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Buddha Grass

Posted by CANNASaver on Monday, 23 May 2022 in Dispatches from the Highlands

Review of Buddha Grass

By W. Goodwin

We arise in the predawn darkness fearing another disappointment. Are the clouds of the previous three days still blocking the giant peaks from our hungry eyes? Barefoot, we cross the dirt floor of the typical Nepali ‘guest house’ and step out into the cold air… Not a cloud in the blue-black sky! The astonishing mass of 26,795-foot Dhaulagiri looms over us, her eastern face already radiant in the sun. Shivering, we turn around and stare at the ragged silhouette of the Annapurna massif. Between the two giant mountains and in the gorge far below us, the Kali Gandaki River roars through its gorge.

We hurry back inside, boot-up and stow our stuff. Packs once again on our backs, we hit the still-dark trail slugging water and scarfing down granola bars.

We are hiking the steep sides of the planet’s deepest river gorge on a footpath connecting Nepal and Tibet. We never know what we will see next on the trail: a pushy crowd of brown yaks, a herd of long-haired goats, barefoot porters with filing cabinets on their backs, women hauling thirty-kilo bundles of wood, robed monks chanting as they trek, itinerant sadhus with flashing eyes…

We finally emerge from the Kali Gandaki gorge into the unfiltered light of the high Tibetan plateau. Being in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, the terrain spreading out before us is brown and deforested, the only green being scattered rice terraces. We have entered the ancient and secretive province of Mustang.

Around mid-afternoon, two saffron-robed monks approach us on the trail. They are accompanied by an unusual honey-brown yak carrying four large woven bags on its back. The monks stop and attempt to speak with us. They know about four words of English and we know not a single word of whatever language they speak. After fruitless attempts to understand each another, one of the monks reaches into a bag on the yak’s back and extracts what looks like a dried-out, cornhusk-covered tamale wrapped tightly with a thin vine.

A twinkle in his eye, the monk removes the vine from the dehydrated ‘tamale’ and carefully peels back the husk to expose a core of desiccated plant material. To my eye it looks like very old marijuana. With a serious, almost formal look on his face, the monk hands the ‘tamale’ to me. My trail mate and I peer closely at it. Greyish in color, it looks like a few cannabis tops have been crushed together, stems, seeds and all, and dried for years. Breaking the bundle open a little, I sniff it… vague scent of dust is all I get. It is so compressed and dried-out I cannot separate out a single stem. It was the least promising cannabis I have ever seen.

The monks manage to convey they would like to sell us some. Their price is so low we buy a couple of the super-desiccated ‘tamales’ just to be good sports. The monks jabber at us and smile through missing teeth, we jabber at them and smile back. Then we part ways.

As they disappear behind us, I almost throw the cornhusk-wrapped junk into a ditch, but looking around at the spectacular high-altitude vistas surrounding us, I decide to hold onto the ‘tamales’ a little longer.

Later that day we decide to try the Buddha Grass, a name I made up on the spot (literally two miles high) for a strain I have never seen listed anywhere, not even on Cannapages. I suspected it might be good for a laugh and probably a lot of coughing, but not much more.

I pry open one of the ‘tamales’ and pull back the husk. I break off a nub and crumble the dusty material between my fingers. I stuff it into our pipe and fire it up. Each of us takes a hit. It is surprisingly smooth but tasteless. I hold the smoke in my lungs for ten seconds and just as I exhale, hallucinations begin swarming my brain. I fall into some sort of waking dream where the most bizarre things occur…

Hours later I return to reality. I look around and discover I am inside a cave cut into a low cliff. My buddy is rolled up against a wall. Hopefully he is still alive. An almost naked man sits on his haunches watching us. Later after my buddy awakens we learn this man found us wandering and incoherent. We are, apparently, in his home.

To this day, that Buddha Grass remains the most hallucinatory, mind-bending cannabis I have ever smoked. We tried without success to find more. Maybe it was the language barrier, or perhaps those monks were the only people on the planet with a stash of that innocent-looking stuff, but for whatever reason, those ‘tamales’ were the only Buddha Grass I ever tasted.   

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CannaSaver Blog

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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Cannabis legislature continues to take shape from California to New York and down to Florida, and even into Puerto Rico where Medical Marijuana was recently made legal.  As more and more states legalize the herb, patients and recreational users are finding better ways to consume the “drug”.  Vaping is currently the trendiest way to consume cannabis because it is discreet, (virtually no smell) and because vaping is viewed as healthy compared to traditional combustion methods. 

 When users vape cannabis, the cannabis is typically in an oil form.  The oil has been extracted from the raw plant material using a hydrocarbon like Butane, or liquid Carbon Dioxide.  Once the raw oil has been extracted, it must go through a refinement process to get the oil to the proper viscosity.  Once, the oil has been refined, it is put into a cartridge or a Tank which is then screwed into a battery.  From there, the user can simply push a button and the oil is heated to a point where it begins to vaporize as the user inhales. 

 There are lots of vapes to choose from, but one of our favorites is the Jet Vaporizer Pen by Subtle Escape.  It's the first mobile, compact, powerful, all-purpose, reusable Jet vapor diffuser to hit the market and has no buttons to push.  The Jet is draw activated, which means the user only needs to inhale and the battery activates.  The battery heats the oil up to the proper temperature for a smooth, clean hit each time.  The battery is small but extremely powerful and provides a huge hit for the user, if they are looking for that! 

 The Jet vape pen also lasts a long time on a full charge.  So no need to worry about it running out of batteries while you are out and about.  A full battery will last about 40-80 puffs depending on individual use. 

 Another cool innovation from Subtle Escpape is the slider case called The Flight, with built-in power bank that keeps 2 Jets charged on the go for weeks at a time.  The Flight is a unique carrying case that includes docking station that can hold and charge two Jet batteries at once.  The Flight comes with an LED battery percentage display as well as a micro USB port for charging. 

 The Jet & Flight are full vaporizing systems that are extremely durable and are sure to exceed customer expectations.  These awesome products can be purchased at select locations in the Denver metro area and be sure to check out subtleescape.com for a complete list of retailers carrying these products and offering coupons on CannaSaver.  Vaping cannabis oil is not only better for your lungs, but it won’t get you completely zonked out like smoking a joint or hitting a bong.  It provides for a much clearer head and won’t leave you tired and sleepy.  The Jet by Subtle Escape is the perfect vaporizer for the sophisticated stoner who cares how he smokes, since he is the most interesting stoner in the world.

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