Second Story dispensary review

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After leaving an event at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts this past Friday, I decided to stop in at one of my regular spots off of E. Garry Ave, just south of the 55 fwy.  I wasn’t being conscious of the time, and when I walked up to the door, it was locked.  Dang.  I knew this area was full of dispensaries, and sure enough, all I had to do was walk down the hall to find another that was still open.  Located at 1820 E. Garry Ave, in suite 221, Second Story is in a hot spot of dispensaries that sit just south of the 55.  It is a convenient location, especially for those of us who live or work in south county.  This clump of dispensaries are the closest walk-ins to anything south of Irvine, and I find myself frequenting them quite often.

E. Garry is a row of office parks accessible near Red Hill by Alton or Dyer.  Park on the north side of 1820, and when you walk up the stairs, Second Story’s door is on the left.  There is no name plaque, but the number is clearly marked.  The glass partition is right in front of you when you walk inside.  First time customers can grab a clipboard with the FTP forms from the table to the right.  Because I was a first time patient, I was able to choose between a free edible or 1g of kief.  The waiting room is sparse, but there are a few chairs and they had a candle burning.  There was a tv hanging on the nicely painted walls, adding to the ambiance.

Once I filled out my paperwork, the wait was minimal before I was buzzed into the showroom, especially for a Friday night.  I was greeted immediately from behind the glass displays by my budtender.  The room was coolly lit, and there was a nice glow from the neon sign in the window.  The layout of the medicine was in the normal fashion: sativas on the left, indicas on the right.  The L of the case contains their concentrates.  Edibles and O.pen cartridges line the bottom shelves.

I found all their prices to be quite reasonable; many popular products, like Bhang Bars, Cheeba Chews, and O.pens, are below the retail prices of other dispensaries.  Their flowers are also well priced.  They had two nice looking sativa strains at $45, Pineapple Express and Maui Wowie, that I took home.  Prices drop from there in $5 increments down to $20.  With few exceptions, their flowers were well grown, well trimmed, and priced to sell.  I also appreciated that they didn’t jack around with the strains and their names.  Second Story is flush with classics: GDP, DJ Short Blueberry, Maui Wowie, Chemdawg, Blue Dream, Super Silver Haze, and a Pre-98 Jack Herer that I am taking home with me next time.  I am a weed nerd, and I love smoking strains like this.  These plants have Cannabis Cup wins, have stories, have a following.  I’ll take all of them over a Duck Dynasty OG, any day.

I was surprised by Second Story.  I had seen their menus on weedmaps in the past, but counter-intuitively, I dismissed them for their low prices.  This was a mistake.  The quality of the experience, as well as the products, was far above what their prices suggest.

Second Story

1820 E. Garry Ave, #221

Santa Ana, CA

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SC Greenz dispensary review

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I picked SC Greenz in Santa Ana rather randomly the other day after browsing Weedmaps.  I was due in Costa Mesa, so I was looking for a dispensary on the west side of town.  I’ve been to some holes in the wall in the two years since I’ve become a medical marijuana patient.  However, SC Greenz comes very close to taking the prize.  My first clue this was going to be an experience was when I turned onto W. Central Ave, one of those forgotten industrial roads that has been left unrepaired for decades.  Turning onto S. Broadway, I passed by SC Greenz twice before realizing the entrance was the front door of an attached auto body repair shop.  I had to poke my head in the blacked out door to confirm what the printer paper sign said, that I was indeed in the right place.

I was greeted by an older woman behind the glass who told me I was in the right place.  After signing in with the usual FTP paperwork, I was invited back to the broom closet of a showroom.  The same woman who checked me in would be my budtender, not unusual for a small dispensary like this.  I told her I wished to split my eighth between two strains, and she began to pull out a series of indicas, which take up most of the menu.  I wasn’t impressed by any of them enough to make a distinct decision, though some were clearly better than others.  All looked poorly trimmed and unskillfully grown.  This did not diminish my budtender’s enthusiasm for each strain.  She pulled the strains out one by one, excitedly pointing out their qualities and urging me to pick them up in my hands and look at them under the light.  I’m never big on a lot of fingers touching my medication, and this put me off a bit.  She was disappointed I didn’t select their Sour Diesel, and insisted I take home a sample, which I did gladly, hoping it would change my mind.  SC Greenz also carries edibles and wax, neither of which drew my interest, as well as some hardware.

I desperately wanted to like SC Greenz.  I really did.  Location and appearance of the dispensary aside, both of which are excusable if the medication is right, I just wasn’t pleased with the strains themselves.  I’ve reviewed plenty of $10 grams before, but these were still high quality grows.  Out of the entire menu, only 2-3 jars were worth giving a second look.  I know I’m being a bud snob, but it’s literally my job.  My budtender was incredibly gracious, however, and wanted nothing more than for me to leave happy — with this, you can’t find fault.  She gave me several FTP gifts to encourage a return trip, and in all, she was the saving grace for the entire dispensary.

I don’t know if I’ll ever return to SC Greenz.  It wasn’t the location or the atmosphere, though neither were amazing.  And it certainly wasn’t my budtender, who I absolutely adored.  It was simply the medication.  In Santa Ana, the walk-in dispensary business is one of the most competitive in the state.  There are plenty of places to get a $10 gram in this town, SC Greenz needs to find a way to make us want to take our business there.

SC Greenz

2433 S. Broadway

Santa Ana, Ca

Orange County’s Patient Care Dispensary Review

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OCPC is located at 1921 Carnegie Ave, just south of the 55 fwy and accessible from Red Hill Ave.  The office park is on the right hand side of the road.  I always remember the entrance by the brick paving.  Drive back down the right side and OCPC is located about halfway down in office 3H.  Parking is reserved for many of the spaces and sometimes finding an open spot can be difficult during the week when the other offices are open.  Be respectful and don’t park in the spaces other businesses use.  This is how we get landlords to let our dispensaries stay.

Once inside, the receptionist window is just off to the left of the waiting room.  They keep a helpful dossier on each patient, so you only need your recommendation for the first visit.  After that, just bring your license.  They won’t take a temporary ID.  First time patients can expect the usual paperwork signing as well.  The waiting room is comfortable and compared to most dispensaries, pretty spacious.  There is ample seating and plenty to read.  Unless you knew it was a dispensary, you might not guess it.  When it looks they they are busy, I try to grab a seat on the long comfortable couch.  Otherwise, I just grab the seat nearest the showroom door.  The wait is never too long, except on Sundays when they do 5g eighths on your first two eighths all day long.  First time patients can expect the same deal for being FTPs, along with a goodie bag.

Once it is your turn, they call your name and bring you inside.  The staff is incredibly discreet and professional, as is the showroom floor.  The first question my budtender asks when greeting me is if I enjoyed everything I picked up last time.  I’m rarely disappointed by OCPC and probably wouldn’t say anything if I was.  However, it’s nice of them to ask.  If it is your first time there, you will get a quick tour of the showroom.  You will then be directed to one of their stations.  Here they keep small sample jars of each of their strains: indicas on one side, sativas and hybrids on the other.  Each jar has a couple nuggets that are representative of the strains as a whole.  Feel free to pick up the jars to scope them out and smell each strain’s aroma.  These budtenders know what they are talking about, so ask questions.  Once you have selected your flower, they send your ticket over to be filled from their bulk stock.  Don’t worry about getting a bait and switch.  I’ve never once not been pleased with the buds I’ve gotten, and because they aren’t constantly opening the jars, the medication is always fresh and fluffy.  Take this time to check out their concentrates or glass pieces or wander over to the edibles table like I do.  They have a great selection of chocolates, teas, gummis, and jollies.

Once you are finished, you can gather your weighed out medication and make your donation.  Most times they will toss in a pre-roll as well.  I find these largely useless, but my friend has a lower tolerance and loves them.  Finally, they will offer you a cold bottled water and ask if you have your punch card.  It is a nice frequent visitor program that will get you a punch for every visit’s donation of an eighth, except on Sundays.  After eight punches, you earn an eighth of top shelf shake.

Most of OCPC’s customers seem to come in from the surrounding businesses after work or during their break.  It is not unusual for there to be another customer in a tie besides myself.  The hours are limited at 11:00a – 8:00p, and this keeps away the younger crowd as well.  In my day job, it is critical that I keep a low profile and avoid questionable situations to maintain credibility.  Here I never have to worry, and I know I’ll be treated with professionalism.  The whole process feels rather like going to a health practitioner’s office, and why shouldn’t it?  We are accessing medication, after all.

I find myself returning to OCPC time and again.  Their medication is always of the highest quality, no matter the shelf, and the buds are fresh and finely trimmed.  The atmosphere is upscale, and the staff makes me feel welcome.  OCPC is full of small courtesies, but when added together, they make for a wonderful experience.

Orange County’s Patient Care (OCPC)

1921 Carnegie Ave. Suite 3H

Santa Ana, Ca

Blue Dream from OCPC medical marijuana review

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My desert island, all-time favorite, one and only stain is, hands down and without hesitation, Blue Dream.  If I could only smoke one strain for the rest of my life, it would be the flawlessness that is Blue Dream.  I remember the exact moment and place when I smelled her sweet, delicate berry scent.  I know how I felt the moment I tasted her sweet berry pie juiciness for the first time.  I indulge in her when I have her.  I long for her when she’s gone.  The very thought of her… well, you get the picture.

Blue Dream is a wildly popular strain, even having its own Wikipedia page.  A combination of Blueberry and Haze, it was designed to be the perfect blend of indica and sativa highs.  However, it’s not just the highs that are perfectly melded together in Blue Dream.  An 80/20 hybrid, Blueberry is the minority in this hybrid, but the dark berry flavor is very specific and can be picked out right away.  It’s not sharp or sour, partly due to the other half of this dynamic duo, the sativa Haze.  Haze is a honey sweet strain that is present in some of the marijuana world’s favorite strains.  In Blue Dream, these two work together to create a blueberry scone taste that is a pleasure with which to medicate.  The buds themselves are soft pyramids, light and fluffy.  Matching the pastel greenery are pale orange hairs.  The color is faint, like it’s been run through an Instagram filter, and seems faded by the sun.  Blue Dream is an aesthetically unique strain, immediately recognizable.

As mentioned, Blue Dream was always intended to be a perfection of indica/sativa fusion.  And frankly, who am I to disagree.  The psychoactive effects are uplifting.  There is immediate mood elevation, and I had an overall feeling of euphoria.  There is also a warming of the nerves and a loosening of the joints.  Blue Dream couldn’t be more mellow a high, a real butterfly hugs high.  It does have the ability to get on top of you, and my brother-in-law remarked that it was too stoney for him.  In the past, medicating with Blue Dream has left me unable to concentrate and hold conversations, starting stories and then forgetting what I was saying.  As always, it is important to know your tolerance to keep from overdoing it.

I would recommend Blue Dream as an anti-depressive, and the Haze is a delightfully comforting sativa.  On the dreariest of days, it can pick you up carry you along with a twinkle in your eye.  However, it would be unfair not to acknowledge the pain relieving abilities of this strain as well.  Stress and tension.  Chronic pain and soreness.  A jar of Blue Dream in your medicine cabinet is like having a cure all, and I suggest keeping  some on hand at all times.

$50/ eighth

Orange County Patient Care

1921 E. Carnegie, 3H

Santa Ana, Ca

Mandarin from OCPC medical marijuana review

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The strain we review this time out is Mandarin coming to us from Orange Coast Patient Care (OCPC) in Santa Ana.  It is a strain of some questionable genetics.  OCPC has it listed as a hybrid, and it was recommended by my budtender as sativa dominant.  One look at the buds reaffirms this, with a loose moist structure that is a fluffy cloud to handle.  Mandarin is a light avocado green dotted with orange hairs regularly spread across the surface.  All this is fuzzy with trichromes.  Like a pure sativa, it breaks up chunky both in a grinder and by hand and was sticky to handle as I loaded my bowl.

The smell is sweet and warm, and there is a slight candied orange flavor that may bring its name.  It’s not overpowering or pungent.  Unlike most strains I find in SoCal, I can leave some out broken up without fear of smelling up a whole wing of the house.  When medicating it is much the same.  There is no extraneous odor, and the smoke is light.  The green hit is a bit harsh, but this subsides quickly.  As a whole, the smoking experience is, if not remarkable, completely satisfactory.

The high hit almost immediately.  For a mid-shelf, I was surprised by the quality.  It was cerebral, and when I wasn’t daydreaming, I was giggling to myself.  I had begun my morning on the wrong foot, and Mandarin made a real metamorphosis.  There is a warm vibration feeling across my skin, an effect that I lovingly refer to as butterfly hugs.  Lightheadedness began upon heavy medicating.  There is also some minimal pressure in the sinuses and red eye is a severe side effect.  However, the body effects are minimal: it is clearly a sativa that way.  The most noticed negative was forgetfulness, and I was easily distracted.  It took me three trips downstairs before I could successfully get a drink.  A smiley high, Mandarin is perfect for depression and all its symptoms, or even just a cloudy cool day in need of some sunshine.

Mandarin- $45 = 1/8

Orange County Patient Care

1921 Carnegie Ave. Suite 3H

Santa Ana, Ca 92705

How do I get a medical marijuana recommendation?

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For the better part of my life, I had been obtaining my supply of marijuana, which I have long thought of as medical, on the black market, often putting myself in unnecessarily dangerous situations.  However, living in a non-mmj state afforded me very few alternatives.  Although self-medicating with marijuana was my preferred treatment, I was obliged to also go on a reliable prescription course of Zoloft and Xanax for my anxiety and depression and countless Aleve tablets for my arthritis.  Upon arrival in Orange County, I lost both my doctor and my access to her prescription pad.  With no insurance, it was only a matter of months before my refills ran out.  When they did, I began in earnest researching medical marijuana recommendations and the dispensary system.

The first step was to obtain my California driver’s license, not just because my birthday was coming up and it was about to expire, but because I needed it to establish residency in the state to qualify for my recommendation.  Keep in mind that, although most doctors and dispensaries in the medical marijuana business will be more than happy to accept your temporary license, some have a policy requiring your photo ID.  If you are declined service, know that there are plenty of options in Orange County.  However, if you already have a driver’s license or state ID, then you have all you need to get your recommendation card.

A quick Google search will give you several choices of doctors and offices that specialize in just medical marijuana recommendations.  To simplify my choices among a number of options, I picked up an OC Weekly and tore out the first coupon I saw in the back section.  I would strongly advise this approach, as the coupon saved me $35 and a ton of added research.  The office I chose was 4th Street Medical, a small office in Santa Ana.  I was anxious about going to get my card—mostly because I suffer from anxiety and had been off my medication for a few weeks.  I was worried I would be turned down.  I did not have a local doctor and my prescriptions had expired.  As advised online, I brought my empty pill bottles and hoped it would be enough to convince the doctor I qualified.

I had the day off and was in no rush when I went to get my rec, so I decided to forgo making an appointment and walked in just before lunch.  After some preliminary paperwork, I was guided to sit in the waiting room as the doctor finished with another patient.  The doctor’s office door was open during his previous appointment, which I thought was oddly undiscerning.  However, the easy nature of the process was also comforting.  After a short wait, I was called in and took a seat across from the doctor, an older man with an abundance of diplomas on the wall.  He absentmindedly flipped through my paper work, read me a prepared information sheet discussing the dangers of smoking (he advised edibles as the healthiest method) and transporting medical marijuana, and then we had a frank discussion on how to avoid trouble with the law.  All of which was helpful, but none of it was new to me as I had found it all doing research ahead of time.  He then had me sign off on some more forms and handed me my recommendation, which is not actually a card but an 8×11 letter.  We shot the breeze for a few moments, since he didn’t have any waiting patients, and I found him to be quite affable.  He asked if I knew of a dispensary to visit, and I told him I was new to the area and completely lost in the process.  He then directed me to a place across the street.  Although it is technically against regulation for him to endorse a dispensary, I really couldn’t have appreciated the advice more because I was well taken care of there.   Then I went to the front desk to pay, using cash, though they do accept cards for a $2 fee.  In all, from car door to car door, the whole process took no longer than a half an hour, and when I walked out, I was granted permission by the state of California to obtain and medicate with marijuana.

Skywalker OG wax from Emerald Care concentrate review

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The world of marijuana strains is becoming ever more complex, as OGs are mixed with kushes, which are crossed with purples, Afghanis, and skunks.  Hybrids of all types are making gains in the market, since they allow users to medicate for the widest range of symptoms.  This week’s strain comes from Emerald Care in Santa Ana and is a hybrid of hybrids of hybrids, covering just about every effect marijuana offers.  It would take pages to run through the long genetics of this powerful hybrid.  What we are primarily looking at is a mix of two very popular strains: Skywalker and OG Kush.

Skywalker (indica-dom) is an absolute knockout for pain, and after a warm, physical peak, it will set you down ready to sleep.  It is in itself a cross of indicas: Blueberry, which sets the base in almost all my favorite strains; and Mazar, a true Afghani grown in the fertile northern Afghanistan.  It offers a wonderful fruit flavor, and as a wax, it is smooth vaped out of my Cloud pen.  The high is quiet and contemplative.  I’ve used it first thing in the morning, and it has a soft lazy morning feel that is perfect for cooking weekend brunch.  Mazar’s high is described as narcotic, attributed to its high CBD levels.  This is where its exceptional pain relief properties derive.

The other side of Skywalker OG is OG Kush.  Its naming is slightly ironic because it is not actually a kush.  Being a sativa dominant hybrid, if there are any kush genetics, they are minimal.  This is a classic sativa in its creativity, outward social tendencies, and anti-anxiety effects.  I find it perfect for dealing with stress related anxiety.  It is wildly popular in LA and Orange Counties and can be found in its original form in many area dispensaries.  As the story goes, and the story is varied, it is second generation to Chemdawg and made its way from its genetic origins in the Rockies to Lake Tahoe before settling in SoCal.  Like its mother, it is a beautiful pale flower, smelling like Pine Sol and hitting light and citrusy.  Little wonder Orange County is so crazy for it.

Combining these two strains gives us the complex profile of Skywalker OG.  It immediately hits with a heady, cereberal high.  My thought patterns shifted and my mind relaxed from its normal rapid pace.  This is the OG Kush heritage at work.  As you medicate, this is followed by a floating body high.  There is little down pull and the pain seems to lift from your body.  I do get drowsy if I use Skywalker OG late in the evening, but otherwise it can be an efficient daytime smoke if you aren’t looking to be energetic.

The wax I picked up from Emerald Care was lighter in color than most of the concentrates they had in and was a golden brown about the shade of dark wildflower honey.  Typically, it is a good rule that the lighter the color, the less impurities and plant matter were left behind in the finished product.  Emerald only carries CO2 concentrates, so I always feel comfortable using their products.  I usually try to get a dryer consistency wax for my Cloud and micro-G pens to keep the mess to a minimum.  This batch of Skywalker OG was a bit wetter than I would have preferred.  I immediately transferred it from the plastic screw top jar they package it in to some parchment paper when I got home, and I’m glad I did.  Kept in my upstairs office, the warm weather this week softened it to apple butter like thickness.  It’s not ideal to handle when loading my pen, and I probably wouldn’t donate for it again for that reason alone.  Otherwise, this is a perfectly acceptable representation of this area favorite.

Skywalker OG wax: $35/1g

Emerald Care Collective

1820 East Garry Ave. #204

Santa Ana, CA 92705