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Does Runtz Live Up to the Hype? Tommy Chims Investigates

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There are few, if any, strains of cannabis on the market right now enjoying the level of hype that surrounds Runtz.

Read all of Tommy Chims' columns and dispensary reviews

A hybrid created by crossing Zkittlez with Gelato that debuted in December 2017, the strain has been referenced by name in more than 100 rap songs, according to lyrics website genius.com, earning a reputation as one enjoyed by the most discerning of smokers. In keeping, it became common at the end of the 2010s for black market dealers to attempt to pass off a lot of their wares under the name, making the concept of fake Runtz its own inside joke in both stoner and rap culture, elevating it to the point of a status symbol in the latter. (One example, from the 2019 SOB x RBE track "Mosh Pit": "What the fuck is twenty bands? Bitch, I'm getting real cash / N*ggas smoking fake Runtz, bitch, I'm smoking real gas.")

The hype was not without warrant, and that was soon proven when the popular cannabis site leafly.com named Runtz its 2020 Strain of the Year. "Runtz checks each box and tears up the scorecard," the publication noted.

That assessment is borne out by reviews from satisfied smokers on the site as well.

"Took two bong rips an I was floating over a rainbow into never land," writes one. "I saw Peter Pan an shit my pants. I woke up in the bathtub"

"IT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD BEAT YOU IN A FIGHT AND THEN STEAL YOUR WIFE, AND IT SMELLS LIKE AN OOMPA LOOMPAS DUMPHOLE!!" raves(?) another.

"this will have you talking to your forehead," asserts a third.

So naturally, when I noticed that St. Ann's newly opened Heya dispensary was carrying the wildly popular strain, I decided it was time to see what my forehead might have to say.

Heya's version of the strain clocks in at 17.3 percent THC, and cost me $73.36 for an eighth after tax. When I opened the bag I was surprised to find that nearly all the weight came in the form of one big bud, about the length of one of my fingers, ranging in color from forest green to purple to light green, especially in the center, with orange hairs and a fine coating of resin throughout. On breakup it gave off a sweet, citrusy smell with peppery and fuel-like notes, consistent with the fact that caryophyllene, limonene and linalool are the strain's dominant terpenes. On inhale that fruity and sweet candy taste that gives it its name was prevalent, almost like black licorice but without the bitterness. It's a pleasant and flavorful smoke.

As for effects, let this be a warning to you: This is definitely a "creeper" strain. I did not notice much in the way of effects immediately, but felt myself slowly soaring up and up and up over the course of about twenty minutes, until I was looking down from above like I was on a hot-air balloon ride. The high leans a bit on the sativa side, but is pretty balanced overall — I was happy and chatty, didn't feel debilitated or couch-locked, and it was a relaxing high, but not so much so that I felt particularly tired. At the same time, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a good strain for getting shit done, simply owing to the fact I was so incredibly stoned that my brains were reduced to scrambled eggs. It also didn't strike me as particularly good for pain, but to be fair that's not what it's known for.

It's known, apparently, for sparking conversations with one's own forehead. On that front, it delivered — but that was a personal conversation that just isn't fit for print. You'll just have to pick some Runtz up and start chatting with your own dome if you want a glimpse into what's on the minds of the forehead community these days. You won't be disappointed.

Thomas K. Chimchards is RFT’s resident cannabis correspondent. Email him tips at tommy.chims@riverfronttimes.com and follow him on Twitter at @TOMMYCHIMS

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