Best Of :: Alt-Med
It's hard to find a place to get your doctor's recommendation that doesn't feel sketchy. Whether the entrance to the evaluation room is in a weird alleyway, the "doctor" seems loony tunes (or the doctor is not there at all, and you're face-timing over a computer with one instead), or you have people hustling you in the door, eager to rip you off—getting your medical-cannabis recommendation can be an ordeal. But at 4th Street Medical in SanTana, you get actual face time with a white-coated doctor, no one is trying to gouge you with outlandish prices, and the facility is well-kept and clean. What more can you ask for?
2112 E. Fourth St., Ste. 111, Santa Ana, (714) 599-7970; 4thstreetmedical.com.
Readers' Choice: 4th Street Medical
Prerolls have a bad rep for being schwag weed. The flower inside is often dry, harsh and doesn't taste right. Lowell Herb Co., however, has raised the bar. As with a pack of cigarettes, you can buy a pack of Lowell Smokes—10 premium prerolled joints. The flower inside isn't shake, either. Each one is 0.6 grams of ground-up, pesticide-free nugs, making for a high-quality experience.
Readers' Choice: Fatty's Rosin Roll
It all started with a man from West Virginia and his fascination with the cannabis plant and the science behind it. Speakeasy 710 founder Josh Hartsel wanted to create a product that he would want, and now he has produced several of them, including these full-spectrum CBD softgel caps. Because Speakeasy places the medicinal value above all, it uses a third party to test its products, meaning you won't find any pesticides, neurotoxins or other harmful chemicals. In fact, each 15 milligram capsule is infused with hemp seed oil, made with the finest extract and using all organic-plant-based ingredients. It also throws some terpenes in there for flavor and obvious benefits. Designed for medical purposes, these pills are meant to relieve pain, help with anxiety, aid in sleeping, reduce seizures—the list is seemingly endless. Most important, Speakeasy offers patients an alternative to Big Pharma and a better quality of life.
Readers' Choice: Paladin CBD
This category remains a crowded field. On the one hand, there are activist attorneys such as Matthew Pappas, a constitutional-law expert who has stamped his name on some of the most important and controversial cannabis cases to hit Orange County in the past several years. On the other end of the spectrum is Aaron Herzberg, whose innovative practice specializes in pot-related real-estate acquisitions through his investment company, CalCann Holdings Inc. (Herzberg has also fashioned himself as a cannabis-policy expert via frequent quotations in Orange County Register articles.) Meanwhile, both behind-the-scenes and in the courtroom is Christopher Glew. A veteran courtroom advocate with a booming voice to match, Glew's passion for defending his clients' legal rights is matched only by his expertise in advising them on how to avoid ending up in the courtroom in the first place—which is exactly why Glew remains the most trustworthy source of information on the rapidly evolving landscape in California medical- and recreational-cannabis law.
1851 E. First St., Ste. 840, Santa Ana, (714) 648-0004; www.glewkimlaw.com.
Readers' Choice: Chris Glew
Things have changed in the cannabis industry, and the days of secretly attempting to grow bud in your closet are over. SuperCloset, also known as SuperPonics, is the leading manufacturer of automated grow systems and boxes. But let's talk about its best one: the 24-site bubble-flow bucket-grow system, which uses combined technology for better yield and a more effective process. The recirculating ebb-and-flow upwelling feature allows for consistent PH and TDS readings, as well as an even nutrient distribution throughout each individual bucket. SuperPonics created what it likes to call a "root Jacuzzi" in each bucket by adding an air stone, which is intended to hyper-oxygenate the water, resulting in a faster harvest. The finishing touch is the rushing-river effect in each bucket as the water fills and drains to and from the reservoir, creating constant circulation throughout the entire system. The end result: quick, top-shelf flower.
Readers' Choice: Bluelab
Vape pens are all over the world nowadays, but only one sets the gold standard—literally. Brass Knuckles Vape Pen is a beautifully designed, Art Deco-styled beaut using only the best cannabis oils. It comes in 16 strains, including Abracadabra, which is CBD-only for those seeking relief without the hallucinogenic. Among the investors is rap artist XZIBIT, who says the company is named Brass Knuckles because "it's going to knock you the fuck out!" Truth in advertising!
Readers' Choice: Speakeasy 710
The rustic packaging initially grabs your attention, but after a dab of Gorilla Glue live resin, it's obvious the cute container it came in is just for looks. Wyldeheart's concentrates are produced with flower from its own farms. It strives to provide patients with resin that offers maximum relief from a company they can trust. Though the extraction method is solvent-free, Wyldeheart claims to have mastered a process that captures all the benefits of the plant. The "off-grid" community is committed to the education and practice of a regenerative lifestyle, explaining the heavy potency and delicious flavor you get with each hit that fills your mouth and blows your mind.
Readers' Choice: Los Angeles Refinery
Don't be jealous of the bomb-ass bud rappers smoke in the music videos and on television. The Real Kurupt's MoonRock put moon rocks on the map. Composed of indoor OG Kush and a 96 percent THC clear oil that's massaged into the flower, then rolled in OG Kush Kief, you get a super-faded feeling. These rocks are made only from the highest quality products, and though they're the company's flagship, Kurupt and his team take things up a notch by making strawberry, OG, banana, and Henney- and honey-flavored prerolls out of their rock—HWUT?
Readers' Choice: The Real Kurupt's MoonRock
All Star Wars jokes aside, Vader Extracts makes potent concentrates out of its Cannabis Cup-winning flower, including a shatter that sets itself apart from others because of its purity, flavor and BHO extraction process. And Vader helps out the community, with fundraisers and cannabis product and merchandise donations to patients, families and children in need.
Readers' Choice: Flight Brands
Getting stoned is easy. But getting stoned and having the time of your life requires two things: adventure and nature. What better way to achieve both than road-tripping up the California coast to Hearst Castle? From zebras, horses, llamas and goats that run wild on the estate's pastures to a European-style castle/home-turned-museum that sits upon a bluff called "Enchanted Hill," there's a hell of a lot to get lost in. Obviously DON'T make this drive stoned. But we do recommend eating a low-dose edible (20 milligrams of THC max!) about 15 minutes out, so you're nice and toasty by the time you arrive. As we always say, there's no better tripping than road tripping— especially when the plan is having an elevated experience at Hearst Castle.
750 Hearst Castle Rd., San Simeon, (800) 444-4445; hearstcastle.org.
Readers' Choice: Humboldt County
Cannabis branding can be tricky. Just because the packaging exudes sophistication and glamour doesn't mean the product inside is good. And we don't mean "good" as in stuff that'll get you high; we mean good as in marijuana that's pesticide-free and consistent. That's what makes Canndescent such a stellar company: The brand not only looks chic as hell, but the cannabis is also exceptionally clean, so you know how the flower will make you feel. If you start smoking Canndescent flower and later go back to smoking cannabis that isn't clean, you'll instantly notice the difference—and realize that most cannabis isn't clean. What also separates Canndescent from the rest is its philosophy of curating your experience. Instead of choosing the strain you want to smoke, you choose the effect you want the cannabis to give you: Calm, cruise, creative, connect and charge—a range of indicas, hybrids and sativas. Having the freedom to choose how you want your high to feel is what the company refers to as "the art of the flower."
Readers' Choice: Punch Edibles
Culinary practices have progressed to the point that cannabis-infused cuisine is just as good—if not better—than non-medicated foods. Whether you're eating infused candy, medicated pasta or herbal pastries, many edibles don't taste like cannabis anymore (which is both fantastic and horrifying). Défoncé Chocolatier is not only the best medicated chocolate around, but it's also easily in the top five chocolates you'll ever eat (you heard right, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups). It has the rich characteristics of quality artisan chocolate, comes in a dozen flavors and leaves no trace of cannabis on the taste buds. That's saying something for a bar that holds 180 milligrams of THC! The company uses sustainable, responsibly sourced ingredients, too, and the packaging makes it look as if the chocolates could be sold at Whole Foods.
Readers' Choice: Miss Mary Jane's Edibles