This year’s 4/20 celebration of all things cannabis arrives while most of the country is hunkered down at home trying to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. The staying-at-home thing isn’t that big a wrinkle celebration-wise because public consumption of cannabis-containing products is already against state law.
However, the bigger concern is putting any smoke or vapor in your lungs — marijuana or tobacco — given the way COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of non-combustible methods to consume cannabis these days. Therefore, we’ve surveyed a handful of Southern California dispensaries — all of which can deliver right to your doorstep — and sought professional advice to pair edible offerings with some of the things you’ll likely find yourself doing.
First a little refresher: THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis while CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high but is touted for a range of therapeutic uses, including reducing inflammation and decreasing stress and anxiety. Also, although cannabis dispensaries are classified as essential businesses and remain open, customers are encouraged to order through home delivery, curbside pick-up or express in-store pick-up to help comply with social-distancing guidelines.
Ringing in 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. on Zoom
If you’re aiming to do something super-social and celebratory — say video-conference with a dozen of your heavy-lidded besties — Cambria Benson Noecker, co-founder of the Portland, Ore.-based brand Serra (which last month opened its first California dispensary in L.A.'s Beverly Grove neighborhood), suggests a low-dose, THC-infused beverage such as Cann (2 milligrams of THC and 4 milligrams of CBD per eight-ounce can) or Artet (2.5 milligrams of THC per 50 milliliter).
“Those are both good celebratory beverages,” Benson Noecker said. “They’re light, social and thoughtfully dosed so you can drink them and still be functioning.”
Both those beverages were also recommended by Michelle Mendoza, lead inventory specialist for L.A.'s three Sweet Flower dispensaries, who added Kiva Confections’ Camino Sparkling Pear cannabis-infused gummies (2 milligrams of THC and 6 milligrams of CBD per piece) to the list. “They’re user-friendly and low-dosed so they’re good for anyone who’s new to cannabis,” Mendoza said. “You’ll feel sociable and you’ll still be able to carry on a conversation.”
Jamila Rosero, an inventory lead at the Pottery dispensary in the Mid-City neighborhood, suggests checking out the edibles by Wana, which she notes are vegan, gluten-free and sold in biodegradable packaging. “My favorites right now are the watermelon, which is a hybrid, and the blueberry, which is an indica,” she said. (Both flavors contain 10 milligrams of THC per piece.)
Calming pandemic-induced anxiety
When it comes to taking the edge off the anxiety the state of the world might be inducing, all the pot professionals we surveyed suggested looking for something that balanced THC with CBD. Benson Noecker points to Serra’s house-branded 2:1 Tart Cherry Gumdrops (5 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of CBD per gumdrop). “They’re made with a real fruit purée,” she said, “and the 2-to-1 [ratio] of CBD to THC is good for anxiety because it’s really approachable.”
Sweet Flower’s Mendoza suggests a high-CBD tincture (a tincture is oil-based, cannabis-infused liquid placed under the tongue with an eye dropper) like Papa & Barkley’s 30:1 Releaf Tincture (0.13 milligrams of THC and 3.98 milligrams of CBD per .25 ml dropper). “Tinctures seem to be the easiest way to ingest it for someone who’s new to cannabis or doesn’t want to smoke,” she said, “and the Papa & Barkley’s 30-to-1 ratio is high in CBD so it’s a good way to get a microdose into your system without feeling super-high.”
Getting a good night’s sleep
When it’s time to turn out the lights and get a good night’s sleep, Mendoza points to a bestseller. “The [Kiva Confections] Camino Midnight Blueberry [cannabis-infused gummies] that came out about a month ago,” she said. “It’s CBN-focused, and CBN is the cannabinoid that’s been known to help promote healthy sleep.” (The gummies have 5 milligrams of THC and 1 milligrams of CBN per serving.)
“I love chocolate at the end of the night as a sweet treat,” said Benson Noecker, “and we teamed up with Woodblock Chocolate — they do the chocolate for Salt & Straw’s ice cream — on chocolate bars. And we have a special milk chocolate relaxation bar. A square or two of that before bed is a good way to wind down and go to sleep.” (There are 100 milligrams of THC per 50-gram bar and 10 milligrams per serving.)
Binge-watching “Tiger King” on Netflix
If you plan to spend your 4/20 watching (or most likely re-watching) Netflix’s can’t-look-away documentary “Tiger King,” perhaps it’s time to pop into a new version of an old movie-house staple. “We carry Pop-Up Potcorn, which is offered in CBD-only [10 milligrams], THC-only [10 milligrams] or a THC-to-CBD ratio [5 milligrams of each],” Mendoza said. “So you can pop your own popcorn in your own microwave that’s medicated and enjoy it as if you were at the movies, which I think is a great option to bring back some nostalgia.”
“Wyld has raspberry sativa gummies [5 milligrams of THC per piece] that I love,” said the Pottery’s Rosero. “I take a couple before I binge-watch anything on TV because I love the kind of cerebral high that it gives me. It makes everything super-giggly and it doesn’t make me fall asleep, so I can pay attention to what’s going on.”
Benson Noecker suggests stocking up on caramels from Serra’s collaboration with Stumptown Coffee that includes the latter’s highly caffeinated Hair Bender blend of coffee. “Any caffeine would help you sort of stay awake and focused, but [you’d] also be able to relax and take it all in,” she said.
“But watching ‘Tiger King’ already makes you feel like you’re on drugs,” she said. “So anything you take would complement it nicely.”
Serra, 8151 W. 3rd St. (delivery and express pick-up), Sweet Flower (three L.A. locations offering delivery and curbside pick-up) and the Pottery, 5042 Venice Blvd. (delivery and express in-store pick-up) are all open today for your 4/20 needs.