The first thing to say about the cannabis you’ll buy at a medical marijuana dispensary in Arkansas is: Go slow. While it’s still green and smokable, the product you’re going to buy is not the weed you may have smoked in the back of your friend’s van in high school. Today’s marijuana has been bred and cross-bred until it is pretty much weaponized, making even storied old school strains like Panama Red and Acapulco Gold look like backwater ditch weed by comparison. Bogart the joint with this shit, and you’ll wind up on the dark side of the moon for a few hours, as your friendly reviewer — a legendary marijuana lightweight, even in our prime —has found out a few times now when we overindulged.
It’s not harmful (in our lay opinion at least), but it can be very uncomfortable, so when you’re starting out with a new strain, take your time and smoke less than you think you need.
I had long heard about the differing properties of Cannabis indica vs. Cannabis sativa, with indica strains said to offer a deep and relaxing “body high” that is great for pain, insomnia and depression. Sativa, meanwhile, is said to be more of a “head high,” leaving you energized and uplifted, with anti-inflammatory and de-stressing properties. Given that, I purposely selected two hybrids that went heavy in each direction, just to see if I could discern a difference.
At Green Springs Medical, I purchased Holy Roller OG, which the internet tells me is a cross between classic Big Sur Holy Weed and Do-Si-Dos, featuring 60 percent sativa with a THC content of 25 percent. It’s not the weed talking when I say: The buds of Holy Roller are genuinely beautiful to look at — small, dense and a lovely mottled orange and green. My nose is old and tired, but the smell is pretty great, too: lemony, without the almost chemical harshness you can get from some high-grade cannabis.
From Doctors Orders RX, meanwhile, I tried Cookies and Chem, another powerhouse strain created by crossing Girl Scout Cookies (the cannabis variety, not the actual cookies), Starfighter and Stardawg. The resulting strain is 65 percent indica, 35 percent sativa and has a staggeringly high THC content of up to 30 percent. While not as pretty as the Holy Roller, Cookies and Chem makes up for that with smell: a heavy weed scent that is front and center even when BOLD Team’s childproof can is sealed, and almost overpowering when it’s opened.
The first night, I tried the Holy Roller OG, and this is where the abundance of caution I encouraged earlier came from. Grinding a bud of the Holy Roller unleashed a bouquet of fragrances. I packed a bowl, fired up and inhaled deeply. The first thing to note is the delicious flavors, strangely nutty with a piney aftertaste. From there, though, I don’t remember much for a few hours, because I somehow slipped off my couch and fell down a well, with no Lassie to fetch help. I am confident that Jim Morrison was never that high in his entire life. I might even have had John Belushi beat.
What I can tell you, however, is that even in the depths of being absolutely glued in place, floating on a warm cloud of careless nothing, there was none of the paranoia I’ve experienced in the past from cannabis. Whether that was a trait of the Holy Roller strain or just the fact that I was doing it legally, I don’t know, but I can say that Holy Roller would likely be great for anxiety and pain. Holy Roller melted mine away entirely for a few hours, along with my name, phone number and, for a little while there, the ability to walk without looking like I suspected the dining room was heavily land-mined.
Having learned my lesson, I smoked less of the Cookies and Chem on my initial test flight of that strain the following night. Similarly delicious when smoked through a clean bong, the Cookies and Chem was a somewhat harsher smoke for me, burning my lungs with a sensation similar to five-alarm heartburn that disappeared as soon as I let the smoke out. As the cannabis kicked in, I was instantly sold on the differing properties of various strains. Where the Holy Roller was like having a mild stroke while drunk, the Cookies and Chem was beautifully mellow: a warm, sexy hug that left my mind almost completely clear, completely non-narcotic. Cannabis I’ve tried in the past made me want to go to sleep, but the Cookies and Chem affected me in almost exactly opposite, making me talkative and energetic while deep-sixing all my normal aches and pains. As a bonus, I could actually carry on a coherent conversation, which my spouse surely appreciated.
Your mileage may vary, but for me Cookies and Chem would be the ultimate wind-down weed, knocking out mental and physical ailments while still allowing you to get some work done around the house. For that reason, I’m much more likely to be a repeat customer on Cookies and Chem than the Holy Roller, and look forward to testing the waters of other indica-heavy strains as they become available. Until then: happy toking, Arkansas. Just take your time. You’ll thank me later.