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When you’re an adult, there’s really no upside to being sick. You either don’t get paid when you miss work, or you get paid but still have to do all the work you missed when you return. But at least being sick is a rare excuse to use nighttime cough syrup, which knocks me out as hard as cannabis ever has without completely zapping my dreams.

Research has shown a link between regular cannabis use and decreased REM sleep, or the stage of sleep when your body relaxes enough to let your mind dream. Still wanting to keep up my REM activity without totally ending the cannabis use, I hoped a strain by the name of Sueño (the Spanish word for “dream”) would bring me some good juju.

Colorado’s cannabis and craft-beer industries are often compared, but while they might boast similar demographics, the two businesses are very different in several important ways. For instance, unlike Colorado liquor stores, which often are state-centric in their craft-beer selections, Colorado dispensaries sometimes seem to favor California genetics over strains that got their start locally. So it’s always nice to see a hometown strain, such as Bear Dance, get some commercial love in Denver.

A cross of Snowcap and Suge Pure Kush by Colorado breeder 303 Seeds, Bear Dance is usually considered a daytime strain or even a near-hybrid by dispensaries, but it’s almost always a sedative high for me. The strain’s fruity, cheesy notes are made for an after-dinner smoke, and the effects are sufficiently calming and euphoric to relax a tired, full body.

Are stoners lazy? Not according to a recent University of Colorado Boulder study that questions the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Overseen by Angela Bryan, a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, as well as the Institute for Cognitive Science, the study looked at a possible link between cannabis use and exercise behaviors.

“If we think about the typical ways you think of cannabis, it’s making you more relaxed and maybe not as motivated to get out of the house, and as an exercise researcher, that’s concerning,” says Bryan. “On the other hand, there’s some really good longitudinal data that shows that long-term cannabis users have lower weight, lower risk of diabetes, better waist-to-hip ratio, and better insulin function. It’s kind of a scientific quandary, so we thought we should do investigations to see whether there really is a problem that might be happening, or if cannabis could even be a benefit to physical activity.”

There’s no shortage of strain names that can lead to awkward moments with a budtender. Asking someone to show you a jar of Moby Dick or Matanuska Thunder Fuck is always a fun experience, but nothing tops calling a dispensary to ask if it has any Pootie Tang left — unless the budtender asks you to repeat the question, which actually happened to me at Herbs 4 You earlier this week. “I asked if you had any Pootie Tang left,” is something I’d rather not repeat.

Even after comedy hipsters and lovers of early-aughts blaxploitation parodies like Undercover Brother (which I sorta like) made Pootie Tang the movie into something of a cult classic, I never came around. The fame that Louis C.K. and J.B. Smoove later found in life likely has more to do with why people pretend to like Pootie Tang nowadays, but naming an award-winning weed strain after the film probably didn’t hurt brand awareness, either.

Banana flavoring has never been my favorite — we’ve been over this before: Banana-flavored treats aren’t worth the cellophane they’re wrapped in — but it does have its place in the cannabis world. The overripe-banana flavors in Banana Kush and Strawberry Banana pair exquisitely with the skunky, earthy notes of cannabis, and those strains deliver mellow highs that are perfect for relaxing after work. Unfortunately, it’s hard for Denverites to get past anything more than flirtation with banana-inspired strains, as those two are about the only ones you’ll find in the local dispensary market — but there is a third, albeit scarce, option: Banana OG.

Pineapples have become too trendy. Don’t believe me? Go to a Target or H&M and you’ll find button-up shirts, shower curtains, cups, underwear and loads of other generic shit decorated with little pineapples. The same people are also abusing cacti — though they probably don’t even know that word and just call them “cactuses,” which is fucking wrong.

I refuse to let commercialization destroy my love for all prickly plants, including cannabis (anyone who’s trimmed weed knows how prickly trichomes are). Hit by full empathy for all three during a dispensary pit stop on my way home last week, I bought an eighth of Pineapple Chunk in the hopes of enjoying a relaxing evening.

I received a lot of Pez dispensers when I was a kid: Bugs Bunny, C-3PO, Scooby-Doo, Pikachu — you name it. While I later found out that my mom just bought the dispensers as an excuse to eat the candy that came with them, that didn’t dissuade me from trying out a strain inspired by Pez. A heavy, relaxing hybrid that tastes like candy sounded good on a recent dispensary visit, so I bought an eighth of Sour Pez, a special that day, without doing much inspection of the strain. The jury’s still out on whether that was a mistake or not.

Like many other cannabis writers, I routinely express my interest in and love of terpenes, the compounds found in cannabis and other plants that are responsible for a plant’s (or strain’s) smell and flavor. Cannabis has them, hops have them, lavender has them, citrus fruits have them…see the connection? One of the most common and popular cannabis and hop terpenes, myrcene, is also relatively abundant in mangos. The high myrcene levels in both pot and mangos has made some cannabis consumers swear that eating the fruit after smoking enhances their high, while myrcene has also shown potential for aiding with pain relief and muscle relaxation when paired with THC. So give it up for mangos, fellow tokers. They’re here to help — with the munchies, at the very least.
So where are all the mango-named strains?

Dozens, if not hundreds, of strains carry the sweet, tangy flavor of mangos, yet only a few strains bear the fruit’s name. So I was happy to see a local pot shop carrying Mango Kush, one of the few established mango-inspired strains I could find, along with Mango and Mango Haze.

There’s nothing wrong with letting loose at the bar sometimes, but too many drinks tonight can lead to sharp headaches and a pukey stomach tomorrow. Especially in Colorado, where three IPAs can suck the moisture right out of you.

Like the nurturing yin to alcohol’s belligerent yang, cannabis can be your savior when you wake up to the self-mutilation from the night before. You might need a greasy burrito, a gallon of water and a three-hour nap to bring it all home, but for many of us, Miss Mary is an essential first step in ditching a hangover.

Virtually every strain of weed can help with a hangover, as THC and CBD both induce appetite and relax the muscles — but some strains will hold you closer to their bosoms than others. To help get past that smelly day after, here are twelve strains we’ve reviewed that are prime hangover helpers.

A strain with a dessert-like name is nothing new, but some carry more of a nostalgic pull than others. Cookies hybrids with names like Wedding Cake and Thin Mints will always tug at my inner child, and the same thing happened when I saw Cheese Quake on the shelf during a recent dispensary visit.

I’m used to seeing the term “cheesequake” on Dairy Queen Blizzard menus, not at pot shops, so I can’t help but lick my lips as visions of creamy ice cream and cheesecake bites pop up every time I hear or read the word. Although the Cheese Quake strain isn’t sweet and sugary like DQ’s version, it still carries a rich savoriness reminiscent of cream cheese, and its relaxing effects will cool you down after a hot day.

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