I miss sharing weed

Where were you when puff, puff, pass became puff, puff …  nah, I’m good? 

For me, it was a Saturday, March 21, 2020 to be exact. In Seattle, Washington. I was at the last house party I might ever attend, posted on the back patio with a stranger who had an immaculate ponytail. I lit a stogie mcnogie of some homegrown Durban x Tangie, took a few hits, then passed it to the left, only to receive a, “Hmm … nah, I’m good.”

My world collapsed. The first decree of the Weed Smoker’s Constitution has just been amended, and we didn’t even vote on it. Shit just happened. Not only was I hurt by the rules of weed being changed, but I was also judging myself for not adjusting to them. 

It’s not like the changes aren’t for good reason. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. As I write this, John Hopkins’ COVID-19 dashboard reports nearly 7 million cases in the US and more than 200,000 COVID-19-related deaths. So, it makes sense why people wouldn’t want to put their lips on some stranger’s spit vessel. We now live in a world where people wear hazmat suits to buy groceries, drive-thrus pass your food on a tray like cops feeding Hannibal Lecter, and coffee shop managers might actually slapbox you for not wearing a face mask. Everyone so badly wants to get back to whatever “normal” used to be — before now. Anytime you violate social distancing rules, it feels like you’re resetting the world’s countdown by years.

I miss sharing weed. And so do you — I see it in your eyes (plus the fact that you’re reading this article). The coronavirus has changed everything in the world, and just because weed is essential doesn’t mean we’re untouched. Cannabis cafés have gone out of business, those fancy THC-infused dinners in Los Angeles are on hold, and Oregon dispensaries — where you could stick your nose into the jars — have shifted to a wafting model. 

You can’t even let off a public weed cough without people side-eyeing you like you’re patient zero. 

Even finding new weed is different. When’s the last time someone passed you a jar that made you do two claps and Ric Flair? It’s been a minute since you coughed, “Damn, what’s that?!” huh? COVID-19 stole that from us. We can’t even touch jars, let alone pass along what’s inside of them. Not sharing weed takes away from that feeling of discovering a new Pokémon in the wild. Not to mention, it’s way cheaper to find new weed through smoking with other people than trying every random strain to figure out the few that you love. Real ones know.

In the era of social distancing, fewer face-to-face interactions means fewer opportunities to have a stoney conversation with someone new. It’s not that the art of conversation is dead. You can talk, and to strangers, in person, with a mask and distancing enforced. But with reports that aerosolized COVID-19 particles can remain in the air for up to three hours, the weed conversation game of smoking with a person while y’all chop it up about something weird is in a lockout. No one is standing next to you long or close enough to blow smoke in each other’s faces, and if they are, you’re both silently wondering if it makes y’all assholes. I mean, kinda. 

The dating game is all messed up now too. Not only does the absence of social gatherings force us into the hell of dating apps, you can’t even get off the link-and-smoke anymore. Fam, I hate alcohol (and dating apps). I’ll drink it socially, but if I never had to meet up with a woman over $12 cocktails just to make small talk about work and asking each other “do you like travelling?”, I would be so okay. But I participate in these social norms because, deep down, I’m hoping that she’s radical enough to see this Gelato joint I brought as a better way of connection. That’s gone now — my whole bag is gone. Picture Michael Jordan without the left shoulder fadeaway: that’s Danté Jordan without the, “You wanna just smoke instead?”

“But what about online smoking sessions?” you might point out. Let me tell you something: Online smoke sessions are trash. I’m sorry, but they are. Think about your latest Zoom call with a big group. What was the experience? It’s eight to a dozen people having one conversation. Either no one’s talking, because we don’t have the social queues of knowing when to, or everyone’s talking, because we don’t have the social queues of knowing when not to. And the more people added to the sesh, the harder it is to communicate, ultimately turning your chill time into a virtual panic room. Still, with the heightened risks of spreading the virus, sometimes a bad option like a WIFI smoke sesh is a better option than putting others and yourself at risk, or not seshing at all. 

So, where do I go from here? Like all people with a passion for weed before me, you learn to adapt.

The first time I tried to smoke with friends post-quarantine was a real eye-opener. It was a parking lot post-up where everyone brought Bluetooth speakers, camp chairs, and flow toys. We’d all gone four months without seeing each other, so everyone hugged it out upon greeting. That body-to-body love was needed in a medicinal way. As ice breakers, we exchanged sarcastic remarks about how extreme the world was acting, but when it came time to spark one, the left arm extension was still met with, “Nah, I’m good.” Instead, everyone smoked solo dolos in our own lil’ bubbles. It was a sign that jokes are jokes, but sharing weed is the new character test amongst stoners, and your choice to not adapt speaks volumes.

What are the ethics of sharing weed moving forward? No clue. That really depends on your values when it comes to public health and the culture of weed. In a global pandemic, where almost 1 million total humans have died in relation to a virus that you can spread from just breathing too far, is smoking weed with the homies ever really okay? Again, no clue. Probably not. 

I’ll come clean in saying that I’ve been burning with the people closest to me. As the months of worldwide disease, protests, and wildfires have passed, I’ve started to establish my news normal amidst the chaos, and with that has come a few exceptions. It’s like answering the age old question, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring and why?” I’ve never had a what, only a who; I’m cool on surviving alone. Nowadays, my four to five friends that I know have been masked up, chilling at the crib, and doing hand sanitizer facials on Self-care Sunday, are the only people I see, let alone smoke with, so we feel alright about it. But long gone are the days where anyone close enough to comment on how good my weed smells could hit the blunt. 

I miss the hell out of them.

Featured illustration by David Lozada/Weedmaps 

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The 7 best indica strains

Most people see the word “indica” and think Ambien. For so long we’ve equated the effects of indica cannabis strains to being couch-locked. And while it’s true that some indicas may tuck you in for the night, it’s even truer that you can’t just generalize an entire third of weed plants under one single high. 

There are thousands of indica strains; some may feel relaxed and happy, others may feel drowsy and tired, some even make you feel the complete opposite. It all depends on your body, and knowing your body is knowing that finding the right strains is up to you. Here are seven of the best indicas to get you started.

Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush is a pure indica from the Hindu Kush mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its compact buds usually have a vibrant white shine to them due to the stark coat of trichomes on top of light green flowers. An original landrace strain, Hindu Kush is believed to be one of the first plants to be used for hash.

Hindu Kush terpenes usually hit the nose with a sweet and piney aroma, while the smoke can have sweet, floral, and pine flavors. Effects-wise, most people expect to feel a calm and relaxing cerebral high that pairs great with the ending of a long day on your balcony. Hindu Kush is a great suggestion for anyone seeking a long-lasting euphoric experience.



Northern Lights

Just as old as Hindu Kush is the famous Northern Lights. Its influence on the world of indicas can’t be stated enough. This Afghani descendant is known for having resinous buds and skunky terpenes that fill the room when the plant is cured. You can expect sweet and herbal flavors when you smoke it.

Equally as potent as it is stinky, most consumers report a hard-hitting body high that’ll leave you on stuck mode for the remainder of the evening. If you’re looking to get stoned and run through a sack of gas station snacks, this — or its popular phenotype Northern Lights #5 — may be the one.



Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is that classic purple flower that completely changed the game of weed aesthetics. It’s a cross of Purple Urkle and Bid Bud that first came to life in 2003. Though plenty of purple flowers existed before it, GDP was one of the first to become a household name in weed culture. No budtender hears “purp” without immediately thinking of this strain.

Granddaddy Purple is world famous for its deep purple buds that give off sweet, grapey, earthy terpenes. Picture if you were to buy a bag of grapes and roll them in a blunt, that’s smoking Granddaddy Purple. 



Blueberry

From legendary breeder DJ Short comes DJ Short’s Blueberry, or simply Blueberry, another indica-leaning strain with Afghani (and Thai) genetics. It has compact green buds stacked with an assortment of purple and red-coloring that make it as pretty as it is flavorful. 

As its name suggests, Blueberry smells and tastes like fresh fruit from your neighborhood Farmers Market. Whether consumed as flower or concentrate, those berry terps are shining through. Most consumers feel a relaxed, happy, and slumped-over type of body high after consuming Blueberry. If you’re looking for a night cap that appeals to your taste buds, check out this strain.



9 LB Hammer

9 LB Hammer is a heavy indica that hits your head just like that: a 9 LB hammer. A cross of Gooberry and an OG Kush varietal, 9 LB genetics usually produce dense flowers with dark green colors and a blended coat of white trichomes. On the terpene side of things, you can expect 9 LB hammer to smell earthy and somewhat chemmy, while tasting mostly like the former. 

Where this strain lacks in terps, it more than makes up for it in effects. Most people feel a heavy head high that slowly creeps into the body, causing you to starfish in bed for the next couple of hours. 

Personally speaking, 9 LB hammer doesn’t make me sleepy, but it does produce a super duper stone that makes me want to never move again.



Forbidden Fruit

For the last fruity suggestion, it was a toss up between Grape Ape or Forbidden Fruit. And I had to go with Forbidden Fruit for three reasons: 

  1. It’s one of the most beautiful cannabis flowers on the planet. 
  2. The terpenes are usually pretty consistent no matter who grows it. 
  3. Last week I smoked it with my grandma and she was blown away by how good it tasted.

Forbidden Fruit was born by crossing Cherry Pie with Tangie. The result is a staunchly purple flower, covered in a flurry of orange hairs, that gives off an extremely tropical guava-like aroma. When consumed, it’ll taste like you’re smoking a bowl of fruit cocktail, and the effects are much lighter than people associate with indicas and purple strains. Instead of sleepy and down, you’ll feel a relaxing euphoria that makes everything a little funnier.



G-13

You can’t talk about indica cannabis strains and not mention the lochness monster of the weed world: G-13. 

Legend has it that G-13, or Government Indica Strain 13, was a U.S. Government experiment where the intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, etc.) collected all of the “best” and “most potent” indicas from all over the world, then bred them together to create the Megazord of all cannabis strains. The alleged reason we can all go to a dispensary and purchase this super secret government mission of a strain is because some disgruntled government agent stole a cut of the plant and leaked it to the public. Chances are that this story is not true, but it’s okay to believe it anyway.

What is true is that G-13 will absolutely knock your socks off. Regardless of how you consume it, both G-13 flower and oil usually makes people feel hungry, relaxed, and sleepy, i.e. stoned out of their minds. Its intense high might not put you to bed, but it will make you stare off into space for the next few hours as you wonder why some people don’t have middle names.

Find thousands of strains on Weedmaps


Featured image by Dre Hudson/Weedmaps

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5 weed products Tommy Chong can’t live without

Tommy Chong exceeds the status of cannabis celebrity. Though he and Cheech were technically the stoner celebs, rising to international stardom in the 1970s by pioneering the genre with their Cheech and Chong franchise, they’ve since surpassed such worldly roles. 

50 years later, Chong functions more as a cultural monolith in the weed world and beyond. Like Jesus, Santa Claus, or Jerry Garcia, the mere mention of his name evokes something magical, mythical, and in his case, super stoned. This kind of ascension can only be achieved through a lifetime of hard work, good vibes, and above all else, being a cool fucking dude.

In addition to his Tommy Chong’s line of tinctures, sublingual strips, energy potions, and more, he’s slated to pair back up with Cheech — who’s been busy building his own weed brand, Cheech’s Stash — to open a chain of Cheech and Chong dispensaries in California, starting with San Francisco, then on to Los Angeles.

“On the West Coast, Cheech and Chong are semi-gods,” Chong told Weedmaps. “We’re not fully gods, but we’re semi. So we’re just going to provide the best product we know is out there, and a delivery service in every one of our dispensaries. And we’re also going to provide a fun location to go to. It’s not going to be as, you know, weird as some of them are.”

Ideas for the dispensaries include television screens playing Cheech and Chong movies, “as well as other stoner movies,” nonstop, appearances by the duo, and virtual art shows.

“Cheech is a world-renowned collector of Chicano art,” said Chong. “They’re building a museum in Riverside just for Cheech’s art. So we’re going to have virtual art shows on the screens too,” he paused, “and I’ve got a killer bong collection to display.” 

In honor of his new venture(s) in a market he helped create, here are the weed products Tommy Chong can’t live without  — straight from the Godfather himself.

Chong Bong

“My preferred method of smoking is to use a Chong Bong,” said Chong. “It’s one of my vintage bongs from the nineties. Jason Harris made it for me.” 

Jason Harris, famed glass blower and founder of Jerome Baker Designs, got his start apprenticing with glass blowing god Bob Snodgrass in 1991. Since then, Harris has worked with numerous celebrities to create outlandish and wildly high priced smoking creations. For example, the $18,000 nug jar capable of holding a full pound of flower that he blew for Snoop Dogg. “The Chong Bong retails for about $5000 dollars,” said Chong. 

PurePipes

“I have this wooden pipe from Germany, and I actually just did a little commercial for it,” said Chong. “It’s a one-hander. There’s a built in lighter and a bowl, you can light it up and smoke and everything all with one hand.” 

Tommy Chong’s PurePipes are handcrafted in Erfurt, Germany. Not only can users light and smoke all with one hand, they’re designed specifically for smoking cannabis, with an attention to drawing resistance and volume of the packing chamber. 

Chong continued, “It’s great for me, because a lot of time when I’m doing cameos they’ll want to light up. So I just grab my little solo pipe and away I go!” 

Find Tommy Chong’s Classic PurePipe

Tommy Chong’s Infused Strips 

“I love my breath strips,” said Chong. “They don’t carry that telltale odor, so you can do them anywhere, in church, in prison, or in court! And the best part is, you can function. You can function all day.” 

Tommy Chong’s Infused Strips come in three flavors: Strawnana, Blueberry, and Chocolate Mint. Each sublingual strip hits in about 15 minutes, and packs 10 milligrams THC. 

Check out Tommy Chong’s Strawnana Strips

Tommy Chong’s CBD Good Vibes Energy Shot 

Though this product hasn’t hit the shelves just yet, I tried one of these little shots and they really work. I felt alert, focused, and not jittery or anxious like I often do after coffee. And the ingredients are even approved by Chong’s uber healthy wife. 

“Oh my wife, she’s my tester,” he said. “She is so fussy and so healthy. But she loves that energy drink! She takes ballet, and she’ll do a bottle before she does that. I should be doing it more.” 

Find CBD Good Vibes Energy Shot

All weed, literally. 

When I asked if there were any strains he was particularly into right now, Chong replied, “Honestly, I’ve lost track of all the strains. When people ask me, I tell them my favorite strain is cannabis. It’s crazy because in the government, people try to treat cannabis like alcohol, or some kind of weird drug, and you can’t. It’s not a drug. It’s a medicine that’s an herb. It grows wild in the forest. The animals love it. It’s a plant that should be respected.” 

He continued, “And the people who say it’s a gateway drug, well, those gates can be phenomenal. They can swing you into becoming an artist, or a rapper, or an author, or a conductor. Those gates open to all the creative outlets that exist on this planet. So, as we go along with our dispensaries, we’re going to really educate the people. It’s going to be so much fun. Then, we’re going to make so much money that we’re just going to retire and never have to work again. You’ll see.” 

Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps 

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8 of the best strains for focus

It’s 12:47 p.m. and you’ve got a whole heap of work that you’ve been avoiding. You know none of the tasks are too hard, but for some reason, you just can’t sit still and concentrate for long enough to do them. Still, sunlight is ticking, stress is mounting, and you know you’ll feel like hot garbage if you end the day with nothing to show for your time. You think to yourself, “All I need to do is smoke a little weed and I can zone in.” 

Which strains are you picking?

There are plenty of cannabis strains that can help you focus. And with so many constant distractions in the world, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to try them all. While I could never name every single one, here are eight that might help you block out the noise for long enough to get shit done.

White Fire OG

White Fire OG, also called WiFi OG, is a cross of Fire OG and The White. The nugs are light green and frosty with trichomes, and the smoke tastes like gassy pine needles — which is perfect for anyone that loves chemmy diesel flavors. On the high side,  WiFi OG is great for people whose thoughts are always moving at 744 mph. It’s potent yet manageable high can help clear your mind of anything that’s not immediately in front of you.



Lemon Thai

Most strains with Thai genetics are good for a clear-headed high that can help you defeat procrastination. Lemon Thai is no different. A cross of a Thai landrace and a Hawaiian sativa, this citrusy strain is great for anyone who’s been caught with that middle-of-the-day lag that makes even simple tasks feel the most daunting. If you’re the type of consumer that likes to puff on a vape pen throughout the day, Lemon Thai is a great cart to have handy.


Jack Frost

When you’re talking strains that help you focus, it’s only right that we bring Jack to the table. A cross of the famed Jack Herer, Northern Lights #5, and White Widow, Jack Frost is for those who need to get dumb stoned to focus. It hits you with a potent high that’ll have you knocking out the day’s to-do list without issue. Like most strains with Jack genetics, it usually has a citrusy and earthy aroma, however some people report that it may also have a somewhat fruity smell to it.


Dutch Treat

Believed to be a cross of Northern Lights and Haze genetics, Dutch Treat pushes out strong piney terpenes that alert your senses in the same way walking through the forest on a hike does. 

The delicious flavor is followed by a potent, clear-headed cerebral stimulation that many describe as the “hybrid high.” Old school and tasty, , Dutch Treat is a perfect suggestion for the dabbers.



Canna-Tsu

As your cannabis knowledge bag gets deeper, you’ll learn that not every desired effect comes from THC. There are plenty of CBD strains out there that can help you focus too. 

Canna-Tsu is a CBD-dominant cross of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. It has sweet, earthy flavors, and the effect is relaxing in the body. I get a little anxious sometimes, and anything with Cannatonic genetics usually chills me out in a way that smoking too much THC doesn’t. If you’re looking for something light and manageable, this (or either of its parents), are solid options.



Jah Goo

A lot of times, being able to focus isn’t about energizing yourself or clearing out your mind, it’s about relaxing your body. Jah Goo is a great strain for doing just that.

This cross of Goo and Purple Jasmine produces colorful flowers with purple hues and pink hairs, and a somewhat sweet and woody flavor. Its stoney high may be a little much for inexperienced consumers, but the vets may find it just right for that 10 am smoke before flipping the Go switch.



Bay Dream

If you love Granddaddy Purple then you might love Bay Dream too — it comes from the same breeders. Bay Dream, or GDP Bay Dream, is a cross of the beloved Blue Dream and a Bay 11 hybrid. Like Blue Dream, it has a sweet flavor profile, but also features woody and piney attributes. The cerebral high provides a nice, long-lasting euphoria that helps people get active for everything that needs to get done before 5 p.m.



Harle-Tsu

Harle-Tsu is another CBD strain for consumers that don’t want to get high, but still want the benefits that come with smoking weed. As its name suggests, it is a cross of Harlequin and Sour Tsunami, two of the most well-known CBD flowers. If you’re here for taste, look elsewhere, as Harle-Tsu is pretty earthy and bland; but if you’re here for effects, this strain usually makes people feel relaxed in the body and focused in the mind.


Find thousands of strains on Weedmaps


Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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2020 made me too paranoid for THC. Here’s what I’m smoking instead.

I love THC, but THC doesn’t seem to love me back these days. Maybe other low-dose cannabis connoisseurs can relate. My stress has been at an all-time high, but my go-to combos for mellowing out have been backfiring spectacularly. 

While teetering on the edge of a cable-news-induced spiral a few months ago, I reached for my trusty old stress remedy — a 1:1, THC:CBD gummy and some mindless TV — only to rocket right off the edge and into paranoid oblivion. Negative thoughts multiplied faster than I could dissolve them, turning my night of rest and relaxation into a game of emotional whack-a-mole. 

Humanity may be polarizing itself to the brink of extinction (kidding, kind of) but at least there’s one thing we can all agree on: 2020 has been a crap year. 

And in the same way crappiness is the great unifier of 2020, I’d argue that THC brings the ever-evolving weed world together — albeit more positively. We can passionately debate indicas versus sativas versus rejecting labels altogether, but at the end of the day, stoners of all stripes can rally around THC. 

That’s because THC is the “it” cannabinoid. It’s the reason most of us fell in love with weed in the first place. Even for me, a low-dose lifestyler who’s maintained a 5 milligram gummy tolerance for more than a decade, THC has been indispensable in my pursuit of the perfect high. It’s responsible for countless nature doc binges, insane nacho creations, and the note in my phone reminding me “poems are just shrimps.”

But thanks to 2020, I’ve had to scale my THC intake way back. My tolerance has sunken so low that the slightest whisper of THC can sometimes send my mind careening into dark places. As a result, I have fully committed to the non-alcoholic beer of weed, otherwise known as hemp-derived CBD.

Hemp, really?

I used to turn my nose up at hemp-derived drinks and THC-free joints like a high school senior dissing uninitiated freshmen — mostly because federal law mandates that hemp products contain no more than 0.3% THC. Without a significant pinch of THC and the entourage effect that comes with it, I could not understand how these strictly CBD products were supposed to make me feel anything other than sober.

But when anxiety strikes, that’s kind of the point. Everyone responds to stress differently, but for me, the last thing I want to do when my mind is already swirling is adding THC-fueled distraction that can quickly turn into confusion and a sense of helplessness. All I want is a sense of clear, calm groundedness. When dosed appropriately, high-quality hemp flower can help bring me back to earth and prevent an anxious episode from spinning out of control. There’s plenty of research to suggest I’m not the only one who’s experienced hemp’s calming effects. 

That said, not all hemp products are alike and not all consumption methods are perfect for every issue. For muscle aches and minor pains, I reach for weedy topicals; for bouts of anxiety, I like to smoke high-quality hemp flower. 

I smoke out my anxiety for a few reasons: 

  • The range of terpenes and minor cannabinoids in the flower makes for a more effective experience (aka the entourage effect I mentioned above). 
  • Smoking allows me to feel the calming effects more quickly than I would with an edible.
  • Smoking also bypasses my digestive system and increases bioavailability, otherwise known as the amount of CBD my body is able to absorb. 

When shopping for hemp flower, the first thing you’ll want to do is look for independent lab test results. This is the first indication that you’ve found high-quality flower, whether it’s hemp or otherwise. The second thing you’ll want to do is actually read those results. What’s the percentage of total cannabinoids? Any notable terpenes? Everyone experiences cannabis differently, but knowing these percentages and how your body responds to them can help you predict how each new batch of flower might make you feel. 

The hemp flower getting me through 2020 

When I claimed back in April that CBD pre-rolls were the future, I had no idea how true my own prediction would be. Five months ago (1,000 years in corona time), I argued CBD pre-rolls were worth considering and sharing with lightweight or weed-cautious friends. Now that my stress is manifesting into migraines, stomach pains, dizziness, and nausea, CBD pre-rolls are essential.

Lately, I’ve been relying heavily on Friend Leaf, an organic hemp flower and pre-roll brand. This brand goes above and beyond when it comes to lab testing by showcasing results on their website and via scannable QR codes right on the packaging. I was in terpene-nerd heaven looking up the stats on the joints I’d chosen — a three-pack of the cheekily named Trophy Wife strain — and finding high levels of myrcene. Myrcene is known for having sedative qualities and anecdotal evidence suggests high-myrcene strains are more likely to be relaxing. No wonder a few puffs helped me narrowly avoid a full-blown panic attack. 

I love the reusable glass packaging they use for their pre-rolls and flower. Just be sure to store Friend Leaf products in a cool, dark place to prevent sunlight from penetrating the clear glass and degrading the flower inside. Because these are hemp products, you can shop all of their products online and have them shipped nationwide. Buy a pack of three pre-rolls for $26 or an eighth for $36.

When I’m feeling calm enough to handle a touch of THC, Alive and Kicking is still my go-to brand. Their high-CBD, cigarette-like joints are so small it’s nearly impossible to overdo it. Even if you do manage to overdo it, the barely-there “high” fades quickly and leaves a shimmery aura of calm in its wake. These are currently only available in California, but they also have hemp pre-rolls you can buy online for $29 a pack.

Keep in mind there will never be a one-size-fits-all cannabis product, and even when you find a product that works for you, there’s no guarantee it’ll work forever. A year ago, I relied on edibles and nature documentaries to relax. This year, I’m all about hemp pre-rolls and text-banking for my favorite local candidates.

As the king of stoner wisdom, Heraclitus liked to say, “The only constant is change.” That’s certainly true of my relationship with cannabis. 

Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

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Everything you need to know about the Volcano Vaporizer Gold Edition

Like hot cheetos, Nintendo 64 and acrylic bongs, the Volcano vaporizer constitutes a highly nostalgic piece of our collective stoner history. With its distinct triangular base, plastic party bag of weed vapor, and (at the time) hefty price tag for a stoner gadget, the Volcano pioneered the desktop vaporizer throughout the 2000s. 

As a teen in the mid-late 2000s, many of my hazy memories involved giant Volcano bags of weed vapor being blown around the garage, TV room, or den of whoevers parents happened to be gone at the time. 

However fond, these memories were of an era that seemed bound to remain lost in the past, belonging to a much younger, and even more stoned version of myself. That is, until the 20th anniversary Gold Volcano Classic came waltzing into my life, reflating latent memories like the balloon I’m puffing on while writing this review. 

What is the Volcano vaporizer?

The Volcano Classic Gold Edition is a 20th anniversary reissue of the Volcano Classic, the most popular and iconic vaporizer of all time. 

The Volcano vaporizer is a flower vaporizing system. It has a volcano-shaped base that uses convection heat to fill a large plastic balloon bag with vapor. Just before the device is ready to hit, the set-up simulates a plume of smoke that spouts from a volcano before an eruption — hence the name. It was wildly popular in the early-mid 2000s, defining a transitional period in stoner culture just before the prospects of legality blew the lid off the gadget industry, burying the Volcano with high-tech competitors.  

In honor of the Volcano Classic’s 20th anniversary, Storz & Bickel, the Euro overlords behind the German-engineered device, are dusting off the cobwebs and reissuing the Volcano in a 24k gold finish. Conceptually, it feels like an exciting spin on a classic, a kind of trophy or award in its own image that highlights the Volcano’s legendary status in cannabis culture. 

This specific model will set you back $600, and is available for one year only, while supplies last. The Volcano Classic is available year round.  

What can you vape with the Volcano vaporizer?

The Volcano Classic is compatible with finely ground flower, and also contains a drip pad for use with concentrates.  

How do you use the Volcano vaporizer?

Now that you’re familiar with the Volcano vaporizer, how does it work?

Parts

  • Volcano base (Hot air generator)
  • Drip pad
  • Normal screen set
  • Valve balloon with mouthpiece 
  • Filling chamber with cap 

Assembly 

  1. Plug in the Volcano base. Make sure you put the Volcano on a sturdy, level surface near an outlet.
  2. Choose temperature. Start with the dial somewhere between 5 and 6 (around 350°F). See “Changing Temperatures” for more info below.
  3. Remove the filling chamber cap. Unscrew the top from the bottom.
  4. Grind flower. Make sure the flower is ground completely so the hot air has as little surface area to vaporize when the air moves through as possible. 
  5. Fill the chamber with ground flower, then screw on the filing chamber cap. Do not fill too tightly, it should be loose enough for air to pass through easily, not completely packed.

Operation

  1. Preheat the flower if the control lamp is off.
  • Flick on the red HEAT button, which will turn on the orange CONTROL light. 
  • Attach the filling chamber to the top of the Volcano.
  • Wait until the orange CONTROL light turns off, signaling it’s ready to go. 
  1. Before putting the balloon on the filling chamber, pull it tight and straight, so air can easily flow in and fill the balloon. 
  2. Remove mouthpiece from balloon, attach to top of base. 
  3. Flip the green AIR switch. Bag will begin to fill. 
  4. Stay conscious of vapor density in the balloon.
  • It’s important that the balloon does not become too full of vapor, if it’s getting taught to the touch it’s time to stop filling.
  1. Remove the full balloon unit. Never leave the filing chamber on the Volcano — beware, as this is a very hot surface. 
  2. Attach mouthpiece to the valve on the balloon.
  3. Inhale and pass.
  4. Empty the balloon completely after use by pulling it tight and rolling to store.

Temperature control

The Volcano’s temperature control is operated by an easy valve that has 9 heat settings. It should be noted that heat temperatures for each setting varies by 10°F due to the convection air moving through the device. 

  • 1 — 266°F
  • 2 — 288°F
  • 3 — 309°F
  • 4 — 331°F 
  • 5 — 352°F
  • 6 — 374°F
  • 7 — 396°F
  • 8 — 417°F
  • 9 — 439°F

The ideal temperature to vaporize ground flower is around 350°F, so begin by setting your dial to somewhere around 5 (352°F). For more terpene flavor and less vapor, turn the dial down. For more vapor — and a more intense high — turn it up (though this can scorch the flower). 

What’s the appeal?

The Gold reissue of the Volcano Classic reminds us why these flamboyant vaporizers were so popular in the first place. Aside from being extremely well made and effective in delivering one of the cleanest methods of cannabis intake, they are fun to use, and always a crowd-pleaser.  

Something about the presence of a Volcano is deeply comforting, stoking a nostalgic little flame in the depths of our unconscious. The performative aspect of the vaping process with one of these elevates a simple session to a kind of ritual, albeit a silly one. 

Though $600 is a bit of a monetary setback for some, other’s wouldn’t bat an eyelash at dropping a few hundred on a piece of stoner history. Like a fine bottle of wine or fancy champagne, the Gold Volcano Classic is something that you break out in a celebratory setting, or if you simply want to make an everyday hang feel festive. With this chic yet retro twist on a classic, you can’t go wrong. 

For more on the Volcano Classic Vaporizer Gold Edition, go to Vapor.com.

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Celebrity weed brands worth trying

Now that weed has been deemed socially acceptable by pop culture and society at large, celebrity involvement in the cannabis industry is at an all time high. As this burgeoning new market continues to evolve, serious ventures from passionate celebrity stoners are beginning to eclipse brands or collabs where a celebrity (who may not even smoke) simply slaps their name on a preexisting strain and calls it a day. 

Currently, here are the ways celebrities are involving themselves in the cannabis industry. From celebrity-owned canna-brands to celeb-branded weed products, check out the current state of this sparkly new intersection where weed meets the stars. 

Tommy Chong’s Cannabis

One of a few weed endeavours the world’s first cannabis celebrity is currently working on, Tommy Chong’s Cannabis (formerly Chong’s Choice) features products like sublingual THC strips, CBD energy shots, sleep tinctures and more. His products are available in all legal states, and the brand is in the middle of an expansion, so stay tuned for new — and smokable — products to come. 


22Red by Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down

22Red produces the hottest fire of any celebrity weed brand I’ve ever encountered, due to the fact that the celebrity in question, Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down, cares more about the weed itself than selling it through his image. 

Currently available in eighths of flower, prerolls, carts and disposable vapes, 22Red has plans to expand into more strains with rare genetics. 

“It’s just crazy,” said Odadjian. “The stuff we’re coming up with lately. We’ve been hunting privately for genetics and strains, and keeping the best ones, bringing them into our growth and seeing what happens. We’re just about to have a new batch of stuff, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the world.” 


Forbidden Flowers by Bella Thorne and Glass House Farms

Forbidden Flowers, a new brand consisting of Bella Thorne approved strains from Glass House Farms, is as glittery, girly, and seductive as the Gen Z icon herself. For those of you who are old (like myself), Bella Thorne is an outspoken stoner, popstar, actress, and all around social media star who recently made headlines for making $2,000,000 in two days off her OnlyFans account. 

In collaboration with Santa Barabara cannabis brand Glass House Farms, Forbidden Flower strains come in Indica, Sativa, Hybrid in eighths of flower and prerolls. With colored rolling papers and gradient toned glass jars with big glitter lids, the branding is, well, on brand. The flower itself is impressive, too. I tried both the sativa and hybrid varieties, and they were excellent, smoking even better than they looked. 

JAY-Z: Chief Brand Strategist at Caliva

Caliva, a popular California cannabis brand complete with its own dispensaries, delivery services, and a multitude of house brands, entered a multi-year partnership in 2019 with none other than rap mogul demi-god Jay-Z

Dennis O’Malley, CEO of Caliva, told Weedmaps, “We were thrilled to bring Mr. Shawn ‘JAY-Z’ Carter on board last year as Caliva’s Chief Brand Strategist. Mr. Carter has been very generous with his time since joining the company and his input has been incredibly valuable. We are excited to be able to reveal some of the projects that we’ve been working on over the course of the next few months.” 


Viola by Al Harrington

NBA legend Al Harrington has moved his passion from the basketball court to the weed world with Viola, his social equity minded, proudly Black cannabis brand. In addition to producing high-quality flower, vapes, and extracts, Viola’s mission is focused on empowering others. 

Not only does Viola empower minority ownership in the brand by creating a coalition of minority investors who own and operate Viola, they’ve created social equity programs to help cannabis entrepreneurs get into the industry. To date, they’ve committed over 500k to partner with six applicants through Phase 1, as well as 20 applicants through Phase 2 of their Social Equity Program in Los Angeles.


Marley Natural

Celebrity involvement in the cannabis industry can even be posthumous. Such is the case with Marley Natural, the official cannabis brand for the god of weed himself, Bob Marley. 

Marley Natural is a product line that includes flower, topicals, and smoking accessories. According to their website, products “offer a direct reflection of the Marley ethos that integrates nature’s goodness with a belief in the positive potential of herb.” 

In addition to super nice flower —their uber whimsical Sundae Driver strain is particularly fun — they also have a charity arm called Rise Up, which works to enact positive change in social and environmental issues.


Cookies Collaborations with Rick Ross, Run the Jewels, and Gary Payton

Bay area rapper Berner, whose megabrand Cookies runs the hype-beast corner of cannabis, is without a doubt the most successful rap/weed crossover mogul of all time. In addition to being a massive cannabis celebrity in his own right, he’s made a fortune off collaborations with his friends in the sports and entertainment industry. 

Recent notables include Collins Ave, a brand in collaboration with Rick Ross, Ooh La La, a strain released with Run the Jewels, and the now iconic Gary Payton strain, a collab with, who else, NBA icon Gary Payton. 


Mind Your Head by Mickey Hart

Attention Dead Heads and Lot Freaks: Mickey Hart has a weed brand.

In a move that excites but does not surprise, Micky Hart, a legendary drummer for the Grateful Dead, has launched Mind Your Head, a cannabis brand specializing in two kinds of prerolls: Magic Minis and Space Tickets.

The Magic Minis stand out as the packaging and branding are both particularly cool. The psychedelic engraved tin full of ten super small, super potent Chem Dawg mini joints is tough to beat. 


Tyson Ranch

Mike Tyson has come a long way from his beginnings in the ring with an ultimately successful journey that culminated in 2016 when he launched Tyson Holistic Holdings, a parent brand that sells weed merch, Tyson Ranch branded cannabis products, and was recently on track to open a 420 acre marijuana playground in the California Desert under the Tyson Ranch name. 

Plans include a luxury hotel, weed attractions, and an amphitheater for music festivals, along with a slew of other wildly exorbitant features, like a lazy river that will supposedly take over an hour to cross. Another sort of bizarre twist to the story, Tyson Ranch doesn’t grow their own flower, and has no plans to ever grow weed on its premises. But hey, that’s the celebrity weed world for you. 

Featured image: Shutterstock/Weedmaps illustration

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3 products Young Dolph can’t live without

Young Dolph is an independent rap artist from Memphis, Tennessee. He’s well-known for hits like “Get Paid,” “100 Shots,” and “Cut It.” His debut album King of Memphis dropped in 2016, and since then, he’s been consistently putting out mixtape after mixtape, album after album, feeding the streets that audio Campbell’s soup. 

Recently, Young Dolph dropped his seventh studio album, Rich Slave. Named after a song he released in 2018, it follows Dolph growing up in Memphis, tales of his father’s reputation, and his overall perspective of a Black man coming from nothing to get everything — just to find it out it still means nothing. On the meaning of Rich Slave, Dolph said, “There ain’t no difference in no Black person, period. Whether you got a little money or a whole lot of money, in certain people’s eyes, that shit don’t mean nothing. All they see is a certain skin color.”

Though Dolph has been away from music for a minute —his last release was Dum and Dummer with cousin Key Glock in 2018 — with the state of the world, he felt like it was time for some new music. “It was really my kids, and everybody telling me that I need to make some new music. The pandemic hit, everybody sad, everybody going through, I’m like, ‘let me get in here and make these folks some motivation right quick.’” 

When asked how the pandemic affects his creative process, Dolph responded, “I’m the type of person to just get shit done. So for sure, it’s been a little bit hectic with me trying to go around certain things to get [Rich Slave] done, but at the end of the day, just get it done. If you doing something you want to do, or something that’s got a lot of benefits for you, or something that you really love and are into, you just gon’ get it done. And it ain’t really work, it’s just something that’s a part of your life.”

In addition to music, Dolph is also well-known for being a cannabis connoisseur. Songs like “Gelato” and “Sunshine” make his weed choices pretty clear. Asked how much weed he smokes daily, the King tells me, “A zip or close to a zip. It might be a 7 (quarter-ounce) left at the end, something nice.”

Here are some of the cannabis products he can’t live without.

Flower

When it comes to smoking preferences, Dolph said, “I just be on the flower, really. It helps my appetite. Bruh, I got to smoke to eat, period. And it’s just been like that.” 

It’s probably worth mentioning that he was making waffles the entire time we spoke. Legend.

Find flower on Weedmaps

Terpenes

When it comes to his favorite strains, Dolph isn’t chasing sativas or indicas — he’s chasing whatever tastes the best. “I used to smoke nothing but indica. But now, it’s some sativas that I like. I like the taste, I like good tasting weed.” 

In cannabis, the smells and tastes of flower and concentrates come from terpenes. Terps are aromatic oils in cannabis that produce the flower’s aroma and flavor. If you grab a cannabis nug, and squeeze it as hard as you can, the smells left behind are terpenes.

Zkittlez, Biscotti, Lemon Pound Cake, and London Pound Cake are some of Dolph’s favorite strains.

Explore new strains

Backwoods rolling papers

Asked if he smokes blunts or papers, Dolph told me, “I was smoking nothing but papers. But being in the studio, everybody wants to smoke your weed. So I started smoking Backwoods, but I wish I would’ve never started smoking Backwoods.”

Backwoods is a popular tobacco wrap that many use for blunts. Though flavorful, the constant tobacco smoke raises health concerns.

Read our guide to the best blunt wraps

Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

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5 weed products musician Wifisfuneral can’t live without

Wifisfuneral is a musician from the Bronx who is currently based in Palm Beach, Florida. He fits in this pocket of new wave Rap/R&B hybrids where lo-fi melodies and vocal ranges push the boundaries of what those genres really even mean. Or better, exposing that, at this point, they don’t really mean anything.

“I feel like I’m so versatile. At that point, do I say I’m a rapper? I’m an artist, I just make music, ’cause I feel like it’s a broader understanding if I say I make music. Theoretically, I’m using my flow and voice as an instrument,” he told us.

The name was inspired by Wifis’ reclusive nature and his Seshollowaterboyz fanhood. “I always played the underground character as far as my demeanor and how I would present myself. I was a huge fan of Seshollowaterboyz and that whole movement, so I was like Wifisfuneral would be funny. After that, it started to take on different meanings.”

After years of mixtapes and EPs, Wifisfuneral recently dropped his debut album PAIN? And it’s fucking fire. From start to finish, it rides out. To Wifis, it’s his best and most complete project ever. “It’s a big ass melting pot, you never know exactly what you’re going to hear. I feel like this is the first time I made a project that, from start to finish, makes fucking sense. Putting out an album is different than proving that you can rap.”

It’s true, PAIN? Is full of all kinds of music. Melodic R&B joints that turn on LED lights, video game soundtrack possibilities, songs that make you want to tut, shoulder-bouncers, toe-tappers, and everything in between. Most of the songs have a pretty dark feel to them that make PAIN? the perfect late night album when you’re getting deeply existential. Just press play and let it ride.

In addition to music, Wifisfuneral (I’m just now realizing I should’ve asked about the Wifi OG strain) is a huge stoner. Like big, real big. On his smoking habits, he said, “I smoke everyday. I probably smoke like an ounce a day.” As he said this, you could hear his manager bust out laughing off-camera adding, “No cap. He’s so serious right now.” On his reasons for smoking, he continued, “It was never like, ‘I’m going to go smoke weed today.’ It kind of just presented itself. It came to me. And ever since then, I would just be way more calm, I could focus a lot more. Mind you, I be a little bit sluggish and a little bit lazier, but I can be productive at the same time. I can smoke a whole ounce and make five songs.”

With Wifisfuneral being such a cannabis enthusiast, after talking music, we had to talk about some of his favorite things to smoke. Here are the five cannabis products he can’t live without.

Flower

Wifisfuneral is a huge flower boi. When we first checked in, he was smoking a fat ass joint of Frosted Flakes. “I’m old school. I be fucking with concentrates and shit like that, but I’m flower all the way,” he told us.


“Dessert” strains

Wifisfuneral likes to smoke, and I quote, “that dessert-type shit.” Black Cherry Gelato and Gushers instantly popped out when asked which strains he’s come across that specifically stood the test of time.

Black Cherry Gelato is an indica-dominant cross of Black Cherry Funk and Acai. It’s got a cherry funk smell to it and tends to be a pretty heavy high.

Gushers is a Cookie Fam cross between Triangle Kush and Gelato #41. It’s got a sweet and fruity taste that reminds people of the classic kid’s snack. It’s also called White Gushers or Fruit Gushers.

Some of his other favorites are White Runtz, Turtle Pie, Cereal Milk, Runtz OG, and Obama Runtz. Basically, Wifisfuneral smokes Cookies.



Vape pens

Though Wifis isn’t big on concentrates, he still likes puffing on a vape pen here and there. He was puffing on a vape cartridge during our Zoom call and said it had him “fucking ripped.” He told us, “They creep on you, I’m like damn. It gets uncomfortable, but then it gets comfortable.” 


Raw papers

A common theme amongst rappers lately is the transition from blunts to joints. Wiz was the godfather of it, of course. Wifis is in the same boat, taking his health into consideration. He told us, “right now I’m transitioning from Backwoods to joints. When I used to smoke Backwoods, I’d go through two or three packs a day, and that shit fucked up my throat really bad. I had an interview with B Real (of Cypress Hill) and he was like “Yo, you know your throat’s going to be fucked up? I was like nah, I’ll be alright. Three years later my shit’s clapped. I was like, damn.”

RAW is his favorite brand of rolling papers.

Find RAW rolling papers

Grinders

You can’t smoke an Adrian Peterson per day and not have a grinder on deck. (Adrian Peterson’s number has been 28 for the majority of his career). In the end, Wifisfuneral is a pretty classic smoker when it comes to his smoking habits. “Flower; roll-up; grinder; lighter, and that’s really it. As long as I got all of that, I’m straight.”

Read our Weedmaps Buyers’ guide to grinders.

Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

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4 weed products reggae artist Protoje can’t live without

Protoje is a reggae artist from St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica that’s currently signed to RCA records. He also runs his own independent label, In.Digg.Nation. Recently, Protoje dropped his sixth studio album, In Search of Lost Time, featuring artists like Wiz Khalifa, Popcaan, and Lila Iké. And straight up, it’s 10 songs and 36 minutes of audio soul food.

In Search of Lost Time sounds like how it feels to get off work early before a 3 day weekend, there’s no traffic on the drive home, and it’s payday. Yeah, a vibe. From start to finish, it invokes an energy that makes you want to call your friends and plan out your next Best Weekend Ever. 

The album has songs like “A Vibe” featuring Wiz Khalifa, that make you want to burn one around an evening bonfire; and songs like “In Bloom” with Lila Iké that sound like a straight up mushroom trip. Truly, there’s something on here for every type of listener, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by skipping over it.

Protoje’s cannabis use and musical collaborations

On how the Wiz feature came about — and if this was his first time getting up with DJ Daddy Kat himself — Protoje had a pretty cool full circle tale. “I always took to his vibe, and when I first had [“A Vibe”], I was like, ‘I’m not putting it out without him.’ So I let it sit for years and finally had the chance. MY OG Archie that brought me to RCA [records] to set up the whole thing. He’s cool with Will, Wiz’ manager.” 

Though they never actually met face-to-face during the making of “A Vibe,” Protoje recounts an encounter they had had years prior: “We’ve met before, but he doesn’t know that he did a song with that guy he met.” They bumped into each other backstage at a show in London — Protoje had been ducking the craziness of the crowds. Khalifa was looking for the same, ‘Excuse me, bro,’ I let him pass me. He’s now in the corner directly by me, and I’m kind of governing it, you know? He builds this gigantic spliff, and he takes two [hits] off it, he’s like, “Here, bro.’ I don’t generally take spliffs from [strangers], but it’s Wiz Khalifa: if he’s giving you a spliff, you know it’s going to be something fire. I take it from him, take two off it, put one in the sky, and I [pass it back]. He’s like, “nah, that’s all you homie, that’s all you homie.’ Then he rolls another one for himself. And that’s how we met. So it’s cosmic, I guess.”

In addition to the new album and the power of the universe, I also had the pleasure of talking to Protoje about his relationship with cannabis. On the mental and physical benefits, he tells me, “initially, the first thing was [that] it let me look inside myself more. It made me pace myself and be a lot more introspective — and just think. I was always a thinker, but this kind of let me go deep into my thoughts and it changed the course of my life.” When remembering his days growing up and seeing those first bursts of success, his use of cannabis offered a different view, “it just changed my perspective on certain things and I became less material driven. Musically, it gets my creative energy going and I can maintain it.”

Knowing that his love of cannabis has had such an impact on Protoje’s life, we couldn’t just leave the conversation at how fire the new album is — and the universe making Wiz features happen — we also had to talk about some of the cannabis products he can’t live without. Here’s four of his favorites:

Hybrid Flower: Biscotti and Gary Payton

When asked how much weed he smokes a day, Protoje told me, “Too much. Definitely too much,” as he grabbed one of the 8 quart-sized mason jars full of a strain called Goji 24k that he just purchased. “And I think I smoke way more since this pandemic,” he continued. “I get up, I start smoking; music, smoking; before I go to bed, smoking. So much that I’ve said I really need to step back a little bit. I’d say, probably like now, I smoke maybe 4 or 5 spliffs a day. Which, for me, is too much. I preferred when I was like, 1 and a half.”

On his favorite strains, Protoje simply said, “hybrids.” It’s not about the indica/sativa distinction for him, “I just started learning about that. When you’re growing up, you’re just smoking. But when I started to travel, especially on the West Coast, it was all about, ‘what strain are you smoking?’ I didn’t even know that that was a thing. Mostly, I like a thing that keeps me feeling a vibe, but I think that’s mental too; you’re in a certain state of mind, maybe you’re smoking, it keeps you going.”

Biscotti and Gary Payton were two strains he liked when visiting California.


The Puffco Peak

“I have this dope dab rig from Puffco. I mess with that sometimes, but it’s kind of strong.” 

The Puffco Peak is a portable dab rig from Puffco that many like for ease of use and convenience. It’s great for people that love hash, but don’t want to deal with the purchase of dab rigs, bangers, and all of the other accessories needed. 

Price: $299.99

Grinders

“Definitely a grinder. Especially now, I can’t deal with the sticky sticky.”

Read our Weedmaps Buyers’ guide to grinders.

Lion Pride Slim Rolling Papers

When he’s in California, Protoje tells me that he smokes blunts exclusively. Otherwise, he’s rolling up Lion Pride papers. “There’s a company out here called Lion Pride. They make smoking accessories and they have one called Lion Pride Slims. I smoke this one the most.”

Lion Pride is a Jamaican company that makes  grinders, trays, even condoms, and much more.

Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

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