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Pot designed to Enhance things 

Lucy LaPlante explores Tangerine Dream, Harmonic and Sweet Jersey, strains the NSLC files under “Enhance.”

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Tangerine Dream's deep purple buds glow an Emerald City green, and once its blue box package is impatiently cursed/shred open, a tangy torrent of juicy Christmas-morning clementines mists the air. I'm trying to write about it right now after half a pinner, but instead I'm lip synching for my life to the This Is Allie X Spotify playlist. Because Tangerine Dream makes every activity a blast!

Something I like about this smoke is that it shares a name with street strains of yore. In Toronto two summers ago, Tangerine Dream was plentiful at the CannaClinic dispensaries. I snuck many Dream-y joints into a two-day music festival (stuffed in unused tampon applicators put back in their wrapper, I am a genius thank you). This sweet and sour sativa was absolutely perfect for passing around with new friends and old as Feist played "Pleasure" under a setting sun.

The NSLC sells the legal rec version at the sativa-dominant, "Enhance" end of its cannabis marketing spectrum—as far as possible from the indicas of Relax—saying Enhance strains "offer livelier experiences focused more in the mind than the body." This Dream ($12.40 for one-gram pack at the NSLC, Trudeau toking tax included) is from San Rafael '71, the first official recreational company to be announced last year. San Rafael is owned by medical LP MedReleaf, which took home 11 Lift Canadian Cannabis Awards in 2018, including Top Licensed Producer.

If shared in the right living room, perhaps with a sweet libra giant who can't stop making wood-stove fires and a genius virgo who always has a bowl of soup ready for guests, Tangerine Dream will have you cutting to the hearts of conversations with ease and excitement. "It made me feel uplifted and lowered my anxiety!" says said virgo. "It didn't knock me out and is great for daytime activities."

MedReleaf's strategy VP Darren Karasiuk told Lift magazine that the "classic cannabis consumer" is San Raf's target demographic. These are pre-legalization consumers who are "discerning and knowledgeable" about the product, and "already appreciate its mythology and nuances."

Their Purple Chitral, from the NSLC's Relax category, was a forgettable cheese-musked indica that dully zapped down my left leg's constellation of chronic pain points before blurring me to sleep ($12.40 for one-gram pack). Great White Shark, on the other hand, is a CBD-heavy favourite in my household, and a perfect intro strain for curious folks with little cannabis-consuming experience ($12.40 for one-gram pack).

Speaking of street-names, Ontario-based RIFF, the recreational project of medicinal LP Aphria, offers up a Jean Guy phenotype called Sweet Jersey 3 ($10.25 for one-gram pack). Their one-gram offering was dry, crumbly neon-green buds with a sour lemon smell and heavier woodsy taste. The high is a euphoric burst that promptly wanes, leaving you patting down to find the roach or re-rolling rapidly to maintain a buzz. The "come-down" comes quick and is very unpleasant, leaving me feeling absent-minded and irritable on an afternoon of microdosing. This is a worrying trend I'm noticing in some other rec-grown strains: early spikes of the stoned-sensation peter out swiftly and spacily.

Both Tangerine Dream and Sweet Jersey contain the terpene guaiol, which has a centuries-long history in natural medicine, treating arthritis, gout and syphilis, and even being used as an abortifacient. It's mostly found in cypress pine and guiacum wood, and produces a musky pine-like scent. Like pinene (also found in Tangerine Dream), guaiol can counteract coughing fits smoking can cause.

The first 1:1 ratio THC/CBD strain I tried from the NSLC was AltaVie's Harmonic, which is also stored in the Enhance category ($48.92 for 3.5-gram pack). AltaVie is another Recreational Producer owned by MedReleaf, and they boast Harmonic's "significant CBD levels" balance its "mild THC potency." If you are new to cannabis and have heard that CBD strains are a great introduction to consuming, stay away from this sativa-dominant Harmonic! What the producers call mild, I call feeling giggly, distracted, blasted. The NSLC is right to classify this one with the sativas of Enhance, as an equal ratio of THC and CBD can still amp your mind into a buzzing, inebriated state. CBD sure has a lot of benefits, but if that's the sort of enhancement you're looking for, this is no strain to sub for the straight-up—or medical—stuff. a

Share your sativa stories with Lucy LaPlante via email: weedtalk@thecoast.ca

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