Until fairly recently, cannabis hasn’t exactly been presented with the most minimalist of aesthetics. Most products in the marketplace look as if they’re thirst trapping stoners with extravagant color schemes and bawdy graphics. While the industry has stepped out of the shadows, the branding is still in neighborhood weed dealer mode — shout out to attention-grabbing strain names like Durban Poison and Chemical Cat Piss.
But what about the people who like things neat and simple? The stoners who are looking for a cleanly-designed cannabis experience? Who’s making cannabis for the Apple nerds?
Enter Raw Garden, a California cannabis brand that approaches weed from the sort of farm-first, artisanal vantage point you’d expect from wine cultivars and wraps its products in minimalist packaging, featuring little more than a silhouette of a cannabis sprout. Even more Apple-ish, when you puff from a Raw Garden vape the logo illuminates — just like an old MacBook. But a Steve Jobsian design-bent isn’t what makes Raw Garden the most appealing to cannabis consumers, the award-winning strains and unique flavors are the primary draws.
To date, Raw Garden has produced 839 different strains, with a new drop launching every week. That sounds excessive. Especially in an industry where the longstanding reputation of certain strains still does more to appeal to the average consumer than farming practices and sleek aesthetics. (For evidence of this, ask any budtender how often customers inquire about the famous “Skywalker Kush.”)
“There’s a phenomenal capacity for aromatic diversity in the cannabis plant,” says Raw Garden’s Director of Product Khalid Al-Naser when asked about the brand’s unique approach. “Raw Garden wants to bring that diversity to our customers. These aromas are a result of terpenes and other aromatic compounds that also impact the effect that cannabis has when consumed. This ability for the plant to create aromatic diversity leads to a subsequently wide range of flavors and nuanced effects for consumers.”
In other words, if you’re all about the flavor profile of your cannabis and take your terpenes seriously, Raw Garden is your jam. The company’s product line includes extracts they call “Live Sauce” and “Live Resin,” which are both made from flash-frozen flowers and come in two different consistencies, something called Refined Live Resin Diamonds (more on this in a bit), and refined resin THC cartridges and pens. Because the brand is constantly rotating through strains, we were a bit puzzled on how to conduct a review — recognizing that the strains we tried might not be available when you read this. So instead of focusing on a specific strain and the high it offers, we’re going to review the overall experience of the product form factors instead.
Raw Garden THC Cartridges/Pen
Cartridge Sizes: 1 gram, .5 gram, .3 taster gram
Available Strains: 510 Currently
Average Retail Price: $22 for tester set (includes pen and .3 cart), $29 for .5 gram, or $50 for 1.0 gram
What I really love about Raw Garden’s vape cartridges is that they are priced by size rather than the quality of the product. That’s awesome for first-timers who want to see what Raw Garden has to offer but don’t want to drop close to $100 for a gram of extract and a pen to vape it out of.
As far as the pen goes, we’ve got nothing but praise — it’s sleek and simple, featuring a single button and no temperature control, comes pre-charged enough to last your entire cartridge, and even though it’s totally disposable, it’s also reusable. Meaning once you’ve purchased it, you can slide in any future Raw Garden cartridges and get straight to vaping.
I’ve tried both the Pink Lemonade, which is a sativa mixture that utilizes the genetics of Lemonade and Jack Punch, and the Passionberry, an indica hybrid that mixes Raw Garden’s own Beary’ella with Dos y Dos and 4 am.
Flavor is king with Raw Garden, although both cartridges feature cannabis oil containing no filler, added flavors, or other questionable additives, both strains presented a unique flavor profile and high that relied solely on the strain’s terpene profile for its taste and aroma. While that might lead you to want to earmark your favorites in order to double-dip or simply keep buying the cartridges you like best, I actually appreciate the sort of chaos-theory approach to discovering each new strain.
I was surprised by just how different these two strains tasted, the Pink Lemonade had a much brighter and tart-forward bite to it, whereas the Passionberry’s fruity qualities were more subtle, showing up as part of the aftertaste, lingering on the palate in a pleasing way that didn’t make me feel like I needed a breath mint. Both strains have an underlying herbal taste to them, which helps to instill some confidence that these extracts really don’t have any harsh or questionable additives.
While the packaging is minimalist, each of Raw Garden’s available strains has an extensive chart online that runs through the strain’s full cannabinoid and terpene profile, even going as deep as including an analysis of the chemical residues down to the microgram per gram. That kind of transparency is greatly appreciated.
The Bottom Line
Clean cannabis oil that gets all of its flavor and aroma from the strains and nothing else, as it should be. Dip your toes in with the 0.3 cartridge and pen set.
Raw Garden Refined Live Resin Diamonds
Average Retail Price: $65
I’m a flower guy all the way, extracts aren’t really my thing. But Raw Garden’s Diamond resin just might make me a believer. Straight up, handling Raw Garden’s Diamonds will make you feel like you’re dealing with some hard and questionable drugs, the “Diamond” rocks straight up look like something Walter White would cook up.
These Diamonds are produced by taking Raw Garden’s live cannabis resin and then removing impurities like waxes, fats, and tannins, to produce something that is incredibly clean and laser-focused on its featured terpenes. Think of it like the Cristalino Tequila version of cannabis extract.
I sampled the Midnight Funk which featured 804.4mg of total THC, 90.95% THCa and less than 2.0mg of CBD. This flavor was anything but funky, instead what I got was clean tasting cannabis with a pine-forward flavor that pushed me into a deep state of relaxation after a single hit from my Pax 3 concentrate vape. My only gripe about the Diamonds is that it’s quite hard to dose, the rocks aren’t cut into a uniform shape — meaning you’ll just have to pick an amount you feel comfortable with and hope for the best.
That might lead some into the dangerous territory of getting higher than intended. But to Raw Garden’s credit, they suggest you vaporize at a low temperature right on the box. Vaping at a low temperature will help to not only keep the delicate flavors intact but prevent you from getting too blitzed.
The Bottom Line
A remarkably clean vaping experience for people who are serious about their terpenes. This is Raw Garden’s truly next-level product and a selling point for their farm-first science-heavy approach.