Dispensary Spotlight on Herbal Wellness Center Inc.

AZ Dispensaries

Having an Arizona Medical Marijuana card grants us access to so many amazing dispensaries all around this mystical state. Something that not a lot of people do is give in depth review of the dispensary experience. As a consultant at 4 different dispensaries across 2 states I consider myself an expert in the retail cannabis industry. For this reason I decided it’s time to add a new feature to the blog. Spotlighting dispensaries will help to make the more nervous or newer patient the confidence to walk into a brand new dispensary. Traveling to different ones is a great idea because we will see different strains, products and receive various types of care from our bud tender. Finding our own home base is necessary and can only be truly accomplished after visiting a couple of dispensary options.

Herbal Wellness Center has two dispensaries, one in Chandler and one in Phoenix. This is a review of the Phoenix location.

Arrival & Check-In

The place is right off of the 10 and has tons of parking behind the building and even a little in front, don’t worry about having to search for these amenities. Walk in the front door to a bright, comfortable lobby with a hip, funny video playing that features different strains and information. The person behind the glass will ask for your Arizona State issued ID and instruct you to fill out the sheet of paperwork. After turning the sheet in it’s really only a couple of minutes to get back unless there is a huge line of people before you. A bud tender will come out and introduce themselves before taking you back to the sales floor and a private counter.

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Consultation & Sales

All of the bud tenders seem to have travelled from different areas in the US, my consultant was named Cain (if I spelled that wrong I’m sorry!) and he was absolutely the best. They have clearly labelled prices on the walls, jars featured for smelling and viewing and a super knowledgable staff that doesn’t rush and knows their stuff.

I was looking pretty specifically for a pre-roll and maybe an edible, but Cain let me know that first time patients get BOGO eighths but only on their first visit. Ok, I thought, I’ll check out the flower and see if it’s even worth it. Turns out it definitely was. I prefer Indica strains, they quell my anxiety and pain like a champ. He showed me their private reserve strain Snake Eyes and my California soul led me straight to their 818 OG. Long story short I grabbed a quad instead of a rollie, which in my opinion is proof enough for their prowess.

Bud Quality & Products

On this visit I didn’t get a chance to check out their edibles but I did see a large display of edibles in the fridge as well as the counters. If I’m able to make it back out there I’ll be able post an update. Until then this is about their flower quality, my favorite form of cannabis.

snake-eyes-1-copySnake Eyes is on the private reserve shelf so I’d assume that they would want to show it off first, and they have good reason. The bud structure is almost sharp & flame like and the appearance is so trichome heavy that my phone camera could capture the individual little milky trichs. Take a big whiff and indulge in the complex aromas of rich cocoa complimented by an almost jasmine chamomile scent. The smell alone is alluring and comforting all in one inhale. Effects are not completely down, the mind perks a bit as the strain begins to make the rounds to the cannabinoid receptors. Feel softness in the hands as pain releases throughout the body.

As for my free strain, 818 OG delivers that ever so familiar knock you out Indica effects of 818og3 copy.jpgmany OG strains from that (818/LA) region. Buds are chunky and dense and feature a combination of deep greens and dark purples with the usual light brown pistils throughout. The aroma is a musky citrus bergamot that resonates so thickly through the senses. Taste matches the smell and the effect is just what you’d expect, heavy heavy Indica. I found myself taking naps when usually I cannot sleep at all during the day. Mellow moods free from all anxieties, that’s the essence of 818 OG.

 

Both of these strains are top quality and don’t match the usual disappointment that AZ dispensaries sometimes give. This dispensary is a must visit and their menu is worth trying out!

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Acapulco Gold Cannabis Strain Review

Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[Mexican Landrace Sativa]

Smelling a strain is important. Whenever I had a patient at the dispensary that was unsure about a strain I would just tell them, “Your nose knows.” and I’d raise the jar to their face and have them choose only with the smell and not their rational thinking. Acapulco Gold is one of those strains that would sell to any patient despite their personal preferences because of the utterly seductive aroma it emits. Pair this delicious Sativa strain with a cup of coffee in the late morning for a productive and blissful afternoon. This is also a strain name that popped up a lot with old timer stoners at the dispensaries. If these beloved patients ever listed off the strains from the “good old days” for me Acapulco Gold would be thrown in there.

How Does It Hit the Senses?

Once the jar is open you will truly become overcome with the aroma of sharp sandalwood embedded with sweet saffron. It is immense, and it is one of those scents that embodies the sativa aroma and engulfs a room when you open the jar or bag. The fat & chunky buds grow in a bulbous structure. They’re generally semi-dense and appear in a rich dark green hue with some light green notes. The taste is rich and vibrant that is quite reminiscent of the aroma but with a nutty almost almond aftertaste.

What Are The Effects? 

At first, your mind will wander. It will wander off to weird crevices that you didn’t know existed in your own realm of thought. But then! Then something fantastic happens, all of that creative energy that has sent your thoughts ablaze comes to a fine point. Every time I’ve medicated with Acapulco Gold I’ve become a woman of words. I have finally opened up my floodgates to write poetry, I find streams of immense work flow from my fingers to the laptop and I feel …simply put… lighter. In every sense, Acapulco Gold will alleviate dark feelings and emotions, it will help you to put aside the gloom and just be. Don’t expect too much pain relief from this one, I’d supplement with CBD tincture or mix with a good Indica if you deal with pain. Also don’t worry about munchies, this isn’t Girl Scout Cookies, you won’t have any horrible need to eat half a pie (last night got weird) when medicating with Acapulco Gold.

The Origins of Carajuana

Lifestyle

I’ve been writing on this blog for awhile and it was all under the assumption that I was giving people instruction on how to utilize cannabis as a medicine. But recently it was called to my attention that not everyone automatically assumes that’s the case. In honor of 420 I thought that I would share with the interwebs exactly what cannabis as medicine means to me. In high school and even my first year of college, smoking weed was a recreational thing. I use that vernacular because cannabis is medicine, weed is a party drug; shifting the perspective starts with specification of vernacular. Anyways, it wasn’t until I quit college soccer and started medicating my severe depression and mild anxiety with binge alcoholism that I began to search elsewhere for a means of medicating this internal pain.

I was drinking quite a lot of vodka every single night until I threw up or passed out with the spins. I had sallow, yellowed and broken out skin and never had good digestive tendencies; everything hurt. A therapist had told me to take anti-depressants but I was REALLY on the fence about messing with my body chemistry like that. My roommate at the time was a medical cannabis patient in California and drew me into her world of cannabis. Going into a dispensary for the first time opened my eyes to the different strains, edibles and hashes that existed in the world. I was enthralled that the right cannabis strain or product could remove my depression and anxiety while also not making me barf my brains out and feel like shit. It seemed silly that the whole world wasn’t hip to the jive of this beautiful plant. Around this time I also started practicing yoga and I found that the combination of the two was pretty legendary. Right then and there I set a goal to make it a priority in my life to share with other people that they can overcome their severe depression with the right combination of different holistic methods. You don’t always have to medicate yourself and remove the color and vibrancy from your life, take a different step first.

After about 5 years medicating I was called up to the big leagues. That means that I got a job at one of the hippest cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco city. I felt on top of the world and I immediately decided that I needed to be a sponge. That I now had the opportunity to learn from the source of retail and come into contact with all aspects of the medical cannabis industry. Since the industry wasn’t very researched yet, I think that the most important and educational experiences for me in the dispensary scene were conversations with my fellow budtenders (now consultants.) With out research most of the knowledge was gathered from field work, meaning that we all talked about strains and their effects and learned about these things from each other. Flash forward and I’ve now worked at 4 dispensaries in 2 states and have used my little brain sponge to gather so much valuable & reliable information. With all of these little tips and tricks I plan to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible, and I also hope to post information here as a means to share my passion for natural health and wellness with all of you. Happy 420 to all of you beautiful human beings, please remember that cannabis is medicine and use this holiday for the greater good! If you’re at Hippy Hill give a cop a Highhh five and then shout “CARAAAJUAANNNAA” and run away for me.

Pineapple Express Cannabis Review

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[Trainwreck x Hawaiian][Sativa Dominant Hybrid – About 70%]

One of my most favorite faeries that I’ve met in my travels through various cannabis dispensaries liked to ask everyone what their spirit fruit was. My immediate answer was that I am a pineapple, which is only partially nailed down by my love for all strains pineapple. Pineapple Express obviously became a household name after the feature film came out, but I feel like that took away from the epic value of the strain medicinally. The strong effects combine those found in both Indica and Sativa strains to weave an intricate cornucopia of healing.

How Does It Hit the Senses? Obviously there is a deliciously rich pineapple aroma that emanates from each bud. This smell becomes more complex with the layered bouquet of sweet, tropical lemon geranium with the lightest hint of vanilla almond. The dense bud structure is a bit like a fat pine tree, with a tip at the end of each bud and a thick solid base. Each bud will appear in an almost lime green that is delicately sprinkled with dark green leaves. Pistils are a goldenrod orange and grow in a uniform fashion throughout the entire nug. As far as taste goes the vapor or smoke will be all pineapple, all the time. The musky lemon flavor of train wreck only heightens the pineapple flavor from the Hawaiian genetics.

What are the Effects? Effects take their full hold in about 5-10 minutes and they do so with almost a cyclone of combined relaxation and stimulation in the mind. Feel the temples loosen and stress melt away while also titillating and invigorating the mind to a place of motivation. Tense muscles will relax familiar with the feeling of an Indica but don’t expect couch lock, munchies or de-motivating side effects. This is a Sativa that just so happens to melt away tension and stress like nobody’s business. Pineapple Express is perfect for the cannabis patient looking for daytime pain relief and anyone that is vulnerable to de-motivation when medicating.

Tyson OG Cannabis Strain Review

Indica Cultivar, Product Review

[Mike Tyson x OG Kush] 90% Indica

Coming out of CA to AZ I am always surprised if I see something with an OG attached to it that I haven’t heard of yet. I guess I was sleeping because Tyson OG is right up my alley. I like to get it from the dispensary because it’s almost a full Indica which falls right into my wheel house and also because something about it makes it the perfect strain for cowboyfriend while he works all day with his arthritis.

For some patients this is a great sleep aide but I turn to other strains for that. The Mike Tyson back genetics is what provides the knock out Indica properties but in my opinion the OG Kush influence gives the strain a bit of an upswing which makes it a fantastic daytime pain relief strain and simultaneously the perfect strain for unwinding in the evening.

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How Does It Hit The Senses?

The nuggets grow in a frosted light green hue with light brown hairs distributed throughout. Their structure should be conical and the buds will be tightly bound and dense. It definitely features that dense bud structure of OG Kush. Inhale the light smell of parmesan cheese, seriously, parmesan. I think it’s the combination of a deeply wooded skunk aroma lightly tangled with the scent of sweet sandal wood that make it smell cheesy. On inhalation, the woodsy flavors are highlighted along with a lingering sweetness.

What Are The Effects?

Immediately after inhalation Tyson OG hits the eyes first before slowly overtaking the mind, melting away any anxiety from the realm of conscious thought. Next you’ll feel the effects flow down through the neck and shoulders relieving any tense muscles that may exist in the body. Aches and pains will just dissolve with out a second thought. Let the mind wander away. In the long run the mind is floating both in a physical sense and in a meaning that it’s hard to stay on task at first. As soon as the mind decides to snap back into reality the ride is mellow with Tyson, you’ll be comfortable and relaxed. This is a great strain for the manual laborer that deals with arthritis (like cowboyfriend) or anyone who works a tense job and needs serious help to unwind after work.

WARNING: As always I’d recommend trying a strain at home in a comfortable setting when there isn’t anything left to do that day before ever trying it during the day or while trying to work. This will ensure that you understand how YOUR system responds to Tyson OG.

Cannabis & Yoga: A Match Made in Heaven

Lifestyle

There is a longstanding tradition of assuming that stoners are lazy, fat, and have a bag of Cheetos permanently attached to their hand. But this isn’t the case… all the time. There was actually a study done at the University of Nebraska that showed pot smokers to have a smaller waist circumference than those who have never smoked marijuana. With this in mind and due to the fact that I always rip a huge bowl before I go outside to practice yoga I thought that the world should know, cannabis paired with yoga practice can heal ailments.

When I was about 19 I had first started binge drinking and fell into a serious depression. I cried all the time and drank a fifth of vodka every 2 days. My skin was sallow and broken out in acne and most of all my heart was absolutely empty. I had always smoked cannabis but mostly as a party tool, something used to have fun or make me want to eat a ton of pizza. At this age I went to the doctor and got my first cannabis card, a piece of paper with a little metal seal that granted me access to all of the medical cannabis dispensaries in California, which was like Disneyland for a 19 year old in San Francisco.

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@carajuanabends

Going into dispensaries, seeing & smelling different strains, actually knowing what I was smoking; these things all helped me to realize that cannabis is a powerful medicine for the body and mind. Amidst this period in time I also started practicing yoga from Kate Potter’s Namaste series for FitTV as a mode of exercise since I had just quit the college soccer team and was starting to flab up. I noticed that together, yoga and cannabis were helping to brighten my life and dissipate my chronic depression. When all the psychologist wanted to do was prescribe me a pill that would strip the vivacious spirit within me along with my sadness, I could use this plant that grew from Earth and a sequential movement of my body instead. My practice slowly became less about being fit and more about finding a space of nothingness in my mind with which to heal it. Combining these two metaphysical tools built a foundation of health in my mind, body and spirit that was unmatchable at the time in my life to any personal realization.

This post has evolved, I had meant to make a case for medicating before practicing yoga. But instead I have remembered a goal that I set for myself back at 20 when I grew and started on my path to spiritual awakening. People need to know that combining yoga and cannabis can quiet, calm and relax the depression, anxiety, anger ridden mind when used correctly. I call out to everyone who has trouble being happy or who suffers from irrational mood swings. Talk to your doctor about cannabis, go take a yin yoga class. These things will help, you don’t have to be alone. You’re not weird. Brains are intense and it’s often those who think and feel deeper than the average bear that end up battling mental disease. I love you, if you read all the way down thanks. Apparently I needed to let that one out. ❤

 

Lavender Cannabis Strain Review

Indica Cultivar, Product Review

[Super Skunk x Big Skunk Korean x Afghani Hawaiian]

Like most of my most favorite strains, it is so dang hard to find Lavender in a well grown, not genetically bred bud. I found some that was pretty poorly cured here in Pinetop, but despite poor curing I still loved reliving this classic. I love everything about it’s delicate nature. From the smell to the appearance the whole nug seems purely feminine, I dig that about this lady plant.

How Does It Hit The Senses?

When looking at the flower the name makes complete sense. Lavender nugs are always long spears that appear in the same color that you would think, lavender. They’re a delicate light purple with blankets of trichomes on each nug. The aroma, riddled with terpene Linalool, is purely floral. The scent alone can ripple relaxation through the spine. The taste is reminiscent of the smell, it is floral and vibrant.

What Are The Effects?

Almost immediately after inhalation effects begin to take hold in the ocular region and dissipate throughout the body. Pain relief begins to melt out of the bones and muscles as a relaxed state blankets the usually active or anxious mind. This is the perfect strain for a heavy medicator to use to relieve daytime pain. It also works well as a mild sedative and anxiety reliever. It definitely isn’t a heavy hitter like GDP or Holy Grail Kush, you won’t pass out right after hitting it. You will, however, enjoy relaxing as anxieties melt away.

Durban Poison: Cannabis Strain Review

Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[South African Land Race Strain][100% Sativa]

The first cannabis dispensaries that I worked for in San Francisco, Medithrive and then Bloom Room SF, had Durban Poison available as a regular house strain. At the time I didn’t realize what a commodity I had at my fingertips. You see, Durban Poison is a very sought after strain and many growers will receive what they think are Durban clones or seeds that only turn out to be ‘Urban Poison’ which is actually Durban genetically crossed with Northern Lights.

After leaving SF and moving on to Southern California and then Northern Arizona I have seen many strains passed off as Durban that just plain aren’t. One reason that the Poison is so exciting is that it is a landrace strain. That means that it is not a genetic cross of anything, it is a pure strain from Africa. There are only about 7 landrace strains found in the world today including Acapulco Gold, Hawaiian, Afghani, Lambs Bread and more. It is also one of the few that is shown to almost always have a high concentration the coveted THCv, the cannabinoid that helps you to shed pounds.

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Image Source: 91 Life

How Does It Hit The Senses?

One way to know for sure that you’re hanging out with real deal Durban Poison is by the intense mint smell that resonates in the nostril after the immediate citrus pine aroma wears away. The buds will be pine tree shaped and light green with light orange pistils sprinkled evenly around. Real Durban is sticky icky, your fingers will have a residue when you break the little trees apart. There truly is not much better than the sweet, fresh aroma of Durban Poison.

 

What is the Effect?

Durban Poison will take effect immediately in the nasal region spreading quickly to the ocular system and then the entire head and mind. The slight pressure I often describe that occurs from medicating with Sativa strains is alive and well with Durban. The fabulous difference between this strain and other full Sativa strains is that it usually grows with an unusually high CBD content. After the strain takes hold in the mind it begins to show itself around the body. Those aches and pains that have become a familiar  daily occurrence will begin to dissipate. When the uplifting properties of the high combine with the mellowing body effects, the real magic of Durban Poison begins to happen. A heaviness washes over you but the mind is still very active which creates a calm, creative and almost psychedelic effect. Use this strain for creative stimulation every single time, it will help you reach new heights and help you to get into a focused zone. As for the anxiety that I personally experience with full Sativa strains, that only happens 5% of the time that I medicate with Durban.

Use this to aide with: Creative Stimulation, Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, ADD