Weed Coast: Festive Strains to Fight Holiday Stress

Our weed columnist is making his list of fave holiday strains and checking it twice.

November 29, 2018

By Sujinder Juneja / Photo: Nathan Lemon

Is it just me, or does the crush of Christmas seem to come on earlier every year? I mean, it’s not even December and my eyes have already been blinded by the red, green and silver assault of tinsel in nearly every storefront and coffee shop, my ears left bleeding from the competing canon fire of dissonant, relentless caterwauls of holiday “classics”. At least I can just make my purchase and run away, but those poor staff….

What this all adds up to (for me and many other people I know) is three things: stress, anxiety and sleeplessness. Stress that I have too many things to do. Anxiety that I won’t be able to find the perfect present for my children. Sleepless about the VISA bill that I’ll have to deal with come January.

Thankfully there’s a cure. A green one, in fact. I’ll give you three guesses and it’s not the Grinch.

The first sure way to alleviate holiday stress is to try to lighten one’s mood a bit. Based on their witty branding (Farm-to-Bowl… very clever), I was keen to try something from the Spinach Cannabis brand, produced by Peace Naturals in sunny Stayner, Ontario about 90 minutes north of Toronto. I selected Sensi Star, a popular Indica-dominant hybrid strain. Sold in a pack of three half-gram pre-rolls, it works out to about $10 bucks a gram. Not bad. Pre-rolls are great because you’re able to try new strains without committing to too large a purchase. Ground and rolled in advance, I wasn’t able to get a sense of the size, shape or colour of the dried flower bud, but I was able to appreciate its aromatics: sharp and spicy, with a hit of freshly-squeezed citrus. I coughed a bit with my first haul (pretty common for me when I try a new pre-roll), but subsequent puffs were smooth and pleasant. It took the edge off a stressful shopping day, providing you with both a sense of relaxation and, possibly, a mild case of the giggles. I usually find high-THC products (this one was posted at 19.1%) too much for me but this one was surprisingly balanced and tasty.

It took the edge off a stressful shopping day, providing you with both a sense of relaxation and, possibly, a mild case of the giggles.

If stress is the body’s response to an external situation, anxiety is the internal holiday-fuelled reaction that keeps people up at night. In order to combat this, I often recommend my trusty weapon. I may have mentioned once or twice that my favourite strain of all time is Cannatonic, so I’m always ready to try any new version I can get my hands (and lips) on. I purchased a gram of Temple (Cannatonic) dried flower from Aurora Cannabis, grown next-door in Alberta. The dark green buds were compact, but firm, with lovely aromatics, too. It smelled earthy and creamy, like tanned leather, with a deep tropical note reminiscent of dried mango or apricot. I rolled a small joint, inhaled deeply, closed my eyes and lay down. Featuring virtually no THC, but 12.1% CBD, there was no “high” to speak of, but instead it generated a burst of mindful creativity that allowed my thoughts to happily wander, like a schoolboy prancing through a field of daisies on a midsummer’s day. Anxiety? What anxiety?

With stress reduced and anxiety banished, a good night’s sleep is all but assured. In case sleep still eludes you this holiday season, try Namaste’s MK Ultra, produced by the Zenabis facility here in BC. This strain is another indica-dominant hybrid of OG Kush and G13. I ordered one gram just to give it a try and was glad that I did. The forest green buds were sheathed in a cloak of burnt-orange pistils and a hazy layer of snowy trichomes. Setting a chunk in the grinder, two or three swift turns released heavy notes of Swedish berries, cloves and fresh topsoil. One puff was all I needed to unwind, relax and disconnect, while visions of sugar plums danced in my head.

Next week: my first-ever column of seasonal gift suggestions, cannabis-themed, of course. Send your suggestions my way @sujinderbc.

The breakdown: Sensi Star, indica-dominant hybrid ($14.99/3 half-gram pre-rolls), Temple, hybrid ($9.99/gram), MK Ultra, indica-dominant hybrid ($8.99/gram). Available at bccannabisstores.com

Want more cannabis recommendations, reviews and news? Check out more from our Weed Coast column here.

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