Chitral Hays -- not his real name -- is Jackalope Ranch's resident expert on medical marijuana in Arizona. In Perfectly Blunt, Hays delivers news, reviews, and must-know info.
From time to time, I'll review a local dispensary. First up, Nature's AZ Medicines.
Despite its location in a pretty run-down industrial area, Nature's AZ Medicines is a beautiful building. On the inside, at least. Outside, it almost blends into the manufacturing lots it has for neighbors. Inside, it's filled with antique medical glassware. The waiting room is laid out like a doctor's office, but lacks that weird anxious aura that seems to dominate other medical facilities.
So far, so good.
Nature's AZ Medicines 2439 West McDowell Rd. Phoenix 480-420-3145 www.naturesazmedicines.com
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Medication price range: $17 per gram, $50 per eighth, $340 per ounce Other types of medicine: Several edibles, candy and gummy bears, juices, hot sauce Online menu? Yes. Handicap accessible? Yes.
In other words, it's a consummate mixture of comfort and professionalism. I know a conventional doctor who sniggered at medical marijuana dispensaries, saying it was all black lights and Bob Marley posters. This couldn't be further from the truth here.
First, you're buzzed through two security doors, give the guard your card and ID (if it's your first time), and then sit in a waiting room. The couches are mint green, and the wooden coffee tables are scattered with books on different strains. Weed porn, as it's known. It feels incredibly homey and professional, where the emphasis is healing rather than illness.
My name is called, and I'm introduced to one of the staff members, who shakes my hand and asks what I prefer to medicate with. I follow her into the back room, which is one-part head shop -- providing pipes, papers, bongs and vaporizers -- and one-part science lab. At the bar, they lay out trays of edibles and jars for personal inspection. My experience with shady dealers and coffee shops in The Netherlands has really made me appreciate being able to open the jars, vacuum that perfume inside my nostrils, appraising each one until I discover the right density of trichomes to fit my personal taste.
Assuming you've never been to a dispensary before and maybe this is your first time purchasing weed (don't laugh), you should know it's quite simple. Simply pick through the selection of jars and inspect it. Smell it. Pick it up and hold it under the magnifying glass they provide. You'll have to learn, via trial and error, which types of medicine you prefer. But ask your dispensary guide and they'll be happy to explain the benefits of each strain. On subsequent visits, it seems all the staff are patients themselves and can tell you about their own personal preferences. In other words, they know their shit and welcome questions.
I started with a white-as-Gandalf strain called Double Dream (hybrid, $55/eighth). It's a combo of Dream Star and one of my all-time favorites, Blue Dream, a sativa which has very rarely let me down. It melts anxiety like butter on toast and gives me a kind of lucid motivation. It tastes like fruity cereal, smelling faintly of almonds. I love when these things are so dense it feels like cracking apart gemstones. What a beautiful specimen.
I followed up a week later with Tragic (hybrid, $50 per eighth) which is a mix of Magic and Trainwreck. It burns harsh, but a moderate cough and a hyperactive rush gives a lot of energy to get through the day. It doesn't feel very concentrated. The buds were dry, with tinges of purple and orange like faded Suns jerseys. It smells like pine, maybe with a hint of grape. This wasn't a tragedy, so maybe it was a joke.
I also gave Nature's hard candies a whirl, courtesy of Vital Vending®. Flavored "blue" and containing 30mg of THC, it was a nice, relaxing thing to suckle on a rainy Sunday afternoon. But the body high was too mild and hardly present. However, their fruit punch juice came on more instantaneous and overwhelmed me with a soupy kind of buffer to my anxiety while also addressing my back pain. At 50mg per glass, I was surprised I could only finish half a bottle.
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Nature's AZ Medicine is exactly the right hybrid of professionalism and candid medical advice. If they have any blemishes, it's only if certain strains didn't jive with me personally and their young age seems to be holding them back. Their supply seemed to be running low when I asked about a few strains and so far they are still receiving medicine from other, already established dispensaries. It would be nice to see them expand a little more and remain consistent, because so far what they're offering is generally supreme.
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