-area medical marijuana dispensaries that we secret-shopped. Here's a look back at the top ten most delicious, potent and appealing strains (and concentrates) we brought home in 2012.
See also: Ten dankest marijuana strains of 2011.
10) Chemdawg - Denver Kush Club ($25/eighth) "Though pickings were slim on my visit, I probably would have gone home with this undeniably sweet and earthy-smelling Chemdawg cut in any case. It was bright green, with a dusty coating of trichomes on the dried buds that dropped like tiny snowflakes to the top of the glass countertop as the budtender rolled out a nug and held it in his fingertips for me to examine. Though I didn't get to inspect any big nuggets, the two-grams-plus of a half-eighth that I got was enough to get an idea of how well done the cut was. Round, fat calyxes and cupped sugar leaves that made me do a double take to check for fat seeds beneath, but nothing but trichomes fell out. Rolling it up in my palm to break up the nug for a spliff left my hand sticky and stinky for the rest of the evening. The herb burned clean, though it was understandably somewhat dry and quick to ash, since it had been taken out of the bottom of the stock jar. Usually an uplifting, energetic and munchies-producing strain regardless of what phenotype, this one packed a punch, with small bowls doing me just right before meals and giving me a coffee-like pep afterward. It's very well priced and very well grown as a $40 eighth, but especially welcome moved to $25 near the end of the jar." 9) Super Silver Sour Diesel Haze - Colorado Alternative Medicine ($40/eighth) "Now, here's one I haven't seen at many -- if any -- other dispensaries. And while you'd hope it to have this nose-hair-pulling funky haze to the smell and taste, all the blending seemed to do was bring out more of the sour in the Sour Diesel. Sniffing the jar was tart, like putting your nose in a container of powdered lemonade. The hybrid also gets a bit more of its conical shape from the SSH, but underneath the green sugar leaves, amber hairs and purple calyxes are all Sour Diesel. This example was just exploding with trichomes, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone, dispensary or caregiver, doing this much better. Like the Deadhead, the potency was off the charts, but in the opposite way. Instead of putting me down on my ass like baby for a nap, a small bowl pack was a shot of ginseng to my body and head. Very creative and energetic. The taste was a bit lighter than I expected it to be considering how full the smell was, but it still had a distinctly rubbery finish, especially out of a fresh, clean bubbler. Like the Deadhead, the only thing to find fault with on this is the pricing. Otherwise, I'm sure I'll remember this strain when it comes time for my top-ten list in a few months." 8) Platinum OG - DANK Colorado ($40/eighth) "I'm not sure there was any more room for trichomes on these chunky, pinecone-shaped buds. Crystals were basically fighting it out with crystals for space, and it had a delicious, fresh-turned-earth richness to it out of the jar that grew stronger the more the bud was broken up. Surprisingly, it didn't taste very strong at first, but a tart, lemony aftertaste surfaced a few minutes after I finished the bowl. As the trichome development hinted, the bud was super-stoney and potent. I made the two grams I purchased last for several days longer than it should have just by taking small one-hitter snaps as needed."
Continue reading for more of the year's best strains.
7) Headband OG - Colorado Wellness Inc. "Like Campbell's Soup for the stoner soul, this Headband OG was mmm-mmm good looking in the shop and the overpowering leather/rubber/tennis ball funk of the stock jar that my budtender stuck under my nose lingered for a minute after he took the buds away. Listed as an indica hybrid, this bud behaved more like a sativa, with a quick elevator ride up the spine and a burst of creativity and euphoria in the noggin. A knockout in flavor as well, the shop's simple ingredients of molasses, kelp, guano and castings let the genetics flourish, and someone did an excellent job trimming and then curing this herb. From what I've seen, very few people within the span of blocks that is Broadsterdam (and that's a lot of shops) are doing herb this good, and even at the $12 per-gram increase, this single top-shelf cut comes out to just over $40 with tax included." 6. Pootie Tang - The Golden Goat ($40/eighth) "I have no clue as to what relation this strain has to the near-cult classic Louis C.K. and Chris Rock flick for which it is named. But sada tay, my damies, this was one fantastic strain I couldn't say da nayno to. With a fat, round bud structure like an OG, I expected more kushiness from the smell and flavor. Instead, it had an intensely dark berry musk to it when ground down that came out very strong in the first two or three hits. Much more of a sativa lean to this as well, and I was instantly charged up after a bowl, like I had just sucked down a Red Bull. The buzz lasted for a good hour and a half before fading out with little to no crash afterward. Great for appetite as well, almost forcing me to feed the growing cavern in my stomach on a constant basis when smoked in the morning. Wada ta." 5) 707 Headband x Maui (greenhouse grown) - Grassroots Grown ($25/eighth) "[The shop] had a killer 707 Headband/Maui cross just pulled out of the locker the day I stopped by. The fluffy, round nuggets had a fruity, buttery smell, with hints of the Headband rubberiness broken up. Though the buds looked somewhat dull, they were anything but. Smoking and vaping out of clean pieces brought up some amazing earthy sweetness and a powerful Headband aftertaste. The flavor lasted most all of the bowl, then tapered off into a pleasant and almost sweet aftertaste before burning off as a fine, white ash. The buzz was outstanding and really helped lift not only my appetite but also my mood this week after an unfortunate hospitalization last weekend."
Continue reading for more of the year's best strains.
4) Super Lemon Haze -New Age Medical ($30/eighth) "Chunky Super Lemon Haze that almost burned my nose at first smell with the acrid lemon and musky haze. The buds were fully developed, and cracking one left a dusting of trichomes on my desk and my fingers sticky with resins. The lasting flavor was nearly identical to the smell when burned, and the buds baked down to a white ash in a dry pipe. The SLH was uplifting not only mentally, but for appetite as well. A top-shelf strain for New Age at $30 an eighth, it was extra delicious. Well grown and well priced, for sure." 3) Golden Goat - Tea Pot Lounge (Pink House Mile High) ($35/eighth) "One of the most solid looking and smelling sativa doms in the shop, the Golden Goat was an easy pick for me this week, thanks to its almost eucalyptus menthol finish and sweet, floral aroma. As I've mentioned several times, the source of this amazing strain is a friend, and it's often hard to find samples that compare to what comes out of his garden. The buds I brought home from Tea Pot did, though, burning to a clean white ash. It was a well cured sample as well, with a flavor that mimics the tangy sweet smell. Burning it left a barely discernible haze that lingered for a split second in the nose after exhaling. Not a strain for those of you with high stress, but if you're looking for an energetic sativa buzz more akin to a cup of espresso than anything else, this is where you should be at. I enjoy it for the munchies it produces as well as the happy, perma-grin buzz. Non-member pricing is $35, making this a solid purchase -- one I was happy to smoke on for a week." 2) 707 Headband Shatter - Green Dream Health Services $40/gram "As I mentioned in the review, this shatter oil took first place in the 2012 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."
Continue reading for the year's best strain.
1) Ghost OG - Trill Alternatives ($40/eighth) "Yes, the buds are popcorny -- but almost the entire batch had been trimmed down to small rocket ships of terpines and THC. No stems needed. Easily the most potent, stinking strain they had on the shelves in my visit, this Ghost was a mix of new sneakers, jalapeno peppers and Pledge dish soap (I know I've said this before, but isn't it strange what things smell appealing when talking about cannabis?). The rust-colored buds glistened in the sunlight like a million tiny glowing eyes looking back at you from the calyxes. Unlike the Sour Kush, these buds burned perfectly down to a white ash with no snap-crackle-or-pop soundtrack. For an OG hybrid, it was good this week for relieving lingering back pain -- and since the Ghost is always a surprisingly energetic and uplifting strain, it leaves me functional, albeit maybe a bit talkative and rambling. If this is indicative of Trill's top shelf, it's certainly worth seconds."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.