With medical marijuana a long-established fact and recreational dope legal in Colorado and Washington, it's a heady new world, out there. (Get it? Heady…? Oh, never mind.) But with so much new product in circulation, legal, illegal, and in-between depending on the competing whims of local, state, and federal prosecutors, how do you separate the leaf from the seeds?
Unsurprisingly, there are websites for that. Below are a few arbitrarily selected online resources that can help you meet your needs, whether they be recreational or medicinal.
This four-year-old crowdsourced site, based in now-it's legal Washington, lets you search by strain name, or medicinal use or effect ("stress" and "anxiety" are two suggested possibilities). It even detects your location and suggests a dispensary near you.
Those dispensaries are user-rated, too. When I pulled up the site, I saw options including the five-star (out of 38 reviews) Cannabis Concepts in Prescott Valley, Arizona, and the 4.5 star (33 reviews) Zonacare in Sedona. You can even view the dispensaries' menus, including varieties and prices.
Not near your laptop? Grab the app for your phone or tablet!
Think of this site as a Wikipedia of dope—at least, it bills itself as a "user submitted medical marijuana strain review encyclopedia." It doesn't provide a dispensary guide, or how-to lessons in getting approved for mediinal use. What Medical Marijuana Strains does provide is a handy breakdown on what you're likely to run into when you go shopping.
For example, Pineapple Express is said to be "good for daytime high," "good for depression," and "good for pain." Just watch out for the tell-tale red eyes reviewer B.L.Y. warns that it gives you.
Founded in 2008, with a significant commercial side and a logo that's a tad Army/Navy store-ish, Nuggetry offers a full range of strain reviews, forums, newsletters, and social networking. The site's dispensary recommendations are Southern California-centric, and the place has a distinctly Left Coast feel.
Nuggetry TV offers tips, reviews, and drop-ins to various dispensaries. Note that they are probably not safe for work. Well, depending on where you put in your time.
User-generated reviews at Nuggetry are broken down into "Buds," "Concentrates," "Edibles," "Glass" and "Websites." Dispensaries are reviewed separately, on the classic one-to-five-star scale.
Less of an enthusiasts' site than an operation self-consciously modeling itself on WebMD, United Patients Group even offers a seal of approval for products and companies that meet its standards.
The site offers informational articles, including roundups of laws and how-tos on getting approval to use medical marijuana. United Patients Group also offers a tool for finding cannabis-friendly physicians as well as dispensaries. A search on my area pulled up The Compassion Clinic in Sedona, but no information beyond its address.
Overall, the site offers a polished, curated feel that should appeal to those looking for a consistent resource.
United Patients Group offers an app, but only in the iTunes store.
You know, it's not just about marijuana. Sometimes, you feel like something a little different. Pill Reports is one of a few sites that assesses and rates the party drug "Ecstasy," a name that originally referred to MDMA, but now encompasses related substances such as MDA, MDEA, and MBDB.
Sponsored by Australia's Enlighten Harm Reduction, the site operates internationally and offers test kits to users who then submit reports on the chemical purity, or lack thereof, of the drugs they encounter. Because it's not a bad idea to know what the hell you're about to swallow.