Learn Not to Burn!

by Stephen

Similar to most, I will assume, my first introduction to cannabis was by way of a passed joint . And for years, that was my main intake method. Sure, I ripped bongs and occasionally ate some, but the large majority of my experience was with a spliff in hand.

Not anymore.

Over the last few years I’ve been vaping and only very occasionally rolling a (hash) joint. Why? For various reasons, so let’s dive in.

There’s something very zen about taking the time to build a joint – choosing the bud, grinding it up, prepping your gear then creating it. But what’s really going on while the cherry burns?

Your basic joint has three ingredients: ground cannabis, rolling paper(s) and a filter. That’s three separate items to set afire and inhale. And while some do forego the filter, leaving just two burnables, wouldn’t it still be better to just use cannabis?

So, with your joint rolled, what’s next?

Well, while the cannabis and paper burn, separately and together they release carcinogens, some of which you will inhale. Although cannabis carcinogens aren’t nearly as plentiful or bad as nicotine ones, why inhale any of them if you don’t have to?

Secondly, the entire reason you enjoy cannabis is because of the properties and cannabinoids found within and on the plant itself.

The most popular one is THC, and in some of the reading I’ve done, smoking doesn’t give you the most bang for your buck in terms of THC efficiency – so you are effectively wasting some of what you purchased the cannabis for! Silly, no?

Lastly, once the burn is complete, there’s nothing left but the filter, if that – so, there’s no secondary usage – it’s a one shot deal. But, if you vape cannabis, well, let’s just see what happens.

A dry herb vaporizer is a rechargeable, battery-operated or plug in device, either hand-held or stationary, into which you would place ground cannabis for heating purposes (unlike a vape pen which releases heated concentrate from a pre-filled cartridge). So, there is no burning, but rather it bakes your cannabis. The major difference is that burning destroys while baking releases – two very different results, but with similar effects.

Most vaporizers have a small oven, usually ceramic or stainless steel, into which you place ground cannabis. So, there’s no paper or filter to deal with, just cannabis – and that should already sound better to you.

Now, what the oven does is heat up the trichomes (those lovely little crystals on the leaf’s surface) just enough so that they pop or explode, releasing as much of their THC (and other compounds) as possible – which you then inhale. Think of vapour as similar to the wisps of steam coming from a boiling kettle, they rise and disappear into the air. Magic!

Joints and bongs burn cannabis, creating smoke, which not only emits a discernable odour which permeates clothing and other materials, but which also lingers in the air (because smoke is heavier than air).

Vaped cannabis does not smell when heated (faintly, but only for a few seconds), vaporizing does not create as many harmful carcinogens, there’s no lingering smoke, AND, once it has changed from whatever lovely shade of green it is, to a light brown, you can then reuse it, a second time. Pretty cool!

Since it’s been pre-heated (decarboxylated) by all your vaping, it’s now active, so you could literally eat it, or better yet, garnish some food with it, (like you would with parsley) to add just a little kick!

By the way, vaping also reduces the amount of cannabis you buy because it lasts longer, so you’d be saving money too. Hello!

So, while I don’t foresee the joint or bong fading into oblivion any time soon, why not at least investigate vaping. Just like the first time you ever smoked a joint, you won’t know what it’s like until you try.

Peace!

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, besides the convenience of having them always ready to go, is that they have very little smell, they don’t really dry out or go “bad”, they don’t get squished inside your pocket like a joint and they’re pretty cool and “futuristic”.

Once you figure out how to get them out of the puzzle box they call a package, the very first thing you must do, before even attaching them to the battery pen, and 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 first time your cartridge is connected to the electric battery heat source, the metal coil does not get scorched by the heat before it’s coated with liquid. If you forget to do this crucial, initial step, there’s a chance that your cartridge will taste burnt, or at least not as good as it’s supposed to taste. 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 completely 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 will undoubtedly 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 and Disposable Vape pens

John’s Guide to Using the PAX 3

There’s a good reason that Evergreen only carries one high-end portable vaporizer. For the price, the PAX3 is by far the best portable vaporizer on the market.

Dubbed “The Tesla of Vaporizers” by yours truly, I just recently got myself a PAX3 and it has changed my life. Even though I have had the original PAX since they were first released in Canada, the PAX3 is such a giant upgrade, it’s incredible.

My first PAX experience

Let me first tell you about my customer service experience with PAX Labs… after around seven years of using my original PAX, the mouthpiece mechanism (which has been replaced in the PAX2 and PAX3 models) started to malfunction a bit. It still worked, just not perfectly. I emailed PAX Labs and they just sent me a brand new PAX. After 7 years! I tell you, their 10 year warranty is no joke and their customer service is top notch. They even gave me some free accessories (around $60 worth) for my trouble!

If you’re new to cannabis vaporizing, you need to understand that it’s a whole new level of cannabis ingestion. It’s not like smoking a pipe or a bong. There is no (or very little) combustion so you’re not going to see that big, satisfying cloud of smoke, rather a small wisp of vapor which will quickly dissipate. No combustion means you’re not getting all that carbon and carcinogen in your lungs, just the useful compounds. It may take some time to develop a good technique for using your PAX but in the end, it’ll be worth it. Better for your lungs and better for your wallet. I personally found that I only use about 25% as much cannabis when vaping compared to smoking and the flavour is amazing. I tried using my PAX exclusively for a week, no joints or pipes, and when I went to smoke a joint after the 1 week period, it tasted like licking an ashtray. All I could taste was ash and burning paper.

Developing your technique

When I PAX, I first grind about 0.3 – 0.5 grams to a fairly fine consistency. I then pack it into the PAX oven pretty tightly. Don’t cram it in there so tight that you can’t dig it out when it’s done. I’ve noticed that it seems to work better when it’s packed a bit tighter than other vapes I’ve used.

For the first session from a fresh bowl, I set the temp to the lowest setting. The PAX3’s lowest preset temp is 360f but I have a custom temp setting at 350f (using the app). The lower the temp, the more flavour but the less vapor you will see. You have to trust it. If you can taste the weed, it’s working. I find it takes about 5 times as many inhalations of vapor to get a similar effect to smoking. Also, a long soft draw (about 10 seconds) will get you more vapor than a strong pull. After the first session, I like to increase the temp by one level for each subsequent session, packing the bowl down a little bit before each new session. This seems to maximize efficiency so the unit pays for itself pretty quickly!

Cleaning the unit

Cleaning the unit regularly is very important. It only takes 5-10 minutes and if you get into the habit of weekly cleanings, your experience will be greatly enhanced. Simply remove the oven lid and the mouthpiece, pop the screen out by running the pipe cleaner through the vapor channel and pushing on it from the inside. Soak the PAX screen in a bottle cap with a bit of 99% isopropyl alcohol to break down the resin before you scrub it. Dip the pipe cleaner in some 99% isopropyl alcohol and thread it through the the channel, in and out, while twisting to get the resin all scrubbed out. keep doing this until you can see all the way through and it looks completely clean. You may need to use multiple pipe cleaners, one after the other, if it’s extra dirty. After the channel is clean, use a q-tip and alcohol to scrub down the inside of the oven and under the mouthpiece until all the residue is gone (or as much as possible). Scrub the screen after it’s been soaking as well as you can, it may still look stained with brown residue but that’s ok, as long as you get it pretty smooth (after a while you can replace it with a new screen). Before using it again, make sure to let all the alcohol evaporate. You can just leave it sitting on the table with the lid and mouthpiece off in a warm room for a while or turning it on with the lids off for a few minutes. After cleaning your PAX you will notice it works like new again! There will be more vapor flow and all the flavour will come back!