Alaskan Grass Buying Guide: Varieties, Concentrates, Edibles & More
The cannabis industry in the 49th state has evolved in recent years, offering Alaskans and visitors a wide range of consumption choices. From infused ice cream to concentrates and locally grown flowers, there are options for new users and everyday smokers.
In marijuana stores, customers can choose from sativa, indica, and hybrid strains, all of which are known to have varying effects.
Traditionally, indica strains have a reputation for creating a fuller, relaxing high, while sativa strains are said to be more cerebral and energizing. Hybrids have traits of both.
But predicting the effects of a strain is far more nuanced, and there is no hard and fast rule. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a store budtender who can provide recommendations tailored to your tastes.
Randy Wells is the owner of The Tufted Puffin in Seward. He said that one thing he and his employees spend a lot of time educating his customers about are terpenes – compounds that contribute to the aroma and flavor of plants, including cannabis, and can influence its effects. .
He encourages customers to ask budtenders questions about certain terpenes in the strains.
âHaving no idea what all the terpenes are in the same strain, you won’t necessarily get the effect you’re looking for. If they’re sleepy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want an indica, âas the strain’s dominant terpene could change the effect it has on a user, Wells said.
âThere are so many great strains of cannabis out there, and some strains outperform a lot of cannabis strains (with) a high THC count because they have a very high terpene count,â Schwan said.
Gavin Spudwills is a budtender at Uncle Herb’s, which has offices in Anchorage and Homer. If visitors are looking to try out local strains, he recommends Mercy Fruit Haze, a sativa cultivated by Mercy Tree of Alaska, and Jolly Rancher by Ace of Spades, a CBD-rich strain.
“[Mercy Fruit Haze has] a fruity taste, it is not very strong. It’s a great joint for walking dogs, âsaid Spudwills. “[Jolly Rancher is] a generally pleasant, pain relieving and anxiety-inducing strain that tastes good overall.
Although it tends to be quite high in THC, Schwan recommends certain varieties of GOOD Cannabis.
âIf someone is really looking for a high energy experience, we realize [GOOD Cannabisâ] Durban poison. Our only budtender calls it the cannabis espresso.
Michelle Cleaver, owner of Weed Dudes in Sitka, says you need to match each person with the effects they prefer. From strains with more than 30% THC to CBD strains that tend to have less THC – less than 10% – she believes new users should be somewhere in the middle.
Schwan has a saying for those who have never smoked or have not smoked in years: “Start low and take it slow.”
âI say take maybe a puff or two and then you turn it off and wait 15 minutesâ¦ see how you feel and if you want more,â Schwan said. âIf this is a novice user, I always use fairly low THC values. They can always go up from there.
In general, âWe really like Rosie Creek Farms, and Rosebud is one strain in particularâ¦ it’s just really cool. It’s actually a staff choice for us.
For beginners, Spudwills recommends the CBD pre-rolls; he says they taste great, aren’t ‘stoners’ and ‘can help you discover what cannabis has to offer’.
âIt won’t shock your system and you won’t get too high or something and walk away from a good experience,â Spudwills said.
Cleaver notes that high-end items can be a bit loud for first-time users; she recommends Pineapple Express, which can be found in stores in Alaska.
â(It’s) a daytime weedâ¦ so they can go out and have fun with their activities and not get sucked into the couch,â Cleaver said.
David Parker, owner of Fat Tops, which has two locations on the Kenai Peninsula, offers several very potent THC strains from Smoking Joe’s Terps to Kasilof.
âOur highest head is tested at 32%, and that’s Love Potion Number Nine,â Parker said. âAnd then we have another one called Grease Monkey, it’s a really good test – it will also be 28% to 30% tested. “
If you prefer a more weed type on the couch, Cleaver likes Gorilla Glue, which can be found statewide.
âIt’s a sticky, stony, fun grass,â Cleaver said.
From gummy candies to mints, edible options are available in single servings up to 10 packs. Edibles are a way for visitors to consume cannabis without smoke.
Wells and Cleaver both note that the popularity of edibles is due to their defined dosage. Each food is 5 milligrams per serving and 50 milligrams per package. Parker says there are some options available in the market for 2.5 milligram edibles.
A proposed change currently under consideration by the Alaskan Marijuana Control Board would increase edibles from 5 to 10 milligrams per dose, or from 50 to 100 per package.
The Wells store carries a variety of edibles, including items from Lady Gray Medibles, a business based on the Kenai Peninsula. Lady Gray creates chocolates, cookies, ice cream, nectar, spreads and more. You can find their wares in state stores including The 420 in Petersburg, Pipe & Leaf in Fairbanks, Weed Dudes in Sitka, and many stores in Anchorage.
Cleaver says edibles can take an hour, sometimes two, to feel the full effects. Schwan says it can take up to 2.5 hours, depending on the person.
âIt stays with you for a very long time, six to eight hours, which is more than, say, if you just smoke a pipe, where this effect may only last for an hour,â Cleaver said.
Parker offers edible Anchorage Bowl chocolate chip cookies and Red Run Cannabis Company hashad, an infused lemonade drink. Capsules and topicals are also options.
â(Edibles aren’t) a very strong effect, but it’s definitely effective for a non-smoker,â Parker said.
Marijuana concentrates – very potent products that contain a higher proportion of terpenes and cannabinoids – are an option for heavy marijuana users. Cleaver’s store and many others have products like shatter and crumble, but the most popular concentrate for travelers is vape cartridges.
âWe sell a lot of vape cartridges, which are these concentrates,â Cleaver said. Convenience is an important factor. âIt’s easy, but not for your serious, focused person. Cartridges are an easy way to do it where you can take it. It’s not something that looks really funny, and when you smoke it, it doesn’t smell too bad.
âI’ve definitely seen a trend among older people, I would say 50 and over, to buy disposable pens,â Spudwills said. âThese are generally inexpensive, they’re nice and portable, and they’re pretty nondescript. “