Reviews

Tommy Chong’s new joints taste like the ‘70s, man

August 5, 2017
Chong's Choice pre-rolls branded by Tommy Chong
David Downs
Chong's Choice pre-rolls branded by Tommy Chong
SOURCE: David Downs

Overall Score: 2.8 out of 5 stars

Price: ⭑⭑✰✰✰

Potency: ⭑⭑⭑⭑✰

Aroma: ⭑⭑✰✰✰

Appearance: ⭑⭑⭑✰✰

Bottom Line: Heady everyday joints -- but a dubious value at $9 per joint; a price point only offset by the cool novelty of Tommy Chong’s ‘70s silhouette on the tip. Chong’s Choice packs a stoney punch and are the perfect size for solo trips or shared seshes with a friend or two.

[How our star system works: ⭑ – failing; ⭑⭑ -- sub-par; ⭑⭑⭑ – average; ⭑⭑⭑⭑ – above average; ⭑⭑⭑⭑ – Excellent!]

I feel like I've been smoking pot with Tommy Chong most of my life, at least since I got my first earful of the dope comedy Chong and his pothead partner, Cheech Marin, crafted on early-’70s classics Big Bambu and Los Cochinos, two cannabis-culture phonograph records that circulated like lit joints in the underground libraries of my pot-scented youth.

Now that pot is legal in 29 U.S. states -- just like old hippies have been telling us it would be since old hippies were invented -- it's fitting Chong has his own line of medical cannabis, including strains of joints that rocket-shipped me back to the ‘70s in the best and worst ways.

Here are my experience reports and tasting notes based on three joints sampled from each five-pack of Chong’s Choice sativa, indica and hybrid strain joints the company mailed to my editor for review.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Chong’s Choice joints are available in five-packs at California medical cannabis dispensaries and come in sativa, indica and hybrid strains for $45 per pack. The packaging advertises .75 grams of cannabis per joint, or 3.75 grams of cannabis per pack, which is .25 grams heavier than a standard 3.5-gram eighth. No potency information is given and lab-testing is touted, but test data is not printed on packaging. Chong’s Choice’s packaging also says the brand’s cannabis is sourced from “local, trusted growers”, but offers nothing more specific.

Comedian Tommy Chong has his own joint line Chong's Choice
David Downs
Chong’s Choice did not chose to make their containers airtight, leading to terpene leakage.

Chong’s Choice pre-rolls come in their own tube, and five tubes sit in a cardboard box with tasteful fonts and colors. The problem is the tubes are not air-tight, so the cannabis’ aroma and moisture leaks out and degrades its value. The joints were also of an inconsistent length, but were otherwise shapely and well-packed, with a cardboard holder at the tip and Chong’s image on the paper.

THE EXPERIENCE

The act of smoking a Chong’s Choice pre-roll was pretty mixed. A dry pull on the unlit joint provided only whispered hits of terpenes. When it came to flavor, we were unimpressed. We got tobacco, green-flower, vanilla and grape candy. Three out of four of those flavors were enjoyable. Toasted-ash flavors also dominated most cannabis flavors in all three strains. The joints’ effects differed by strain, but overlapped as well, a mixed bag of pot-trip mileposts: euphoria, relaxation, creative energy, light shows behind closed eyes, sedative dives, narcoleptic naps. Highs lasted up to four hours. Other body-centric benefits lingered longer.

HYBRID

The hybrid and indica strains delivered pleasantly sedative effects. The three hybrid joints I sampled were the most consistently pleasant joints I smoked for this review. The hybrid high was classic ‘70s -- a peaceful, easy feeling, happily stoney but not overwhelmingly so, pairing equally well with light exercise and daytime naps.

INDICA

A Chong’s Choice indica joint relieved foot cramp pain in two tokes that both tasted and reeked of vanilla-kissed grape candy and ash. The other two indica joints I sampled were equally perfumed and fast-acting and activated light shows inside my eyelids. At one point, my head felt like it was rotating independent of my neck. I woke up free of previous aches and pains, only mildly groggy. The indica joints also stimulated my appetite. To answer the age-old question posed in a classic Cheech and Chong skit: I ate all the bologna.

SATIVA

Sativa joints were surprising downers that had a toasted tobacco-like flavor suggesting degraded cannabis, which can be sedating instead of up-lifting. This joint tasted and felt like the ‘70s in the worst way. After three tokes, I was struck by a fast, sedative high -- a real downer after anticipating an uplifting sativa buzz. My face felt like a swollen velvet catcher’s mitt. My eyes set into slits, heavy-lidded but focused and aware. My body felt loose and languid but movements were slow, like I was moving in chest-high, unset gelatin. A slow-moving bowling ball ping ponged and pinballed in my head. I succumbed to back-to-back morning naps after wake-and-bake Chong’s Choice sativa joints and strong cups of coffee.

Overall, all three Chong’s Choice strains burned easily and evenly, with no runs or flares. Joints drew consistently, produced dark gray ash and seeped a thin ribbon of oil onto the rolling papers just below the joints’ burning-cherry heads. Each joint lasted about 20 minutes, start to finish, without re-lighting, right down to the cardboard crutch below Chong’s imprinted silhouette.

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[Got a great product you think we should review? Something wrong with this review? Email us at ddowns@sfchronicle.com.]

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