Traffic? What traffic?
"Traffic? What traffic?" Mike Force

The viaduct is closed and our region's self-induced traffic armageddon is upon us. Until February, our car-obsessed city will be crippled by only having one working North-South highway. When the new tunnel opens next month our traffic will likely improve but we will still be totally fucked, as the new tunnel has fewer exits and less capacity than the old ugly viaduct. We've entered what city planners call Seattle's "Period of Maximum Constraint," which lasts until new light rail stations open in 2021. But do you know what makes constraining situations more relaxing?

Vape pens.

Now, I'm not telling you to vape pot in your car (you should not be commuting with a car at all during this period, dingus). Regardless of how easy vape pens make discretely smoking pot and driving, you should not do it. It's dangerous and illegal.

But for everyone doing the right thing and taking buses, bicycles, trains, scooters, onewheels, tall bikes, skateboards, or just using your feet and walking during this time period, your vape pen is now your best friend. Not all cartridges are created equal. In fact some cartridges are filled with such trash and illegal pesticides that they are no friend at all. I've selected a few winners that can turn a two-hour bus commute into something slightly more bearable than two hours on a bus.

Tesla Tower by Pearl Seattle

This proprietary strain grown by Lazy Bee Gardens and processed by the experts at West Seattle's Pearl Seattle has a strong enough buzz to make you completely forget about traffic while you zone in on whatever book or podcast or album you're listening to on the bus. Tesla Tower ($30 for .5 gram at Dockside Cannabis SoDo) tastes like pine needles and citrus and is full of ridiculous amounts of terpinolene, one of pot's most invigorating terpenes.

Lazy Bee grows their pot with organic methods out in Washington's beautiful Methow Valley and Pearl uses advanced CO2 extraction, making sure that what you are vaping is clean and full of only the natural cannabinoids and terpenes produced by the pot plant itself.

Raven Grass Blueberry Trainwreck

This is the type of vape cartridge you want to pull out when you are staring at a lengthy commute home after an already long day at work. The ripe fruity and floral notes on this Blueberry Trainwreck strain ($47 for 1 gram at Hashtag Fremont) from Olympia's Raven Grass farms are combined with heavy intoxicating effects. Take a few rips off this cartridge before you get on the bus and you'll be melting into your bus seat with enough apathy that two hours on the bus suddenly doesn't sound so terrible.

Harlequin Tsunami by CannaSol Farms

Some towering colas at CannaSols sungrown farm in Eastern Washington.
Some towering colas at CannaSol's sungrown farm in Eastern Washington. Lester Black

Getting ridiculously high before you head into work might not be the best idea for everyone, but you can still find pot relief when it's 7 a.m. and you're looking at a ridiculously long commute into the city. Just find some CBD heavy strains. That calls for a few hits of Harlequin Tsunami from CannaSol Farms ($35 for a .5 gram at Canna West Seattle). This strain is packed with tons of CBD, giving you plenty of relaxing effects, plus some of the citrus and spicy flavor notes and a gently uplifting vibe. It also has a little bit of THC mixed in, which I think makes any CBD product a little bit better. There's not enough THC to really intoxicate you from a single hit or two, but there's enough to make the CBD effects feel stronger than if this cartridge was filled with only CBD.

Tangerine by Puffin Farms

Puffins sungrown pot along the Yakima River in Ellensburg.
Puffin's sungrown pot along the Yakima River in Ellensburg. Lester Black

If you read my pot column about Jeff Church and his magical Extra Virgin Cannabis Oil then you won't be surprised to see Puffin Farms on this list. Church is the extract artist at Puffin that turns the farm's sungrown, top shelf pot into delightful cannabis oil and his magic is on full display with the farm's Tangerine strain ($39 for .5 gram at Hashtag Fremont). This cartridge pops with so much citrus flavor that it seems like it has to be artificially flavored but that's just the flavor of outdoor pot grown with organic methods and expertly processed. If this doesn't brighten your commute into the city you should probably just give up and call in sick.

Avitas Pineapple Express

Arlington's Avitas Cannabis is one of the few Washington pot farms that has been brave enough to expand into Oregon's crowded pot market, where too much pot and too few customers has created a sizable glut of weed. The fact that Avitas has survived this move shows that they are growing and selling high-quality cannabis. This Pineapple Express cartridge ($33 at .5 grams at Herb(n) Elements in Lake City) gives you the ripe mango and pineapple notes that you expect from this classic strain. Go buy it and you'll see why Avitas is one of the state's best-selling concentrate makers.

Heylo's Where's My Bike

Lester Black

Heylo Cannabis produces cutting-edge concentrates at their facility in Seattle's Industrial District and their Where's My Bike vape cartridge ($40 for .5 gram at The Bakeréé) is a great example of their forward thinking. Where's My Bike has high levels of a pot compound called CBG, which is thought to actually inhibit the effects of THC. That means CBG can actually reduce those feelings of paranoia or heavy intoxication that pot can sometimes create, which makes it a great calming vape cartridge to hit when your bus is 30 minutes late.