In the past year, fully legal recreational marijuana sales have transformed San Diego area dispensaries from back-alley operations to modern, hip and unique storefronts, with amazing selections of product. Though the county has dozens, these are the 10 best places to buy cannabis and cannabis-related products in San Diego.
SouthWest Patient Group
Cannabis education without borders
There is no other dispensary in San Diego County that has done more to further cannabis education than SWPG. Located a few hundred feet from the San Ysidro Mexican border, SWPG does an amazing job educating people in both Spanish and English on the streets of the busiest border crossing in the world. Inside one of the largest showrooms in the county, there’s an educational theatre equipped with cinema-style seats for seminars and workshops, and at the entrance, you will find microscopes connected to a flat-screen LCD display to check out the glisten of your buds under the lens. The artwork in the dispensary is topnotch. There’s a slew of bilingual employees, and there is hardly ever a line. Plus, the array of concentrates is simply fantastic.
San Diego’s industry leader
There is no doubt that Urbn Leaf is the industry leader in the San Diego Cannabis industry, just like there is no doubt you’ll find surfers in Pacific Beach. They have multiple locations and are in the midst of expanding. Urbn Leaf’s logo is what a modern dispensary logo should look like. Forget the Rasta colors and cliche stoner look of yesteryear—Urbn Leaf has a beautiful, simple logo on neon signs at all locations. Their storefront is hip and modern, like a fashion designer boutique. Urbn Leaf drives stoners all around town looking great in a branded bus. The staff is also hip, young and beautiful, not to mention knowledgeable and helpful. The selection of topicals and concentrates is phenomenal.
The downtown dispensary
Centrally located and stocked with some of the best edibles, topicals, and extracts available, Harbor Collective is a San Diego favorite. At one time, it was one of the only places to find Alpine cartridge refills. Harbor Collective is a more classic-looking storefront, not as modern as some of the newer dispensaries. It’s a reliable source for anything you need, and its central location makes it easy to get to, even from public transportation. Checking in is easy, but the waiting room is small and crowded. Overall, Harbor Collective is a still a go-to for San Diego cannabis stops.
The crème de la crème of cannabis
Valet parking? Yes, please! San Diego has a reputation for being either military or posh—this place caters to the latter. Apothekare is one of the new dispensaries on the block in sunny SD. Nestled in Mission Valley, its central location makes it easy for anyone in the county to visit. Not far away is the stadium the local football team abandoned when they left the city. Boohoo, nobody is crying about the Chargers anymore. Apothekare’s extensive selection of flower, concentrates, and edibles will make you forget about football in two bong loads flat! As far as indoor showrooms are concerned, this one is the crème de la crème in Diego. The lighting and merch placement make it feel like a fancy perfume shop. It certainly gives off a feeling of safety and luxury. They offered a first-time visitor gift with our purchase—a top-notch preroll. We appreciate that kind of attention to detail, on any visit. Who doesn’t love free gifts?
A Green Alternative
Lab tested and regulated
A Green Alternative is just a few hundred feet from Mexico. Smoking mota in Mexico is still reason enough to land you in deep trouble in that country, but that’s not stopping folks from crossing the border to buy legal, non-cartel herb of the finest kind. All AGA products are lab tested to ensure you are getting only the best, top-shelf cannabis. The staff is very professional. The AGA waiting room is nice and ample, though it gives off the feeling that you’re waiting to see the doctor. This is one of the least packed dispensaries you will find in San Diego County. It’s usually a quick 5- to 10-minute shopping experience. While it’s convenient, and not always packed, it’s at the very southeast tip of the city. It’s a drive to the border, a bit out of the reach for most people, but perfect for folks who live in the South Bay communities. The drive is worth it for the primo stash you can find there.
Golden State Greens
Roll up, roll in and roll out
This place used to be called Point Loma Patient, which can make a visit confusing. There are two ways to get in and the name change can throw you off a bit, but once inside, you’re in the land of goodies! GSG is in a such a central part of the city that it’s always busy. The waiting rooms are too small, but after the wait, you enter one of San Diego’s most stacked showrooms. Their selection of flower is the best. Want to avoid tiny, packed waiting rooms? Order for pick up! GSG has been voted SD’s best pick up service. You call it in, and within 30-45 minutes your order is ready. We suggest you use the pickup service if you’re familiar with the store. If you are a first time visitor, it’s worth the wait. Inside the showroom, it’s a goldmine.
Loving it low key
Goldn Bloom was the easiest in and out store we visited. They register you in a flash and once inside, their staff is super cool. The supply is crazy diverse and well-stocked. The place is tucked away, and it has a great variety of awesome flower and concentrates, but what makes Goldn Bloom so cool is that it’s so low key. Central enough for anyone to get to, but off the beaten path, shopping here is a quick easy experience.
Surf’s up and super buds
North County San Diego is known for its pristine beaches, surfers, luxurious homes, rich residents and terrible traffic. Thanks to Torrey Holistics we can add dank buds, concentrates, and edibles to that list. The surfer capital of SD is also home to one of the city’s best delivery services and pick up spots. There aren’t a whole lot of licensed dispensaries in North County SD—Torrey is holding it down proper for all the fine folks north of the 52 freeway. Avoid lines by ordering online for pickup.
High in the sky
Not far from the spot where Maverick and Iceman made death-defying moves in the ‘80s classic Top Gun, Miramar is the name of the lucky town to have the Mankind cooperative doing business. Unlike most stores that keep goodies locked up or behind the counter, Mankind allows you to view and touch everything they sell, like any normal store. This makes the experience great because you get to shop at your own pace. Traffic kind can be bad sometimes, so aim to visit after 6 p.m.
Another central dispensary in the Mission Valley area. THCSD had some of the best shatter and pollen we found. However, the store wasn’t as nice as others, and the operation seemed to lag a bit. One of their selling points is that all the products they carry are twice tested for purity. The dispensary’s motto, ‘’If we won’t smoke it, we won’t sell it to you,’’ sounds good to us.
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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.