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I love taking people to a cannabis dispensary for the first time. For me, each visit holds the excitement of a trip to a vintage record store, or maybe an adult-only candy store. But for most, it’s a brave new world—an exciting journey into mysterious corners of the retail realm. Just wait ‘til we get to legalization when people can shop and explore cannabis stores freely. Exciting times ahead, indeed.Over the past several months, I’ve made a point of visiting as many new stores as possible (for journalistic research purposes only, I swear) thinking that many (or most) of them won’t be around when we get to October 17. In doing so, I’ve discovered a number of favourites that I truly hope will continue to operate as progressive retailers in the new legal market. There’s simply too much industry knowledge, talent, and love for the plant that would go to waste if these stores (and their amazing employees) weren’t allowed to continue.Recently returning to one of those faves, I brought a new friend to The Village Bloomery in Granville Island, eager to show her around. We were greeted at the counter by Peter, a truly engaging budtender, who fielded every question we threw at him with intelligence and care. I told him that even though I was desperate to refill my depleted stocks of Cannatonic, I had a mission to get beyond that one perfect strain to discover other high-CBD products that might also work their magic on me. I’d waited long enough, and I was ready.
I had a mission to get beyond that one perfect strain to discover other high-CBD products that might also work their magic on me. I’d waited long enough, and I was ready.
His first suggestion was CBD René, a high-CBD hybrid of the famous Canadian strain, named for the cannabis activist, Renee Boje. In fact, I read later that this strain is actually a cross of the original René and Cannatonic, so it’s no wonder that I really enjoyed it. Featuring a balanced cannabinoid ratio of seven percent each of CBD and THC, its tight and tiny pale green buds offered appealing aromas of green grapes and baked brie. I’m addicted to cheese. A couple of creamy puffs was all I needed for a moderate and mild experience that lasted about 90 minutes or so, perfectly pleasant throughout, and easy to love.Peter next led us to try the CBD Afghani, another high-CBD variation of the popular indica Afghani, yet again another cross with my beloved Cannatonic. In contrast to René, these buds were loose, fluffy, dark and sticky, with the distinct flavour of a fully-loaded taco. Yes. Hard shell, meaty filling, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheddar, you know, the whole deal. Upping the ante, this one boasted 11 percent CBD alongside 12 percent THC – and I felt it right away. It immediately cradled my entire body within its loving luche libre grip, producing a deeply relaxing full body feeling that nevertheless left my mind free to wander. She is a beam. But take note, my friends: a few higher percentages of THC or CBD can really make a difference. Remember to start low and go slow with any new strains, so you can see how they might affect you.
These buds were loose, fluffy, dark and sticky, with the distinct flavour of a fully-loaded taco.
Considering I have a few concerts coming up in the next week or so, I wanted to take home one last selection, something decidedly more portable and discreet. Peter’s final recommendation was a convenient and refillable vaporizer pen called a Zen Tank. You simply buy the reusable pen base for just $20 (it includes the heater and a USB charger) and then choose from a number of pre-loaded, strain-specific oil-filled tips for an additional $60 each. Not a bad investment, considering they reportedly offer approximately 150 pulls per cartridge. Of course, I had to choose the one-to-one CBD:THC version of Harlequin, based on the well-known sativa-dominant strain that is naturally high in CBD. The vapour was soft, sweet, and spicy. After only a few minutes, my shoulders dropped, and a focused but upbeat feeling took over that lasted a solid hour before it began its gentle fade. A perfect partner to a lovely evening.Let’s do this again. Where should we go next? The breakdown: CBD René, sativa-dominant hybrid ($10/gram), CBD Afghani, indica-dominant hybrid ($11/gram), Harlequin 1:1 Zen Tank refill tip ($60/0.5 ml). Available at The Village Bloomery (Inner Courtyard, 206 – 1540 W 2nd Ave)