Amsterdam has, for the last 40 plus years held the title as the Mecca for cannabis consumers with its liberal stance and wide access to a large number of tolerated coffeeshops.
The Netherlands has also found itself as the first country to prescribe cannabis flowers for a range of medical conditions. There are several varieties patients can choose from some containing high amounts of THC and little to no CBD and others that contain a mix of the two in standardised ratios. Traditionally the cost of these strains has been higher than the coffeeshops have provided. Tourists visiting the country cannot easily get medical cannabis or a prescription (unless this is something they are specifically heading to the NL to seek out). This means anyone on the hunt for some CBD rich strains has got a bit of a hunt on their hands, as we found out this week just passed.
After a great time celebrating Cannabis Liberation Day in Flevopark with the VOC, cannabis oil making legend Rick Simpson and the Cannabis College….and plenty of walking across Amsterdam, I found myself feeling more inflammed than ususal and suffering badly with stomach cramps that the expensive high THC oil I was dabbing just wasn’t giving my Crohn’s Disease the relief it needed.
CBD Cannabis strains have become semi available within the UK Cannabis Social Clubs community largely due to the fact that many clubs are founded by patients or have members with serious medical conditions and collectively they grow cannabis to meet their needs, including CBD rich strains – some of which we even have test results for cuts passed around like this Zero Dark 30 brought over by members of the Teesside Cannabis Club.
Take a look at the ZD30-P2-test-results. And just look at the quality of flower the Cannabis Social Clubs in the UK are growing for their patients and personal use. You are hard pressed to find this in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam for under 16 euros but the UKCSC’s Fair Trade model assures by far, that isn’t what patients have to pay.
Using the Facebook Amsterdam Coffeeshop Directory to post up a thread I asked recent coffeeshop goers if and where they had found and CBD flowers on any menu’s in Amsterdam. I was quickly met with several responses urging me to head to a number of specific coffeeshops as they had strains on the menu that “definitely” had CBD in them. So, after plotting out a map for the day to each of the recommended spots we set out to our first stop.
Siberie had CBD Compassion in the menu, in fact it was the first strain on the menu under the “outdoor” category. Instantly my heart sank a little as I have seen outdoor coffeeshop flowers before. I asked for a look anyway and was shocked to see what I would consider to be worse than the CBD rich hemp flower tops I have been importing from the Czech Republic at £28 for 40g. This CBD product was in no way of medical grade and for 8 euros a gram I would expect to see something no less than twice as good. It smelled about a year old so probably higher in CBN than anything else…what a shame. I specifically asked for any other CBD strains and the girl bud tending just shook her head. Apparently she forgot to tell me another strain “Breath of Azreal” also contained CBD (supposedly). But I was already out the door.
The next stop we were encouraged to make was Katsu, which has in the last 5 years seen small little upgrades across its decor making it a really nice cafe style coffeeshop with some quite nice strains on the menu and a good selection of hashes. When I approached the bud bar and asked for any strains that had high CBD in it I was taken to the end of the bar and shown a cabinet with a selection of Hemp CBD tinctures. My shoulders dropped as I thought again, I had been led down a dead end. By cabinet there was a book, however, that had Alpha CAT test reslts for al the hash’s and all the flowers listed on the menu. This is the first time I had seen this in a coffeeshop and it was really nice to see that the time and effort had gone into this – I just hope it is updated regularly! There were a couple of import hash’s on the menu that had a 1:4 ratio of THC:CBD in them but no indoor flowers.
After chilling at Katsu for a while and drinking some nice fresh mint tea and honey and using the Verdamper vaporiser we made our way over to De Graal a coffeeshop about 5 minutes walk down Albert Cruptstraat from Katsu. Due to school zoning laws this gem of a little coffeeshop opened its doors at 6pm. As soon as you walk in you are at the bud bar. The menu was very simple and it looked like a more localized coffeeshop, very friendly and talkative owners and staff which enabled us to have a really straight forward and revealing chat about our search for CBD in the city of Amsterdam that day.
It turns out that De Graal, despite us being told “always has great CBD strains on the menu” didn’t actually have any CBD on the menu. They did have an outdoor selection which they confessed to suggesting might be high in CBD and when I asked “do you say this because it is outdoor weed” they responded “yes”. “Have you ever had it tested” I followed up with? “No, it is too expensive and when they are not very big batches it is not cost effective”.
What I would say though is not cost effective, is patients unwitingly spending their euros on cannabis that they believe has CBD in it when in fact it probably doesn’t at all. Despite our failed hunt we had a very nice experience in De Graal, all the locals were friendly and communal and it had the feeling that I always wanted to find in Amsterdam.
A Bogus Journey?
After a long day of hunting we met up with one of our god friends Tan, a manager at the Cannabis College in the center of Amsterdam. We told him about our day long dilemma and he shared similar stories of his recent CBD hunting escapades where budtenders have been all too happy to say “yes it has CBD in it” just to hurry up the sale.
Tan gets to meet regular members of the public, new cannabis consumers and long time consumers and has to deal with a wide range of questions on such an enormous topic but this is an issue quite close to his heart – and as you can see from my own experience, I know first hand just why!
So, Tan has put his thinking cap on and has come up with a challenge, deal, mission for anyone travelling to Amsterdam over the next month. Here’s what he is offering:
Hey guys and girls,
For a limited time I wanted to offer a special service for anybody in Amsterdam who is looking for CBD weed. Simply put I dont believe there is any, maybe 1 or 2, but the VAST majority of shops tell bullshit and I am sick of it.
Therefore, for a limited time (2 weeks to start) I am willing to offer Cannabinoid analysis FOR FREE to anyone who was sold “CBD weed” from a coffeeshop. yes for FREE.
Few rules tho:
1. You must have proof of the coffeeshop you bought the weed from. take a photo of the menu if you must
2. Must provide at least 0.25g for the sample
3. results will be given within 1 week, unless its really popular in which case may take longer.
The purpose of my project is to Name and Shame dodgy dealers who think they are selling medicine. If possible, get a recording of the sales person making CBD claims, voice only needed.
The plan is to get results and return to the coffeeshop in question to ask why they make false claims.
So if you have been sold CBD weed from a coffeeshop, bring it to The Cannabis College and let us check it for you.
So, now you know there is a way to test to see if your cannabis in Amsterdam contains any CBD what are you waiting for? Thank you Tan – you the man!
Here is some more information from The Cannabis College on their testing facilities.
Please, make sure you know the name of the strain, the shop and try and get the name of the staff that sold it to you. We want to improve the standard of cannabis everywhere in the world despite the legal situation. If the consumers do not ask for better there will never be better. We’re not here to get all the bud tenders sacked, just educate them more!
Please join our CBD Product Reviews group on Facebook to see what the patients and consumers of CBD products in the UK are saying about them.
If you have found some CBD flowers in Amsterdam, please leave a comment below and let us know the name where you found it and how much you paid per gram.
Here’s Jeff Ditchfield’s own search for CBD seeds at Spannabis 2013.