Sometimes it seems that vaping culture has taken over. In fact, the term “vape” even made it into the Oxford-English Dictionary, winning accolades as 2014’s “word of the year.” It's meteoric ascension to the pinnacle of popularity should be no surprise. Vaping offers a number of significant benefits over smoking. It’s cleaner, more discreet, and most importantly, better on your lungs. It seems like just a few years ago, most people only vaped flower. Now we’ve got a myriad of choices. Below are a few of the most popular vapable concentrates (your vaping essentials):
Shatter is the most controversial concentrate — thank you home cookers who keep blowing up your kitchens! So named because of its distinctive texture and consistency: smooth and hard with an appealing translucent, glass-like appearance. You can break shatter into shards (e.g. particles). Note, however, shatter is not very forgiving so it breaks a little too easily. In fact, because it's so fragile, many cannasseurs prefer to limit consumption of their shatter stash to their home.
Moreover, while you can definitely vape shatter, loading it into some vaporizers can be a challenge. Most people seem to prefer dabbing shatter over vaping. (Shatter does also pair well with bud, as you can mix the shards with your flower before you roll a joint or add to a bowl.)
Wax tends to look creamy and buttery — or waxy — hence the various monikers people ascribe to it: wax, budder, crumble. Thanks to its malleability, it's a lot more forgiving than shatter. And, the consistency makes wax a perfect candidate to use in your vaporizer or vape pen.
The only drawback — if you can call it a drawback — is that wax doesn't have the clean, translucent look of shatter. But, what wax may be lacking in aesthetic, it more than makes up in versatility. Not only can you easily vape wax, you can add it to a bowl, dab it, twax it (adding it a joint). Heck, you can even throw it in with your edibles!
Note: if you add it to edibles, be sure to activate it before adding it to butter or oil — a rule that applies to most extracts and concentrates.
Sap, so called, because it looks like, ah hem...tree sap! The consistency is viscous, malleable, oily and sticky. Despite the stickiness, it's generally pretty easy to use. You can easily pop it into your vaporizer, dab, or even twax it. One precaution: because of its oh-so-sticky-icky texture, it's best to store in a non-stick container or wrap in parchment paper.
Snap N' Pull
Snap N' Pull occupies the middle ground between sap and shatter. So named because aside from needing a cool name for an even cooler concentrate, you can snap or stretch it. However, be judicious, because if you're not careful, it can fracture pretty easily. It's a favorite among many canna-enthusiasts because it's less sticky than snap, and more forgiving than shatter — making it easy to use. Many claim it's the most versatile concentrate. Not only can you easily vape it, it's great to dab, smoke, add to edibles or use to wrap a snake around a joint.
Loved and adored by true cannasseurs, live resin is one of the newest concentrates to emerge onto the scene. One of the coolest things about live resin? Its unique production process — cryogenically freezing freshly harvested plant matter — preserves (and enhances) its distinctive just-harvested aromatic and terpenoid properties. Live resin is high in terpenes and terpenoids, enhancing not only the aroma, but possibly its therapeutic versatility.
Live resin will also assume an aesthetically appealing sugary consistency, particularly when exposed to moisture. While live resin is definitely well-suited for vaping, to achieve maximal effect and flavor, astute cannaseurs tend to prefer dabbing it.
Vape Pen Cartridges
When it comes to ease of use, portability and discretion, it’s pretty hard to beat a vape pen with a pre-filled cartridge. Sarah Silverman confused Middle America when she flashed her vape pen on the red carpet a couple of years back. Whoopi lovingly calls her pen, “Sippy.” Snoop Dogg has his own line of products. And, President Obama has been spotted around the globe meeting with foreign leaders while discreetly drawing quick drag from his favorite pen — especially when dealing with that prick, Putin. (Ok, maybe Obama hasn’t been spotted yet toking, but can’t you just see him doing that after the election?)
No doubt, vape cartridges, which are often utilized via a snazzy, high-tech vape pen, can be pretty awesome! However, there is depressing lack of consistency between brands. There are a lot of substandard brands, and price can be a poor barometer to gauge whether a cartridge is up to snuff or not.
Some notable brands include Bodhi High (and their budget-minded line, Honey Tree). Bodhi High (and sister brand Honey Tree) have created some uniquely fruit forward flavors, like Mandarin Orange and Strawberry Cream. If you’re more of a traditionalist who is loyal to classic strains, MJ Farms produces some incredible cartridges — like Blue Dream and OG Kush. Want something to relieve stress that's less psychotropic than most concentrates? Northwest Cannabis Solutions offers a Mixed CBD cartridge.
Not to be captain obvious, but it's important to note that vaporizers are a heterogeneous bunch. Some vapes work best with wax or sap. Others are designed best for bud. While others come pre-filled and are disposable (cough, cough, not disposable, I mean recyclable). And, finally, some are designed to work with replaceable oil cartridges exclusively. Keep this in mind before you try out any of the aforementioned methods.
Do you have a favorite type of concentrate or a special jedi-inspired vaping method? If so, share below in the comments. Happy vaping!