Dr. Greenthumb’s Kicks Ass

Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensary in Sylmar, CA, hosts a HUGE selection of waxes from a wide variety of extractors and prices them competitively, offering selections that accommodate budgets, both large and small. 

Another Northeast Valley Gem

This week I returned to Sylmar to check out Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensary. Its well-stocked Weedmaps menu and first-time patient discount (a generous 20% off your order) were enough to pique my interest and motivate me to head across town to peruse its plentiful wax selections. 

It was hard to believe that I’d stumbled onto yet another northeast Valley dispensary filled to the gills with extracts. Last week’s trip to Sun Valley Caregivers​ and last month’s visit to Sylmar’s Elevate revealed similarly well-stocked, competitively priced inventories with robust offerings of wax brands, strains, and varieties.

The shop is located on Foothill Blvd. in Sylmar, just west of the long ramp connecting ​Highway 118 and Highway 210. It is easy to find, with a broad front parking lot and a sizable “Dr. Greenthumb’s” sign featuring the trademark B-Real fro-headed, goatee-faced, bespectacled logo.

Dr. Greenthumb's exterior / front
Dr. Greenthumb’s logo is a caricature of B-Real’s cannabis doctor alter-ego (photo: Dr. Greenthumb’s)

Insane in the Membrane

Cypress Hill’s B-Real, aka Dr. Greenthumb, opened the northeast Valley dispensary almost a year ago (August 15th marks its 1 year anniversary) and just last month opened additional shops in Sacramento and Eureka.

B-Real chose Sylmar to launch the retail outlet for his Insane branded flower and cannabis products because the San Fernando Valley suburb is “where the beginning of [Cypress Hill’s] love for cannabis and cultivation crossed paths”.

B-Real previewing Dr. Greenthumb’s in Sylmar last year (video: B-Real)

Landing Place for Insane Strains

Dr. Greenthumb’s is more than just a cannabis shop, however. For B-Real it is a “landing place for what we produce – our flowers, concentrates, and other related products.”

The cannapreneur / musician launched the dispensary in part as a retail outlet for 40 different strains of his branded cannabis and hoped to release “new, limited edition products and flavors every week, in addition to the core line.”

Dr. Greenthumb’s Weedmaps menu currently lists about 20 Insane branded flower strains and about 8 other Insane products, mainly wax, plus a pre-roll, but altogether falls short of the intended 40 strains plus limited edition products.

The dispensary’s Weedmaps menu does not reflect their actual on-hand inventory in real-time, so it is possible that there are more Insane products on the shelves than appear.

Dr. Greenthumb’s Has The Wax

Before I trekked north to Sylmar, I zeroed in on Dr. Greenthumb’s well-populated wax menu and beheld the many offerings available.

They sell a variety of wax products from different manufacturers at a wide range of prices, making it easy for me to compile a short-list before arriving. I found 3 Raw Garden strains and one Loudpack strain that looked good, wrote them down, and headed for the car.

Dr. Greenthumb’s, Sylmar, grand opening, August 2018 (video: B-Real)

Ignore The Low Yelp Review

Just before embarking, I checked Yelp for reviews of the shop and was taken aback to see a low rating, between 3 and 4 stars.

I thought about rerouting my trip, but Dr. Greenthumb’s first-time patient discount and dynamic wax supply convinced me to override the warning signs and take a chance on a new destination.

Checking-In at Dr. Greenthumb’s

I navigated to Foothill Blvd. and made my way into Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensary lobby. It is huge.

The affable security guard finished up with the patient before me and quickly processed my paperwork. He informed me about the store’s FTP discount and directed me towards the bud room entrance. His positivity and calm were most welcoming, and I thanked him sincerely before moving on.

Dr. Greenthumb's lobby
Dr. Greenthumb’s clean, comfortable, and spacious lobby (photo: Yelp)

Is it High-End? Or is it Kick-Ass?

B-Real’s dispensary reflects his effort to create “one of the first high-end dispensaries to come to the San Fernando Valley area,” however the Valley already featured several “high-end” shops including Green Valley Collective (Project Cannabis-NoHo), The WEED, and Exhalence, to name only a few.

It may be that Dr. Greenthumb’s was the first such dispensary in Sylmar.

In any case, I’m not sure the term “high-end” is the right descriptor for Dr. Greenthumb’s. That term smacks of corporatism. It sounds elitist, exclusionary, and expensive.

Based on Dr. Greenthumb’s enormous inventory, competitive pricing, and dedicated customer service, I think “kick-ass” is a better term.

A Local Cluster of Excellent Dispensaries

Dr. Greenthumb’s, like the nearby Sun Valley Caregivers, Elevate, and Exhalence, all kick ass.

They are large shops featuring wide varieties of quality products, competitive pricing, good customer service, and daily discounts. All 4 dispensaries are clean, well lit, well organized, have ample parking, good first-time patient discounts, and more.

Selling Customers a Great Experience

B-Real has a specific purpose in mind for the shop that goes beyond the transactional. He wants customers to depart his store having had a meaningful experience they can take home to reflect upon while enjoying their purchases.

“But even for the people who don’t know who I am or have no idea who or what ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ is, I know when they came through our doors and pick any strain on the shelf, they will leave with something amazing. That’s what’s important to me. That they have a great experience”

B-Real, Los Angeles Magazine, 8/14/18

Warm Budtender Welcome

My Dr. Greenthumb’s experience began as I entered the large, bright, neatly kept bud room and was greeted immediately with a warm welcome by a budtender named Danielle.

We introduced ourselves by name, which, though it may seem inconsequential, is a really nice, personable touch. It alleviates the formalities and helps customers feel they are receiving personalized shopping guidance.

A Kick-Ass Inventory

Dr. Greenthumb’s inner sanctum is enormous, filled to the rafters with products of all brands, categories, varieties, and strains.

I repeat: It kicks ass.

There were far too many goodies to behold at once, so I zeroed in on the large wax cases to keep my focus and not be distracted.

Danielle was exceedingly patient with me as I pondered my choices. One of the three items on my list, Raw Garden Sangria sauce, was in stock, however,​ they had sold out of my next pre-selected Raw Garden sauce.

My other shortlisted wax, a Blueberry Muffin extract from Loudpack, was only a half-gram size, which I’d not noticed on the menu.

Patient Budtender, Diligent Customer

Danielle didn’t rush or pressure me and ably answered my questions, clarifying a few of my misperceptions. She never once made me feel like I was an annoyance or inconvenience. 

I, in turn, did my best not to be dawdling or indecisive​ and was attentive to my budtenders’ alternate suggestions even as I kept eying the cases in search of anything else I’d missed.

“Dr. Greenthumb” by Cypress Hill official music video

Dr. Greenthumb’s Insane House Diamonds

Danielle showed me a strain of Dr. Greenthumb’s Insane house diamonds in sauce, which look beautiful. Pop-rocks sized candied chunks swathed in a viscous, amber, sauce. Unfortunately, the shop charges $35 per half-gram for this wax, which is way out of my budget.

The aroma and appearance of the premium house wax were excellent but resembled almost exactly the full grams of diamonds and sauce made by Apex Extracts, which are of superlative quality and sell for the same price as Dr. Greenthumb’s half-grams.

Passionate Cannabis Cultivation

B-Real’s mission to provide his customers with quality products is paramount to the store’s identity, and he believes unreservedly in his team’s ability to produce such quality.

The rapper-entrepreneur wants his customers to know that he and his partners “put a lot of love, care, and passion in the cultivation,” which he views as the signature difference between Insane and its competitors.

I’ve no doubt this is true. But is it enough to get customers to pay for a half-gram of its house wax when elsewhere they can get a full gram of comparable quality for the same price?

I politely passed on the diamonds and sauce and, after checking out a few more items Danielle displayed, tentatively decided on Raw Garden’s Kosher Tangie sauce for my 2nd selection.

The Kosher Tangie That Wasn’t Indica-Heavy

Danielle assured me that Raw Garden’s Kosher Tangie sauce is an indica-dominant extract. This made sense, as we both assumed that Kosher Tangie was the hybrid child of Kosher Kush and Tangie strains.

It turned out not to be the case at all.

Reading Raw Garden’s Packaging

The color variations on Raw Garden’s packaging, specifically, its box labels and jar caps, are decorative only and do not appear to indicate anything about the strains housed within the boxes.

Raw Garden does list in tiny letters on box labels whether the wax inside is indica- or sativa-dominant, but the text is extremely difficult to read through the glass cases containing so many different products.

Customers only really see this information if they request to examine a box before the budtender bags it.

Mutual Acts of Omission

Nobody is perfect, and I don’t begrudge my budtender her failure to read the box to confirm her assertion that Raw Garden’s Kosher Tangie is an indica-dominant sauce. I certainly didn’t question it and was equally remiss for not asking to inspect the box for myself. Caveat emptor!

A Kosher Tangie Happy Accident

Fortunately, sometimes what first seems like an unfortunate error, in the end, turns out to be a happy accident.

Although Raw Garden’s Kosher Tangie wax isn’t the indica-dominant strain I sought, it is an incredibly dynamic and complex hybrid combining intensely uplifting, relaxing, focused, yet sedating, qualities derived from the strain’s Kosher Chem and Sour Tangie genetics.

In the end, this sativa-dominant strain acts like an indica hybrid you can stay awake to enjoy, which works perfectly for me.

CaliGreenGold Dairy Queen Live Resin

I pressured myself to decide on a third and final purchase from amongst the many options before me. As I rapidly eyed the crowded shelves I caught sight of a recently discovered, boutique wax brand I’d found last month at Green Dragon CareGivers in North Hollywood.

CaliGreenGold wax is top quality, their packaging is gorgeous, and their Dairy Queen strain is out of this world. It’s a euphoric​, uplifting, evenly balanced hybrid, and is effective for daytime and nighttime use. Its uplifting qualities remind me in many ways of my favorite sativa strain, Durban Poison.

A Last-Minute Inquiry

I paused for a moment and thought to ask what strains of Raw Garden refined live resin cartridges were in stock, but Dr. Greenthumb’s was temporarily out. Putting that question to rest made it easy to decide on a third and final gram of wax.

Point-of-Sale Purchase: Taxes & Discounts

I accompanied my budtender to the point-of-sale station where she rang up my purchases: A gram each of Raw Garden Sangria & Kosher Tangie live resin sauces​ and a gram of CaliGreenGold Dairy Queen live resin.

Danielle confirmed both the pre-discount grand total and the amount I saved as a first-time patient, a sizable $24. The store pays customer excise taxes, so for medical patients, the first-time discount covers the 14.5% tax plus an additional 5.5% off of the total pre-tax price.

Dr. Greenthumb’s Happy Hour & More

Although most dispensaries continue to host daily discounts for different cannabis​ product categories, very few offer “happy hour” discounts anymore.

Thankfully, Dr. Greenthumb’s gives the very generous, aforementioned, 20% discount every morning between 8 am – 10 am. Their daily discounts offer 15% off a category of cannabis products. Saturday (shatterday), for example, the 15% discount applies only to extracts.

A Satisfying & Superlative Experience

Happy with my purchases, I paid my bill and Danielle and I wished each other well and went our separate ways. It absolutely felt like my visit was a positive and meaningful experience, much more than a transactional blip. 

I drove almost 15 miles to check out the dispensary without a clue about the identity of Dr. Greenthumb, enjoyed a superlative experience, and have been thinking good thoughts about the shop ever since.

I’m enjoying my purchases very much and plan to return another day during happy hour.

Win-Win for Everyone

My Dr. Greenthumb’s experience affirms for me that B-Real and his team achieved what they set out to do, which is win-win for everyone.

Happy Anniversary, Dr. Greenthumb’s!

Wishing B-Real, his staff, and Dr. Greenthumb’s community a very Happy Anniversary as they gear up to mark one year in business this August 15.

Post-Script: New Dr. Greenthumb’s Shops

Although he’d contemplated Cathedral City as the site for his next Dr. Greenthumb’s, B-Real and his team just within the last month opened two new stores elsewhere, in Sacramento and Eureka. That’s 3 shops open after less than a year in business. Mazal Tov!

Primitive Zippo
Doing high dives into the California cannabis industry, cannabis culture, cannabis-friendly music and anything else cannabis-related residing in the vast expanse of my turgid cranium.

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