Truly Helpful Collective (THC, get it?), a medical-marijuana access point open for the past four months in Wallingford, sets a high (pun intended) standard for itself with its name. By calling attention to the quality of their customer service with their very name, they are either cluing patients in, or setting them up for disappointment. I investigated on a recent Sunday. I found a couple of pluses and a couple of minuses at Truly Helpful.
The first minus didn't take long to discover; the shop's tiny reception area/waiting room didn't have adequate seating to accommodate me. A couple of other patients were already waiting before me, and THC only allows one patient in the bud room at any given time. So rather than sitting down to fill out my paperwork, I had to remain standing at the counter to do so. That wouldn't really have been much of an issue by itself, but the wait stretched to about 30 minutes, most of it standing, which could become an issue for many patients.
Upon entering their bud room and meeting budtender Scott, I simultaneously discovered another minus (top shelf strains are $14 a gram at Truly Helpful, which doesn't live up to the name) and a big plus (Scott's abundant cannabis knowledge and friendly demeanor, which definitely lives up to the name).
Fourteen bucks a gram is simply too much for legal medicine, when there are numerous shops around town selling top shelf meds for $10; the $40 eighths, however, take a little of the sting off, since they are just five bucks higher than the $35 eighths available practically everywhere else.
Once I started exploring Truly Helpful's flower menu with Scott's assistance, I discovered the second big plus at this shop: They have good cannabis. First to catch my eye was a spectacular 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid called "Now'N'Later," no doubt because its genetic heritage makes it a good choice for both daytime and nighttime medication.
Now'N'Later is one of the stickiest, most heavily trichomed marijuana strains I have ever seen. I had to practically peel the stuff off my fingers after crumbling it up to roll a joint (it's sticky enough to actually bog down some grinders). The effects are exactly what you'd expect from a half-and-half strain: rapid onset of mental effects, followed by increasingly pain-relieving body high with continued toking. The flowers have a spicy taste when toked, with just a hint of licorice.
For some good bedtime smoke, I selected the 80 percent indica strain Querkle. The 20 percent sativa in this strain helps keep one more alert, focused and creative than with many powerful indicas, yet very soothing pain relief and muscle relaxation requires only a few tokes. An herbal piney taste predominates, with hints of grape sweetness lingering in the mouth after a toke.
The 70 percent sativa dominant strain Hawaiian Dream was just as pleasant as its evocative name. With a floral bouquet reminiscent of a stroll through a tropical garden, this Dream results in powerful munchies and a soaring, euphoric high.
Wallingford's Truly Helpful Collective, 4423 Corliss Ave. N., 535-6085 Open 10-8 Mon.-Thurs., 10-9 Fri. and Sat., noon to 7 on Sunday
Open 10-8 Mon.-Thurs., 10-9 Fri. and Sat., noon to 7 on Sunday
Steve Elliott edits Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media's blog of cannabis news, views, rumor and humor.