Best of 2018 – Winners

Best of 2018


  • Best Vape Pen

    Plug Play

    Whether you’re an everyday Bob Marley or the casual toker, Plug Play’s line of vape pens and accessories has something for everyone. Some people will say they love the discreet design, while others will praise the company for taking the guesswork out of how you want to feel. We really love Plug Play for the taste and, more important, for the tingling feeling we get while sneaking a quick hit or two in between deadlines. Available at dispensaries throughout Orange County;

  • Best Edible

    Garden Society

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing that edibles can’t contain more than 100 milligrams of THC anymore. It gives people less of an opportunity to overmedicate and think they’re having a heart attack. It also makes microdosing easier—and who doesn’t like microdosing? With Garden Society’s clean ingredients, clean cannabis flowers, high THC-A and CBD, and low-doses of THC in its Bliss Blossoms and Bright Blooms, medicating has never been healthier or classier.

  • Best Patient Appreciation Day

    420 Central

    In a world where recreational marijuana is dominating the market, nothing shows the true character of a business like celebrating medical-cannabis patients: The team at 420 Central hasn’t lost sight of the fact that patients—the people who use the plant to live—are the reason cannabis is legal today. They treat patients with unrivaled respect, dedicating days to them that offer discounts, celebrity appearances, musical performances, education and chances to meet the actual medical-cannabis vendors. 420 W. Central Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-4420;
    420 W. Central Ave.
    Santa Ana – 714.540.4420

  • Best Budtenders

    Bud and Bloom

    In order to find the best budtenders in OC, we sent out the mom of one of our writers—she hasn’t smoked cannabis since George H.W. Bush was in office! After scouring the entire county and asking painfully obvious questions at each dispensary, she picked Bud and Bloom. Not only did its knowledgeable staff answer every conceivable question she could muster, but they also worked hard to select a strain that fit her exclusive needs. With so many products, strains and companies out there, it’s easy to be intimidated and purchase the wrong product. But Bud and Bloom helps to take the guesswork out of purchasing cannabis and leaves you feeling like a kid in a candy shop. 1327 E. St. Gertrude Place, Santa Ana, (714) 576-2150;
    1327 E. St. Gertrude Place
    Santa Ana – 714.576.2150

  • Best Shatter


    The indica-dominant strain Grape Skunk is a trifecta of flavors, odor and effects. A combination of grapefruit, blueberry and Super Skunk, this knockout shatter is the obvious choice as our favorite. Packed with more sugary berry flavor than a bowl of kids’ cereal and perfect for curing whatever ailments you feel, we keep a few of these handy. Available at MedMen, 2141 S. Wright St., Santa Ana, (714) 515-8506.

    2141 S. Wright St.
    Santa Ana – 714.515.8506

  • Best Live Resin

    Nameless Genetics

    There are very few disadvantages to live resin. With a superior flavor profile, CO2 extraction and a wider range of cannabinoids found in the finished product, you can bet that extra care shines through. The award-winning Mega Wellness OG’s live resin terp sauce from Nameless Genetics has a smell that’s akin to a walk through a field of citrus trees on a warm evening while the effects will leave you searching for the nearest chair. Don’t forget to bring a packed lunch because you’re probably going to be here for a while. Available at Temple of Supreme Purity, 1834 Newport Blvd., Ste. C, Costa Mesa, (949) 520-8179;
    1834 Newport Blvd., Ste. C
    Costa Mesa – 949.520.8179

  • Best CBD Product

    Calm by Dosist

    Dosist (formerly HMBLDT) has mastered the art of both dosing and clean CBD with Calm, a high-CBD formula that harnesses the anti-anxiety properties of the chemical. The company is also ahead of the game in terms of its scientific understanding of terpenes. This calming vape-oil mix contains myrcene, which is balanced with the grounding influences of beta-caryophyllene and limonene—a blend that’s ideal if you struggle with anxiety or stress. It’s also great if you just want to feel like goo. The pre-filled pen offers more than 200 doses measured at 2.25 milligrams per puff.

  • Best Medicated Drink

    Enjoy, It’s Legal

    With 100 milligrams of THC mixed with deliciously tart Rainier cherries, Enjoy, It’s Legal is perfect for your next hike, festival or birthday party for that relative you barely know. If you aren’t ready for a TKO, then maybe one of Mirth Provisions’ four other flavors. There’s even an espresso mocha sativa so you can skip that line at Starbucks!

  • Best Prerolls

    Henry’s Original

    Few things are better than prerolled joints, and Henry’s Original makes some of the best artisan preroll joints on the market. It’s also one of the few companies that has its shit together in regards to compliancy. Henry’s Original’s heirloom cannabis tastes like professional homegrown goodness: clean, full of flavor and crystalline color—not schwag weed that tastes like fried greens.

  • Best Moon Rocks

    Apollo’s Fire Rocks

    There are sun rocks and moon rocks—and then there are fire rocks. These balls of lifted glory are what sun rocks and moon rocks wish they were. Apollo’s Fire Rocks are arguably the strongest nugs on the legal market. Blackberry OG flower wrapped in a solvent-less concentrate and sprinkled in an opaque coat of top-shelf indica kief, these dense, golden-green nuggets definitely hold the power to send you to Mercury (the planet of fire—duh!). They are basically 100 percent indica, containing around 70 percent THC and 0.29 percent CBD. So whether you smoke it alone or crumble it up and roll it into a joint, make sure you prepare for an existential and spiritual blast off.

  • Best Place to Get Lit

    Your Own Home

    Disneyland is crowded, gas prices are through the roof, and the beaches are full of tourists. After the most recent round of fires, our favorite hiking spots are closed for repair, and we still have to pay rent at the end of the month. With all this on our minds, we think it’s time to give an award to a place that we can count on to make us feel like a baby nestled up against its mother: your home. Avoid the traffic of the 405, ditch the pants, embrace your inner agoraphobia, and roll one up in your own place. Nothing beats a day spent idly clicking through your Netflix menu, searching for a movie or television show that doesn’t suck or you haven’t already seen. Extra points if you have a dog or cat to talk to as if it were a person.

  • Best OC Dispensary


    Do we really need to explain why this place seems to be king of the mountain? MedMen is more like an Apple store, setting the standard for what a dispensary should be. Bright cases lining the interior of the sales floor display everything from edibles to flowers, and the knowledgeable sales staff are always upfront and honest about each product. 2141 S. Wright St., Santa Ana, (714) 515-8506.

    2141 S. Wright St.
    Santa Ana – 714.515.8506

  • Best Cannabis Lawyer

    Chris Glew

    The man, the myth, the legendary canna-law crusader: Chris Glew has years of experience in this field, with a catalog of high-end clients testifying to his hard work and success. When it comes to knowing the rights of cannabis entrepreneurs and consumers, as well as what it takes to be compliant, he is simply unrivaled. The Law Offices of Glew & Kim, 1851 E. First St., Ste. 840, Santa Ana, (714) 648-0004;
    1851 E. First St. Ste. 840
    Santa Ana – 714.648.0004

  • Best Glassworks

    The Mothership Exosphere

    If you’re looking for the best, be prepared to fork out some cash because well-made glassworks are never cheap—and anyone who tells you differently isn’t your friend. Mothership Glass is about as high-end as a glass company gets. Only select head shops carry its products, and it’s hard to keep them on shelves. So when you find one, you know you’re having the best day of your life. The Exosphere resembles a C-class spaceship that’s capable of long-distance travel—you know, like, from solar system to solar system. Anything that looks like that is going to get you higher than you’ve ever been.

  • Best Smoke Shop

    Up In Smoke

    We used to go to the swap meet every month, bypassing useless trinkets and bootleg Metallica T-shirts for the guy who sold bongs for $10 more than what they were worth. Now, whenever we lose a member of our pipe family, we replace it with something we’ve picked up from Up In Smoke. Located in the heart of Central OC, this well-stocked shop has everything you need to make your dorm room resemble Walter White’s RV, with help from the helpful, friendly staff. (At the very least, you’ll find something better than that apple you’ve been using.) If we could just get delivery…. 270 Bristol St., Ste. 101, Costa Mesa, (714) 641-1008.

    270 Bristol St., Ste. 101
    Costa Mesa – 714.641.1008

  • Best 420 Chef

    Pepper & Co.

    Founded in 2013, this nonprofit aimed at helping children also donates profits toward local housing developments for low-income families. Even without the company’s contributions to charities and the cannabis community, chef Pepper’s tasteful, carefully crafted confections stand on their own. Each slice of medicated heaven is almost too pretty to eat—almost. We can’t stop fawning over the Bento Boxes, and we’re pretty sure her line of cake pops resembling Japan’s favorite kitty stays stocked at dispensaries for about as long as it took you to read this.

  • Best Lab Testing

    BelCosta Labs

    If you didn’t check out our 710 Guide in July, then head to and search for Mary Carreon’s profile on the guys behind BelCosta Labs. The cannabis-lab-testing market is responsible for consumer health and getting products put on shelves. But, as with most things in life, not all labs are created equal. BelCosta Labs, however, take this responsibility seriously, going above and beyond in terms of its facility and the standards it holds the industry to—and sets. 1131 E. South St., Long Beach, (562) 676-4206;
    1131 E. South St.
    Long Beach – 562.676.4206

  • Best Topical

    Papa & Barkley

    If you want the healing powers from cannabis without having to breathe in a combustible plant’s smoke, Papa & Barkley get it. (We get it, too, but you’re not invited to our birthday party.) The company worked hard to bring us all a gift in their newest Releaf Patch, which delivers pain relief for up to 12 hours. Patients can place the time-release square anywhere and continue to live and work freely. The medicated formula also takes the guesswork out of selecting which ratio of CBD-to-THC is right for you by offering several options, all of them super-affordable and free of any smells.

  • Best Indica Strain

    Aurora Borealis

    The aurora borealis, a.k.a. northern lights, is a naturally occurring phenomenon that probably freaked out a ton of people before science became generally accepted. Once we discovered it had nothing to do with whether the Gods were angry and was more about non-magical solar flares, tourists gathered for the chance to marvel at its wonder. We like space just as much as the next Carl Sagan, but the best way to get a sense of just how small we are in this universe is to roll up some of its finest flowers and meditate. And that’s where this award-winning strain comes in: Its sticky, terpenoid-rich buds are perfect for relaxing under the stars or taking in whatever life—or the universe—throws at you.

  • Best Sativa Strain

    Charge by Canndescent

    We shared one of Canndescent’s Charge preroll joints on the beach in Laguna, and we went from sitting on the rocks and enjoying the sun to climbing to the end of the jetty, inspecting each rock along the way. We went from being relatively silent to chattering about why vapor forms clouds and who we would tell if we found out chem-trails were the reason everyone gets cancer. We cried because we could feel the emotions of the ocean, then laughed and cried at the same time when we saw dolphins. It was a special day made 10 times more magical thanks to Charge.

  • Best Hybrid Strain

    Strawberry Banana by THC Design

    If you’re looking for a balanced high, this is your jam. Known for its heavy resin production and high THC content, THC Design Strawberry Banana produces happy, peaceful effects that sharpen creativity and sensory awareness. This strong, indica-dominant hybrid has the ability to push you into ultimate relaxation—a must-try for indica-lovers looking for a sweet and savory flower.

  • Best Tincture

    King Harvest Wellness CBD Restore Tincture

    The new wave of cannabis has taught us a lot about the plant, particularly cannabidiol (CBD). From relieving anxiety, arthritis pain, chronic pain and nausea to halting seizures in their tracks, CBD—the non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant—is one of nature’s miracle remedies. King Harvest Wellness, which makes quality medicine that’s always consistent and reliable, offers one of the market’s cleanest, most effective CBD tinctures. If you’re looking for quality, whole-plant CBD, then the brand’s Restore is the ideal product.

  • Best Medicated Pantry Item


    Off the top of our heads we can name about a million uses for coconut oil: From baking in the kitchen to baking in the sun, the tropical lubricant really can do it all. Zendo’s all-natural, gluten-free cannabis-infused coconut oil comes with three servings, each one clocking in at 20 milligrams. The oil can be used orally or topically, but we also like to use it as a replacement for butter when baking cookies. We won’t judge you if you choose to slather yourself in it and wrestle your bestie; just make sure to keep it out of your eyes when trying a full nelson—it stings.

  • Best Cannabis Doctor

    Dr. Bonni Goldstein

    If every newspaper or magazine that published a Best Of issue had Best Cannabis Doctor as a category, Dr. Bonni Goldstein would win every time. Based in Lawndale (which is not in OC, but we’re excusing that because, well, read on), the world-renowned hero has saved children’s lives through the power of the cannabis plant. Though prescribing cannabis to children is inherently controversial, she has only experienced positive results. Plus, she has a personal relationship with each of her patients and one of the most empathetic hearts we’ve ever come across. Dr. Goldstein will win Best Cannabis Doctor forever, no matter where she’s located. 15901 Hawthorne Blvd., Lawndale, (855) 411-4420;
    15901 Hawthorne Blvd.
    Lawndale – 855.411.4420

  • Best Cannabis Road Trip

    Salvation Mountain

    Orange County residents are never short of weekend getaways: Los Angeles, San Diego and their respective international airports are all within reach. And since Palm Springs is always packed, we think it’s time to highlight the perfect destination for finding your spirit animal. Salvation Mountain is located in Niland, off Highway 111, just east of the Salton Sea and just west of the center of the sun. What it lacks in shade it certainly makes up for in aesthetics. We took a trip recently and found the (hopefully) nontoxic painted mounds to be the ideal place to enjoy a bowl or joint. Make sure you bring extra water and an offering to the gods.

  • Best Medicated Lotion

    Lord Jones

    The soothing, rich, luxurious, CBD Pain and Wellness Formula Body Lotion is designed to be penetrating and readily absorbed. It works miracles for sore muscles, joint pain and skin conditions, including psoriasis and eczema. We know a woman who has had arthritis in her hands for the past five years, and nothing has worked better for her pain than Lord Jones’ CBD cream—and she hates weed!

  • Best Munchies Spot, North OC

    Nguyen’s Kitchen

    It’s late, you’re pretty baked, and whatever fast food you can find isn’t going to cut the proverbial mustard. We’ve been there. Luckily, Nguyen’s Kitchen in Orange serves Asian fusion until 2:30 a.m. every day. Everything from bánh mì sandwiches to Asian-style garlic noodles get reworked in a chaotic yet controlled environment. Our favorite dish is the standard grilled-chicken-and-rice bowl featuring the kitchen’s signature savory sauce and slaw. Affordability paired with honest ingredients and late hours make this North County eatery our go-to to quell our hunger pains after a night out in DTSA. 445 S. Main St., Ste. B, Orange, (714) 771-5410;
    445 S. Main St., Ste. B
    Orange – 714.771.5410

  • Best Munchies Spot, Central OC

    Taco María

    There’s no arguing this one. Real stoners love Mexican food. And if you love Mexican food, then you will LOVE Taco María. Even if you don’t use cannabis, you need to go. But if you do, stop what you’re doing, spark one up, then take a Lyft to Taco María ASAP. The authenticity expressed in each menu item has had a profound impact on the culture of Mexican food in Orange County. Plus, you feel good after eating, which isn’t always the case with Mexican cuisine. What’s better than eating great, tasty comida that doesn’t make you feel shitty afterward? Doing so while you’re high. 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 538-8444;
    3313 Hyland Ave.
    Costa Mesa – 714.538.8444