13 horror movies to watch while high

Jerry Garcia’s favorite movie was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a 1948 comedy/horror mashup that he says gave him “a general fascination with the bizarre” that would fuel his music career. 

“There are things in this world that are really weird. I don’t think I knew that before I saw that movie, that there are things that are really weird, and there are people who are concerned with them,” Garcia said in “The Movie That Changed My Life” in 1995. “That became important to me, and I guess I thought to myself, on some level, I think I want to be concerned with things that are weird. […] It seems like fun.” 

Many of my own passions are fueled by a preoccupation with the bizarre, the weird, the baroque, and the fun — chief among them horror movies and cannabis. The first time I smoked weed was kind of terrifying. I spent most of the evening wandering the streets of Salt Lake City in a paranoid haze of disorientation and massive sensory overload. Overwhelming, awesome, spooky, and hilarious, my first night stoned awakened in me a deep, primordial fascination with the unknown — a fascination that evolved into a deep love for both cannabis and horror, and the rare opportunity to write about both for a living.  

And the deeper I dive into the cannabis industry, the more company I find I have. Turns out there’s a rich tradition out there of cannabis enthusiasts who’ve mastered the art of smoking weed and watching horror movies. Just as mere “scares” aren’t the only goal of a good horror film, the cannabis high is about far more than “feeling good.” If you’re doin’ ’em right, horror movies and weed offer similar modes of catharsis through similarly heightened realities, and weed’s ability to alter perception can directly enhance the sensory impact of a horror film’s visual and thematic extremes.

And like cannabis, horror has always been an integral part of the counterculture, pushing the boundaries of mainstream thought with a political, socially potent edge that, more often than not, breeds progress. 

For those who dare treat themselves to a long, strange trip of thrills, chills, laughs, and some seriously dank visuals, here are 13 horror movies to watch while high this Spooky Season.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is director Tobe Hooper’s comedic take on the psychopathic, killer-hillbilly family of his groundbreaking first film, setting them loose in a world of gonzo, heavy-metal visuals, and slapstick gore. It’s funny, it’s frenetic, it’s grotesque, and it’s got a chainsaw battle between Dennis Hopper and series avatar Leatherface. Do yourself a favor, roll a blunt and watch this thing.

Mandy (2018)

Make no mistake: Mandy is a film for us stoners. Nicolas Cage goes full Cage as a lumberjack whose wife is kidnapped by a cult in the woods, spurring a heavy-metal odyssey of neon, blood, and vengeance, with a few psychedelic animated sequences — not to mention the odd fake commercial from the creators of “Too Many Cooks” — along the way. It all amounts to the dankest, trippiest, most metal cinematic terror ride of recent memory.

The Shining (1980)

I have a buddy who’s made an annual tradition of waking, baking, and watching The Shining on Halloween. Couldn’t more emphatically recommend it if you’re into that sorta thing, seeing how Stanley Kubrick’s “masterpiece of modern horror” is an endless labyrinth of images and ideas — both gorgeous and terrifying — that practically begs for not one, but multiple high viewings. 

If you’re feeling really adventurous and don’t mind a little recreational, mindblowing paranoia, toke up and watch Room 237, a documentary about the many obsessive, intricate fan theories surrounding The Shining, the most believable of which is that the film is an elaborate, subliminal visual essay on American colonialism and the genocide of Native Americans — heavy, but absolutely plausible. 

One (or all) of the OG Universal Monster Movies 

The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon — take your pick. Practically every film in Universal’s classic monster lineup is in light, shadow, and mood. Having watched a few of these in the company of my dab rig this year, I can vouch for their ability to absolutely wow the stoned viewer with some of the greatest black-and-white cinematography ever put on film. Most of these also clock in at under 80 minutes, so they’re a low and worthwhile time lift. If you don’t like black-and-white movies, it’s because you haven’t seen these ones.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

I was bordering on stoned-out-of-my-mind the first time I watched this excellent slasher mashup, and I got completely lost in its vivid aesthetic, campy scares, and welcome laughs. Freddy vs. Jason’s visual palette deviates from the aesthetics of both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series in favor of something that not only works for both titular slasher titans but will also engross and envelop the stoned viewer. And if you haven’t seen a single Freddy or Jason movie, don’t worry — Freddy vs. Jason is as good a place as any to start.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) 

Hammer Horror Productions’ ode to swinging London and vampire schlock is one of several Hammer-Dracula flicks starring Christopher Lee, the greatest cinematic Dracula of them all, according to many horror fans, including yours truly. 

Setting Lee’s Dracula loose in swinging London to kill the descendants of Van Helsing, Dracula A.D. 1972 strikes a winning balance between now-gothic flair and the British-mod sensibility of its time. It’s also got a few entertaining low-budget set-pieces that are a blast to watch while high.

House (1977)

House is an outta-this-world Japanese haunted-house “comedy” horror film that throws down the gauntlet on any other movie you may think is the wildest thing you’ve ever watched. Six teen girls take a trip to an aunt’s home in the country, literally all sorts of supernatural chaos ensues, and every girl is slowly consumed by the house. Honestly, this film’s many psychedelic-nightmare pleasures might make it the absolute best high-watch of all time. 

Manhunter (1986)

Most would consider Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris’s first Hannibal Lecter novel, more a thriller than a horror film, but those people haven’t enjoyed repeat viewings of this vaporwave joint in the midst of a heavy-indica haze like I have. Released five years before The Silence of the Lambs, Manhunter follows another FBI investigator, played by William Petersen of CSI fame, hunting down another serial killer with the help of a certain incarcerated, mad-genius cannibal. The plot will please all the true crime fans out there, and its minimalist fever-dream visuals and synth-heavy ’80s soundtrack make Manhunter a top-tier couch-lock movie.

Thirst (1979)

I honestly don’t know why this one isn’t a bigger deal among horror devotees. Thirst offers a fresh, Rosemary’s Baby-esque take on the vampire genre, centering on a woman who’s kidnapped by a weird medical cult who believes she’s the descendent of an all-powerful, blood-sucking race. It’s got all the makings of a great horror high-watch, with haunting terror sequences, a hypnotic pace, and lush, gently ultraviolent cinematography. Take your favorite warm-blankety edible with this one and let it wash over you. 

Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2007)

This is one of the most divisive movies in horror history. Rob Zombie takes the mythology of the original Halloween series and throws it in a grime-soaked blender, and, out of that dank-ass mush, bakes a uniquely trippy meditation on death, generational trauma, and local celebrity. In my experience, the things that make this such a worthwhile departure from a beloved horror property formula reveal themselves the higher you are when you watch it.  

Body Double (1984)

From Brian De Palma, master of suspense and dank aesthetics, this delightfully trashy, deceptively profound 1984 thriller is a satirical takedown of exploitation, commerce, and illusion in Hollywood with a full-on music video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” baked in for good measure. Spark up, enjoy, and, to paraphrase the film’s cryptic tagline, don’t believe everything you see

The Fog (1980)

Though not quite as popular as director John Carpenter’s dank horror classics Halloween and The Thing, The Fog is every bit as cool and visually arresting. A nautical ghost story with a phenomenal cast and economical use of a limited set of effects, it’s a classic spooky thrill ride, ironically ripe for enjoying under the influence of a clear, potent dab high. Stay away from the fog!

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

It’s time for a new dance to begin … the Dance of Death! If you’re a horror fan, chances are one of the things that appeals to you about it is being able to process real-life trauma through the catharsis of the genre. Roger Corman’s loose, unwieldy 1964 adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s most psychedelic tale, The Masque of the Red Death, gained a lot of traction last year for its newfound relevance at the height of the pandemic. Odd how a groovy, colorful, hedonistic depiction of an evil prince, played with diabolical snark by the great Vincent Price, throwing a fortified party for his elite inner circle as a pandemic ravages the populace would feel so prescient in 2021…

…happy Halloween, folks.

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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What’s new in weed: products and news from Select, Ricky Williams, and more

With so many great cannabis brands releasing exciting new products in new markets, it can be hard to keep track of every release. So we’re rounding up a few significant releases. This week, we look at releases by CBD For Life, Edie Parker, and two state expansion announcements. 

Hi5 Seltzer: Expansion to Maine

Following its release in Massachusetts, on Friday, October 15, cannabis consumers will be able to find Hi5 infused seltzers on the shelves of Theory Wellness locations in Maine. Choose 2.5 or 5-milligram THC cans in eight flavors: cranberry, pineapple, pomegranate, black cherry, grapefruit, peach mango, lemon, and lime.

Available: Maine

CBD For Life: New CBD bath sets 

CBD For Life just launched CBD bath sets for those new to cannabis or who regularly use CBD topicals to soothe body aches and tired muscles. The set, called All The Feels, includes the company’s Lemongrass Rub (120 milligrams CBD), Lemongrass Roll-On Oil (120 milligrams CBD), Lemongrass Kiwi Bath Bomb (35 milligrams CBD), and CBD Foot Cream (100 milligrams CBD).

Available: Nationwide

Select: New ​​1:1 THC:CBN bites

Featuring sedating cannabinol (CBN), Select‘s new Snooze Bites contain a 1:1 ratio of 5 milligrams THC to 5 milligrams CBN to help tired consumers unwind at bedtime. 

Available: Arizona and Nevada

Ricky Williams: Launch of new cannabis brand 

NFL running back Ricky Williams is getting in the cannabis game with his newly launched weed company Highsman. The brand was created to appeal to professional and everyday athletes and will feature cannabis products along with apparel and accessories.

Available: California and Oregon

Edie Parker: Launch of new glass fruit pipes

Edie Parker: Launch of new glass fruit pipes

Cannabis flower and retail brand Edie Parker has launched new hand-held fruit pipes. You can now toke up with a bunch of grapes, a partially peeled banana, a sweet cherry, or a ripe orange. 

Available: Nationwide

Hello Again: New 2-pack suppositories

Hello Again: New 2-pack suppositories

Los Angeles-based brand Hello Again, known for its THC-infused vaginal suppositories, has released 2-packs of its Everyday 1:8 THC:CBD (2 milligrams THC to 16 milligrams CBD) and Sleep 4:1 THC:CBD (20 milligrams THC to 5 milligrams CBD) formulas. Previously, both formulas were only available in 8-packs. 

Available: California

Kaneh Co.: Expansion to Arizona

California-based edibles brand Kaneh Co. is now expanding its reach to Arizona. The infused product lineup featured in dispensaries across the Grand Canyon State will include the brand’s 10-milligram THC brownies, along with higher THC edibles such as its Best Of Both Worlds Brownie, clocking in at 1,000 milligrams THC.

Available: Arizona and California

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Stoney, spooky LA: 8 stops to add to your Los Angeles Halloween adventures

Though it isn’t always obvious, there’s an unmistakable psychotropic connection between cannabis and the bizarre, spooky, and supernatural. Those who toke — and toke often — are certainly in regular chemical conversation with a deeply emotional plant, one that heightens many of the same feelings and sensations that accompany a thrilling supernatural experience, whether genuine or artificial. It’s the reason so many stoners are also horror fans, and why the spooky season is a time to venerate the fogging of the line between this mortal plane and the next, where the air gets hazy with the promise of hyper-sensory thrills, chills, and otherworldly visitations.

In my experience, LA has always been a city that feels haunted, and the greater Los Angeles area always comes alive with a delightfully sinister hum when October rolls around. And there’s always something to do, see, or experience while eclipsed in a high-powered edible high, nursing a handy pack of pre-rolls with your crew, or periodically vaping your favorite live resin cartridge or pod

If you’re a cannabis enthusiast planning a spooky LA adventure this or any other time of year, consider the following year-round hangouts and annual events as potential stops on your path to high-Halloween hijinx. 

Cinespia Outdoor Screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is an appropriately morbid and beautiful LA landmark and the final resting place of showbusiness legends spanning multiple Hollywood eras. Though the dark-deco grounds are a must-see on their own, one of the best ways to experience Hollywood Forever is at one of Cinespia‘s repertoire screenings. Sit out under the stars, get a group photo at Cinespia’s rotating movie-themed photo booth, and catch a horror screening all throughout October.

Address: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

The Haunted Hayride

The Haunted Hayride is a classic LA spook-alley experience you won’t want to miss if you’re down for something immersive while appropriately baked. Board the Haunted Hayride for a “thrilling adventure of horrors afflicting the town” with spooky stops along the way. 

Hours and tickets for October 2021 can be found here

Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Universal Hollywood Horror Nights

Another signature Hollywood photo-op/spook alley experience, Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Studios has an annual, rotating offering of haunts inspired by classic entries in the Universal catalog. General admission tickets start at $69. 

Book a night in October 2021 here.  

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The Old Los Angeles Zoo

A year-round, publicly accessible spot with eerie vibes to spare, the old, abandoned Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park has plenty of space to picnic and explore, dotted by enclosure ruins, abandoned cages, and great hiking trails. It’s a great daytime activity for any toker planning a spooky LA adventure.

Address: 4801 Griffith Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Escape Halloween

Escape Halloween is an annual Halloween-themed electronic music festival that’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. With walk-through mazes, themed stages, art, and various thrills, Insomniac’s Escape Halloween is one big Hallow’s Eve celebration.

Full Price passes start at $169.99, which you can book here

Address: 689 SE St, San Bernardino, CA 92408

Cobb Estate

Now a popular public hike area, Cobb Estate was once owned by lumber magnate Charles Cobb, who built a mansion on the grounds in 1918. “Over the next decades,” wrote Charles Fleming for the Los Angeles Times, “the Spanish-themed estate survived brush fires, a public plan to turn the land into a cemetery, and ownership by the Marx Brothers before it was ultimately turned into public parkland.” 

For over 100 years, the Cobb Estate ruins and the wildlife-rich land surrounding it have been rumored to be haunted. If you and your terror-inclined buddies favor real-life haunts over fabricated spook alleys, the Cobb Estate is the historical site for you. 

Address: Altadena, CA 91001

The Mystic Museum 

Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum is one of Burbank’s choicest novelty and vintage memorabilia hubs and includes a delightful, boutique museum of horror and the occult. This year, they’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of Sam Raimi’s camp classic Evil Dead, with props from the film, interactive horror elements, photo ops, and an art show. 

Admission to the museum is $15 at the door and starts at 12:30, and the Evil Dead exhibit will be on display for the rest of the year.

Address: 3204 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Horror Movies at the New Beverly

For Hollywood horror fans and stoners alike, the New Beverly theater offers a vintage 35mm mix of laughs, chills, and thrills you won’t want to miss. Throughout October, you can catch new and old classics of horror at the New Beverly, all in 35mm with many prints from owner Quentin Tarantino’s private film library. Most screenings are accompanied by vintage trailers and cartoons to really get the spooky vibes going, and if you’re lucky enough to snag tickets before they sell out, you can enjoy an all-night marathon of rare and rarely screened horror films. Check out the New Beverly schedule to see if one of your seasonal favorites is playing this year.

Address: 7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Featured image courtesy of Escape Halloween

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7 hoppy strains for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest may not be happening in Germany this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t smoke like it is. Just like how beer is made from hops and has that hoppy smell and taste to it, so can cannabis. Both cannabis and hops contain similar plant terpenes that produce a hoppy aroma, mostly due to the terpene humulene. Hops also contain myrcene and beta-pinene, which can be found in many cannabis strains

To celebrate Oktoberfest wherever you are, here are a few cannabis strains known to have a high amount of terpenes that almost mirror an IPA. 

OG Kush

If we’re talking hoppy strains, one thing to note is that it would be pretty hard to put your nose to a cannabis strain and only detect hops. Some strains have a funky aroma mixed with a hoppy aroma mixed with a piney aroma mixed with … you see what I’m getting at? Either way, OG Kush is a strain that is rich in humulene and might hit your nose with some hoppy vibes. Strains with OG Kush in it, and strong influences from the plant, will have it too.

OG Kush is one of the most famous cannabis strains ever. Its potency and uniqueness set the bar for West Coast cannabis long ago. Still today, we’re riding its genetics. It’s expected to get you super high, no Rick Ross, and that’s really all you need to know to choose this cultivar for celebrating Oktoberfest.

GSC 

GSC is the descendant of F1 Durban Poison and OG Kush. It too is known for being high in humulene. GSC will hit you with a loud aroma that’s a mix of damn near everything cannabis brings forth. It’s funky, it’s sour, it’s citrus — it’s even dessert-like. 

Effects-wise, some straight-up GSC or even Thin Mint GSC will have you sitting back like, “Wow, this is exactly what weed is supposed to feel like.” Weedmaps reviews say the top GSC effects are happy, relaxed, and euphoric, and the top reported flavors are earthy, lemon, and citrus.

Headband

Headband is some fire. Beyond the terpenes, what you really need to know is that Headband is not for the play-play when it comes to effects. I remember first smoking some back in 2012 and thinking, “Oh my god, yo. This ain’t that stems and seeds type feel that we used to. The hell is this?!”

Headband is a legendary cannabis strain. One of those that true, everyday smokers will always recognize by name. It’s named after a cerebral high that feels like your head is wrapped up in euphoric stoniness. Headband is a cross of OG Kush and Sour Diesel, so it makes sense that it would have a similar flavor and terpene profile to both of those.

White Widow

White Widow is a strain from way back in the ’90s. It has a strong peppery, earthy type of smell and taste and is one of the original strains that defined the type of effects that people expect when they buy something that’s a pure hybrid. Not indica-leaning, not sativa-leaning, pure hybrid. 

This hybrid was originally bred by Green House Seed Company, one of the pioneers in the strain-breeding game. It is made up of Brazilian landrace and South Indian landrace genetics. It’s a great strain for anyone that wants to smoke throughout the day, but not be too bogged down by the THC’s intensity. White Widow has been used to create other popular strains like Berry White and White Fire OG (also known as WiFi, WiFi OG).

Candyland

Candyland — sometimes called Candyland Cookies — is a special strain because it’s a sativa that hits like an indica. It’s a perfect example of why you can’t always follow those distinctions towards the types of highs you want

Candyland crosses Granddaddy Purple and Platinum GSC. It will definitely leave you stoned for hours; however, the high will be super uplifting and energetic. Though Candyland contains hoppy humulene, the other terpenes from this one combine to give off a more earthy, sweet type of flavor.

GG4

GG4, better known as Gorilla Glue #4 or simply Gorilla Glue, is famous for being loud, sticky, and potent. It contains humulene and has somewhat of a hoppy scent to it; but more so, it has a weird dank chocolate and nut type of terpene profile that will really send your senses for a ride once you crack open a GG4 jar. When you smoke, dab, or vape this cultivar, you can expect it to be super euphoric, relaxing, and schedule-clearing as you’ll be so stoned that all you want to do is, well, nothing besides kicking back, chilling, and smiling about life. Smoke it up for Oktoberfest and imagine yourself in Munich donning a pair of fresh lederhosen.

Death Star

Ending this list is Death Star, one of my personal favorite strains ever. It’s one of those that I never have to question; it’s going to kick my ass and hit me with couch-lock each and every time. Couch-lock is that super high, sleepy feeling, where you might as well just go to sleep because the fight to keep your eyelids open will be exhausting in itself. Death Star does that. Genetically, it’s a cross of Sensi Star and Sour Diesel where that humulene most likely comes from. It’s earthy, gassy, pungent — everything that you’d want from a heavy-hitting cannabis strain.

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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9 cannabis gifts for the food and beverage cannaseur

Infused edibles and delicious cannabis products can stand out as thoughtful, fun, and unique gifts for hosts and loved ones during any time of the year, but many are especially well-suited to seasonal gatherings and feasts. From sharable infused caramels to terpy strains that enhance every step leading up to a party, there’s something for every 420-friendly chef, mixologist, and host on this list. 

Below, check out nine unique gifts for the cannabis-loving gastronomes in your life. 

For the munchies lover: Stone Road Hash-Infused Pre-Rolls 

The beautifully and sustainably packaged 5-pack prerolls from Stone Road contain an eighth of cannabis in total. And the hash-infused version offers a nice, strong body high — kind of like an aperitif to stimulate the appetite, or a digestif to promote digestion. 

Stone Road is an inclusive and nature-forward brand that specializes in small, limited releases; its organic flower is grown on an off-grid farm in Nevada City, California, and each joint is lovingly rolled by hand. 

Available: California, soon Massachusetts 

For the soda fans: Green Monke 

So many drinkables are aimed at cocktail, beer, or wine drinkers, but Green Monke is all about celebrating soda with a classic sweet and bubbly character. Fun flavors like orange passionfruit and mango guava are just the right balance of classic and adventurous. 

Each 12 oz can of Green Monke is a microdose, featuring a 2:1 ratio of 3 milligrams THC to 6 milligrams of CBD — just enough to take the edge off. Pop lovers will enjoy the classic taste and texture, and those who are looking to fancy it up can pair it with bitters or liqueur for no to low alcohol concoctions. 

Available: California 

green roads hemp flower coffeePhoto courtesy of Green Roads

For the wake n’ bakers: Green Roads CBD Coffee

Green Roads CBD coffee combines estate-grown award-winning coffee from Colombia, with high-quality hemp properties. With a focus on environmental and human wellness, there is a lot of attention to detail in the sourcing, growing, and processing of all its ingredients. 

The coffee itself is delicious, and each small batch features a unique hemp profile that is displayed on the bag. Especially nice for those who tend to feel jittery from coffee, the CBD lends a gentle touch to the caffeine, reducing heartburn and anxiety. Go all out for the coffee fanatic in your life and combine a bag of coffee with the brand’s hemp-infused chocolate bar for a thoughtful double gift. 

Available: Nationwide 

Find Green Roads

A cozy addition to a gift basket: Identity CBD Bone Broth

High-quality shelf-stable bone broth infused with CBD? Yes, please. With a base made from Norwegian poultry, along with collagen peptides and 10 milligrams of CBD per serving, this is what cozy winter nights are made of. Identity’s single-serve packets come in a few different flavors like ginger ramen and chanterelle, and just need to be mixed with hot water to make a cozy sipping broth, or used as a base in stews and braises. 

Available: Nationwide 

For the menu planner: A Golden State Honey Flower Sativa  

If you or someone you love enjoys a good menu planning sesh where focused organization and creativity are in balance, then the sativa strain Honey Flower is the go-to. Honey Flower is cultivated by the California-based company, A Golden State, which also grows other specific strains using snowmelt from Mount Shasta, and the packaging is just as nice as the flower inside. Bonus points for anyone who gifts themselves or a loved one a sampler pack, which includes a sativa and an indica to indulge in strain-specific highs. 

Available: California 

Find A Golden State

For the whole group: Mello Sea Salted CBD Caramels

The best thing about Mello’s Sea Salted Caramels is the quality. It’s luxurious caramel with tasty sea salt bits, balanced between chewy and smooth, and all-around delicious. The box it comes in is attractive and looks nice displayed as is, making it a sleek and easily shareable gift to bring to a large gathering. There are 20 caramels individually wrapped, each with 15 milligrams of CBD.

Available: Nationwide

Good Stuff High-CBD Hybrid Black Cherry Mixer

For the adventurous mixologist: Good Stuff High-CBD Hybrid Black Cherry Mixer

With a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, Good Stuff Beverage Co‘s black cherry lemonade concentrate produces a smooth intoxication. The bold black cherry flavor makes it suitable for replacing spirits in a traditional recipe, like an old-fashioned or highball, replacing 1 oz of liquor with 2 milligrams of THC and CBD. 

The cap doubles as a measurement tool, making it easy to measure out a dose. Most cocktails use 2 oz of liquor, with a target dose of 4 milligrams — or two capfuls — in each canna-cocktail, but hey, we wouldn’t mind an extra-strong drink. 

Available: California 

For the baker and edibles maker: Azuca CBD Sugar 

Infused treats are great, but infused ingredients allow for even more flexibility in the kitchen, and make the best gifts for those who love to bring their own creative signature to the party. Offered in bulk by the ¼ pound or whole pound, each ½ teaspoon of Azuca’s CBD Sugar contains 25 milligrams of fast-acting CBD. 

This CBD sugar is designed to be odorless and tasteless so that it can blend into any recipe without having to make flavor adjustments. 

Available: Nationwide 

Find Azuca

For the all-night dancer: Artet Tet & Tonic

The ease and convenience of ready-to-drink cocktails is a trend that has proven its staying power, for cannabis and alcohol alike. Artet’s Tet & Tonic beverage was made with nightclubs in mind, going for an easy-drinking tipple in the same realm as a gin and tonic. 

Each 12-oz can has 5 milligrams of both THC and CBD, so you may have a couple throughout the night without worrying about a THC overload.

Available: California 

Featured image courtesy of Good Stuff

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We tried it: Papa & Barkley’s Sleep Suite

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this review with the story of how I first came to love cannabis. Back in 2010, when California law permitted the use of weed for medical purposes only, I was a newly minted adult struggling with anxiety and insomnia. I tried breathing exercises, aromatherapy, over-the-counter sleep aids, and prescription-level pharmaceuticals only to find that each option fit squarely on one extreme of a wild spectrum. Everything I tried was either useless or way too effective, leaving me feeling drowsy and muddled the next day. I didn’t expect much when my older brother gifted me my very first White Widow plant, but it grew quite literally like a weed and a few months later, my mom and I were using the harvested buds to make infused gingersnaps. 

It’s not hyperbolic to say those gingersnaps changed my life. I still remember the first night I tried one and drifted off to the most restful night of sleep I’d had in months. I woke up feeling calm and recharged. It was like I’d experienced a small miracle. 

Ten years later, the legalization of adult-use cannabis in California and other states has resulted in an explosion of weed products specifically designed for sleep. Compared to the products we have at our disposal today, my homegrown weed and homemade edibles look primitive, but they exposed me to the effectiveness of cannabis as a sleep aid. 

Few brands are as primed to deliver a quality weed sleep aid as Papa & Barkley, a trusted leader in the space of cannabis wellness products. I’ve been a longtime fan of Papa & Barkley’s high-CBD Releaf Balm, so I was excited to try the brand’s new line of sleep-specific products. The lineup includes a CBN-forward suite of edibles, capsules, and a tincture — all of which have a 2:4:1 ratio of CBD:THC:CBN. I put three of these products to the test to see if they could compete with my legendary weedy gingersnaps. 

Papa & Barkley Sleep Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate

Potency: 4 mg THC, 2 mg CBD, 1 mg CBN per wedge

Flavor: I can’t say that I totally picked up on the pomegranate in this chocolate bar, but it’s delicious nonetheless. The smooth texture and subtle flavors remind me of Garden Society’s artisanal weed chocolates. Flavor-wise, Papa & Barkley’s sleep chocolate is on par with other high-end weed chocolates, in that you can’t pick up any noticeable grassy flavors. If anything, any herbal hints add to the complexity of the chocolate. 

My only criticism is that it’s difficult to break off a triangular piece because the chocolate bar is relatively thick and small. This might pose no problem to consumers with higher tolerances and smaller margins for error when it comes to dosing. But for someone like myself, who’s sensitive to one-milligram differences of THC, precision is everything. 

Effectiveness: Despite having some reservations about the dosing situation, I found this chocolate to be delightful. The high set in very slowly and by the time I was ready for bed, I’d almost forgotten I’d eaten anything weed-infused. That’s one of the big reasons I love using edibles for sleep. Sometimes, when you time it just right, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re a naturally talented sleeper, which is great for my circadian rhythm and self-esteem. My only wish is that Papa & Barkley would make individually wrapped sleep chocolates so I can leave one on my pillow and pretend like I’m in a fancy hotel that only wants the best for me. 

Papa & Barkley Sleep Blackberry Elderberry Gummies

Potency: 4 mg THC, 2 mg CBD, 1 mg CBN per gummy

Flavor: I’ll be totally honest, I’m not a fan of sugar-dusted gummies. Gummies are already sweet, so why bother tossing them in even more sugar? I’ll let it slide this time because the flavor of these sleep gummies is perfectly tart and punchy. The ideal balance of sweet and sour flavors, however, always leaves me wishing I had a companion bag of unmedicated gummies to snack on without fear of my mind melting. Until that happens, we just can’t have it all.

Effectiveness: Staying aboard the honesty train, my trip did not go quite as intended. Knowing that my tolerance is ultra-low these days, I ate half of a nickel-sized gummy to be on the safe side. I ate it 30 minutes before bed — as the package instructions suggested — and got really excited when my body started to get heavy, sinking into a cushiony cloud state right as I was about to drift into sleep. My high took a turn, however, when dry mouth set in and my mind got a little too active for comfort. I was in that limbo state that sometimes happens when you eat edibles before bed: my body was perfectly locked in for rest while my mind was sprinting on a hamster wheel. It was less than ideal.

Determined to get that body high back and temper my restless mind, I tried these gummies again on another night, this time taking half of a gummy a couple of hours before bed. This little tweak made all the difference. By giving myself more of a runway, I was able to ease into the gear shift from sober to stoned and go to bed without the slightest hint of paranoia. I highly recommend this approach for anyone who, like me, has more of a problem with getting to sleep than staying asleep. 

Papa & Barkley Sleep Tincture

Potency: 4 mg THC, 2 mg CBD, 1 mg CBN per serving

Flavor: Compared to other Papa & Barkley tinctures, which tend to be intensely herbal, this tincture was light and supremely palatable. Tinctures can be deceptively simple. With so few ingredients, it seems like every brand should get it right, and yet so many brands get it so wrong. I, for one, would much prefer a deep green, weedy tincture over an artificially flavored, perfumey one. Papa & Barkley’s Sleep tincture is neither of those things, instead striking a fine balance between potently weedy and refined. I rarely get excited about tinctures, but this one hits all the right notes for me. 

Effectiveness: I took half the recommended dose — 0.25 milliliters — about an hour and a half before bed. I appreciate that this sleep tincture isn’t too concentrated because it allowed me to portion out the right dose for me without worrying that a single drop more would set me off course. Within an hour of dropping the tincture under my tongue, I was feeling noticeably more relaxed. Within another half hour, I wasn’t drowsy but compelled to turn off the lights. Normally, I worry about not being able to turn off my brain and taking upwards of an hour to actually slip into sleep, but I was able to doze off without any hiccups. 

This product might not be as fun to take as a chocolate or a gummy, but the simple effectiveness of this sleep tincture made it my favorite of the bunch. It got me thinking that if I’m going to replace my beloved gingersnaps with something superior, it would be this. 

Bottom line

If you’re new to cannabis edibles or are, like me, hyper-sensitive to THC these days, you might need to exercise caution with these products. I’d recommend cannabis newcomers start with the Papa & Barkley Sleep Tincture because it allows for the most flexibility and precision with dosing. I imagine consumers with a moderate THC tolerance will find the full lineup to be high-quality and enjoyable. Still, there’s bound to be some experimentation involved for anyone honing their bedtime rituals. 

I found that taking these products a couple of hours before bed gave me the time I needed to sort through any paranoid gear shifts and let my mind tucker itself out. Timing it this way allowed me to settle into my body and mind and drift into sleep without any surprise dry mouth or anxious thoughts derailing my descent. If staying asleep is more your issue, I would recommend trying the opposite approach and taking a dose when you’re just about ready to fall asleep. This way, you have a better chance of those cannabinoids being hard at work when you’re most likely to spring out of bed prematurely. Ultimately, though, my advice would be to treat the Papa & Barkley Sleep Suite like any other new edible you’re testing out. Take it low and slow — and sleep in if you can. 

Featured image courtesy of Papa & Barkley

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The Drop: 5 strains that are hitting menus in October

This month of The Drop, Dante Jordan’s column rounding up all the can’t-miss strains and dabs from the best brands and growers looks at anticipated releases from Viola, Ball Family Farms, and Insane.

New month, and a whole new batch of strains that you should be putting in your pipe and smoking. Here are the cannabis strains that are hitting menus in October.

Viola x Iverson Collection: ’96

A couple of months ago it was announced that Viola, owned by former NBA Player, now cannabis mogul, Al Harrington, had entered a multi-year partnership with NBA legend Allen Iverson. It’s called the Iverson Collection, and on October 2, with a party in Los Angeles, they debuted the brand’s first strain: ’96. It’s named in homage of the year The Answer was selected with the first overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the best NBA draft class of all time (sorry, 2003).

Styled as “Iverson ’96” on some menus and websites, ’96 is an indica-dominant hybrid, bred by crossing Secret Kush Mints with Grape Stomper. It has tightly packed buds that are so purple and white it ends up looking just like the Iverson ’96 packaging. 

The flavor kicks out a grape-forward terpene profile, backed by pine and earth. While ’96’s aesthetics are next level, what really makes this strain special is the high. Face a joint of ’96 and you’ll feel super mellow, relaxed, and happy. It puts a smile on your face while washing stress away, turning you into the chillest version of yourself. Keeping it a buck, it’s the exact type of weed and experience that I would picture Allen Iverson smoking. 

Scoop it up at Elevate Los Angeles or the Jade Room’s Santana and Torrence locations, where the Iverson Collection lives exclusively.

Available: California 

Coffee and Kush: Cappuccino

What started as a mixtape series (Vol 2. is fire) from California hip-hop artist Problem is now also a cannabis brand from the same man. Coffee and Kush comes forward with three new strains: Mocha, Cappuccino, and Black. It is available exclusively at the Wonderbrett store on La Brea. Check out the weed; check out the music.

Available: California

Insane: Cali Lights

Insane: Cali Lights

Everything I’ve ever smoked from Insane was some of the best flower I’ve smoked in years. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was doing my best to preserve the last nug of its Mamba Juice because it was so damn good. This month, the brand known for its Kush genetics will be coming forward with three new strains that I cannot wait to smoke: Cali Lights, OMG, and Julia. Especially that Cali Lights — I’ll admit, the packaging got me.

Cali Lights is a Seed Junky Genetics-bred, Insane-grown strain that was created by crossing Zkittlez and Kush Mints. This is the first run of it to hit stores. Insane’s team told me that Cali Lights has a gassy, cool mint snap to it with hints of lime and pine. The terpene profile is dominant in caryophyllene, limonene, and humulene. When you smoke Cali Lights, you can expect an authentic kush taste with a smooth and distinct flavor that leads to a very balanced body buzz and head change.

Available: California

Ball Family Farms: Nino Brown

Ball Family Farms is well-known for its good weed, proprietary genetics, and strains named after famous movie characters in Black culture. Its flagship hybrid Daniel LaRusso is some heat, as is the Laura Charles and Bruce Leroy. In late October, the brand will be adding to the collection by releasing its newest banger: Nino Brown.

Played by Wesley Snipes, Nino Brown is the main character in the movie New Jack City. As far as Nino Brown the strain goes, the indica-dominant hybrid was bred by Ball Family Farms using proprietary genetics that it keeps under wraps — no matter what. Through email, Chris Ball, the brand’s founder, told me, “BFF prefers to keep their proprietary strain genetics under wraps, challenging the culture to try it and suss it out.” 

Nino Brown kicks out a mix of gas and creamy scents, with a flavor that resembles gelato and candy. It is limonene-forward, backed by caryophyllene, and the effects are expected to be extremely potent and sedative. 

Nino Brown has existed for only six months, so you’ll be among the first to try Ball Family Farms’ newest offering when it hits menus later this month. Nino will be available at 20 different locations, including Sixty Four & Hope, Wonderbett, and all nine Catalyst stores.

Available: California

Solstice Reserve: LA Kush Cake

Solstice Reserve: LA Kush Cake

Solstice out in Washington State puts out some really great weed for affordable prices. Its top-tier brand, Solstice Reserve, only costs $35 for an eighth, but it smokes just as good as the brands that charge $50. This month, the Seattle-based company is coming out with a fresh batch of LA Kush Cake. Yes, I said LA Kush Cake for less than two Harriet Tubmans.

LA Kush Cake was originally bred in 2019 by Seed Junky Genetics, and I’m telling you man, SJG has the strains world in a cat’s cradle. It’s a cross of Kush Mints and Wedding Cake that smells like an earthy mix of herbs and vanilla, and tastes pretty much the same with some added sweet notes. 

Though not considered specifically sedative, the indica-dominant hybrid effects come on strong with a heavy, stoney experience that will have you in chill mode for several hours. LA Kush Cake’s terpene profile is dominant in caryophyllene and myrcene. If you’re out in Washington, definitely get your hands on this absolute steal. 

Available: Washington

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4 new weed products to try from Monogram, Cann, and more

With so many great cannabis brands releasing exciting new products in new markets, it can be hard to keep track of every release. So we’re rounding up a few significant releases. This week, we look at releases by Glass House Farms and more. 

Platinum: Limited edition gummies 

To honor Day of the Dead, Platinum has released a limited edition gummy available throughout October and November. Dubbed Pina de Los Muertos, the spiced tropical flavored indica-dominant gummies contain 10 milligrams THC each, with 10 gummies per package.

Available: California, Michigan, and Oklahoma

Glass House Farms: New infused preroll strains

On the tail of its original launch of F/ELD prerolls in August, Glass House Farms has now added four more strains to its line of live resin and diamond-infused joints. 

Launched on October 2, check out the brand’s new preroll strains for an elevated October:

  • Saber Fruit – sativa-dominant 
  • Sugarwalker – hybrid
  • The Tropics – indica-dominant
  • Vacay Mode – indica-dominant 

Available: California

Cann Social Tonics: Limited edition infused seltzer

Cann Social Tonics: Limited edition infused seltzer

Infused seltzer company Cann Social Tonics has teamed up with cannabis retail brand Sundae School to launch its limited edition yuzu elderflower flavored tonic. The new addition to the line of seltzers contains 2 milligrams of CBD and 4 milligrams of THC.

Available: California

Monogram: New strain

Monogram: New strain

Jay-Z’s cannabis company, Monogram, just launched a new strain in its Heavy OG Handroll line of prerolls. The new strain, called No.03, contains notes of grape, diesel, and citrus from bright terpenes meant to hit the consumer with an uplifting and relaxing high. 

Available: California

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5 new weed products to try from Papa’s Select, Kanha, and more

With so many great cannabis brands releasing exciting new products in new markets, it can be hard to keep track of every release. So we’re rounding up a few significant releases. This week, we look at releases by G Pen, a STIIZY store opening announcement, and more. 

Papa’s Select: New Live Ice Water Hash Gummies

This past Monday, September 27, Papa’s Select from Papa & Barkley dropped its new line of Live Ice Water Hash Gummies. With 10 milligrams THC per piece and 100 milligrams THC per pack, the gummies are made with the brand’s small-batch ice water hash blended with other natural ingredients.

The gummy strains available include:

  • Gargoyle Melon Berry by Tar Hill Cannabis
  • Gargoyle Melon Berry with a hint of Guava by Tar Hill Cannabis
  • Garlic Cookies by Emerald Queen Farms
  • Garlic Cookies with a hint of Sour Pineapple by Emerald Queen Farms

Available: California

Fine Papa’s Select

Zelira Therapeutics: New CBD dermatology line

CBD topicals brand Zelira Therapeutics just released a new skincare line called Raf Five. The entire collection includes the Wash Away Gel Cleanser Acne Treatment, Spot On Acne Treatment, Kick Off Hydrating Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, After Hours Moisturizing Lotion Acne Treatment, and Clear the Way Acne Treatment Pads. Each product in the line features pharmaceutical-grade CBD isolate derived from hemp. 

Available: Nationwide

Kanha: New limited-edition Mystery Gummies

Right on time for spooky season, Kanha has released a limited edition hybrid mystery flavor gummy in 100-milligram-THC packs. For a chance to win a prize from Kanha, consumers can try to guess the flavor of the new gummies at kanhamystery.com

Available: California

Find Kanha

Kalo: New seltzer flavors in Maine

Hemp seltzer water brand Kalo is getting into the adult-use market on the East Coast with new THC-infused seltzers available exclusively in Maine. Each 12-ounce can of seltzer contains 5 milligrams of THC in lemon lavender and pomegranate peach flavors. 

Available: Maine

G Pen: New vaporizer pen 

In partnership with Cypress Hill rapper B Real, G Pen has released Dr. Greenthumb’s x G Pen Micro + handheld vaporizer. 

The entire kit includes:

  • Dr. Greenthumb’s x G Pen Micro + battery 
  • G Pen Micro+ Tank
  • Silicone mouthpiece and tank cover
  • G Pen keychain tool
  • USB to USB-C charging cable
  • Hemp travel case

Available: Nationwide

Good Stuff Beverage Co.

Good Stuff Beverage Co. just released new flavors of THC-infused lemonade including Key Limeade, Raspberry Lemonade, and Black Cherry. These strain-specific, THC beverages can be shot, sipped, or mixed into infused mocktails. Each bottle contains 100 milligrams of THC.

Available: California

STIIIZY: Store opening announcement

On Saturday, September 25, cannabis retail brand STIIIZY opened up a new location in Benicia, California. The dispensary features products from over 55 California-based brands, as well as an onsite art gallery displaying works from local artists. 

Address: 160 E N St, Benicia, CA 94510 

Available: California

Find STIIIZY

Featured image courtesy of Papa’s Select

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5 new weed products to try from Kush Queen, HVGC, and more

With so many great cannabis brands releasing exciting new products in new markets, it can be hard to keep track of every release. So we’re rounding up a few significant releases. This week, we look at releases by MXXN, Select, and more. 

MXXN: New infused non-alcoholic spirits

MXXN is a new cannabis brand creating infused non-alcoholic “spirits” meant to replace classic cocktails. On offer are 750-milliliter bottles containing 100 milligrams THC (6 milligrams per serving) in Jalisco Agave, intended to replace tequila drinks, London Dry for a gin and tonic dupe, and Kentucky Oak to sit in for whiskey and scotch.  

Available: California

Kush Queen: New Halloween collection

Kush Queen, known for its infused topicals and bath products, launched a new Halloween collection inspired by founder Olivia Alexander’s Louisiana roots. The line, called “Spirit of the Bayou,” includes a Delta-8 THC elixir with 20 milligrams of CBD and a black and green multi-layer bath bomb containing 200 milligrams of CBD.

Available: Nationwide

Select: New vaporizer hardware

Recently launched by Select, Cliq is a new vaporizer and pod system that is pocket-sized and discreet. The vaporizer is compatible with Select’s pods which are filled with the brand’s Elite line of oils. Currently available in Arizona, California, and Oregon, Select has plans to roll out the device in more states in the coming months. 

Available: Arizona, California, and Oregon

HVGC: New live resin strains

HVGC: New live resin strains 

Operated by a team of veterans, Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) just added five new strains to its line of live resin vape cartridges, and 100% of the profits go directly to the Battle Brother Foundation. The new strains include Sundae Driver, Animal Mintz, THC Bomb, Black Jack, and Wedding Cake.

Available: California

Seed & Smith: Limited edition Dart vape pens

Seed & Smith: Limited edition Dart vape pens

Colorado-based Seed & Smith launched its limited-edition Dart vaporizer pen in collaboration with musicians Big Gigantic. Now available at Seed & Smith dispensaries, the exclusive Dart pen features a tie-dye design along with two limited edition strains picked by the musical duo: Gigantic Purple Lemons and Big Orange Dream. 

All proceeds for the pen will go to the Big Gigantic Difference Foundation that supports local charities. 

Available: Colorado

Featured image courtesy of Kush Queen

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