Cannabis is one of the most unique and fascinating industries to study for a whole host of interesting reasons. One of them is exploring the new and evolving markets that are developing around the country, all of which have different rules and products to explore and understand. There are sometimes dramatic differences in the regulations or product quality state to state and every state/region has their own nuanced culture that is slowly evolving as we inch closer and closer to full federal legalization and the ubiquitous cannabis culture that follows.
To illustrate this, Toker’s Guide took a trip to Maryland to explore what their scene has to offer and see if we’re missing out on any of the good good. First thing to mention is that Maryland is strictly a medical state that does not have reciprocity. This is anticipated to change but until it does, bear that in mind. When traveling as a cannabis user, always check a state’s reciprocity laws because they will tell you if you are eligible to participate in medical dispensaries with an out of state med card or what the status of their market is and the safest way for you to participate. That being said, one of our cannabis professionals is a Maryland native with a fully compliant medical card so we were able to take a snapshot of the state for everyone else to see.
As a medical state, all MD grown cannabis goes through rigorous testing for safety/potency and every label comes to the patient complete with a full cannabinoid and terpene profile of the product in addition to the peace of mind that comes with knowing your product doesn't have pesticides, insecticides, heavy metals, mold or microbial contamination. I cannot tell you how important this facet is to the market. As a grower myself I know exactly how even the best and cleanest growers can get contaminated products, which is not to say what happens when a less than responsible grower gets into the market. Having a certificate of analysis behind each and every single batch is really an invaluable safeguard for both producers and consumers and Maryland is one of the best when it comes to safety.
As far as their cannabis goes...it is some of the best being produced on the east coast AND it is often easier to determine the good from the bad products given the label’s detailed information for each and every batch of cannabis. Most of the country is very conditioned to buy what they view as the “strongest” cannabis they can find aka whatever comes out with the highest percentage of thc. Indeed there are some storefronts in DC that are able to provide a potency test for the THC itself because it is such a selling point.
This is a great first step but as a metric of quality it is often misleading as a thc percentage doesn’t actually give the customer a true representation of cannabis quality, just potency for one specific molecule. To put this into perspective, cannabis produces over 150 different cannabinoids and still hundreds more terpenes on top, varied from genetic to genetic, system to system, and region to region, and each one plays its part to entourage that thc into a symphony of flavor, aroma and effects that spans a breadth of nuance. Focusing on one molecule is quite frankly silly when you have an almost infinite amount of space to find the truly unique head spaces, the profiles that work best for your body, and to discover true craft and artisan products, not unlike the fine wine industry. I mean you don’t look at the quality of fine wine for its percentage alcohol do you?
Ultimately what dictates the “goodness” of a high is the terpene profile itself (and your personal biochemistry of course). High concentrations of things like myrcene, limonene and terpinolene create the nuanced effects that we have come to expect from the typical monikers of “indica”, “sativa”, and “hybrid”. Whether you are looking for something a little more cerebral and ethereal or if you're looking to be knocked down and sedated, the terpenes are the components that get you to your preferred head space. If you do have medical issues you are using cannabis to ease, this is exactly how you would navigate products for symptom relief as well.
Maryland makes shopping for head spaces and symptom relief as easy and transparent as possible by ensuring that every label clearly identifies all the concentrations of every cannabinoid (not just THC) as well as a total terpene concentration with the major terpene percentages listed.
As a professional cannabis critic, please trust me when I say that it is the terps that make the strain. If you enjoy flavor, aroma, and nuanced highs that range from the ultimate couch lock to the most creatively energized zephyr of energy, then you like the terpenes that ultimately create the flavor, aroma, and nuances of the high! (Again, always in relation to your own personal biochemistry).
Now cannabis is capable of producing literally hundreds of different terpenes which is why we see such a vast range of diverse aromas and flavors in this plant. Just the math behind all the combinations of terpenes boggles the mind; however, over time, one can really determine which terpenes and terpene combinations produce your preferred effects, flavors, aromas and symptom relief consistently and reliably.
In Maryland, anything with over 1% total terpenes is relatively decent, 2%-3% is a pretty loud strain and anything over 3% total terpenes is one of the terpiest flowers in Maryland. I have personally smoked flower that had terpene concentrations up to 8% so there is still plenty of room for the market to develop, but as I went around MD I made sure to find products that hit that 3% total terp concentration mark to really illustrate some of the quality Maryland has been producing as well as the ease with which it took to locate.
First I want to highlight the ever incredible Evermore Cannabis brand and company that has consistently been one of Maryland’s top tier licenses. For my money Evermore is one of Maryland’s highest quality producers for both flower and dabs so naturally I had to take a trip over to The Living Room, their home dispensary, to see what kind of goodies we could show off to the public.
Evermore is not just great about producing quality, but also producing affordable quality as well!
Purple Obeah - Evermore Cannabis Company, The Living Room - 19.62% total cannabinoids, 1.66% total terpenes - .71% myrcene, .29% limonene, .22% caryophyllene, .21% linalool
First thing to catch my eye was their Purple Obeah, one of my personal favorites in Maryland and a rebrand of the ultra delicious forbidden fruit genetics. An absolutely stunning flower, Obeah typically tests low for THC, usually between 13%-18% however it is one of the loudest and most complex aroma/flavor profiles I have ever encountered. Robust notes of fruity florals dominate the nose, reminiscent of mixed berry, lemon candy, and hibiscus gardens.
I chose this flower specifically because it was on one of the lower pricing tiers since, relative to the rest of the market, it is testing a bit lower than what a top dollar is buying. But because it has enough of the right terpenes it is in fact top shelf cannabis that, for 45$/eighth is an absolute steal. This facet I think really demonstrates one of Maryland’s strengths which is the fact that you can shop around to find what works best for you or what you prefer and have the ability to find it on a sale or at a dispensary that works with your budget as well. Like all industries, top shelf products cost the most, but the ability to access economically valued quality in the cannabis market is sometimes very difficult.
As far as top shelf around Maryland goes... there is an ever increasing list of crowd favorites for all manner of discerning palates. With my budget in mind I was able to find some really excellent cannabis worth showing off to the world. There are plenty more examples to highlight and I hope to bring them all to light over time, but for now it is worth checking out these examples of some of the loudest terp profiles in Maryland!
Sunset Sherbet - Evermore Cannabis Company, The Living Room - 26.99% total cannabinoids, 3.11% total terpenes - .82% caryophyllene, .67% myrcene, .54% limonene, .28% pinene
Sunset Sherbet, an exquisite cross between girl scout cookies and pink panties, was chosen because of its robust and relatively rare profile. Caryophyllene is a pretty common terpene but you rarely find it as the most dominant terpene in a profile. Here the caryophyllene and myrcene dominance help to influence the full bodied and heavy “indica” effects while the limonene/pinene temper offer up enough of a “sativa” effect to brighten the overall profile into a “indica-hybrid” effect. Soothing to the body but not heavy enough to put you in the couch per se.
The nose has floral and fuel overtones underscored by fruity, sweet notes. For me, I get lilac on top of a light whiff of modeling glue with a burst of creamy orange mango that is an absolutely enticing scent. The inhale reveals a deeper relationship to the fruity backbone with the exhale maintaining a delicate zephyr of lilac infused fuel. Overall I am transported to a heady space of calm relaxation that tastes and smells like a model airplane drying out in the lilac filled flower garden, on top of a hill overlooking a tropical paradise of orange and mango orchards.
Garlic Cookies - Grassroots Cannabis - 37.47% total cannabinoids, 3.03% total terpenes - .84% caryophyllene, .75% limonene, .59% myrcene, .28% humulene
Garlic Cookies is a pheno from the GMO line bred from a cross between the foundational genetics, Girl Scout Cookies and Chemdawg that has become a staple in the Maryland marketplace for years now. Since its launch it has consistently been one of the most potent and highest selling strains to date with one of the most distinctive noses on the eastern seaboard. Part of what makes it such a cornerstone of the market is that it is consistently high in cannabinoids AND terpenes and thus truly embodies the power of a robust terpene profile and potent cannabinoid content.
Always on the heavier side, this batch produced a caryophyllene dominant profile with a rare ratio of limonene, myrcene and humulene to temper out the profile which, for me, creates your classic, heavy, foggy, stoney headspace that is often sought after by stoners and tokers everywhere. And the nose, my goodness the nose. Truly this cut is aptly named because the aroma is everything that a savory, garlic scented strain should be. I remember my first time smelling it, I had to do a double take into the bottle because it was so unique! I know garlic isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of good cannabis but this strain offers a savory bouquet of spicy herbal and sweet woody notes that are at once a sweet herbaceous garden and a silky cedarwood grove, co-mingling about in an exceptional full bodied toke that is absolutely worth adding to your sensory memory bank.
Dosisdo #22-16 - Culta - 33.1% total cannabinoids, 3.19% total terpenes - 1.09% myrcene, .68% limonene, .32% linalool, .32% caryophyllene
Another staple strain that embodies both a potent cannabinoid content as well as a robust terpene profile hails from Culta in their Dosido line. Just like the Garlic Cookies, Dosido has a few phenos and cuts out there but what Culta is really excellent about is including the exact numbering of their pheno hunts as they continue to pull out the best cuts from this lineage that ultimately stems from a cross between OG Kush Breath and Faceoff OG. Specifically I want to shout out the Dosido 22-16, aka phenotype 22 cut 16, as being a particularly excellent, heavy indica high. Over 1% of a single terpene really pushes a profile into a distinctive house of highs and myrcene is the house of heavy and the quintessential element of the “indica” spectrum of effects.
A forest of trichomes coats the surface area of each and every nug, espousing mono- and sesquiterpenes into the air and directly to my olfactory system. I am immediately reminded of a buttery sugar cookie, freshly opened from a package bought at a gas station, still with the odor of gas lingering about the air. Upon smoking, the sweet gassy overtone gives way to a light but distinctly cheesy note with just a dollop of effervescent jasmine that is just super appealing to my palate. There are quite a few Dosidos to explore but the 22-16 cut is delicious and I hope those of you in Maryland get a chance to try it!
Florida Kush - Garcia Hand Picked, Holistic Industries - 34.28% total cannabinoids, 4.16% total terpenes - 1.23% myrcene, 1.02% pinene, .58% terpinolene, .58% linalool
One of the newest brands to pop up in Maryland is Garcia Hand Picked grown by Holistic Industries. One of their genetics that is standing out is the Florida Kush, clocking in with one of the highest total terpene concentrations I have seen on the Maryland market! At over 4% terpene concentration this batch is truly an homage to its genetic parentage, Triangle Kush and LA Kush Cake. With a near even ratio of the dominant terpenes, myrcene and pinene, and the exact 1:1 ratio of the niche terpenes terpinolene:linalool we see an ethereal representation of the most common quintessential “indica” and “sativa” terpenes on top of the quintessentially niche “indica-hybrid” and “sativa-hybrid’ terpenes. If you’re not used to reading terpene profiles this might not mean much yet, but believe you me, this combination of terpenes is quite a rare combination to find, and even more rare to find in such a quantity!
The effect of this terpene profile, in conjunction with over 30% thc, is one that illustrates the breadth of effect possible from this incredible plant. It is a storm of stoney and ethereal energy and a wave of creative and calming vibes, at once focused and giggly in a delicate dance of biochemistry. The aroma makes me think of a peach cake topped with high octane frosting and fresh lavender while the flavor of the smoke really emphasizes the gasoline, cakey notes that truly linger around the palate long after each exhale. The full bodiedness of the smoke is a testament to the cure of the bud itself meaning that for at least this batch, they preserved the quality of this genetic to its utmost. Again, we each have our own biochemistry and I can only speak to my experience, but go out and give this one a shot if you’re willing and able and see exactly what this profile can do for you!