An example of Island Sweet Skunk from a different Colorado dispensary (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Island Sweet Skunk (marijuana review)

Strain Theory: The high, while energetic and uplifting, was also focused and lucid in a way that helped me connect the dots, to arrange the sand as if I was controlling a tiny zen rake with my mind.

For the first time I can remember (insert memory joke here), I’ve felt like I’m too busy to get high lately. As a daily toker for years, this makes frighteningly little sense. I point to examples of high-functioning peers all the time when confronted by the “Pot makes ya dumb!” crowd, yet here I find myself apprehensive to induldge.

Had I hit my proverbial stoner wall in my early 30’s? Had Colorado super-herb put me on my keister one too many times? I decided to wake and bake with Island Sweet Skunk and find out.

Island Sweet Skunk by the numbers: $16/g, $85/quarter at The Farm, 2801 Iris Ave., in Boulder

On a rare trip to Boulder for a news piece with my friend Shawn Coleman, we stopped in at The Farm with national media in tow. As a boy with Iowa roots, my experience at farms couldn’t have been more different from what I walked in to. Mainly, a notable absense of overalls and hog smell. Instead, the main lobby is arguably the most gorgeous head shop I’ve ever stepped foot in. Forgoing the converted pawn shop look some trot out, it’s all shiny hardwoods and lush plants and well curated local art as far as the eye can see.

Staff members were knowledgeable and friendly throughout the experience, although everyone tends to be on their A game when the cameras come out. There was a sincerity that couldn’t be put on, though, and the bud bar experience had the little touches — like coffee beans to reset your nasal palette and magnifiers — that set The Farm apart. When I noted that the sample G13 smelled a little stale, they quickly brought out a second sample. Tempting as it was, I walked with the Island Sweet Skunk.

When I’m reviewing, I’ll occasionally buy something because it’s the exact definition of what a strain should be. Say you fancy yourself a coinesseur of New York-style pizza. There are dozens of places that claim they have the perfect iteration, but only one (if you’re lucky) will make the style you romanticize. Then that’s all you eat for a week. This Island Sweet Skunk was my thin crust, light sauce, mountain of mozz slice of sativa-dominant heaven.


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Let’s start with the structure, which has calyx’s that look like a bunch of tiny, round, lime-green grapes you’d feed sensually to your favorite piece. Hairs flow from every angle and are more of the peach hue than the burnt orange you see from whispier cuts. While this phenotype is far from dense, it doesn’t pull apart like so many grapes on a vine, either. The medium sized nugs I took home were more than adequate in that regard.

As a child of Skunk you’d expect more pungency, but this is more like Pepe Le Pew’s alter ego in that there’s an endemic sweetness immediately. Otherwise, you’d be prone to confuse it with Durban Poison on smell alone, as pine cleaner is ever present. Blanket terms like sweet really get my Golden Goat though, so specifically smell for something like Lemonheads candy dropped in an old wooden school desk.

After having recently dusted off our Bootube — a bamboo bong that can be dangerous due to its opaque nature — I decided that there would be no turning back that morning as I loaded a quarter of the gram. The cool smoke burned clean and held its flavor for several hits before getting hashy, with a lot of lemon coming through the tube. It was reminiscent of fancy restaurant water before they switched to putting cucumbers — or whatever is in vogue now — on the rim.


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Having abstained for the first 30 years of my life, I’m now a regular coffee drinker. I dutifully brewed a pot for the house before realizing that I was A-OK without it, noting after an unpleasant experience at a hemp event that sometimes caffeine and sativas don’t mix. In short, I get weird. Instead, I poured a big glass of OJ and headed for my home office in high spirits. Until I saw my workload.

Microsoft Excel (and Xcel, for that matter) isn’t my friend. I look at spreadsheets like vast beaches of sand that I need to count grain by grain. Where do I start? Can’t I just make a castle with a working moat instead? That morning, I had to create CSV files for products that were headed to a website I was working on. I have only the vaguest of notions what CSV files are, why they are a necessary evil and hence why we haven’t tarred and feathered the person who invented them. Being high couldn’t possibly help.

And yet, it did. The high, while energetic and uplifting, was also focused and lucid in a way that helped me connect the dots, to arrange the sand as if I was controlling a tiny zen rake with my mind. My office chair/desk combo, which wouldn’t fetch a suitor if left on my front lawn for a week with a “FREE! GRATIS!” sign, often leaves my back in fits. I barely noticed as I churned through the dreaded CSV with alacrity, stopping only for gulps of juice to deal with a particularly parched mouth.

After a little over an hour, it had vanished. Perhaps I had been too caught up in work, but without any discernible crash I was back to regular ‘ol “Work Jake.” All of the anxiety I had over smoking — GASP — during the day was shed. Sure, opening Excel was a daunting minute. The rest of the time? I’d like to think I crushed it. And then I took another rip and went back to work.

I’m likely over my “smoking for the sake of smoking” phase of life, but I’m also more in-tune with my body than ever. If I’m hungry in the morning, I’m not ordering a New York-style pizza. I’d hate myself until at least 3 p.m. Smoking a heavy indica to start the day has the same effect, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a nice I.S.S. over breakfast. I’ll just hold the coffee.


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