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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Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) Cannabinoid Profile

Terpenes

Formula: C19H26O2

THCv Strains: Durban Poison, Girl Scout Cookies, Tangie, Pie Face OG, Hawaiian Dutch

THCv is comprised of two fewer carbon bonds than the more familiar THC. And although the psychoactive components of this compound are not fully researched many cannabis connoisseurs search out this cannabinoid in hopes of it’s coveted believed effects. Plants that are high in THCv usually derive from China, IndiaNepal, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as southern and western Africa. The strain that almost always shows high amounts of THCv and even tested with 1% THCv at the 2014 Seattle High Times Cannabis Cup is Durban Poison from South Africa.

Although this cannabinoid effect the same CB1 and CB2 receptors it also seems to have an adverse effect on some receptors and suppresses our appetite. THCv is also the cannabinoid responsible for somewhat psychedelic effects of cannabis and can be highly psychoactive. The mind remains crisp and clear with THCv strains which is just one of the many reasons that these strains are so highly coveted. Other studies show that this cannabinoid can stimulate bone growth, reduce panic attacks and help with Alzeihmer’s. It is also possible that THCv may help with diabetes.

Benefits:

  • Psychoactive
  • Energetic
  • Stimulate bone growth
  • Help with diabetes
  • Dulls the appetite
  • Curb emotions and Suppress anxiety attacks
  • Help with Alzheimer’s
  • Reduce Parkinson’s associated tremors

 

Cover photo sourced from Whaxy.com

 

Pot-O-Coffee Hemp CBD Coffee Pod Review

Product Review

When I saw this cannabis coffee company on Instagram I had to reach out to them in hopes of trying my own brew. The brand is bright, fresh and seems to value safe dosing which is a trait in the industry that I really appreciate. On the other hand, K-Cups are one of the leading contributions to landfills and are kind of killing the planet. For that reason I was glad they included a loose tea that can cut back on the environmental waste a teensy bit since I use a metal tea ball. I’ll post that review in the coming weeks.

That being said, I popped over to the future mother-in-laws place to try this little pod out in their Keurig coffee maker so I could understand what CBD coffee really was. Cowbae and I are kind of coffee snobs. He makes his morning java in a stovetop Italian espresso machine and I use a french press, so as far as the flavor of coffee goes it’s not an artisanal brew. But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t suck. It reminds me a lot of Folger’s if you made it in a Keurig, nothing to write home about but definitely does the job. I made the largest cup possible, so that might have something to do with it. The real shining moment for this product is the mind blowing effects.

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As I drank the cup and watched Cowbae cook some lunch the music became a part of my energy, I could feel the sounds moving through me and just bobbed my head along with out thinking about it. That’s when I knew that the CBD kicked in. All of my anxiety had melted away but I was still alert and certainly awake. There was absolutely no jittery feeling that I usually get from my afternoon coffee, just mellow but vibrantly awake. As for Potocoffee3my inflammation, it melted right away as it usually does with this magical cannabinoid in my system. I have been isolating and opening up my upper back and shoulders for a couple of months now and it’s been a sore, painful experience. But a few sips in absolutely all of the sore, yucky gunk had completely dissipated and I was left ooey gooey. These effects almost make the environmental impact disappear, almost.

 

All in all, I loved this amazing combination of caffeine and CBD but I cannot wait until there are fresh grounds available outside of the K-Cup option. Also thank you to Pot-O-Coffee for the samples, absolutely brilliant job.

PotoCoffee copy

 

 

 

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids, Cannabis

THC and CBD are two highly publicized cannabinoids, but there are also over 100 other cannabinoids found in the composition of the the resinated flowering buds of a feminine unfertilized cannabis plant. Everyone is born with an endocannabinoid system and endocannabinoids in their bodies. When there is an issue with the natural production of endocannabinoids or a disruption in the receptor connections of the endocannabinoid system it can lead to many different health complications. Cannabinoids can help to repair cell communications and stabilize our internal health.

Leafly Cannabinoid Wheel

When cannabis is inhaled or ingested it is proven that cannabinoids bond to CB1 (mind) and CB2 (body) receptors throughout the system to relieve common and serious ailments. Since different strains are made up of different cannabinoid combinations it is imperative to understand the cannabinoid composition of a strain to know the healing properties it could incur. Almost all good dispensaries have test results available on all strains with at least 5 cannabinoid percentages. Become familiar with leafing through these results to better familiarize yourself with your medicine.

Through the next weeks, or even months, we will be breaking down cannabinoids and learn through teaching. Look out for cannabinoid profiles coming to the blog soon.

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

Cannabis, Terpenes

Those who are patients or in recreational states are probably familiar with the word terpene. For those that don’t know, a terpene is a large and very diverse class of organic compounds that is produced by conifer plants and sometimes even some insects like butterflies and termites. Cannabis contains over 200 known terpenes, they are also present in almost all natural flora. The name comes from turpentine because terpenes are a major component of the resin. It is thought that terpenes are created by the plant to deter herbivores with the aroma or draw in carnivores that eat the herbivore threatening the plant. To know the difference between the two most used buzz words, terpenes are hydrocarbons while terpenoids contain other bonded atoms. These compounds are a base element of aromatherapy essential oils and are widely found in cannabis.

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IMG Source: Greenhouse Seeds

As the cannabis world continues to grow, strains are becoming more and more irrelevant as different grows are putting out completely different phenos under the same names as strains that can create very different effects. Terps grow in glands within trichomes on unfertilized feminine seeds. The way that terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system is very similar to the way that cannabinoids do. They actually work better when they’re all together, each plant is made up of a different composition of the large quantity of terpenes known today. Terpenes have also shown to affect the dopamine and serotonin production, enhance norepinephrine activity and giving way to relief from depression and even pain.

At the most rudimentary level, terpenes are the compound that give cannabis it’s delicious smell. With each strain having a different composition of terpenes it makes more sense why each strain can have a similar but very different effect on people. Terpenes vaporize at about 156°F which means that with a direct flame most of the terpenes are burnt off. That is why vaping cannabis tastes so much better, we’re getting the full terpene profile. When I was a budtender I would always tell patients that couldn’t decide on a strain “Your nose knows.” and entice them to take a whiff. I personally love strains with a musky smell (myrcene) and floral (linalool), both of which help pain. And when I’m feeling depressed a lemon (limonene) strain always makes me drool a bit. Having a conscious understanding of terpenes and their aromas can help us to gain a deeper knowledge of how the plant can heal each of our individual systems.
Smell Wheel

Northern Lights Big Bud Strain Review

Indica Cultivar, Product Review

[Northern Lights x Big Bud][90% Indica]

Northern Lights #10 is one of my favorite strains, it’s relaxing and lulls us into sleep just ever so gently. Big Bud is one of those Indicas that I like to compare to a big huge WWE star sitting on you, it just hits hard and then stays there. So, naturally, mixing these together is a recipe for success, heavy Indica effects that can end with us intently staring at nothing, open mouthed. Save this strain for those sleepless nights or after work on a hyper stressful day.

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How Does It Hit The Senses?

These nugs are chunky but still in pine tree shaped bud structure. Dark purples and light forest green are complimented by light orange but slightly brown pistils all garnished by a blanket of sparkling trichomes. The bouquet of aromas is prominently aligned with the Northern Lights genetics. Full frontal sweet floral geranium mixed with ripe blackberries. The finish rings true of Big Bud with a small bit of woody cedar to finish. Definitely don’t expect wispy or heavily packed chunked bud, this is definitely a combination type nug.

What are The Effects?

Lift the spirits while dropping down the adrenaline for a relaxed but semi-aware stone. This one can definitely be the perms-high stuck in the couch sort of effect so save it for the evening time unless you have immense pain to deal with. Definitely, as always, try it out for the first time in a safe space after the day’s work is finished. After toking you’ll find yourself immediately relaxed in the ocular region and that relaxation quickly seeps into the brain to mellow out all stress and anxieties that are left over from the day. Initial reaction is a bit of face contortion for some followed by possible hyper awareness of the hands, eyebrows, etc. These effects will slowly seep into pain relief and release muscle tension. Enjoy a long, heavy stone for about 2-4 hours depending on tolerance.

The Healthy Alternative Wicked Lighters Review

Cannabis

This company was started by an athlete, someone who uses cannabis medicinally while also trying to maintain optimum health. Hemp wick is an Organic healthy alternative to smoking with a butane lighter. The beeswax wrapped hemp thread cuts out all of the unnatural Wicked Lightersgasses that enter your lungs when smoking with a traditional lighter. It also preserves the natural flavor of your flower with out burning off all the terpenes completely. There are tons of alternatives to lighters, solar hits being one of my personal faves. Hemp wick is a close tie with solar hits because not only does it do what I said above, it also raises awareness of all the magical things that hemp can do aside from be grown for inhaling & ingesting. Wicked Lighters was started by a husband and wife team from San Francisco, CA who have worked in the Bay’s trend setting cannabis industry for many years. All of the hemp wicks were separate from lighters and they would wrap their lighters with the wick after purchase. This led to an Aha! moment and Wicked Lighters was born, pre-wrapped Bic lighters for the healthy bong tokes out there.

SO, what is it like smoking with a Wicked Lighters hemp wick? First off, the package is clean. A trusty Bic lighter wrapped in premium hemp wick is wrapped with transparent plastic adorned with the Wicked Lighters man that I’ve grown to love. The wick lights easily and burns super evenly. Better yet, it stays lit with delicate pulls on the binger. Just use the lighter, light the wick and apply it to the dry flower. Voila, delicious hits that aren’t too hot and are jam packed with flavor. I used to be a cigarette smoker in my younger days and I recall the initial feeling of quitting consisting of lung/throat regeneration through immense coughing. In the couple of days since kicking butane lighter bong rips I’ve been coughing quite a bit and I think it’s the regeneration of my throat membrane, I’ll report back later for more info on healing from using hemp wick. I feel overall more healthy and that is so important to me, Wicked Lighters are a healthy stoner must have.

 

Bubba Kush, OG Indica for Ultimate Sleep

Indica Cultivar, Product Review

[Bubble Gum x Kush][90% Indica]

Deliciously heavy Indica strains really make me happy and Bubba Kush never really disappoints. With back genetics of earthy Kush and heavy sweet smelling Bubble Gum the buds are pungent and unmistakably say: Bubba Kush. This is definitely a strain to try at home before taking on the world as it can be a sleep inducer with majorly lethargic effects. Use this strain to help with sleep, pain relief and stress release. It’s perfect for the insomniac, both the one with issues getting to sleep or staying asleep.

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How Does It Hit The Senses?

One thing that will always be with all Bubba Kush strains is the big round bulbous bud structure. The next is the dark brown pistils that appear in bushes all over the individual dark green nuggets. Each bud is drenched in trichomes and super densely wound so that they almost feel like rocks. It is a great idea to grind this strain up rather than breaking it with your hands. Bubba Kush is a classic strain and because of that I feel like the aroma is classic as well. The overpowering scent of Bubba Kush features a robust but slightly sweet skunk that finishes with a spicy black pepper. It is unlike many other strains.

What Are The Effects?

Just like its classic smell, Bubba Kush delivers that classic Indica effect that many of us have come to love. Almost immediately begin to get a heavy deep stone in the mind, the kind that makes your eyeballs feel like they weigh 100 pounds and dried out like the Sahara. Full relaxation is imminent and welcome when medicating with Bubba Kush and if you fight it you’ll probably induce quite a bit of yawns. It is the perfect strain to help you get to sleep and the long lasting heavy effects are perfect for keeping you asleep. Definitely great for after dinner while relaxing with a mellow book.

Strawberry Cough the Creativity Booster

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[Strawberry Fields x Haze][80% Sativa]

I absolutely love Strawberry Cough, I know you’re probably like huh? Because I so often say that I don’t like Sativa strains but there are a select few that seriously hit just right. Strawberry Cough is one of them because it tingles my creative muscles and curbs my anxiety ever so slightly while still delivering a slightly heavy stone. This specific strain of Strawberry Cough holds nostalgic feelings for me because it was a house strain at the first dispensary I ever worked at. So, when in California it is a must have because they seriously just don’t grow it like this in Arizona. Experience joyous giggles and silly thoughts while medicating with friends or propel yourself into a meteor of exciting creative ideas.

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How Does It Hit The Senses?

Prepare to be astonished with the absolutely overwhelming strawberry goodness smell that comes from just one teeny nugget of Strawberry Cough. The sweet strawberry aroma mingles with a sharp marigold that creates an almost cheese like scent. I’ve really smelled nothing like this strain before in my life, it is truly fantastic. Strawberry Cough buds are a bright, almost lime, green with vibrant orange pistils. There will be some large nuggets from the yield but generally this breed will be tons of crystal trichome packed little buds.

What Are The Effects? 

One very worth mentioning aspect of this strain is that it tastes exactly how it smells, and that’s coming from a girl that smoked it out of a homemade apple pipe. When inhaled you’ll feel almost immediate stimulation in the ocular region. Ride along a soothing wave of balance between stimulation and relaxation as the strain washes over you. Neck and shoulder pain begins to cease and the mind begins to race through creative and exciting new thought patterns. It’s possible that the new brain activity will provide a little bit of facial contortion and then it begins to mellow out. The strain is very active but that activity is hyper internalized so that it can be utilized within the mind itself like creativity generally is. I recommend this for any and every writer that I’ve ever met. Just make sure to keep your pen nearby.

Cherry Diesel for the Anxiety Free Work Days

Hybrid Cultivar, Product Review, Sativa Cultivar

[Cherry Kush x Turbo Diesel][70% Sativa]

I usually don’t choose Sativa strains, but as I’ve begun to balance my body and mind I can throw them into the mix more often. I work from home and can get sidetracked by lounging when there’s tons to do around the house. A good sativa hybrid will help to keep me motivated when other strains just bog me down to the couch. These magical sativa dominant hybrid strains almost make me feel like a rainbow road has appeared ahead of me and I know exactly what to do with my day assuming I stay focused on the task at hand. This medical cannabis strain is perfect for motivating and lifting dampened spirits simultaneously, a glorious balance between Sativa and Indica.

Cherry DieselHow Does It Hit The Senses?

The aroma is pungent to say the least and definitely embodies the familiar diesel smell. Layered on top of the diesel is a fruity cherry that lingers all the way through to the taste. Cherry Diesel grows in a divine spear like structure that is ever so reminiscent of the Sour Diesel back genetics. Cherry Kush appears in the dark purples and light green hues that are complimented by light yellow orange pistils.

What Are The Effects?

This one rises up through the temples to immediately ignite a spark in the mind. Ocular muscles are relaxed and aware simultaneously as the mind follows suit. Euphoric, energetic and uplifted is equally matched with a relaxed awareness about life. The first 10 minutes after medicating are crucial to the train of thought that medicating takes. From this I mean, you have the power to decide what you focus on but a sort of tunnel vision will certainly kick in. For example, you could have work to target but you decide that researching the moon cycles is a good idea and all of a sudden you’re in deep focusing on the wrong task. Just get to work right after medicating if you’re looking to use this strain for that purpose.