An example of the Juicy Fruit strain, grown in Colorado. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Juicy Fruit (marijuana review)

Juicy Fruit is a fruity hybrid whose smell and taste reflect its name, and whose quality reflects the current market drought

It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and I got the classic iOS “Tri-Tone” notification on my phone, signalling an incoming message or push notification. Mary’s Journal was there to ask me, “Did you or the patient medicate?”

My smoking habits are not that regimented, but I loved the concept of the data-gathering app, so I had downloaded it anyway. In this case, however, the reminder was necessary. Between moving in the morning and a non-stop day at the office, I had indeed forgotten to smoke. And without the cannabis, I was working straight through a stomach pain that was the equivalent of a springtime tornado wrecking through the Bible Belt — the result of my not eating lunch.

Juicy Fruit by the numbers: $20/gram, $50/eighth at the Colfax Pot Shop, 1500 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver

So, I dug through my backpack to find the Juicy Fruit I had just procured from the Colfax Pot Shop (formerly Nature’s Cure III) on East Colfax Avenue. I had driven by the store many times and never really liked the drab name, but Leafly told me they had the Juicy Fruit I was craving, so I bit the bullet. (And mind you, this purchase was made before the Colfax Pot Shop voluntarily recalled all of its grown-in-house marijuana in late-October. Thankfully, this Juicy Fruit was grown elsewhere — but more on that later.)

I parallel parked on the side street next to the store. Instead of the prominent weed smell that often surrounds a pot shop, the sweet baked-good smell emanating from Voodoo Doughnuts overwhelmed my nostrils. And that was just fine by me.

The marijuana shop’s interior was a pleasant surprise. It was very clean, and the layout didn’t make my head spin. I was greeted by a yoked linebacker — I mean budtender. I suddenly understood why the store didn’t have any visible security guards in spite of its slightly sketchy location on East Colfax Avenue.

I asked about the strain’s origin, but they bought it wholesale rather than cultivating it themselves — allowing me a belated whew after reading the recall news a few weeks later. So the budtender couldn’t tell me much more about the Juicy Fruit other than the fact that it was a good smoke. I bought my gram and went on my way.

According to Greg Green’s The Cannabis Grow Bible, Juicy Fruit is a cross of Golden Triangle Thai and Afghani, an indica landrace. Obviously, there’s really no way of knowing whether this Juicy Fruit cut is the same, or whether it was some other strain renamed based on the smell/flavor profile, but it had a smell and taste on par with what I was used to with the strain. The bright, trichome-riddled nug was covered in fuzzy orange hairs but lacked the purple notes that make some Juicy Fruit phenotypes desirable to so many.

Back at the office with a raging stomach and ready to smoke, I popped the jar open and stuffed my nose into it. It was fruity and tropical with hints of pineapple and creamy coconut, along with the subtle undertone of grass. I broke it up and loaded a spoon. The first dry hit was sweet and fruity — I could even sense the fruitiness in my nose, reminding me of a childhood love I once had for Tang powder. When I sparked it up, the sweet fruitiness was prominent on the front end, followed by a spiciness that hit the back of my tongue and throat on the exhale, causing me to cough.

The second hit made me question whether I had just smoked a mango lassi, and it made me cough even more. Within five minutes, my eyes became extremely relaxed and slightly unfocused. As the high really set in, the looseness in my eyes became so strong that I had to sit back in my seat. This sensation was followed by a warmth in my face that prompted a layer of sweat on my forehead like a morning dew. Almost 10 minutes in, I could no longer bear the turmoil in my stomach and was left with no choice other than to go eat lunch.

The warmed-up leftover pasta tasted better than usual, possibly because I waited until 2:30 p.m. to eat. But I didn’t care because the pesto had a creaminess that matched the Juicy Fruit smoke that preceded it. As I devoured my food, I took a closer look at the remnants of my bowl and noticed that the ash was littered with black and gray specs — a sign that the plant was not thoroughly flushed.

The bowl definitely provided a nice, albeit short, break from my hectic day. Probably not a coincidence, the quality of the flower reflected the massive marijuana drought I was encountering every day at my day job working with state-licensed marijuana businesses on the wholesale side of the industry. With so much unfilled wholesale demand, it’s no surprise that the product being sold in stores right now isn’t always perfectly produced. The relaxing, giddy high gave me a sense of appreciation that I could observe the lingering effects of the source of my work stress.

I’m looking forward to an increase in cannabis supply — not just because it will help my company stock our clients’ shelves, but also because it will be easier for customers to find top-quality product in more shops.