Origin: Barcelona, Spain
Much like the coffeeshops in the Netherlands, the cannabis social clubs that have cropped up in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain over the last decade aren’t really legal, they’re just tolerated—for the most part. Clubs have been busted by the authorities in the past, and the Spanish legal system is still grappling with how to enforce (or not) a set of cannabis laws that allow for “personal” consumption in a “private” setting, without ever defining those terms.
Cannatonic is a cross of MK Ultra and G13 Haze with a slight earthy odor and a mild, sweet, vaguely citrusy flavor.
The city itself, of course, is one of the world’s ideal places to be stoned. Tapas is the ultimate stoner cuisine, and Gaudi is the best architect ever when you’re high. The most popular local strain when I was there some years ago was Jack Herer, an American-bred varietal that most assuredly flourishes beneath a Spanish sun. But to experience a truly homegrown phenomenon, take the time to track down Cannatonic, a high-CBD strain bred by Spanish seed bank Resin Seeds.
With THC rarely above 7% and CBD potentially above 15%, it’s a cross of MK Ultra and G13 Haze with a “slight earthy odor and a mild, sweet, vaguely citrusy flavor.” While not providing much of a high due to its elevated CBD profile, the strain offers profound therapeutic relief for pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long hot day wandering La Rambla.
Origin: Amsterdam, Netherlands
As a travel destination, Amsterdam offers up many charms, from the picturesque canals and lively nightlife to the parks and museums and a place called Febo, where you can buy deep fried cheese out of a coin-operated automat in the middle of the night. The city’s also been a refuge for cannabis consumers and cannabis itself for decades.
Not only have Amsterdam’s famed coffeeshops attracted visitors from around the world since they opened in the 1970s, they’ve also served as a safe haven for cannabis strains from every continent to escape prohibition.
If you’re fortunate enough to make a visit, definitely sample some Neville’s Haze or any of its Haze cousins, and don’t miss out on the wide array of imported, traditionally made hashishes available from Morocco, Nepal, Afghanistan, and other distant lands. But if I had to recommend just one smoke in town, I’d say make an appointment with Dr. Grinspoon, a pure sativa heirloom strain bred by Barney’s Farm, a cannabis seed bank associated with one of Amsterdam’s top coffeeshops.
Like all purebred sativas, the strain (named for medical cannabis advocate Dr. Lester Grinspoon) takes a long time to harvest and doesn’t yield very well—but who cares? You’re not growing it, you’re smoking it. And the soaring, cerebral, invigorating high will set you off on an adventure to remember (or forget) in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.