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)
First, 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).
The “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).
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
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
A Cheaper Concentrate Vaporizer Pen Option?
Using an E-Cig as a Hash Oil Vaporizer Pen?
Building My Own Vape 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.
- Butane Hash Oil, Vaporizer Pens and a Cheaper Option: e-Cigarettes [this post]
- Build Your Own Cheap Vape Pen Using E-Cigarette Parts – Research & Order
- Build Your Own Cheap Hash Oil Pen Using E-Cigarette Parts – The Build & First Use
- Build Your Own Cheap Vape Pen Using E-Cigarette Parts – Refinement