On a visit to medical-marijuana access point Pharmaseed on a recent sunny Saturday, I had a realization: There's something fun about a drive to Alki Beach that's mission-independent. Whatever business you have to conduct there gets a hazy glow of happiness just because the place is so darn scenic and cheery. The locals' friendly demeanor mirrors the natural beauty surrounding them. There's a thrumming, life-affirming vibrancy to the shops and sidewalks.
Blue Berry's small nugs were quite effective against pain
Pharmaseed doesn't display any signage. There's no clue on the outside as to the nature of any business transacted within, so you're going to need to know where you're going. Once you get inside the waiting room--smallish, but well-stocked with cannabis-related reading materials--a sign on the doorway to the bud room provides something of a return to reality, and that brings us to the parking issue.
Judging by that sign, Pharmaseed has had complaints from its neighbors about patients parking inappropriately near the shop, and that's quite understandable. My friend and fellow patient Bobby had to drive around the block a few times before he finally found a parking space -- three blocks away. The sign warns patients not to park in a way that inconveniences the neighbors; doing this more than once can apparently get you banned from the premises -- something to keep in mind if you're tempted to park illegally.
Parking issues aside, budtender Spence is very knowledgeable about flowers and concentrates, somewhat less so about the medibles (he doesn't personally enjoy edible forms of cannabis). There was just one strain for an $8/gram donation and five $12 strains available on the day I visited.
My friend Bobby only recently got his authorization, so he still has a steep learning curve ahead when it comes to medicinal cannabis, and Spence was very patient and helpful in answering his questions, guiding him through the selection of cannabis concentrates and explaining the differences among kief (cannabis trichomes), hash, and hash oil.
I selected two $12 strains, getting an eighth-ounce of each (at $40 an eighth): the indica Blue Berry and the sativa-dominant hybrid Bubble Jack (Bubble Gum x Skunk x Jack Herer). (Super Silver Haze was the only pure sativa available the day I visited.)
Blue Berry has a subtly sweet berry aroma and taste. Its tight, small, emerald-green nugs proved quite effective against pain, but its couchlock tendencies weren't as pronounced as with many indicas. I found it easier to function after smoking Blue Berry than after some power-hitter indicas such as the Hog or L.A. Confidential, for example.
The hybrid, Bubble Jack, has a diesel bouquet with skunky undertones. Its dark-green flowers sport an abundant forest of red hairs and trichome-coated calyxes. Toking Bubble Jack revealed an interesting and delightful fact: It is very effective against pain, unlike some sativa strains, in addition to having the typical sativa "head high" with euphoric and mood-lifting effects. It's a great solution for patients looking for both pain relief and functionality, proving these things don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Steve Elliott edits Toke of the Town,
Village Voice Media's site of cannabis news, views, rumor, and humor.
Pharmaseed @ Alki Beach
2611 58th Ave. S.W., 588-1143