House of Cannabis Delivers a Highly Regarded Experience


The House of Cannabis provides a captivating experience for all museum-goers. (Courtesy of Instagram)

New York City’s own “Home To High Culture” did not disappoint. It offers an intensely immersive experience that features elements catering to the smoker and non-smoker alike. THC NYC, New York’s House of Cannabis, just opened their doors on April 7 in a five-story landmark 1910 SoHo building that is hard to miss. The multi-story, AI-driven experience takes you on quite the journey, aiming to emulate everything from disorientation to soothing euphoria. This immersion extends to all five of the human senses. It taps into nostalgia and elevates sensations for marijuana users, while educating and mimicking marijuana for the unfamiliar. 

We enter this daunting yet magnificent structure on the first floor. We are then sent up a dimly lit, seemingly endless staircase, directed only by a mystical neon sign emboldening us to “Go Higher.” The excellent use of physical symbolism here really propels us into exteroception, priming us for full immersion in our first experience, “The Disorientation Room.” The staff endorses full focus on the room-scaling center screen. This is the bare minimum for attempting to grasp weed’s 6,000-year history demonstrated through a “cinematic visual explosion” that explores artistic and symbolic nuance. From here, our trip comes no closer to Earth as the exhibit progresses into a euphoric, cannabis-inspired music festival called “The Euphorium.” Here, the auditory elements of a festival are replicated through headphones blaring artists that have shaped marijuana’s presence in popular culture. The bodily stimulus of a concert is matched here with elevated spinning floor boards; this elevated structure takes the form of an LP Vinyl record, a testament to music’s pivotal role in weed culture and profound elevation of a marijuana-altered state. The frenzy these first two exhibits produce is mellowed out with a sobering, educational exhibit detailing the lasting effects that even minor marijuana charges can have on individuals. As it is in the Disorientation Room, weed’s robust history is delved into. This time, the exhibit orients towards incarceration, immigration, employment and child welfare. From here, we are forayed into the inaugural art exhibition, an ode to the cultural interconnectedness of the weed and sneaker movements, titled “The Art of Sneakers.” This rotational pop-culture gallery features sneakers and artwork that explores sneaker culture through different lenses, for instance satire. Marijuana culture’s ties to such decorated ways of expressing yourself is one of the reasons THC NYC is so rich. 

From here, we descend to floor three to get some real face time with the plant that makes such electric experiences possible. We are now greeted with “The Grow,” which lets the visitor in on the journey each plant goes through in all its aesthetic and cosmic glory. This exhibition spans multiple rooms, exposing us in chronological order to how the plant looks through maturation. We are there with countless potted plants in New York City’s first ever live urban grow, where we can interact with the plant and quell any curiosity we may have. 

Now, they match this authentic excursion with “The Microverse,” an aesthetic wonder that explores the cannabis plant to a degree the naked eye can not. We’re effectively engulfed in a cannabis molecule, surrendered to the infinite complexity of the plant and sheer talent of the artists portraying beautiful figures on the walls. We transition from the visual inundation we’ve seen thus far to an olfactory-oriented experience that takes us through the undeniable, aromatic profile of the cannabis plant. We are now afforded the chance to smell a comprehensive assortment of marijuana strains, organized by the mental effects they’re touted to have, for instance laughter or energy. This room produces two worthwhile — yet starkly different — experiences depending on your relationship with marijuana, either a trip down memory lane or an educational lesson. This floor culminates in the “Seed to Soul” installation, which immerses us into the mind of hip-hop artist Curren$y, granting us nuanced interaction with his lyrics in an artistic bombardment of hearing and sight. 

From here, we move to the penultimate installation that aims to highlight the communal and lifestyle elements of marijuana use. We now pull up to “The Spot,” the most aesthetic and vibe-cultivating park you’ve seen, intended to foster the “happy place” sentiment specific to each individual cannabis user. A photo opportunity is incorporated to capture the visual elements of the experience, followed by ample time to relax with your friends as you would at any old park. Finally, the externally manufactured “marijuana trip” climaxes in a 10-minute hypnotic journey, guided by a conglomeration of visual artistry by Drake, The Weeknd and Ye. Though we are on the lowest floor of exhibitions, guests are tasked in a levitation exercise with meeting their “Higher-Self” through mystical visuals and transcendent audio. 

Whether or not you’re in an altered state when you arrive, I can guarantee this fantastical experience will have your mind on another planet. At House of Cannabis, you feel “under the influence” of immaculate imagery, thorough historical detail and clever marijuana symbolism. The staff was incredibly welcoming to all individuals, which is a reflection of the communal warmth of the cannabis community fostered through traversing legal impediments and social stigma. It effectively details the historical significance of the drug while unlocking its effects through impressive digital and auditory technology. Creatively, this experience brings cannabis full-circle; the artistry that is often elevated through consumption of this drug is what allows for the creation of an artistically-nuanced and emotionally resonant depiction of the drug’s history. All things considered, it is quite the trip.