An example of Grape Ape from another Colorado dispensary. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Grape Ape (marijuana review)

It doesn’t feel like a federal crime until you start adding up the amount of marijuana you’ve sold as a budtender. I’d estimate I’ve packaged, labeled, and rung up at least 20 pounds of Grape Ape alone. Did I particularly enjoy Grape Ape? That wasn’t ever a factor in the discussion. We’d put a blast out on Facebook and be cleaned out by the end of the day. People would put a bag on layaway like we were running some sort of “Green Light Special” at K-Mart. So for the 20-or-so pounds I sold, I’ve smoked less than an ounce. There was never any left.

After a long weekend at the High Plains Comedy Festival, it wasn’t that I needed a strong indica. Richard Simmons could have done a bizarro ALS challenge and thrown a bucket of hot coffee that couldn’t wake me. Stepping into Native Roots, I simply needed the absence of sativa.

Grape Ape by the numbers: $17/gram, $325/ounce at Native Roots, 910 16th St., Suite 805 in Denver

The guy at the door saw I was a Colorado resident and said, “Since you’re local we’ll pay your tax. We didn’t all vote for that bullshit.” I did vote for “that bullshit” but kept quiet because I do enjoy money and having more of it. The selection is a little sparse, with only a couple jars available by the gram and seven total to pick from.

I mentioned I was looking for a strong indica and he pointed out the Grape Ape (Afghani crossed with Skunk), noting that it won’t particularly knock me out (something I’ve found in my experience too) but it packs a nice body buzz. Since it was the only indica they were doing grams of, I wouldn’t say I was convinced as much as resigned to it. While I was waiting to check out I noticed on the wall they had two old strain reviews I did for another publication. I resisted the temptation to ask for a picture with them, but felt like I’d totally made it.

There’s the Grape Ape that’s bonkers purple with the occasional flourish of hairs, then there’s the Grape Ape I took home. Almost a mossy green with a dark royal-purple leaf contrasting now and then, it’s dense but doesn’t resemble the rocks of marijuana that I’m more accustomed to. In fact, most of the purple had been egregiously trimmed off so that to the eye it’s pretty indistinguishable.

A great cure saves it, though, and there’s a smell left on my fingers that reminds me of picking grapes from my neighbor Megan’s backyard after dusk. There’s also a faint sweetness — like a long-finished bag of gummy bears — but for the most part it’s not as cloying as a Blueberry or Agent Orange. Deep down I keep finding myself smelling strawberry fruit leather.

Map: Colorado recreational marijuana shops and medical dispensaries

Grape is all I taste, though, on my first few drags. It tastes clean and hits smooth, a concern I’ve been taking more seriously even as my dinged up ribs have completely healed. Initially, the head high is goofy and likely a product of my sleep deprivation combining with mind-altering substances. I’m trying to pitch my friend on tiny Murphy Beds for dogs for the second time and it’s still a terrible idea. We’re both concerned about the inevitable lawsuit when a dog becomes trapped in my invention. Never a good sign.

But the high shifts about 30 minutes in, becoming much more contemplative as I start reflecting on a packed weekend that included seeing Outkast, at least six comedy shows, and running a breakfast burrito bar all Sunday. Pot can get you into your own head, for better or worse, and this was decidedly the former. As my body sank into the couch, all of the wear and tear faded away into a calm, relaxed Sunday evening. Then I fell asleep to “The Amazing Race Australia.” Something about the accents never fails.

It’s not the stoniest indica-dominant strain, but there’s a lot to like about Grape Ape. Having smoked it several times since, it’s not a guaranteed couchlocker and there’s a decent mood elevation that makes it passable for daytime smoking. However, as I mostly use it before bed, it’s kind of become my “sleep number” strain. No matter what’s going on with me, it adjusts, whether I’m counting sheep or pounds.

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