It's becoming increasingly apparent that most self-respecting cannabis smokers are making the move away from traditional joint smoking
E-cigarettes and Vape pens (or whatever other moniker they have been stuck with by some vague company in an attempt to create the new Marlboro Man) have exploded onto our streets and practically sidestepped any and all regulations regarding smoking exclusion zones. What started out as an allegedly ‘safer’ alternative to the hardcore, more traditional, carcinogenic death sticks has grown into a much darker beast that looks set to reverse years of hard work. Branding companies must be touching themselves with excitement and hi-fiving all the way to the bank as the restrictions on advertising all but disappear, along with the limitations on their target market’s age range. Despite a lack of research into long term health effects of this form of nicotine replacement, for the user or the passive breather, we are now surrounded by the ominous glowing tips in restaurants and bars and on public transport (doesn’t it still class as smoking?) and it doesn’t show any sign of letting up soon. Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were a great alternative at first, but now I see the younger generation being drawn into something which might not be all happiness and rainbows.
Whilst perusing the papers, I stumbled across a report concerning one companies attempt to ride the e-cig tidal wave by thinking outside the pen-shaped box and producing an e-joint. Never before had I seen such a blatant piece of middle-finger-to-authority design: it is shaped like a traditional king skin joint and is white in color with a marijuana leaf logo on the side and, to top it all off, a green light at the tip which lights up to reveal another leaf logo. Seriously. This is a mass market product which, apparently, was all ‘above board’ and could be sold across the globe in any store which cared to stock it. I felt like I had missed an important meeting: It was like I had woken up in an utopian future where all plant-based prohibition had been lifted for the good of mankind. Then I read the rest of the article and it turned out that this was a cannabis product in terms of aesthetics only: the company apparently intends to sell refills which have tastes and aromas similar to some of the better known strains, but that’s where the connection ends. Mildly disappointing…but it got me thinking.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that most self-respecting cannabis smokers are making the move away from traditional joint smoking: the range of cannabis consumption methods is something which always impresses me and we all like to try new things. With vaporizers making waves in the industry, I began to ponder whether there was scope for the purported e-joint to become a reality as the science behind the e-cigs seemed to follow a similar process (they are often called ‘vape pens’ after all). Courtesy of the internet I was able to ascertain that there is not just a possibility of this happening, but rather it is already gaining popularity and you can do it at home or buy refills from some, shall we say, ‘unofficial’ sources in various locales. Spent cartridges can be topped up with hash oil (BHO) and simply reinserted into the device and smoked at your leisure – it’s almost as though they were designed with this application in mind from their inception. If you fancy getting all MacGuyver then the method is explained below.
Firstly, get yourself some nicely cured bud and make sure it is fully dried out. Pop it in a blender and add some vegetable glycerin before giving it a good blast to make it into well mixed paste (make sure it’s not too thick and sticky). Once you think the consistency looks good you should let it sit for about a week but shake it occasionally to stop it from separating. The vegetable glycerin (or propylene glycerin if you fancy an alternative) will extract the desired compounds from the plant matter and absorb it into the liquid part of your mixture. Once it has had time to rest you need to remove the plant residue by filtering the solution through some fine muslin gauze and then you can choose to dilute if you are concerned about strength. After that it is as simple as pouring it into a container and letting the device work its magic. Be warned: this is not like smoking a joint or hitting a bong – this is an intense, purified hit that can knock you for six. Your first attempts are probably better off being more diluted than they need to be (separate it into batches if it helps) and I would recommend doing your hit late in the evening when you’ve already eaten and you don’t have much to do with your life (Friday nights are the best).
As with any new ‘street drug’, there are people who are seeking to cash in on this new method and I expect that you will be able to find a less-than-reputable entrepreneur who is more than happy to hand over a few overpriced refills with the promise that they will be the best thing ever, but don’t expect them all to be honest, hardworking and trustworthy(you might get lucky – I’m just saying). One plucky young fellow in New York has apparently perfected the technique and is now flooding the market with his own version of hi-caliber canna-cartridges at a seemingly hefty price. Going under the pseudonym of ‘Mr. Brightside’ (nice), he claims to have managed to produce a product which contains close to 100% THC that can fit into any standard e-cig. That’s a pretty hefty claim but he stands by it and suggests that his customers are more than happy with what he has managed to deliver. Charging close to $100 per cartridge certainly puts a sting in the tail, yet the intensity is supposedly so good that you only need one hit to get higher than the Sun (meaning that a cartridge could last you close to a month, unless you’re super hardcore). If his claims are sound then this process could turn out to be incredibly cost effective whether you buy direct or manage to perfect the technique for yourself (especially if you’re smart enough, and lucky enough, to grow your own).
Don’t get me wrong, I still stand by my feelings that tobacco companies are using this new venture as a way to dig their talons into a whole new corner of the market, but if people can use these devices to medicate during their day-to-day life (as the vapor is almost odorless) then it might just be an evil that I can deal with. If you don’t live in a place where it’s safe to toke, this could be your new best friend.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 112