Welcome back, my friends, to the joint that never ends. It’s time to play the Cheap Thrills Bake-Off! Our goal is to locate the highest caliber marijuana products that can be regularly found here in the LA and San Fernando Valley area for the state average price of $34 per eighth ounce, or preferably even less.
Today we will pit two competitors in a stoner head-to-head, a battle for the mind and the five senses. We will consider taste, smell and visual appearance, along with the tactile body sensation, and we’re likely to consider how we feel while listening to music, though that’s not so much rating the effect on our hearing as our mind’s perception of the musical phenomena. But can you dig it? The question we wish to answer is, which of these two products gives the most seminal, robust puffy experience for the money?
This week is special, two champions are in the ring. It’s been a while since we checked in on Elyon Cannabis from Sonoma, they were named a Favorite in one of Cheap Thrills’ first ever columns last year. Glass House Farms just won our last Bake-Off handily against another brand that frankly wasn’t up to the task. Their entrant showed so much promise that I felt like bringing them back to face a rival that could put up a fair fight. Prepared for battle, I obtained these from Blaze on Demand delivery for an impressive $25 each.
Who’s ready to get high?
Elyon Cannabis – White Runtz (Indica, THC 18.06%, Packaged 10/13/20)
Glass House Farms – Chemdawg (Sativa-Dominant Hybrid, THC 22.24%. Packaged 9/29/20)
Let’s give Elyon credit for being the first entrant here in the Bake Off to present us an eighth-ounce that is almost entirely made up of two big buds. Playing in the low-cost arena, one most often encounters smaller nuggets. The thing about that is that as the surface area of your weed interacts with the air, the little THC crystals that get you high dry out and fall off. Once that stony goodness is gone, you’ll never get it back. So a bag made up of one or two pieces give you the least amount of surface area to be exposed during storage. Maybe it’s a minor thing, but I like it.
The Elyon is also the most interesting looking bud I have had for a while. Breaking into the enormous nug, there’s purple laced with tufts of dark orange rippling through the flower. I was a little surprised that the smell was so muted on such an attractive plant, but the flavor is primarily sweet like its candy namesake, and very smooth.
Glass House’s Chem Dawg carries a similar pickle flavor to the Sour Dubble sativa of theirs that I sampled in the last column. It smells delicious, like garlic and herbs, with a background of diesel. This seems to a theme in this column, I can separate the contestants in my head by “the sweet one” vs. “the savory one”. Its nugs are also impressive at close inspection, reasonably large, nicely cured and pliable. I see some white spots that appear to be concentrations of trichomes in particular spots along the buds.
You might notice that my THC percentages are now down around the 20% range, and this choice is deliberate. While exceptions can be found, a product in the bargain space where we are playing today is more likely to give satisfying results with a moderate THC level – a $25 bag that rates close to 30% should make you wonder “what’s wrong with it.”
But never mind the tightwad aspect of this column and focus on pure pleasure for a minute. MMMMMM. That sounds nice doesn’t it? I’m finding that lowering the dose is ultimately beneficial to the head. This will be the topic of a separate article soon, but put me on record as recognizing what I call the Stoner’s Paradox: the more you flood your body with THC, the less responsive you become to it over time.
For an 18-percent strain, the White Runtz (Gelato x Zkittlez, two great strains that taste great together) by Elyon carried a really nice and distinctive kick, likely the result of a good terpene profile. Hypnotic without being tiresome, I found that like its candy namesake, it was the kind of thing I could sit on the couch and suck on for hours. It came with a nice warm blanket body high, a half-inch layer of insulation from head to toe. This was some well crafted bud, a unique flavor, and a really strong performer both aesthetically and functionally.
Glass House Farms must have had a great September harvest. This was my second jar of theirs from roughly the same packaging date, both different sativa or sativa-dominant strains, both nice looking, tasty and effective. Their cure is really first-rate, the buds aren’t dusty dry at all but crumble like fine herbs under pressure from the fingers. It feels, and smells, like something from the gourmet shop. This was a forehead-focused sativa-dominant, with a dash of creamy indica as the submissive. The balance of power is maintained this way.
I would say, smoking wise, this has been a very good week. I got more than my money’s worth out of both these jars and will be buying both brands again.
Ultimately, at the end of the challenge when it was time to re-up my stash, I had the opportunity to re-buy one of these two products. Reviews don’t get any realer than that. I had to really think about it and compare notes.
At the end of the day, my re-order and my vote for the winner of this contest went to: Glass House Farms, now our first two-time champion.
While both products got me good and high, the reasons for my choice came down to a few minor preferences that add up. I like the distinctive smell of Glass House product, dense and complex like exotic herbs, I like the texture of the cure, and I prefer glass jars to plastic bags. Elyon recently made the switch to plastic packaging from a rather opulent black jar & box – perhaps a happy medium, like a jar without the outer box, would suit them better. It wouldn’t have swung the decision to them, but it would have been one less point in their opponent’s favor.
Thanks everyone for joining us. and we’ll see you here next time for another Cheap Thrills Bake-Off! Remember there are some new rules in these times and also some old ones that still apply – it’s okay not to share your joint during a pandemic, but it’s never okay to be an asshole. Live well and prosper!
UPDATE: As of mid November, it looks like Elyon has moved back to the jar in a box packaging, albeit a smaller jar than before. My latest purchase, a sativa strain called Blood Orange that came in at 26%, was a home run. This jar was made up almost entirely of one gigantic bud, with a deep dank flavor and kickass lingering high. I can’t say with certainty that this strain would have reversed the results of this challenge, but it’s possible. Certainly a tight race would have been even tighter.
Having also sampled my third strain from Glass House this weekend, their Sour Diesel, I remain really jazzed about their consistency and high quality. I see every reason to believe they are going to remain a first-choice selection in 2022 for thrifty partakers. I like a bargain and I like good weed, so getting truly good weed for cheap is a high-five from the heavens.