With the legalization of cannabis use for recreational purposes in the state of Washington, there’s been a growth in the number of product that contain cannabis.
Just ask any retail shop owner.
“The industry has come a long way since we first opened a shop,” said Michelle Beardsley, co-owner of Destination HWY 420 cannabis shop in Bremerton. “When we first opened there were no edibles. And when they first came on the market, the quality wasn’t very good. But producers have realized that the market wants edibles and other things and now, there’s lots to choose from and the quality is very good.”
In fact, at Destination HWY 420, you can find more than 50 different tinctures, more than 100 varieties of edibles, topicals like “Wonder Rub,” drinks like “Spikers,” chapstick, drops for under your tongue, and sexual enhancement products.
And for many it can be very confusing.
That’s why those in retail, like John Johanson, marketing manager at Destination HWY 420, studies every new product that the store stocks. Then, it’s a matter of listening to each customer and determining why they want a cannabis product, what results they want, and in what form do they want to have it.
“We have some customers come in who have never smoked cannabis before, and who have very little knowledge about it,” Johanson said. “Because all the employees here have had extensive training, we know what to suggest to get the customer the results each wants.”
Most products contain either THC or CBD, he said. Some contain both. For those who want a relaxation effect, or for use for medical conditions such as headaches and body aches, something with CBD is preferred. Those who want a euphoric high should use products with a THC content.
“And we always talk about dosage,” he said. “For people who don’t smoke often, they will react to even 2.5 milligrams. So in terms of eating a cannabis brownie, I would suggest starting with one-quarter of one brownie.”
When it comes to edibles, there’s a lot on the market. One of Johanson’s favorites are the Marmas fruit chews.
“They are delicious and you don’t have to eat a lot of them to get the desired affect. My favorite flavor so far is sour apple. But they are adding new flavors all the time.”
They come in bags of 10 chews for $36. There are 10 milligrams of active cannabis ingredient in each chew.
Also popular are the two-pack of Hazy Dazes chocolate brownies. They come in a 20 milligrams of THC and 40 milligrams of CBD, and sell for $10.
There’s also fudge cookies, and gourmet chocolates in a multi-pack that offers milk, dark, and white chocolates. There also are gel caps for those who don’t want any added calories. In most cases, a consumer will pay about 50 cents per 1 milligram of active ingredient.
“The prices are all over the place, just depending on what you want to buy,” he said. “There’s something for every budget.”
Along with edibles, drinks have come onto the market lately and are gaining popularity. Drinks made by WinterLife under the name of Spikers, include Island Mai Tai, Lime Mojito and Blood Orange Grenadine. These are 12.5 ounces, 100 milligrams of active ingredient, and sell for about $27.
“In most cases, you would use it as a drink mixer and put it in club soda,” Johanson said. “But the black currant goes well in diet soda.”
WinterLife also makes tinctures, which are a liquid that generally is placed under the tongue.
“You can really add it to anything,” he said. “But by putting drops under the tongue is absorbed faster.”
The same is true for things like breath sprays and breath strips, he added.
Zoot Drops are another brand and that liquid tincture is made in two strengths, one that is only for customers who have a valid medical marijuana card.
There are also vapes, where the product is inhaled through the use of a battery operated holder, to which a vape cartridge is attached. The cartridges come in various flavors and there are some that are magnetic and “pop in and pop out,” Johanson said.
While the scientific data is debatable, those who use vapes consider it a more healthy way to “smoke” without the carcinogens.
“It’s like all the sticks and stems are removed,” he said. “By vaping, you get rid of all the plant matter that doesn’t do anything for you.”
And it can be more discreet, said Beardsley.
“It’s mobile and you can take it out at a family event or a football game and nobody has to know it is a marijuana product,” she said. “It can easily be used in public places.”
But, if you decided you want to smoke the flower, Destination HWY 420 boasts of having more than 100 strains in the store. Some generally sell as low as .5 grams for $5. Packaging usually is 1 gram, 2 grams, 3.5, 7, 14 or 28 grams.
Johanson said there are also concentrate infused joints which are stronger than those made with just the flower.
“The THC can vary by brand,” he said. “So asking a bud tender is the best way to know you’re getting what you want. Most buy this because it gives a more profound high and lasts longer.”
And then, there are dabs, which come in oils, wax, and shatter, all of which are used with a source of heat, such as butane or propane, in a bong-like fixture.
“The high is created by using heat and pressure and inhaling the vapors,” he said. “There’s just a whole variety of systems for that.”
The bottom line, Johanson said, is that the industry is growing and many more items are becoming available daily.
“It’s opened up the market for those who don’t want to smoke,” he said. “And given those who do smoke, other options.”
Destination HWY 420 is located at 1225 Hollis St. in Bremerton, off Highway 303. They offer ordering online, but customers have to pick up their orders at the store. They also have an annex where they sell cannabis-related merchandise.