A sample of the Outer Space strain, grown in Colorado. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Outer Space (marijuana review)

Mid-March around the country is marked by open displays of drunken debauchery. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities in Denver are no exception. I woke up on Saturday morning with the intention of generally avoiding downtown and working most of the day. So, I hopped in my car and headed over to the store to pick up a little work supplement.

There was a surprisingly short line at Denver Relief for a Saturday, and I was able to shop almost immediately. I was pretty set on my go-to sativa, Durban Poison, but I decided to peruse a couple other options.

I remembered smoking some of their cerebral Outer Space recently with my friend Chelsey, so I pulled a last-second audible and walked out with a gram. I shopped medical, although the strain is also available on the rec side as well.

Outer Space by the numbers: $12/gram, $35/eighth (medical) or $15/gram, $50/eighth (recreational) at Denver Relief, 1 Broadway Suite A150, Denver

As I got back to my office and poured a cup of coffee, I got a text from another friend, Jules. She invited me to a St. Patrick’s Day party at a mutual friend’s place, conveniently located just a couple blocks from me. It had been months since I had seen her, so I figured I would stop by for a little bit before getting back to work.

When I got to the three-story loft, I headed up to the roof, where I found Jules along with a number of old friends from high school and my first few years of college at CU-Boulder. After immediately getting a beer shoved in my hand and making a round of “hellos,” I decided it was time to smoke a bowl.

I took the recently procured bud and a small glass spoon (pipe) out of my pocket and loaded a bowl. Outer Space is a cross of Island Sweet Skunk and Trinity, a rare clone-only strain that was supposedly bred in Wichita, Kansas from three unknown West Coast strains, according to Seedfinder. The I.S.S. is an old school Skunk #1 progeny that was stabilized in Vancouver by the defunct Federation Seed Company of Canada. Even though the seed company is no longer in business, the legendary Island Sweet Skunk is widely available in many medical and recreational states.

I reached out to Denver Relief’s master grower, Nick Hice, who told me he got a cutting of Outer Space from a grower in the mountains around six years ago, presumably the original breeder. He also said he hasn’t seen it anywhere else in that time (nor have I).

The nug was frosty with trichomes and had leaves that ranged from a bright neon lime green to a darker shade. There were sporadic clusters of dark brownish-orange hairs. The nose was mostly sweet berries with hints of mild cheddar cheese, like a plate of charcuterie with a faint side of skunkiness. The Island Sweet Skunk ancestry was very apparent in the elongated nug structure. When I gave the nug a pinch, a few small leaves crumpled and fell, but mostly the nug decompressed slowly — the ideal level of moisture, in my opinion.

I sparked it up and took a hit. The sweet fruitiness carried into the taste, particularly on the inhale, whereas the skunky flavor was more subtle but lingered in the back of my throat after I blew out a big cloud of smoke.

I offered it to the person on my left, knowing full well that he probably would not smoke, but I am a man who believes in strict smoking etiquette (though I do make some exceptions). I must have been temporarily telepathic because he politely declined. This is the group of friends where I am (and have always been) one of the few weed smokers — a phenomenon that is increasingly rare for me these days when I am socializing or networking in Denver.

After smoking, I looked out over the Lower Highlands (LoHi) neighborhood and contemplated the patchwork of new, boxy metal structures scattered among the older homes. Here I was, on the rooftop of a swanky modern apartment that epitomizes the gentrification of the ’hood. Directly behind me was Zio’s, a Grateful Dead bar in an older building that is more reflective of the history of the neighborhood.

This was just the mentally-stimulating smoke I desired.

Although the high wasn’t sedative or debilitating, I suddenly realized that I was lost in thought, despite the fact that I was surrounded by friends. The stimulation it provided was more cerebral than the physical raciness of Durban or Green Crack. The mindful introspection sans anxiety was a masterful blend. If not for my last-minute decision to hit a party, the smoke would have been the perfect supplement to a Saturday in the office.

I returned to the conversation, where we chatted about our different jobs and reminisced about house parties and tailgates from our days as Buffs. Eventually, my planned day of work went out the window after I got talked into tagging along to the block party at Fado’s Irish Pub.

The block party was exactly as expected: thousands of drunk twenty-somethings drinking overpriced, shitty booze, dancing, puking, getting arrested and so on. So, I did what any reasonable person would do and joined in the debauchery.

When I awoke the next morning, I definitely questioned my decision to drink well past last call. I was relieved to find I had not finished the Outer Space. So I loaded a bowl and attempted to reclaim some Sunday morning productivity. I had a meeting at noon, so the wake-and-bake cleared my morning grogginess and gave me the appetite I needed to restart my system. I scarfed down an egg and cheese sandwich, prepped for my meeting and went on with my day. I was grateful that the Outer Space gave me my Sunday back — and that I wasn’t chained to my bed all day nursing a hangover. I got more than my fix of partying and knew with certainty that I wouldn’t be celebrating again on the actual St. Patrick’s Day.

Given the rowdiness that commandeers the city around March 17th, it still blows my mind that the permit for the annual High Times Cannabis Cup was denied due to “safety concerns.” Somehow, thousands of people drinking in the streets for 12 hours straight is tolerated and even encouraged, but a congregation of cannabis consumers poses a safety threat? The logic escapes me.

It was great to see so many old friends, but I’ll take the crowds of stoners that congregate for other green-themed festivities at Civic Center Park over the St. Patrick’s Day drinking fest any day of the week.