An example of 303 Kush from another Colorado dispensary. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

303 Kush (marijuana review)

Strain Theory: The challenging road to living cigarette-free gets a little smoother with the help of 303 Kush.

When I told my friends that after 16 years I was officially quitting smoking, there was some genuine concern. Mainly that I was quitting pot. See, I’ve been the pack (or more) a day guy for as long as most people have known me. The guy who starts nervously fidgeting as soon as the “fasten seat belts” sign goes off after a plane lands. The guy who learned how to smoke a cigarette in less than two minutes so he could have an extra one on break at work.

303 Kush by the numbers: $8-$17.50/gram, $140/$350/ounce at LivWell Broadway, 432 S. Broadway, in Denver

Now, I’m counting on cannabis to help me unlearn all of that behavior. If only all that memory loss mumbo jumbo were true.

Several people have told me they kicked the habit by doing nothing but smoking joints and sleeping for days. As an adult with responsibilities, that sounded as amazing as it did completely impractical. My goal was simply to grab a bag of something I could puff indiscriminately on while not alienating everyone I love.

LivWell has one of my favorite locations in Denver, as it’s ironically wedged next door to the Broadway Girl Scouts office like a Thin Mint in a plastic tray. The main lobby feels like you’ve walked into a talent agency, with two secretaries directing people to plush black seats before you’re called back. I wait for a few minutes with a fairly homeless-looking dude who’s holding the same coupon as I am. It’s hard to beat a $13 eighth.


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The dispensing area is more jewelry store than pawn shop, with neat cases stretching deep into the narrow room to allow a few registers to operate without people piling up on top of each other. My budtender is a pleasant art student from Metro State whose coupon sense tingles the moment I ask to see the indica-dominant hybrid 303 Kush.

“It’s on sale if you have the coupon!” she effuses.

I sense they’ve seen a lot of “the coupon” so far.

In the large jar, the 303 Kush is almost overwhelming. It doesn’t hurt that said jar holds what I would guess to be over a half-pound of nugs. But while the initial nose of this cross between Pre ’98 Bubba Kush and ChemDawg is that light coffee you expect from Pre ’98 Bubba, it washed away quickly to the smell of a garden section at Home Depot: all soil and chem. This explains the coupon.

Visually, it’s OK: It appears more ChemDawg than Kush-like in structure with loose, dry buds that don’t crumble but certainly snap well. The calyxes have that ChemDawg bulbousness to them, but I’ve seen it both ways with this strain. Several leaves have some burn that no one felt needed to be trimmed, like a slab of fat on some baby back ribs. Perhaps that’s because they show more of the Pre ’98 purple to them, something you don’t always get with 303 Kush.

Since I’ve walked to a car, been in a car, and left a car — all smoking triggers for me — I fire up a bowl as soon as I get home.

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

Each puff elicited more of the tiny symphony, which smokers have attributed to everything from spider mite eggs to immature seeds to cocaine. From the taste, which definitely matched the chemmy smell, I’d wager it was a flushing issue more than anything. While the leaves showed a little damage, there wasn’t any stippling to indicate mites. And I’m not sure I have a preference when it comes to mites versus nutrients.


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Where a buzz hits you can tell you a lot about what you’ll be in for. Here, the 303 Kush sat in the center of my head — right behind my eyes — and camped out. This is the kind of “Magic Eye High” where you find yourself looking at something, but also through it at the same time. And, to be fair, this is exactly what I was looking for. I needed something to zone out with and listen to Guided By Voices for a few days. This is apparently what quitting looks like: emulating the habits of a heroin addict.

For a while I had no interest in smoking, despite the act being one of my favorite ways to cap off a bowl. Earlier in the day I had been a bit more acerbic than accommodating when someone hit me up for advice, but that transitioned into a much more upbeat attitude as I simply overlooked my need for nicotine. You won’t have an ear-to-ear grin, but it’s a content, warm buzz that can wander into that goofy, childlike ease of being.

And like a child, I wanted snacks. We were fresh out of “Ants on a Log” and apple juice, but a bag of popcorn disappeared before I knew it. Then I finished two packets of oatmeal. Oatmeal and I have a strained relationship at best. Regardless of whether this is a smoking or non-smoking thing, I’m confident I’ll be gaining weight soon.

Given the sheer volume of 303 Kush I smoked (half of the 1/8th was gone in a day) and the very Bubba side of the spectrum it fell on, I was expecting a much more “down” experience. Instead, it was much more the “Richard Branson” of pot — fun to be around, to the point you forget how powerful it is. Even though I smoked for 16 years, I’m now on a one-day streak of being cigarette-free. 303 Kush deserves a little credit.


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