Come to Papa

You’ll become comfortably numb with Papa & Barkley, whose Releaf Balms are the bomb in both THC and CBD-dominant varieties.

A relatively new cannabis-infused balm has started appearing on San Francisco dispensary shelves — and disappearing as fast as pot shops can stock it. A range of tinctures, topicals, and balms called Papa & Barkley, recognizable by their beautiful wood-grain lids, have become a cult hit among non-stoners seeking genuine pain relief.

SF Evergreen was intrigued, so we dipped our fingers into Papa & Barkley’s Releaf Balms. We found these to be a triumph of packaging and product that surely deserve to keep winning over new fans.

These balms are not for getting you high, but they do pack a potent punch against pain. Goopy green lotions that feel nice when applied, they also provide a sense of numbness and muscle relaxation that sets in within five minutes and lasts for a good two hours.

The smell of Papa & Barkley’s Releaf Balm is one of the most exquisite scents we’ve encountered in a cannabis product. It’s not like smelling dank, sticky flower buds. Instead, you get a hint of marijuana mixed with other splendid smells like beeswax, coconut oil, lavender, and peppermint.

Releaf Balms come in two different varieties, a 3:1 THC-dominant formulation and another that’s 3:1 CBD-to-THC mix. We tried both, and found that the 3:1 CBD version delivered a far more effective result. Even if you fancy yourself more of a THC person, the physiology of skin absorption is just better suited to CBD.

The only complaint we can apply to this cream is how the shape of the jar makes it difficult to get to those final few applications. You just can’t reach certain areas of the jar, and you may find yourself a little frustrated that your finger can’t get to the container’s last rubbing or two.

That said, this stuff is pretty modestly priced, with the 15-milliliter containers generally costing around $40, and the 30-milliliter jars at about $75 (before state and local taxes).

The race to convert cannabis consumers who are not stoners or smokers still does not have its first runaway hit product. These Releaf Balms might become that breakout, gateway product. And sore foot sufferers should certainly turn to Papa & Barkley when their dogs are barking.

Potency: The 3:1 CBD-dominant formula serves as a pleasant muscle relaxer, while the 3:1 THC formula delivers somewhat less of tangible, physical relief.

Smell: Simply one of the loveliest smelling cannabis products currently available, and a great antidote for runners who get stinkfoot.

Taste: This is a topical balm, people. You should not eat it, despite it smelling delicious enough to eat.

Appearance: The wooden lids of the containers stand out as exceptionally pretty packaging, though the balm itself just looks like pea green soup.

Medical Application: Rub in Papa & Barkley Releaf Balm to rub out your aches and pains.

Effect: You’re not going to get high or feel anything psychoactive, but this balm will send your sore spots to a happy place.


Available in San Francisco at the Green Cross. Visit for details.