Concentrates

Times are a-changing for weed smokers, and at the epicenter of this change is hash oil (concentrates) and vaporizer pens. The advances that have been made in the cannabis space since medical marijuana was first legalized in 1996 are simply amazing to me. I suppose I can only speak to California, but I suspect it’s the same in Colorado and Washington, as well as many of the other medical marijuana states. Thanks to legitimate-business-scale production of cannabis flowers and a desire for some beautiful marijuana bud, we now have more available trimmings to use to make other products (which Prospero confirmed in his post about making bubble hash). Producers are using this waste stream of trimmings to create many wonderful new innovations, including fantastic reliable edibles, cheap bubble hash and a range of hash oil concentrates (aka, butane hash oil, bho, honey oil, ear wax, shatter, concentrates or just plain old “errl”). Of course, many folks are also using pristine bud to create concentrates as well, but the sheer accessibility to cannabis in the market at all price points has fundamentally changed the game.

Hash Oil (aka. concentrates, extracts, butane hash oil or bho)

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs - Shatter + Wax | source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/58f169b5f516fcf0a5b09f9d8b20fadc/tumblr_ml7rd4salv1rwnbnzo1_500.jpgFirst, I will start with a little background in concentrates. Hash oil concentrate is an extract of THC and other cannabinoids from the organic cannabis plant matter. Many times, these extracts are created using butane as the solvent (hence the butane hash oil), but other solvents are being used such as carbon dioxide. Basically, the trimmings are put into a pressure vessel, with the solvent and the cannabinoids pulled from the plant. There is currently a debate about the safety of using butane as a solvent and any potential residue left over (this is why it is importnat to use very clean butane and not the cheap polluted butane used for lighters, or even better, go with the carbon dioxide derived concentrate). These extracts, or concentrates as they are generically known, can have varying consistencies ranging from flowing oil to wax to crystalline solids (shatters). The common theme between all of these concentrates is that when heated, all of these fully melt into a liquid and then quickly into a vapor. You’ll hear these referred to as “full melt” concentrates. You can read more about hash oil at High Times. One thing is for sure, these concentrates live up to their name with serious THC concentrated in them (up to 70% THC).

Dabbing Errl

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-CigsThe “traditional” method of consuming concentrates (aka, dabbing) is to use an oil rig, which is more or less a really, really nice and well-made bong. Oil rigs have to be well made to support the abuse of dabbing. The one major difference between a regular bong and an oil rig is that the slide has been replaced with a nail. What’s a nail? It’s a part of the rig that you heat up to red hot using a blowtorch (similar to what you would use to make a creme brulee). Once the nail is red hot, you touch the concentrate (stuck to the end of your dabbing tool) to the glowing nail and presto, instant vapor that you suck down into your oil rig. Typically, nails are made from titanium (and sometimes glass) to survive the temperature abuse without breaking down and releasing anything toxic into your vapor. Quality tools are key a great dab (and not getting sick from by-products of cheap materials burning off in your hit).

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs | TI Nail Blowtorch | source: http://www.ie420patient.com/Random%20Photos%20for%20Various%20Pages/IE420%20Torch%20to%20Ti%20Nail.JPG

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs - Dab Hit | source: http://captinkushh.tumblr.com/This is all fine and dandy, but it would seem that you need an expensive glass oil rig and an expensive titanium nail, not to mention a blowtorch to get a nice hash oil concentrate hit. I for one don’t have the space to store all of that beautiful gear, nor am I comfortable having a blowtorch as part of my regular smoking process. I’m honestly wondering how many fires will be started due to people incorrectly using their torches? (have you ever tried to smoke a bowl with a Zippo? Bad idea). So I thought to myself, there has to be a better way to get my dab on. Well I’m not quite sure about better, there is definitely a more convenient and discrete way of enjoying cannabis concentrates: a hash oil vaporizer pen.

My First Concentrate Vaporizer Pen

Vaped Vaporizers | Micro Vaped

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs - Micro Vaped | source: http://www.aaaglasspipes.com/assets/images/IMG_2072.JPG

Micro Vaped Hash Pen

I got introduced to vape pens when my local dispensary started carrying a local brand of vaporizer pen from Vaped Vaporizers. I like to tinker with new things, so for Christmas 2012 my wife purchased the Micro Vaped hardware for $70 (awesome Christmas gift!) and I picked up a 2-gram sativa pre-filled cartridge for $75. I had found nirvana. The pre-filled cart gave amazing flexibility to the pen. I could use it just about anywhere. The vapor that comes off of these pens barely has any scent and the process is very inconspicuous, especially because the public is not used to the motions of using a vap pen. I’ve used my pen hiking on very populated trails, in public spaces and in my home with no windows open and I wasn’t bothering anyone. I still had one nagging issue that I couldn’t shake, the cost. $75 for a 2-gram pre-fill, or $40 for a 1-gram pre-fill, just seemed a little rich for my blood.

Bubble Hash in My Vape Pen

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs - Micro Vaped Skillet | source: http://medicalmarijuanabottles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/248774_399945090079797_1976964375_n.jpg

Vaped Skillet

Fortunately my vape pen came with a “skillet” attachment, which is basically just a coil in an open dish. My local budtenders showed me how you can use regular bubble hash in the skillet, score! I can get 1 gram of bubble hash for anywhere from $10 – $45, depending on the quality. My local dispensary has also started carrying a much greater variety of concentrates, and I can now purchase a gram of great ear wax for about $30, or some very nice concentrates for $40-45. Having access to great concentrates led me to my next issue of heavy use: clogged skillets. As you can imagine, using regular bubble hash in a skillet leaves a pretty nasty residue over time. The solution? The skillets are meant to be replaced regularly. The skillets for my vaporizer run about $10 each, replacing them regularly also seems to be a bit pricey. Time to look for yet another solution…

A Cheaper Concentrate Vaporizer Pen Option?

My work background is finance & accounting with a little engineering and tinkering thrown in for good measure. So I’m very sensitive to any replacement/subscription-type business model. The classic business school case study is Gillette and their razor blades: sell the razor at a loss and then make money on the blade refills for the life of the customer. I saw the skillet and attachments for my vape pen as the same scheme. I immediately started looking at my system trying to figure out if there were any cheaper options to get to the same effect. And boy, I’m glad I did. It turns out that most of the vape pens on the market are some knock-off of e-cigarettes (e-cigs).

Using an E-Cig as a Hash Oil Vaporizer Pen?

Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigs - Joye E-Go Twist | source: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/585_532256750136133_2037516583_n.jpg

I for one didn’t think that the e-cig market had a chance at survival. To me, e-cigarettes seemed like a solution looking for a problem, I couldn’t see smokers turning to electronic hardware. The one thing I didn’t consider was the hash oil demand for these devices. Weed smokers are looking for the next convenient advance in smokeless technology. Essentially the e-cigs are designed to use a liquid form of nicotine which is vaporized (not burned, just heated hot enough to turn into vapor). So, just replace the nicotine liquid with favorite full-melt concentrate and you’ve got yourself a limitless options for discrete hash pen vaping! After doing a little more research I found out that my Micro Vaped hash pen happens to be based on the Joyetech E-Go line of e-cigs with the “510″ thread pattern. The thread pattern is key, it’s basically the specification for what will screw onto my pen (more on e-cigarette standards). This is great news, because that standard thread pattern means I’ve got plenty of options for pieces to add to my vape pen and I’m not stuck buying proprietary attachments for my vape pen.

Building My Own Vape Pen

Taking this one step further, I found out that you can purchase a complete vape pen rig in pieces for less than $30 (H/T to CaptnGreenJeans @ Reddit). After some careful consideration, I’m going to bite the bullet and purchase some components to make my own vape pen. Stay tuned for my next post when I compare what I purchased to my Micro Vaped vaporizer pen.

Other Weedist Build Your Own Vape Pen Posts

Read more in the series of posts about my experience with hash pens and my journey of building my own vape pen with e-cigarette parts.

4 comments
joecr196
joecr196

How do I change my ego-t into a wax pen

denverbro
denverbro

Yes, my O2  Vape works great for oils.  The atmos works nice to. www.oilpenvape.com

marliyand3tails
marliyand3tails

this my be the best thing sense color but ...has anyone done it yet?