What Am I Vaping? Making Educated Vape Purchases

Cannabis 2.0 brings a lot of exciting new products to the industry, the stars being edibles and concentrates. Vape distillate is really having its moment, arriving amidst reports of illicit-market cartridges causing health issues. A regulated system for the high-demand product came right on time. Many people are taking kindly to vaping; we wonder how many people know what they are getting when they purchase cartridges. We figure a guide might help some folks.

There are two primary cannabinoid-extraction methods for distillate: CO2 & Ethanol extraction. What’s the difference?

CO2 Extraction isolates specific cannabinoids (i.e. THC & CBD) at specific temperatures. So, a CO2 cartridge’s cannabinoid make up is hypothetically precision-designed. However, it’s possible the cart may not contain the entire family of cannabinoids & sub-compounds at the same ratios that were in the cannabis before the extraction process. Ethanol extracts the full entourage of cannabinoids in one process, which renders a more balanced distillate. So, an Ethanol cartridge should contain the source cannabis’ original family of cannabinoids at similar ratios.

This brings us to the other primary options for carts : “full spectrum” & “botanical” terpene-extraction. Terpenes are the compounds in cannabis and other plants responsible for aroma, flavor, and in cannabis’ case – effect. After extracting cannabinoids, terpenes are extracted and introduced back into the distillate to curate its flavor & effects. Bear in mind that all terpenes are the same, no matter where they’re from.

Terpenes are generally extracted using CO2, but isolating them requires a lower temperature than cannabinoid extraction. So, CO2-based carts still go through this additive process. Ethanol extraction almost completely eliminates most terpenes. An ethanol distillate is therefore essentially flavorless & odorless after cannabinoid extraction. For this reason, most edibles use ethanol-extracted THC/CBD as to not present a “weedy” taste to your snack.

So, terpenes. “Full-spectrum” carts have the source flower’s original terpenes re-introduced, to create the a ‘true’ distillate for that strain. It should taste & feel like the original cannabis. Botanical terpenes are specifically curated and introduced to create a desired flavor & effect. This essentially renders a brand new, intentionally designed experience. Botanical terpene carts could taste nothing like cannabis. Other botanical carts can be a play on their original strains, presenting a creatively ‘enhanced’ version of them.

When you browse a menu and you see a cart that’s Ethanol-Extracted/Full Spectrum, you can assume it’s an honest representation of the strain. CO2-Extracted/Botanical Carts are the opposite: intentionally rendering the effects & flavor they produce. The other two permutations sort of sit in the middle; either the terpene profile (Ethanol x Botanical) or the cannabinoid profile (CO2 x Full Spectrum) are purposefully designed, the other left honest to the source.

On a final, important note, let’s quickly talk about thinning agents. Pure, distilled THC or CBD would be too viscous to vape, so terpenes act as a natural dilutant that allows distillate to vaporize properly. Be aware that some companies use additional thinning agents in their cartridges; substances like propylene glycol (commonly abridged to “PG”) & phytol are also present in some vape options on the market. These materials have proven to be volatile at high temperatures, and can potentially be dangerous depending on the device or heat settings you use. At Evergreen, we make sure not to carry any vape cartridges that contain these substances. So, make sure to be informed of which options are safe and which contain potentially harmful additives if you are shopping elsewhere.

Hope this all helps you make educated decisions when it comes to vape distillate!

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Bud Dryness & Re-hydration

A common question we hear is “why is my weed not as moist as stuff I used to get?”.

Many factors are put into play when it comes to the moisture levels of flower.

Your flower should have a moisture content between 10-15%.

Higher than 15% may cause mold to grow, less than 10% and your bud may be too dry and powderize.

Growers tend to weigh their flower after it’s been dried and cured as well, so when you’re buying a gram you’re getting a gram of flower, not water weight.

Something to keep in mind is your preferred method of consumption. If you use a bong, pipe or vaporizer you may prefer your bud a little drier, compared to rolling a joint, where you may find it easier with more moist/sticky bud.

Luckily if you’ve been finding your bud to be drier than you like there are many great re-hydration options.

One being the Boveda pack;

Bovedas are maintenance free and don’t require activation. All you need to do is keep a Boveda pack in an airtight container with your bud. When your Boveda gets dry and crispy it’s time to replace it. I’d recommend one Boveda pack per gram, 2-3 packs per eighth. The Boveda’s will keep each other moist, lasting longer.

Another re-hydration method that’s better in the long run (and personally my favorite) is the Dewbie stone. The Dewbie is a hard, porous stone made from Canadian-sourced kiln-fired clay. To recharge your Dewbie all you need to do is soak it in water for 30 seconds, up to 2 minutes, for maximum absorption. Then dab it dry and nestle it among your buds in an airtight container for about 5-10 minutes per gram. Make sure to remove the Dewbie from the container so your bud doesn’t get too moist. The Dewbie stone can easily be cleaned with soap and water and is reusable, so you’ll never be without your trusty Dewbie.

We carry both Boveda packs as well as Dewbie stones here at Evergreen, so you can enjoy your favorite strains at the moisture level that’s best for you and your next smoke session.

Micro-Dosing and Deep Listening Sessions

In an attempt to keep myself entertained during the pandemic lockdown, I have really gotten into Deep Listening Sessions. Too often we have our music on in the background, half listening while we go about our day. With all the free time I’ve been listening to my old records with new ears as well as filling my concert void with live albums.

I’ve said it for years: The wrong dose of an edible can be the worst thing ever, but once you’ve found your sweet spot they are wonderful. Because of the all too common “green out”, most people expect an edible to knock them off their feet. As an adult cannabis user I do not want to get blasted out of my skull – I just want to have a good time. When I was a teenager I learned what happens when you down a whole bottle of liquor, now I find it way more pleasant to enjoy a libation or two… and the same thing goes for cannabis. The magic word here is : Intent.

Here’s how I enjoyed last Thursday night:

For the past 30 years the majority of my leisure time has been spent enjoying live music. I miss it a lot right now, so I’ve been trying to fill the void by purchasing live albums and watching concert videos.

As stated in a previous post, I am not a fan of gummies so I started with a 2mg square of auora dark chocolate. If I were going out I would definitely take a larger dose, but let’s face it – I’m sitting on the couch on a weeknight. I played online backgammon with a buddy for about an hour (he won but I’m convinced the app was cheating) and then put an hour into my favorite at home past time: collage. I can’t explain it but zoning out while cutting and pasting magazine images over each other can be very zen. My main goal is to make myself laugh so I make at least one collage a week, then wake up to see my wife’s reaction when she finds it on our fridge in the morning.

By the time I was done my art I was starting to feel a little silly so I knew it was time to start the show. I filled my vape with Pedro’s Sweet Sativa and put on a record that I had never heard before: The Tragically Hip Live Between Us, an unedited full concert recorded in Detroit, 1996. I turned out the lights, lit some candles, fired up the PAX and started the record.

I think a habit of all of ours at concerts is to drink beer… while I do love the frothy amber stuff I have learnt my lesson about mixing alcohol and edibles (even small doses) so I filled my favorite beer mug with club soda and chugged sparkling water with lemon and lime all night.

As I sat in the dark listening to Gord Downie bestow his wisdom with nothing to look at except for the light on the turntable and the candles, I found myself extremely focused. I’m not sure if you’ve ever sat and listened to music but it is very easy for your mind to wander… this was definitely not the case. I’m not going to exaggerate and say I felt like was part of the crowd at Cobo Hall but I definitely appreciated the concert as an event on it’s own. I was truly in the moment.

The music took a pause as I switched from LP1 to LP2 and it gave me a breather to pay attention to my buzz. It was about three hours after I had first eaten the chocolate and my brain was feeling extremely tingly. I was happy, I was enjoying myself, I was in no danger of being too high and I was having a great Thursday night.

And thats what it’s all about.

John’s Guide to Using Electronic Vape Cartridges (510)

Some of the things I like about these new-ish devices:

  • The convenience of having them always ready to go
  • Very little smell
  • Never dry out or go “bad”
  • Unlike a joint, they won’t get squished inside your pocket
  • Pretty cool and “futuristic”.

Once you figure out how to get them out of the puzzle box they call a “child-proof package”, the first thing to do, before even attaching them to the battery pen (most people don’t realize this yet) is to take off the rubber coverings and take a long, strong pull on the cartridge (again this is before threading it on the battery) to pull lots of air through the cartridge and thereby saturating the atomizer coil with the concentrate liquid. This will ensure that the metal coil does not get scorched by the heat source first time your cartridge is connected. There’s a chance that your cartridge will taste burnt (or at least not as good as it’s supposed to taste) if you forget to do this crucial step. We call this “Priming the Cartridge”.

Now that it’s good and primed, carefully thread the 510 Vape Cart onto your 510 battery pen. Never force the cartridge onto the threads as this can strip the threading. Occasionally, if the cartridge is screwed on too tightly, it can case connection issues so if you’re not seeing any smoke from your draws, loosen the cartridge slightly and try again.

Some other issues that could be causing your 510 Vape device to stop working properly are as follows:

  • If you’re getting airflow but no smoke, it’s likely a power issue. Make sure your battery is charged (they are sold with a partial charge).
  • If you’re positive your battery is charged and you’re not seeing smoke from a draw, make sure your battery is turned on (if there’s a button, usually clicking it 5 times quickly will toggle it ON/OFF. Often a light will come on while drawing.
  • If you’re positive it’s charged and turned on, there may be a connection issue with the battery. Unscrew the cartridge and clean both contacts with a q-tip and isopropyl alcohol, then let both parts dry and reconnect.
  • If you draw and no air is flowing through, it’s likely just plugged with dried oil. Just draw extra hard and the blockage should release.

Now that you’ve got it all working properly, please remember: This is concentrated THC oil. You won’t need to inhale as much as with dried flower to get the effect you want. I understand that these devices are fun, extremely convenient and really tasty, but if you use it too often you can raise your tolerance level for THC, thereby eventually needing to use more to gain the same effect.

My advice is to take only one small pull and wait at least 5 minutes before deciding if you really need another one. Sometimes the effect seems light at first but will increase after a few minutes. Please use these responsibly. Thanks!

Here’s a link to our current menu of Vape Carts