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.
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.