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The Volcano-Hybrid Blew Our Freakin' Minds

Posted by CANNASaver on Wednesday, 23 March 2022 in Wacky Racky

Honestly, I don't know if Storz & Bickel are Genies or Geniuses. Maybe they are aliens from a parallel universe? Those lizard-people we hear conspiracy theorists whisper loudly about? What is clear, is that they are not of this world.

Pros:

  • Taste
  • Ease of use
  • Bag or Whip/Hookah smoke options
  • Odor
  • Quiet-ish

Cons:

  • Price
  • Portability

I don't even know where to start with this review. Nothing about this machine makes sense to me. How is every bag filled with vapor so consistently full of flavor? How can it be so smooth yet hits like you should be coughing up a lung?

After many weeks of testing I am still mind-blown. How many bags can this unit fill before the weed is spent? How do you tell when it's spent? When the effects are no longer hitting that hard? Most units it's when the weed starts tasting like burnt popcorn, which I have yet to experience that taste, even by bag #5.

 

What I can tell you is most of the YouTube Videos out there are showing you the wrong way to use your Volcano Hybrid. Even the Storz & Bickel manuals could use clearer words and graphics, but their customer support department kindly helped me find the right instructions online when I reached out. 

After you fill your herb chamber, screw it back onto the Volcano. Start preheating until the desired temp is reached. Wait about 5 seconds, attach the balloon bag, and hit Air. Fill the bag to the desired amount, then turn off the Air. Unscrew the fill chamber with the bag still attached. Remove the bag from the chamber and insert the mouthpiece. Then sit back and enjoy.

In the manual it says if you have lung disease, don't use this machine. For legal reasons, I understand why. I can tell you as a COPD patient, sometimes you just have to smoke to get relief nowadays. Sometimes we cannot wait 20 minutes for a tincture to kick in. On bad breathing days, one's anxiety can climb, even extremely high. If a full-on panic attack hits, your breathing gets even worse, and you want to prevent that from happening. In about 2 minutes you can do just that, with the Volcano Hybrid.

I would actually describe this unit as "medical grade" and absolutely perfect for people with lung conditions that still need to smoke for whatever reason. These people should already be aware their doctors would prefer them not to smoke, but if you are stubborn like me, wouldn't it be wiser to instruct patients about tools available to make that smoking more comfortable?

The vaporizer creates a vapor that is room-temperature and smooth. It is fairly easy on the lungs unless you are a guy who still wants to show he can take big hits (then you might end up coughing yourself silly). I take little tiny hits. I mean really tiny hits. One bag gives me 30 at that rate. For my adult son it's five or six hits. Hubby, seven or eight. 

 

Readers will laugh but I was curious what would happen if you used the bag system to inhale through the nose. No, please don't envision me shoving the mouthpiece up a dirty nostril. I mean, using the bag to gently push the vapors out, while inhaling nasally. Yes, some vapor escapes, so it isn’t the same experience as inhaling orally. But regardless of what some might think this method actually works. I didn't experience any nasal or sinus irritation, no coughing or sneezing either. But did I feel the effects of the medicine? You betcha biscuit I sure did! 

But what would possess me to try such a thing? Curiosity. While edibles are great for people that can’t or don't want to smoke, they’re difficult to predict and not always potent enough to feel. I often wondered if you could use the Volcano Hybrid bag system to directly blow vapor in one’s face, to indirectly medicate like you might while hotboxing, or ‘shotgunning’ the puff. Surely it’s not the best/most effective way to use the Volcano but it does work. However, a facemask attachment to the bag system would be awesome for people who need assistance in partaking. See? There is a method to my madness *sometimes*. 

The bags are extremely durable too. I have been using the same one since it arrived. They also seem impossible to pop, even when left to overfill. 

The price is on the high side, but consider the age-old adage correct in this case: you do get what you pay for. If you have to save for it, do it--you won't regret it.

Like most well thought-out products, I am always a little disappointed with packaging. I would love to see items like the Volcano delivered in a reusable carrying case rather than a disposable box. I mean, this is a cool product that would be great for parties (well, pre-covid) so an equally fabulous case with all kinds of branding would be functional and commercial. But that’s just me.

The only way I could really see this unit improving--beside facemask attachment--would be some sort of attachable chamber for ice or water. This probably wouldn't be good for the bag system as that could possibly be a moisture nightmare and potential health/mildew issue? It’s not a perfect idea; the Volcano’s vapor isn't hot to begin with, but maybe a chamber could make the vapor cooler, even frosty, if used with the Hookah tube attachment? 

Despite some confusing instructions starting out, this unit really is so easy a beginner can use it. Maybe it's the German engineering, but Storz & Bickel are so far above the competition, that giving this my Seal of Approval almost seems lame. So I've revamped my rating system: from now on, it's bronze, silver or gold. A vape on its own echelon, the first product to set that gold bar is, hands down, the Volcano Hybrid.

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When you unbox the Source Turbo from Extract Craft, it's hard not to feel intimidated by how complicated it looks to make your own concentrates. For me, in all honesty, I gave up the blonde hair. I dyed mine blue-black just to make sure I could easily operate this unit. The blonde needed to go away so that a mad scientist could take her place.

In reality such a drastic makeover wasn't necessary to operate this baby. It's actually a very simple process, the machine itself. What you need most is patience and the ability to follow instructions (for all the steps!) before and after using the Source.

At the time of this writing, I have only made shatter and pull n' snap. I have not tried Jar Tech yet to make EHO (Ethanol Hash Oil) or edibles. This is the part that still intimidates me just a hair.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Reclaims ethanol
  • Makes smokables and edibles
  • Price

Cons:

  • Process requires patience
  • Ethanol required isn't legal in all states (check your local laws)
  • Ethanol is expensive
  • Loud

In A Nutshell:

Patience is something this Squirrel lacks almost completely. At the age of 10 I unwrapped all my Christmas presents and rewrapped them. Nobody was the wiser until I confessed many years after. Now nobody wraps my presents. The best I can hope for in the way of wrapping is the shipping box.

While waiting for your Source Turbo to arrive you have to watch and read all the documentation, maybe several times. Take lots of notes and make a "Flight check list" for all the steps you will need to take in prep, extraction and post processing of oil.

Here are a few helpful links:

All the steps might seem intimidating and they are, until you do it the first time. Then you are wondering why this all seemed so complicated in the beginning. In my case it's probably because I barely passed Chemistry in high school, probably due to the fact I was smoking weed. So it's a bit ironic that weed is to blame in rekindling my interest in the subject I failed to excel in so many moons ago.

After my 3rd batch of making the THC oil with my Source I don't need my check list anymore. Everything is pretty simple. The only tricky part that I am still trying to master is when to actually end my process. Getting that sweet spot for the oil takes time and experience to get it right.

If you have the right friends perhaps you can get trim or shake to experiment with until you get the hang of making your shatter. The only downfall with using trim verses bud is that it tends to hold onto more of the ethanol during the wash portion. At least that was my experience. For my second attempt at washing trim I was able to get more ethanol out by letting the mason jar sit longer upside down in the measuring cup, for almost an additional 1 1/4 cups.

For this review I am going to focus more on the machine use verses the whole process. A detailed account of the steps, from prewash to finish with journal of my first few sessions visit my personal reviews site, Racky's Reviews

Extract Craft was out of their buchner filter and flask so I had to order on Amazon. Personally, this is a must have as it really speeds up the process with the Source's vacuum assist and gets your wash clean. Some people use mason jars with coffee filters to do their filtering with patience and success too.

The hose that came with my Amazon flask was horrible. I needed to be a descendant of Kâli to use the vacuum assist on the Source with this rigid short tubing. I couldn't find anything local that worked either. So the first two washes I relied on gravity to filter my "tincture".

After much frustration at gravity intentionally deciding to move much slower under my watchful impatient gaze, I started plotting ideas to make my own vacuum hose. For once being on oxygen had it's perks. With my "no crush" green tubing, a swivel O2 male connector and racers tape *aka duct tape* I made an ugly but amazingly efficient vacuum hose. What took hours with gravity now only took a fraction of the time. The vacuum assist on the Source is easy to use and works great.

Now I was ready to use the Source. First set altitude, which is super easy. Hold the green button for 10 full seconds. Click out your elevation at 1 click per 1000FT. If at 300FT round up to 1k. Yes, their rounding rules are weird.

The written instructions are slightly different from the video. I think someone may have been smoking some weed when they wrote them out. Per video you hold for 4 full seconds to start turbo mode. Unit will give 2 slow flashes. To stop press button once. Unit will give you 3 *not 2* quick flashes.

Use a timer because the Source does not fully shut off at the end of the 120 min cycle. The fan still runs so you might not realize your session ended. On turbo mode, wash filled to Fill Line, it took about 2 hrs and 45 min to get my oil to the consistency I wanted. The last 30 minutes watch carefully, checking every 5-10 minutes. 

Their app is another great way to monitor your time too. This app has to be the most fool proof software I have ever used. It automatically connected to my Source without me having to push anything on the unit.

This wonderful little machine is loud. I think I would hesitate to use this in an apartment. Especially if female. When the pump kicks on, it's pretty loud and who knows what dirty images that might conjure in your neighbors heads. They might get the wrong idea on why you are so happy all the time! Oh my!

However, if you like distillate and other concentrates you NEED this unit. What better way to get the flower and flavors in the concentrates you love than make your own? Plus you know what all is in your concentrates. You can even add additional terps with companies like TrueTerpenes line of products. Custom blended and super yummy.

The unit really is "So Easy A Squirrel Can Do It." It consists of one button and one screw "knob," not much you can screw up there. The prep and post process are a little more complicated but if you visit the links above and familiarize yourself with all the steps, it really isn't that hard. Make sure to make use of their FaceBook Group too. There is a huge wealth of knowledge there with very friendly and helpful users. 

If you grow your own flower and have the money I would highly suggest getting the ETOH Pro, although there is something very therapeutic about doing the smaller batches in the Source. It helps to get my fluffy biscuit up and moving about. 

This unit due to it's simple, quality design and ease of use earns it a Wacky Racky Seal of Approval.

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CannaSaver Blog

Lookah Ice Cream Brings On the Toast

Posted by CANNASaver on Thursday, 02 December 2021 in Wacky Racky

Lookah really has cornered the market on smoking for dummies. If you want to dab, they have their Seahorse Pro for dummies. Now they've added a dry herb vaporizer called Ice Cream.

First off, let me tell you, this dummy is apparently blue-purple color blind. Factory preset is Half Baked when I thought it was set to Lightly Toasted. It only took me 10 test sessions to figure out why my eyeballs kept escaping their sockets. Or why my nose and lips had temporarily vacated my face.

I gave the Ice Cream to my two toughest vaporizer critics to test. Both Hubby and Thing 1 weren’t quite as riveted. "This still isn't the same as smoking a pipe," they both said.

Here I was, sitting completely blasted, and these two were acting like pipe snobs. If I hadn't been locked to the couch I probably would've bonked them in the heads with my rubber chicken. So I shot them with laser eyes instead and just shook my head.

Once my brain processed a retort I piped up and challenged, "Next time let me crank the heat up to Fully Baked, this is just Lightly Toaaassted. Oh shit, no it's not! No wonder my face has been misplaced, this was Half Baked!"

So for their next session I set it to Fully Baked (white light) and handed it over. Needless to say Thing 1 doesn't want to give my Ice Cream back now. To him it hit just like his pipe without as many coughing fits. He is in love!

Even old-school hubby said, "That's the closest I've seen a vaporizer get to a pipe." And while that may not seem like a glowing recommendation, it truly is, coming from that old man.

Pros:
Easy to use
Easy to change heat setting
Cleaning mouthpiece is easy
Unit outer heat
Price

Cons:
Battery doesn't last long (3 - 4 min sessions on one charge)
Cleaning oven concerns
Clumsy loading

In a Nutshell:
I have mixed feelings about this vaporizer. I love the overall use. Fill it, turn it on, select temp. When it vibrates, start hitting it until it vibrates to turn off. No holding down any buttons or trying to figure out when to start hitting it.

Loading is a little clumsy and it's hard to tell how full it is. Just use a rolling tray to catch any spillage as you fill the oven. Or use an old medicine bottle to dump herb in. I prefer the medicine bottle versus the pinch method.

I was impressed by how quickly this vaporizer reached its set temp. This unit also stays a lot cooler than most I have tested. Even after a few back-to-back sessions with the family.

Changing temperatures is super easy too. Just click the power button once. Click again to go up one more. I start my session on green to get all the wonderful tasting terps. Then after about 90 seconds I change it to purple for that half baked pain relief setting. No complications whatsoever.

My concern is over the cleaning. There is no way to get into the chamber to really clean it between uses or to give it a really good one every other day. So I worry about tar build-up over time clogging up the oven. Personally I clean the oven with an alcohol Q-tip every evening or as needed.

Getting the spent herb out of the oven with the pick tool is a little challenging too. The floating screen in the oven is a little weird to work around. It can sometimes flip the spent herb into what I assume is the heating element? So I end up blowing it out, which sometimes gets spent herb all over! Not fun!

The mouthpiece also has a screen under the plug cap. This screen is removable, while the one on the oven is not.

The mouthpiece screen is probably where most of the tar will land, and thankfully, it’s super easy to clean. I just wish Lookah would've included some replacement screens in the box. Make sure to clean the plug, screen and mouthpiece often (daily or every-other-day depending on how often you use it). It will otherwise clog with tar and some herb that escapes the oven chamber.

The battery doesn't last long. I am sure the number of sessions one can get on a charge also depends on what heat setting you choose. On the highest (White - Fully Baked) it is 3 full sessions. Charge time is 2-2.5 hours. This is not a terrible performance if using solo. 

You need to remember this isn't a Pax or DaVinci IQ2--and it costs a fraction of the price. Comparably, battery life on the DaVinci is phenomenal for instance, and its many features like  easy dosing and sleek app constitute the higher value.

However, at just $80, the Lookah Ice Cream won't break the bank like those more advanced units. This is a sure-fire roast perfect for anyone whether new to medical or recreational cannabis or a seasoned veteran.

Drawbacks were otherwise insignificant. I was hoping the name Ice Cream meant the vape would somehow be cooler than normal but it really wasn't. Overall the unit was cooler (even the mouthpiece) than most others, and that's a huge plus. The manual also suggests the light will turn from red to green when fully charged. My light turns blue. No, not blue-green color-blind either. When you cycle the temperatures note how green the green light is. Nope, my fully charged light is blue. 

What I did find wonderfully surprising about this vaporizer was the taste. Comparing terp taste between the DaVinci and Ice Cream, hands down, Ice Cream is the winner here.

Due to price and ease of use I still give this unit 5 out of 5 stars. It doesn't make the wow list or get the Wacky Racky seal of approval, but it gets pretty darn close.
 

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CannaSaver Blog

The Oura Portable Dab Rig: Sleek but Sloppy

Posted by CANNASaver on Thursday, 07 October 2021 in Wacky Racky

Oura Portable Dab Rig in a flashy green

I originally picked up the Oura Portable Dab Rig from our local smoke shop a while ago. It was my first smoke toy and product to review. I liked it because it looked like it was so easy even a crazy Squirrel could use it. Boy was I wrong!

The smoke shop owner walked me through how to use it. How to dissemble it (which seemed pretty easy) and clean it. It all appeared too good to be true.

Pros:

  • Cool Design
  • Water Chamber
  • Size
  • Lifetime Warranty ("All Parts")

Cons:

  • Touch Sensor "Button"
  • Replacement Coils/Atomizer
  • Hard To Clean

In A Nutshell

I will admit, the first few weeks I had this unit, when I wrote my original review, I really loved it. It wasn't wow worthy but it did get 4 out of 5 stars. Then reality hit when my first coil stopped working and I had to buy a replacement.

The first time it happened I was a little miffed that it cost $39.95 plus shipping to replace. Then when another stopped working 30 days later, no matter how much I cleaned the quartz crystal cup, it frankly bristled my fur! The third time, well , let me just say this, there hasn't been a fourth time. This unit has been sitting gathering dust ever since. With an unused coil sitting next to it.

The one "button" control seems like a great, easy idea but it can be a bit of a learning curve. The "button" is a touch sensor that tended to be a little on the fickle side for me. For whatever reason my thumb worked better than other fingers. I think I prefer more traditional buttons that you can feel work.

It's 5 touches to turn on and off. 3 touches to change temperatures (3 times for each change to cycle through the various temps) and 2 touches to start or stop a 60 sec session. Unit will automatically shut off after 4 minutes which is a nice feature because I almost always forgot to shut it off manually.

The way you hold this vape unit it is easy to accidentally end a session. Usually that was the only time the touch sensor consistently worked, when I didn't want it to.

The manual could use some improvement too. Nothing in the manual documents that when this unit starts flashing, that's indicating an active session is in process. When it started flashing on me I assumed I broke the dang thing and it was spazzing some sort of warning. Usually flashing means error! Not with Oura, flashing means working, go figure!

There is conflicting information on what can be used in vaporizer. Smoke shop and product reviews say only concentrates like wax, crumble, shatter or pull-n-snap. Website from manufacturer says concentrates and oils. Email response from customer service was extremely fast: "the Oura works with ALL concentrates".

The hole in the glass needs to line up hole in the base. There are no markings on the glass that helps you line up these holes or to check to make sure they are still aligned correctly, if the glass accidentally gets turned (which is easy to do).

It comes with ceramic and glass bowls. There is no documentation on why the two different bowls. I think it's just a personal preference on which you like to use. I know my Lookah Seahorse *which I LOVE and still use a year later, with only ONE coil replacement* offer both too.

The Oura's Bowl

Included is a carrying pouch, usb charger and wall plug. This unit seems to last a long time on a single charge but it also takes a long time to recharge it. I was told to let the battery completely drain before recharging the unit, so I don't keep it plugged in between usage. The company stands behind a lifetime warranty for all parts, which doesn't include their expensive coils.

This could honestly be a great product if it was redesigned. The reason I think the coils burn out fast is the atomizer top doesn't really snuggly fit over the crystal basket. This allows for concentrate to get on the outside of the basket which then gets to the coil. Then when it gets to the coil the basket is almost superglued to the it.

No matter how much I cleaned it between usage I could not prevent this from happening. It didn't mean squat how careful I was putting my dabs into the quartz either, it still go onto the coil. I finally gave up and that's when I found the Lookah Seahorse--and I haven't looked back. Two out of five stars, Oura.

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I don't even know where to begin with this review. I am that in LOVE with this unit.

This is beyond "so easy a Squirrel can do it". Heck, even a Sloth could handle it just as easily too. The set up, processing and even the clean up is simple, fast and easy to do. No worries about finding the clean-up chore to be such an ordeal that your brain switches to procrastination mode.

Pros:

  • Easy to use - Temp and time presets is what I used for all of my tincture batches.
  • Clean up takes under 5 minutes.
  • Doesn't take up a lot of counter space.
  • Lots of color choices.
  • A ton of accessories you can buy to make edibles (which I did not purchase, yet)

Cons:

  • Leaks a little while infusing and when you release the reservoir to clean.
  • Marijuana smell is present, not as bad as it would be with other methods, but you can still smell it.
  • Nothing to compress all the oil out of the flower.

Why You NEED This Machine:

I think we can all agree, while smoking herb has a lot of benefits, it also has some health risks too. Especially if you are like me and have COPD. With smoking the relief is instant and strain-specific. This isn't the case with most edibles, tablets or tinctures you buy pre-made.

Frankly when I started thinking about what products I wanted to review, I really had my doubts about tinctures. I had tried tinctures from several of my dispensaries and the results were too unpredictable. So I gave up and switched to dry-herb vaping instead.

Honestly I almost lost hope at doing any edibles at all.

I knew one of the biggest problems with dispensary-purchased tinctures is that they weren't typically strain-specific. For whatever reason most of them tasted absolutely horrible as well. There also seemed to be differences in the amount of time it would take for the effects to kick in per batch, probably due to the non-specific strains used.

With the Levo you are in control of what strains you put in. For me, the only time I might make tinctures that are not strain specific would be when using the stock of kief that I've been carefully saving. Honestly, I'm torn on whether to use my kief this way, totally conflicted. I love combining my flower, concentrate and kief in my DaVinci stainless steel .3g pods when I need extra pain relief. It's my lazy Squirrel "moonrocks" (technically I guess I should call them "moonpods").

After trying strain-specific tinctures I am completely and totally sold on the idea of using tinctures over smoke.

In the last 3 days I have used my vaporizer only once. It was only because I needed immediate relief verses 10-20 minutes of waiting for a tincture to kick in.

In A Nutshell:

The Levo, IMHO is a must have for any cannabis user.  Having strain-specific tinctures is extremely beneficial since different strains treat different problems. Different strains also have different onset times. If a strain is a creeper when smoked, it will most likely be a creeper in a tincture as well.

You can use different oils depending on your taste preference. You can even use butter if you want to bake edibles instead of making just tinctures. Just make sure if you are making tinctures, you don't buy the wrong oil.

I sent my son, Thing 1 out to the store to get coconut oil and he came back with organic raw coconut oil, which was solid. It will turn liquid if stored above 76°. What you need to buy if making tinctures is fractionated coconut oil. I prefer this oil because it doesn't have much taste. Other oils people recommend (but I haven't tried yet) are sunflower and hemp oil.

Personally, I think hemp oil would make it taste more suitable for a goat--but that's just me--while Sunflower would probably add pleasant taste to the tinctures. A nice roasted flavor that might help mask the weed taste.

I would also suggest getting some flavor extracts and play with your tincture taste. Just remember this will change the strength of your tinctures just a tad depending on how much flavoring you add to your mix. Which I add after the infusion process.

Tested Strains:

For this review I made two different tinctures. First I used Chocolatina because that is what our dispensary had in shake. Shake is cheaper than flower and I was afraid that I would honestly screw up my first batch. I also made sure to get a strain I wouldn't weep over screwing up. I am not a sativa lover so the fact the dispensary only had this strain available as shake was fine with me.

This strain is a bit of a creeper for me when I have smoked it in the past. It effected me the same way as a tincture too. Silly Squirrel here decided to take another dose instead of patiently waiting. Needless to say, it was an entertaining evening for all, well for me anyways.

Once I realized this made tinctures Squirrel-proof, I grabbed my beloved Pop Rocks strain and went to work. 3 hours later, liquid gold was ready for consuming.

Tincture Details:

I went ahead and procured some fractionated coconut oil. I also wanted my tinctures to be strong so I adjusted my recipe accordingly. The more oil you use the less THC in your dose.

I like doing batches of 5g. I believe the flower container can hold up to 10g. For 5g of flower I used 1/4 cup of Coconut oil.

First process is to decarb. You do not put your oil in the reservoir yet. This is a 30 minute process with an added 10 minute "preheat."

After you hear the beep, it's time to add the oil and switch to infuse. This is a 2-hour process. Keep a small bowl under the spout in case of oil leakage--which my unit had a little issue with. One 1/2 cup of oil (8 Tbsp) produces just over 6 Tbsp of tincture:

  • My Chocolatina at 25% THC produced a Tincture with 630mg of THC (1Tbsp ≈ 104mg)
  • 5g of Pop Rocks at 26% THC produced a Tincture with 655mg of THC. (1Tbsp ≈ 108mg)

To figure out your dosage you don't have to be good with math. All you need to do is download a wonderful app from Sugar Leaf Media called THC Calculator. This is available on Android and iPhone. I was honestly debating whether to share this app information or not. I really just wanted ya'll to assume that I am incredibly smart and good with math. But my conscience got the better of me.

Would I Change Anything:

Two things. I would add a weed press to squeeze all the oil out of the flower.

I had a hard time finding the hole to get the flexible reservoir "straw" inserted so the reservoir could snap into place. This though could honestly just be me getting old, IDK?

Let me end in saying this, the last 3 days my stomach has been the happiest, warmest tummy ever. I don't know if it's the combination of the coconut oil and THC that is helping to coat and soothe? But I have not had this level of stomach pain relief ever. 

The Levo Oil Cannabutter Machine, hands down, earns the very rare, very exceptional Wacky Racky seal of approval

*Photos used with permission by LEVO. Find more reviews at wackyracky.com

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Both the Smoke Trap and Smoke Buddy are designed and sold as a way to discreetly smoke weed. While they both can cut down on the smell from exhaling the smoke, you still get the smell from lighting up the marijuana itself.
 
That said, If you are looking for a way to keep your smoking herb a "shameful dirty little secret," these devices are not what you need.
 

Pros:

Helps reduce, not eliminate second-hand smoke.
Inexpensive: 

  •    SmokeBuddy - $24.95- $26.95
  •    SmokeTrap - Regular $29.95 but often on sale for $19.95

Cons:
Hard to seal
Doesn't stop the smell of weed coming from your bowl.
Doesn't always eliminate all smoke smell coming from your mouth either.
 
In A Nutshell:
What these devices do help prevent is a lot of second-hand smoke from bothering others. After all second-hand smoke--to non-smokers--bites biscuit! It smells bad to them and irritates their noses and even their lungs. If you want to be considerate to your non-smoking friends and family, this might be just the thing for you.
 
Well that is, if you don't have any facial hair. While I had no problem getting a good seal, the same cannot be said for those in my family who are "extra furry". Smoke leaked out no matter how much they slowed their exhale. Or how hard I jammed it into their face, as sure they just weren't getting a good seal.
 
These units are completely worthless if you go on a coughing fit. Yeah, you try keeping that seal while coughing! If you're an old Squirrel girl like me, coughing fits are bad enough. Now try keeping your legs tightly crossed and mouth sealed on one of these gadgets while coughing! That takes concentration and coordination; the first I possess but the latter I do not!
 
If you are trying to smoke like a Secret Squirrel you want to remove all evidence of smoke, not just second-hand smoke. This is probably more suited for machines like Molekule or EnviroKlenz. While I haven't tested either of these units, I do hope to in the near future.
 
I was really stoked about the Smoke Trap, which I will admit was better than the Smoke Buddy. But one thing that really annoyed the nut out of me was the hype about the reusable plastic.

 
On Twitter and Instagram postings raved about how there was more reusable plastic (less plastic waste) because of the smaller filter. Based on the design and hype I thought the filter was the end cap, which is just a cap, that serves what purpose? I haven't a clue. Maybe just to trick us?
 
In all reality the filter part of the Smoke Trap that has to be tossed is just slightly smaller than the Smoke Buddy. It's not like the filter snaps out of the body, which would've been cool. In reality the only parts that are reusable are the tiny end cap and rubber mouthpiece.
 
Honestly if I was Smoke Trap, I would drop all the boasting about less plastic waste. I would focus on how the mouthpiece is way better. It is more comfortable and does provide a better seal than its hard plastic competitors. Trying to act like this is a more environmentally-friendly filter, but clearly failing to demonstrate it, just rubs people the wrong way.
 
I give these products 3 out of 5.
 

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Months ago I sat down to pen a musing called "Grinder Gate" but I never finished it. It involved people selling resin grinders as this was a hot topic on several social media platforms. Those raising awareness about problems with resin grinders got me looking at all the grinders I had and had been using, none of which were resin grinders.

At the time they were this cool rainbow-colored metal grinders with kief collectors. As I inspected the metal grinders I noticed that the concerns people were raising regarding the resin ones should be of concern with metal ones too, and that is chipping. Metal or plastic shavings ending up in our herb!

So I started looking around at other grinders and stumbled upon Herb Saver (herbsaverusa.com) grinders/storage containers. Made with “medical grade plastic,” I’m not sure what that exactly means but it sounded like it would be extremely durable and not prone to plastic shavings ending up in your smoke.

 
Pros:
Cool colors- even glow in the dark
Holds a lot of herb
Deep well kief collector
Inexpensive
Writeable
 
Cons:
Grinding pegs not as durable as I had hoped
 
In A Nutshell:
I really have mixed feelings. As far as being grinders they are okay, if you like your herb coarsely ground. They do a great job at separating and collecting the kief, which is always a huge plus. I love that it can hold a lot of herb, more than most grinders. My best guess is about 6 grams of ground herb can be stored in the storage well. 

I have about 10 of these, and I use a Sharpie marker to write the name of the strain inside the grinder, right on the lid. Even though it's a permanent marker, some paper towel soaked with alcohol wipes it right off when you change strains. That way you don't forget what’s in your grinder. I tried remembering based on color but would always forget what was in which herb saver. I guess that happens when you smoke.

After several months of use you can clearly see wear on the pegs. Makes me wonder how much microscopic shavings get into the herb. Having messed up lungs--where I shouldn't even be smoking--at all makes me a little more cautious of such things.

In all actuality, probably the safest way to grind herb is with your fingers but sometimes that can be pretty tedious. Plus, not efficient at collecting that beloved kief. So what do you do?

The cost for these grinders are 14.99-15.99 so replacing them often--once you start seeing signs of wear--isn't terribly expensive. 

However, I have one suggestion for Herb Saver: Since the grinder pieces are separate from the storage well, perhaps selling replacement grinder pieces could be beneficial and environmentally conservative? That way there is less plastic waste from tossing the old grinders? Plus folks could mix and match tops to bottoms if they wanted. Personally I think the mixing and matching could be really fun and cool too. 

I do wish the grinders ground the herb better, but I like mine finer because my Davinci IQ pods work better with a finer ground. I had hoped the grinder pegs were more durable, but it's plastic--not Duranium, Cortosis, Mithril or my personal favorite, Octiron. So honestly, should I be surprised that plastic needs replacing after several months of intense use? Nope, not really.

If Herb Saver sold replacement grinder pieces I think this product might get a 5 out of 5, heck maybe even my seal of approval. But as they’re sold right now, it’s a solid 4.
 

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DaVinci IQ2: Mostly Love at First Hit

DaVinci IQ2: Mostly Love at First Hit

Posted by CANNASaver on Tuesday, 13 July 2021 in Wacky Racky

I am always looking for products that 1. are so easy a squirrel can do it,  and 2. make getting high easier on the ol' lungs. I had been hearing good things about the DaVinci IQ2 so picked one up at my local smoke shop. This unit retails for $295.00, but there is always some sort of special going on, reducing the price by 10-20% on the company's website.

Pros

  • Sturdy brushed metal
  • App- has great potential
  • Different customizable heat paths
  • Lots of accessories
  • Great points/loyalty program
  • Fast Shipping
  • 10 yr Warranty

Cons

  • App - while it's also a pro, this baby has some serious bugs (and it's only available for Android).
  • Can get hot *duh!*
  • Boxing/packaging: Frustrating and injurious
  • Accessories: No package/kits for the IQ2 like their Miqro

Unboxing: You apparently need to be Leonardo himself to completely unbox this unit. I was utterly frustrated by the lack of detailed instructions or charging cable. That frustration was quickly replaced by sheer horror when I found the hidden compartment behind the vaporizer, not the drawer under the unit.

Ease of Use: I like products that are so easy even a Squirrel can do it. This is not one of them, well not at first. Even after finding the detailed instruction manual I was extremely confused. Thank gawd for Youtube! However this only partially alleviated my fevered brain as my frustration grew. Many videos later several of my questions still went unanswered. How do you know when to hit it? How do you know when to stop hitting it? How often do you hit it or does that even matter? Let me give you a mental picture of the first time I used this device. Visualize: At the bottom of a milkshake is a thick layer of hot fudge oreo crumble. Now imagine really, and I mean really, wanting to get to the bottom of that milkshake right now, brain-freeze be damned! Needless to say, I got blasted as a result!

The Vape: This unit produces mind blowing flavor! Even though the company makes a HydroTube *which was out of stock when I ordered my unit and still is as of 5-14-21* the smoke was pretty darn cool and easy on the throat and lungs. The strain I tried in it usually sends me on coughing fits. It's usually really rough on the throat as well. Well not with the IQ2! No coughing at all. No sore throat following smoking either. It was just flavor and vape.

The App: The app does bring this device closer to being "so easy even a Squirrel can do it" but it has a lot of pesky bugs running about it's software. But rest easy there are "easish" workarounds.

Bluetooth Glitch: I always disconnect my IQ2 from the Bluetooth after use to conserve battery of phone and IQ2. If you don't do a "hard close" of the app after use, it will have a brain fart and refuse to connect to your device when you try to use it again. However after about every 4th or 5th session, the app fails to connect to the device period. It's a real PITA when this happens but the fix is "simplish". Pop the battery door open and close it again. Now I hate this battery door because it isn't easy to close and keep closed. So once you finally get it closed you dread popping it open to reset the units brain. *With use, the battery door over time does seem to close easier.*

Heat Paths: I LOVE the app because you can set heat paths. This allows you to start at a lower heat to really appreciate the flavor of the flower and slowly build to a higher temp during the 8 minute session. These paths are all completely customizable too. Just make sure you preselect which heat path you wish to use before hitting "setup". To access this, hit dashboard then in the right hand corner is a lightbulb. This is where your heat paths are located. I would appreciate it if the saved strain data would record and save the heat paths you use. Sadly you have to select your desired heat path before hitting "set up" otherwise it will use an "auto path".

Setup: After selecting your heat path click "setup". Here you add strain name, type, THC and CBD %, target amount of both THC and CBD *this can be left blank*, amount loaded and whether it's a new bowl.

Target THC: Setting a target THC dose you can consume a more precise *estimated* dose per session. Sadly this feature currently works with a new bowl. So if you don't use the dosage pod or spacers and need 2 other sessions to consume your flower, you will not have this THC dosage tracking available. The manual claims this should work with each session but it doesn't. A work around for a second session is to stir your flower *this is what I do* and repack it. Then you have to trick the app by slightly changing the THC percentage. I usually just add a .1 or .2 to the app data for THC amount. For example if I have GMO Cookies loaded and the app has 28% as saved THC amount, I will change it to 28.1% and select new bowl.

Estimated THC Dose Glitch: While I love the estimated THC dosing *different than "Target THC/CBD dose"*, there is a bug with this too. To calculate the THC amount you enter in the name of the strain, what kind it is, THC and CBD percentage and how much you are putting in the oven. This information gets saved for you but the third time you select that same strain, even as a new bowl, it cannot/will not, record your THC dose. Your only work around it, is to create a new entry like "Pound Cake 2" or change the THC % which of course will throw off your estimated dosage a tad. Yep, I love the app that much. I am willing to deal with its erratic, frustrating nature. See why it was on both my pros and cons list? Hopefully the developers will whip out some Raid and get those damn bugs out soon. 

Packaging: Packaging while cool looking still has me a little pissy. I wish companies would box their products in cool branded reusable cases instead of useless cardboard boxes, no matter how cool and confusing those boxes are. Products like the IQ2 come with a lot of extras so having a nice hemp case/holster to carry everything would be really nice. I would also suggest package deals for the IQ2 like offered with the Miqro. I hate nickel and dime shit. Have package deals and à la carte too. I would also suggest buying spacers when you order your unit. The spacers packaging was extremely bad. It took off half my thumb nail *I do not jest either* trying to open the damn thing. I had to even cancel dinner because we were going to have crab legs that night. Crab legs with Old Bay and a new flesh wound aka container battle-scar, would not have been pleasant!

Tip: Is Your Load Spent? When I first started using this vape I did notice that while the app would think my THC load was spent, when dumping it out it didn't look like it was. So I emailed customer service asking how do you know when a load is spent? Their tech support staff have been wonderfully fast and knowledgeable, as this was not the first time I contacted them. Their reply:"when it starts to taste like burnt popcorn." Honestly, I found during the last three weeks this is a great and accurate way to tell. This unit fails every so slightly from earning the WR Seal Of Approval. Only because it does have a bit of a learning curve and the app is buggy.

Check out their website here.

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