Quarantine showed me the beauty of indica strains

The hardest thing about being a cannabis journalist is balancing productivity with all the weed I consume. While writing about weed for a living is a dream gig, I’ve lost countless days to overconsumption. Spiraling into the lazy vortex of bong rips and bad TV means deadlines begin to pile up like the emails in my inbox. The only thing I manage to answer on those days is a shameful “Yes” when Netflix asks if I’m still watching. 

Before quarantine, I had been a sativa-only stoner for over a decade. Like many, I viewed indicas as a productivity-inhibiting treat reserved for after work or before bed, a desert but never a meal. Though I was aware of the controversy surrounding the incorrect labeling of flower as indica or sativa, the market doesn’t reflect the weed world’s relatively new aversion to this kind of distinction, and I didn’t realize just how incorrect I was. As someone who has adhered to that method of categorizing intoxication since high school, it was branded into my brain, an inherent bias I had yet to eradicate.

Then, quarantine hit. Things slowed way down. In trying to navigate the overabundance of free-time, I found my sativa-dominant lifestyle was no longer cutting it. The same strain that used to fill me with energy to run errands and finish my articles was turning me into a ball of anxiety with nowhere to go and no one to interact with outside of my own negative thoughts. 

I began incorporating indica strains into my daily routine, realizing that the type of strains I’d written off due to their categorization as indicas held the key to balancing my productivity all along. Exploring this relationship in these months of isolation has forever changed the way I look at flower. 

The mislabeling of indica and sativa

“Labeling strains as indica or sativa ultimately is a disservice to patients and consumers because it sets up false expectations around experience,” said Emma Chasen, a cannabis educator and industry consultant with a degree from Brown University in Medicinal Plant Research. 

“Indica and Sativa are species designations for cannabis plants. Species are defined by their genetics, the physical manifestation of the organism, not how an organism might make a person feel when consumed.”

While most consumers associate sativa with an energized high and indicas with a sleepy “in-da-couch” vibe, the indica/sativa distinction is actually based on the physical characteristics of the plant. Sativa-dominant plants tend to have thinner, sharper leaves with seven or more leaf blades per leaf and take longer to flower. Indicas tend to be squatter with five broadleaf blades per leaf and experience a shorter flowering time. 

“The chemical compounds, or chemotype, of the plant is what has influence on the experience. Those compounds are subject to environmental factors just as much as they are coded for by the plant’s genetics,” Chasen said. “Therefore, there is no guarantee that something labeled as an Indica will make someone feel sleepy and something labeled as a sativa will make someone feel energized.” 

Chemotypes, terpenes, and cannabinoids

The chemical compounds, or chemotypes, that Chasen is referring to describe the terpene profiles and cannabinoid ratios in the flower. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these terms, terpenes are the organic compounds responsible for the plant’s flavors and aromas. They influence the experiences cannabis will produce, as well as potential medicinal benefits. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds like THC and CBD. Each strain has a unique cannabinoid makeup with accompanying effects.

When it comes to determining how a strain will affect you, every plant is unique and there are numerous factors at play. While it depends on the chemical makeup of the plant itself, it also depends on how those cannabinoids and terpenes react with your endocannabinoid receptors, as well as how you react with your surroundings. While cannabinoids like THC or CBD put you on a specific roller coaster, terpenes determine what kind of ride you’re going to have. 

“Effects differ from plant to plant,” said Justin Heady Monster, a legendary grower responsible for the genetics behind some of the most iconic strains in existence, my personal favorite being Pink Starburst. “In the past decade or so, we have found that the terpenes present play a larger role in determining the high than the growing characteristics.” 

Because traditional indicas tend to contain terpenes like myrcene and terpineol, they are associated with couch-lock. If you’re like me and associate that spicy, piney smell with a sativa high, it’s because pinene (pine smell) and limonene (citrus smell) both have energizing effects. These characteristic highs have nothing to do with the plants being sativa or indica, as any of those terpenes could just as easily be found in a plant with the physical characteristics of either one. 

“Pink Starburst is a great example of this situation,” Monster noted. “It grows identical to your stereotypical ‘indica’ plant, however, the dominant terpene limonene gives the high something that is euphoric, creative, and what would be described by most as more of a sativa effect. Then you have some hazes, (hazes are categorized as sativas), that start out racy and intense before becoming a crashing, sleepy high due to the amounts of myrcene present.”

How to pick the right indica for you 

Throughout these months spent quarantined with a large variety of “indica” strains, I’ve gained a far deeper understanding of the cannabis plant. Never have I had so much control over the way I utilize the plant medicinally and recreationally. Instead of falling victim to taking a huge bong hit of a “sativa” that happens to be high in myrcene early in the morning — and spending the day bleary-eyed and slow, bumbling around the kitchen — I can now tell by smell alone how a flower will make me feel. 

When shopping for flower with specific effects, there are a few different methods you can employ. One is to pick a strain you like and look up its lab results. Take note of the dominant terpenes and cannabinoid ratios, then find strains with a similar chemotype. Another much cooler way is to take the time to learn your terpenes and train your nose. The smell of a strain’s dominant terpenes will provide you with a much more accurate depiction of the high than labeling ever could. 

The beaches are closing, Americans can’t go to Europe, and no one wants to order a cute seasonal salad next to a two-gallon jug of hand sanitizer. This summer is clearly shot. We all have a ton of free time coming up, so use this time to educate yourself as a consumer. To get you on your way, here are some  “indica” strains with terpene profiles that produce a broad spectrum of effects, and which helped me handle the ups and downs, closings, openings, and then re-closings. 

Also, strains I’ve recently tried

22Red: Caramel Gelato  

Red22 is a new cannabis brand by Shavo Odadjian, who was not only the bassist of System of a Down but clearly knows his shit when it comes to weed. One of my favorites from this list, Caramel Gelato is sweet and fruity with a bright, fun high that’s as much of an upper as it is a downer.

What it’s best for: late mornings, early movies, and tricking yourself into having fun cleaning the house.

Available: California


Caliva: Alien OG and Venom OG

Here is a perfect example of two indicas with drastically different effects. 

Caliva’s Alien OG has a pungent, sour pine smell, meaning it has high levels of pinene which is a terpene that increases alertness and focus. The high reflects that, as there’s an energized overtone to its euphoric, mellow effects. 

What it’s best for: sex, editing articles, hanging out on Zoom.

Caliva’s Durban Poison falls at the spectrum with its fruity berry smell, berry chocolate flavor, and dark purple buds. As intoxicating as it looks, this flower produces a lackadaisical high that is comfortable and chill.

What it’s best for: menstrual pain, bedtime, dealing with boredom.


Lowell Farms: Strawberry Banana 

The name Strawberry Banana says it all. Fruity and flirty, Lowell Farms’ “indica” tastes exactly like strawberries and bananas. Euphoric and silly, the high is exciting, making everything and everyone around you feel more fun. 

What it’s best for: socially distanced socializing, playing with pets, daydreaming.


Aster Farms: Rainbow Chip

This spicy, herbal strain has a decadent and complex flavor, with an air of black cherries or chocolate. The high is focused and clear but also very intoxicating and heady, like an astronaut flying weightless in outer space. 

What it’s best for: after work, after sex, after hours.

Available: California


STIIIZY: Rosay

This floral, fruity strain from vape god STIIIZY’s new line of flower is more of an upper than a downer. When it comes to Rosay, the high is light enough that it doesn’t interfere with my productivity, but heavy enough to take the edge off the monotony of existence. 

What it’s best for: work, errands, motivation.

Available: California


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5 weed products ‘Survivor’ winner Ethan Zohn can’t live without

Ethan Zohn is a Survivor veteran and cannabis advocate. He is best known for winning Survivor: Africa, the 3rd season of the 40-season show.

A former professional soccer player with a squeaky clean public image, Ethan stayed away from cannabis for most of his life. It wasn’t until April 2009 when he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called CD20-positive Hodgkin’s lymphoma that Zohn decided to explore cannabis and all of its wellness benefits. Since then, Ethan’s cancer has returned twice, once in May 2009, another in September 2011, battles that Zohn continues to win.

“When I was diagnosed with cancer, that’s when I was introduced to [cannabis] from the medical side of things. Cause I was popping prescription pills: I was taking Ativan for anxiety, Percocet for pain, Zofran for nausea, Ambien for sleep, and in the morning I’d have to pop an Adderall for energy to go to the doctor,” he told Weedmaps.

In addition to his journey with cannabis and cancer, Ethan talked to us about some of his go-to products. Here are some of the cannabis products that Ethan Zohn can’t live without.

MONTKUSH Raw CBDa Oil

Ethan Zohn is a huge CBD advocate, CBDa to be specific. It’s played a major role in him treating his anxiety around the uncertainties of life.

“I would get on these infinite loops of “What if” scenarios: What if I die, what if the cancer comes back, what if I don’t get married; and it just wasn’t a good way to live my life — I was living in fear. So I started taking CBD, pretty much like a multivitamin, every day in the form of a tincture.”

MONTKUSH’s Raw CBDa 1,000 milligram oil was that tincture. “It got rid of the clutter in my brain of constant ruminating over stuff I could not control.”

MONTKUSH is a cannabis company out in Vermont that produces three products: a natural-flavored CBD oil, a mint-flavored CBD oil, and a raw CBDa oil. They’re all made from pure full-spectrum CBD rosin.

Available: Nationwide

Curaleaf 1:1 Tincture

If Ethan doesn’t have any MONTKUSH on deck, Curaleaf‘s 1:1 tincture is his next choice.

According to their website, Curaleaf is the largest national retail dispensary brand in the U.S. They produce a full line of products including flower, vapes, topicals, edibles, and more. Their tinctures, available in Oregon, come with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio and are made from natural cannabis and MCT oil. 


Genius Pipe

Zohn very rarely smokes cannabis. When he does, the Genius Pipe is his weapon of choice.

“It looks like Apple designed it or something. I rarely smoke, but if I’ve got some friends over, I use the Genius Pipe. It’s really neat.”

The Genius Pipe is a high-tech pocket pipe whose selling point is that it cools down the smoke as you inhale. It’s discreet, advertised as indestructible, and extremely easy to use and clean. They come in all kinds of colors and designs, and would make a great addition to any stash.


Kannaway CBD Salve

Early on in his CBD career, before he had legal access to it, Ethan would use Kannaway’s CBD Salve. It’s a CBD-from-hemp salve that comes in 500 milligram or in single doses, like pocket shots from a liquor store, for the people who just need just a small dose of relief.


Lowell Smokes

“I think one of the coolest brands out there is Lowell Smokes.”

Lowell Farms in California produces a full line of products including flower, dabs, vapes, and now CBD flower and dabs. Their Lowell Smokes pre-roll multipacks are the true champions, and according to Ethan, a real party favorite.

“I went to a wedding in LA, and I pulled out a pack of these and it was like the crowd stopped. So for me, this is great, it’s a conversation piece, I can start talking to people about [cannabis], and educating people about it.”

Available: California


Interview by Nic Juarez. Written by Dante Jordan. Graphic design by David Lozada.

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5 weed products Teela LaRoux can’t live without

Teela LaRoux is a Playboy playmate and cannabis advocate. She is most known for being the July 2019 Playmate, in addition to her promotional work with Harley Davidson, Apothic Wine, and LA Models.

We got the opportunity to chop it up with LaRoux about her relationship with cannabis, why she supports its normalization, and which products she’d recommend to the masses.

Below, check out five of Teela LaRoux’s favorite cannabis products.

Papa & Barkley Releaf Tinctures

Teela started smoking weed in her younger years, but it made her feel a little paranoid, so she ditched it. Years later, in her early 20s, she came back to the plant, this time by way of Papa & Barkley Releaf tinctures. She instantly fell in love and they’ve been together ever since. “I have tried every tincture on the market, and that one by far, is the one that I’m completely obsessed with,” she said.

Papa & Barkley is a California cannabis company that produces a line of capsules, tinctures and balms. Their Releaf tinctures are some of the most popular products on the market, made with MCT oil, which may help your body metabolize cannabinoids quicker, according to the Papa & Barkley website. The Releaf tinctures are marketed as an aid for pain and inflammation. “I still battle anxiety and I have a high stress life at times and that’s the one that seems to work best for me.”

Available: THC products available in California, CBD products available nationwide.


Whoopi & Maya Bath Soak

Unfortunately for Teela, Whoopi & Maya has ceased operation as a company and no longer produces this magical soak. So if you still own some, hold on dearly.

Whoopi & Maya was a cannabis company owned by Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth. Their product line included a medical cannabis lavender bath soak and a medical cannabis body balm. LaRoux champions their bath soak when it comes to relief from cramps during her menstrual cycle, “I use that every month during my cycle, it’s incredible.” 

The solution in Whoopi & Maya’s SOAK (the balm is called RUB) is basically made of epsom salt with added essential oils and minerals. It is marketed for deep relaxation and offers relief from the aches, pains, and cramping associated with the menstrual cycle.


Lowell Farms Pre-rolls

Tinctures and salves are the clear favorites in LaRoux’s routine, but she also loves the pre-rolls from Lowell Farms

“I used to get paranoid so I stopped using [cannabis] for a long time. And then someone recommended it to me in my 20s when I started to deal with anxiety and depression.”

As tinctures reintroduced Teela to cannabis, she also began to educate herself on strains. She realized that it wasn’t necessarily the weed that made her paranoid, she just may have been smoking the wrong kind, “back when I was younger, I was going towards Sativas, and I really needed to be going with an Indica or a high CBD-dominant strain.”

The good news is Lowell has all of those bases covered. Lowell is California’s best-selling pre-roll brand, but they also produce a full range of products that include premium flower, solventless hash oil, and even a line of solventless vape carts. “I’m really excited to try their new cold pressed vapes.”

Available: California


Kiva Confections Terra Bites

Kiva Confections is a brand in California with a line of chocolate bars, gummies, mints, and delicious little chocolate bites known as Terra Bites. Terra Bites are Teela LaRoux’s shit, “sometimes I put them in the freezer and they’re absolutely delicious. And they make you feel relaxed and calm and super chill and happy.”

Production is what sets Kiva apart from many other edibles companies. Many edibles are made with distillates, but Kiva chocolate bars and Terra Bites are made with cold water hash. Using solventless hash provides a more complete cannabis experience and it also makes for a richer taste.

Available: California


Beboe Vape Pens

Beboe is a cannabis company that produces a line of disposable vape pens and pastilles. Both products come with a Sativa option marketed for daytime use, and an Indica option marketed for nighttime use. They also have a calming CBD blend marketed for anytime use.

LaRoux gushed, “Beboe’s great. I love Beboe. I tried their pens for the first time last year and they’re great. They just hit really smooth. They’re super clean, and they’ve got this really nice lavender aroma too and it’s super delicious.”

Available: California and Colorado


Interview by Nic Juarez. Written by Dante Jordan. Graphic design by David Lozada.

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Everything you need to know about the Arizer ArGo

Sometimes it feels that technology is moving too fast, especially when it comes to the evolution of vaporizers. Though close to a decade ago, it seems like just yesterday that tank vapes were beginning to hit the market, revolutionizing the industry from large desktop vaporizers like the Volcano to sleek, portable units like those produced by G Pen. The endless bells and whistles of technological add-ons like bluetooth app synchronization and touch sensors had yet to complicate the already complicated medium of using electric heat to vaporize flower and concentrates. 

Today, the market is awash with tech-savvy vapes that are unnecessarily difficult to understand — let alone operate. In many cases, the pursuit of incorporating technology into the vaping process seems to have eclipsed the importance of the vaping process itself, which should be simple, pleasant and accessible.  

For an excellent flower vaporizer that is more concerned with being a great vape than syncing with other technology in the room, look no further than the Arizer ArGo, a portable convection vape that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new vape, or just curious as to what all the buzz is about, here’s our take on the Arizer ArGo.

What is the Arizer ArGo?

The ArGo is a portable convection vaporizer from the brand Arizer, well respected industry vets known for their no-nonsense, high-quality products. While Arizer initially rose to notoriety over 12 years ago for their desktop setups like the V-Tower and Extreme, they evolved with the times, and now have five portable vaporizers in their roster, the ArGo being the newest addition to their lineup.

What sets the ArGo apart is that it packs the vapor quality and customization options of a super expensive vape into a totally affordable ($269.99) and stripped down device that could easily pass for a beeper, flip phone or other artifact from the Y2K era. You get the ceramic convection heating, all glass airways, temperature controls and high-quality vapor output of Arizer’s desktop vaporizers, but in a ready-to-go 3.5” x 2” unit you can toss in your pocket or purse with ease. 

There are only two moving parts:the vape itself and a glass tube you preload with ground flower, but the tube locks into the ArGo when not in use, making it convenient and all-in-one.. 

Not everyone needs to have every aspect of their existence synced to their iPhone. The ArGo is a utilitarian alternative I’ve found to be superior to other tech-savvy vapes I’ve recently reviewed. 

What Can You Vape with the Argo?

The ArGo is only compatible with ground flower. 

How do you use the ArGo?

Now that we’ve been over the basics, here’s how you use the Arizer ArGo. 

How to charge the ArGo

The ArGo comes with a swappable 18650 battery that can be charged while inside the ArGo via USB, or outside of it with an 18650 compatible charger. This swappable battery feature allows you to pre-charge batteries if you’re going camping, or doing something that doesn’t include electricity. A single charge can last up to 90 minutes of continuous use, and the device takes about 3 hours to fully charge. 

To charge the battery within the ArGo, simply plug in the USB cable and adapter. The ArGo’s screen will display the battery percentage, letting you know when it’s fully charged. It’s not necessary to fully charge the Argo upon first use, and the device can be used while charging. 

How to set the control panel

The ArGo control panel consists of an OLED display and three buttons: Menu (M), Plus (+), and Minus (-). With these, you can control every aspect of the device, using M to toggle through the menu, and Plus and Minus to set temperature settings, brightness display, shut off timers and more. I turned the device on before reading the manual, yet the set up is so simple, it’s pretty much self explanatory off the bat. 

Temperature Settings: The ArGo has a large range of temperature settings, from 122 degrees fahrenheit to 428 degrees fahrenheit, in 1 or 10 degree increments using the plus and minus buttons. 

How to vape

  1. Load Glass Aroma Tube

Put coarsely ground flower in a small container, then twist the glass tube into the container to fill the dish — be sure not to press too hard or pack it too tightly. 

  1. Insert Glass Aroma Tube

Pre-heat unit before inserting the tube, then insert the flower filled tube into the ArGo. 

  1. Close the Push-Top

Push down the top to expose the end of the Glass Aroma Tube for use. For protection of the tube, press the release button on the back of the unit. 

  1. Press and Hold the (+) and (M) Buttons to Turn On 

A timer will count down on the OLED screen showing the power on delay and a greeting message is displayed when the unit is powered on. 

  1. Set the Temperature and Let Unit Heat Up

Press one of the three control panel buttons and the ArGo will start to heat up automatically.Then, press the (+) and (-) buttons to adjust the temperature in 1-degree increments, or hold the button down to adjust the temperature in 10-degree increments.  

  1. Inhale and Enjoy

The ArGo will remain heated and ready to use until you turn the device off. Because of the convection heating method, the flower is only heated when you inhale, meaning there’s virtually zero waste with this product. To turn off, hold the (M) and (-) buttons. 

How to clean the ArGo

Essentially maintenance free, the ArGo is extremely easy to clean. Simply soak the glass parts in isopropyl alcohol for a couple of hours, then rise with hot water. Make sure they are fully dry before re-inserting them into the device.

What’s the appeal?

The back-to-the-basics design of the ArGo vaporizer is exciting in a market that’s been overrun by overcomplicated vapes relying on needless technology to mask a mediocre product. This vaporizer is ideal for those who want something simple and reliable, and who, like me, may secretly hate technology. 

I would imagine their audience skews a little older, but it could appeal to anyone who falls in line with the philosophy that less is more. If the ArGo was a character on Parks and Recreation, it would undoubtedly be Ron Swanson: no frills, no nonsense, and extremely effective. 

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How to roll a cone

Joints are among the most popular ways to partake in a bit of cannabis, and among the most obvious visual signifiers of cannabis use. Once portrayed as a wad of twisted toilet paper, the joint has become a sleek symbol of the modern weed consumer, and their conical cousins are not just a goofy avatar of cannabis past, cone joints are big business.

A joint is considered a cone when the tip is wider than the mouthpiece. This method of rolling is preferential for anyone invested in the aesthetics of smoking, as the cone joint is a counterculture icon. Most crappy joints are as smokeable as a perfect cone, but one “looks” the part while the other is simply utilitarian. 

This is why people sharpen their rolling skills — being able to pull out a beautifully executed cone is membership in the cult of stoner personality. It’s a rebel yell, it sticks out, clearly exclaiming that it is not a cigarette. Here’s how you can craft your own perfect joint.

A step-by-step guide to roll your own cannabis cone joint

First things first: choose your favorite cannabis strain. 

Keep in mind that cones aren’t always mondo-sized behemoths with gram after gram of fancy weed inside. They come in pretty much any size, so try using the same amount of cannabis you’d put in a typical joint, then adjusting to your preferences. What makes a cone a joint is the shape, not the size (though they tend to lean a little girthy). 

Materials

  • Cannabis strain of choice
  • Rolling papers
  • Crutch or filter tip
  • Pen or toothpick (used to pack down the weed)

Directions for a hand-rolled cone

Step 1 — roll your crutch

Roll a ½” diameter crutch with lightweight cardboard or purpose-made tips. Hold it on the rolling paper in the fold or crease with the adhesive gum at the very top

Step 2 — fill your roll

Sprinkle your desired amount of well ground flower along the centerfold, this can be anything from a half gram to an entire eighth.

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Step 3 — shape your cone

Fold the excess paper up over the crutch and the flower using your thumbs and gentle pressure. Using a motion similar to snapping your fingers in slow motion, tuck the paper into the flower as you begin to form a joint.

Step 4 — twist it up

When you creep up to the top of the paper, lightly moisten the gum strip. Quickly finish the twist upwards to seal the joint. Tuck or twist the tip and you’re ready for fire.

Tip: If you usually roll with your fingers evenly placed on the paper, then to get a cone shape it’s helpful to position them much closer to the edges. Some people make an angled crease in the paper before beginning to create a guide, maintaining a tighter wrap on the bottom with a slightly loose arrangement on the top. 

Play with the tension you use at the top. Just like any joint, tight is good, but too tight means a sub-par burn. Conversely, if you roll or pack a cone too loosely, you’ll end up with a floppy and unreliable joint. 

rolling a jointGina Coleman/Weedmaps

Directions to fill a pre-made cone

Step 1 — funnel your cannabis

Using a creased business card or sheet of paper, create a funnel for your herb. Depending on the size of the cone, you will need between ¾ gram and 2 grams of ground material to fill it up. Use the funnel to add a pinch of flower at a time into the cone.

Step 2 — pack it down

Using a pen or toothpick, push the ground material down gently, without too much force. Continue to add and pack the flower until you reach the tip.

rolling a jointGina Coleman/Weedmaps

Step 3 — twist it up

Twist or fold the last ¼” of the cone into itself to create a bit of kindling for the flame of a lighter, match, or hemp wick.

The pros of cone smoking versus regular, uniform thickness joints are strictly personal. One doesn’t burn better than the other as long as they’re rolled proper.

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The post How to roll a cone appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Everything you need to know about bamboo bongs

While glass bongs are great, beautiful to look at and smooth to hit, there’s an undeniable drawback to the material itself: glass shatters. A mere slip of the hand when cleaning or slip up after a night of drinking, and poof, your bong-vestment is gone, as are the memories attached to it. 

Breakable gear is clearly not ideal for getting stoned, but finding better options has proven difficult. Acrylic bongs taste like plastic. Silicone bongs are hard to clean and get gross with resin after a while. Ceramic bongs look cool but are also highly breakable. And if metal bongs exist, they shouldn’t. That sounds terrible. 

So what is the next best kind of bong? Bamboo bongs, of course. Unbreakable, durable and relatively simple to build yourself, bamboo bongs take the cake when it comes to glass alternatives, offering a fix to every downside of glass. 

Here’s everything you need to know about bamboo bongs — including how to make your own. 

What are bamboo bongs?

Bamboo bongs are bongs that are made out of bamboo. The word “bong” actually comes from the Thai and Vietnamese word “baung,” which describes a hollow wooden tube filled with water to smoke herbs. Clearly, they’ve been making bamboo bongs for way longer than we’ve been making glass ones, and with good reason. 

Bamboo is a mind-blowingly durable material that is stronger under tension than steel. It’s composed of up to 70 percent silica, which is the same element found in borosilicate glass, the kind of glass high quality bongs are made from. Many bamboo bong brands will temper the bamboo the same way glass blowers temper glass in order to bond the bamboo at a molecular level, making it even stronger. 

Whether you’re looking to make your own, or purchase one from the reputable brands listed below, bamboo bongs are generally constructed from a hollow piece of bamboo that is sealed with beeswax. Holes are drilled in to house a downstem, add water, and voila!

Using and cleaning a bamboo bong

You use a bamboo bong just like you would any other bong: simply fill it with water, load flower into the bowl and light up. Cleaning it, however, is another story. 

While a normal bong would require hot water, alcohol, and thick grain salt to get back to sparkling, bamboo bongs require a different, altogether softer cleaning ritual. Due to the beeswax lining the inside of most bamboo bongs, it’s important to NEVER use hot water when cleaning. Pipe cleaners, harsh brushes, or anything that will disrupt the wax lining are also on the no-no list. 

How to properly clean your bamboo bong:  

  1. Remove downstem, (or leave in if you want)
  2. Fill bong halfway with isopropyl alcohol 
  3. Add a cup of uncooked rice
  4. Shake vigorously as you would in cleaning a normal bong
  5. Repeat until clean

If you need to reattach the downstem, melt a little beeswax in your hand and reseal along the opening. 

Some of our favorite bamboo bongs 

TokyoTokes BabyBoo Water Pipe

TokyoTokes make high-quality bamboo water pipes at totally doable prices. They’re solid, they hit great and each bong includes free custom laser engraving. Standing 10” tall, the BabyBoo is a compact little friend who is perfect for summer, ready to be thrown in a backpack to get you high on the go. 

Price: $99.99 (On sale now for $79.99)

The Maui Wowie Kahuna Peace Pipe 

Maui Wowie takes the organic approach with their Kahuna Peace Pipe. Meaning sorcerer or wizard in Hawaiian, this big boy features all organic materials, with the bamboo cured in limonene to prevent cracking and wear. Each bong includes an all-purpose conditioning salve to keep him looking suave, and a lifetime warranty against cracking or breaking. 

Price: $200

How to make a bamboo bong 

One of the best parts about a bamboo bong is that it’s relatively simple to make your own. For the DIYer in all of us, here’s a step by step guide on how to construct a totally natural bong out of wood, wax and a little bit of weed. 

Materials: 

  • Piece of cured bamboo (1.5”-2” diameter)
  • Drill
  • Small drill bit (for pilot holes) 
  • Large drill bit (for downstem holes)
  • Downstem and bowl
  • Wood saw
  • Painter’s tape
  • Vice grip
  • Beeswax
  • Rough Grit Sandpaper

Step 1: Cut the bamboo

When cutting the bamboo, it’s all about the nodes. 

Nodes have internal plates that can hold the water, so start by figuring out which node you want to make the bottom of the bong. About half an inch below, wrap painter’s tape to ensure an even cut. After cutting, make sure the bong stands straight before moving forward. 

Next, pick a height for your bong. Keep in mind that if your bong is tall enough to contain multiple nodes, then you’ll have to drill them out so that the bong remains at least somewhat hollow. Cut the bamboo to form the top of your bong, then drill away any internal node walls if necessary, and sand. 

Step 2: Drill the downstem hole

Place your downstem on the bong and position it where you want — roughly a few fingers above the bottom node. Put painters tape over the area, secure bamboo inside the vice grip and drill a hole slightly larger than the size of the downstem. Angle the hole diagonally down towards the bottom when drilling. Be very gentle, as bamboo is prone to cracking during this step. 

Step 3: Sand and clean

When it comes to bamboo bongs, quality is everything. To ensure your bong comes out right, sand every cut, drilled hole, as well as  the drilled out node walls internally, until all surfaces of the bong have a smooth, luxurious texture. 

When you’re done, clean out all the sanding residue. If you use water, leave the bong out to dry. If you have access to compressed air, that works much better.

Step 4: Coat the bong with wax

Go outside — this part is messy. Heat up beeswax on the stove and pour it into the bong slowly and carefully. Roll the bong so the wax coats the inside edges without filling the cavity completely. After waxing, leave it to cool and settle for a couple hours. 

Step 5: Seal and insert downstem

Insert the downstem into its hole and seal around the edge with melted beeswax. Let cool and settle. 

Step 6: Enjoy! 

Fill with water, pack a bowl and enjoy. You’ve successfully made your very own bamboo bong. 

All photos provided by Tokyo Tokes 

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Bob Snodgrass, the godfather of the bong renaissance, briefly explained

Glass is a staple cannabis consumption material, and pipes were once made of naturally derived materials. But then, Bob Snodgrass, while famously traveling on tour with the Grateful Dead, laid bare his talents and began designing innovative cannabis glassware that eventually had a hand in shaping an entire industry. Of all the renowned glass artists, Bob Snodgrass is held in the highest esteem.

Today, Bob Snodgrass and his family carry on a tradition that he cultivated from a love of cannabis and his incredible talent for glass sculpting. He currently counts at least five of his family members as official glass artist apprentices, and regularly teaches hands-on instruction. 

The method that created the Snodgrass Family Glass movement was invented by him, which according to the Snodgrass website, is a technique he refers to as  “Scientific Glassmaking.” 

Glass art is not new, Venetian glass makers have been doing their thing for aeons, but the specific inventions of Bob Snodgrass changed the art form forever. By mixing metals and lab-grade glass, Snodgrass created uncommon effects that fueled an entire subculture of art. Iridescence, gold sheens and intricate abstractions were all fueled by chemical reactions — not by simply adding colors or painting surfaces. 

When glass and talent collide

Snodgrass is seen as the father of borosilicate, aka ‘hard glass’ pipes and smokeware. He’s also notable as “the godfather of the bong renaissance.” In 2017, Northwest-centric publication The Stranger said in a deep dive on glass sculpture that Snodgrass’ decision to settle in Oregon directly led to his continued influence in the craft. Had he stayed in Ohio where he originated, they muse that the glass movement would have flourished in the Midwest instead. 

His glassware is often UV reactive, innovative in its function as well as its form, and the basic ‘spoon’ shaped glass pipe you can get at many corner stores come from his experiments.

The popularity of his glassware is fully based on its artistic appeal and the weight of the wisdom that Snodgrass bestowed upon this folk art. Glass pipes are now ubiquitous, and there are even specially invented tools based off of Snodgrass’ techniques.

He says of his passion for innovation, “I am an inventor. I got stuck in glassblowing because there are so many things to invent in it. I invented a new field in glass.”

If you’re looking to purchase Snodgrass glass, you can shop online but that is just one outlet. Snodgrass pieces are so popular and renowned that they sell for thousands at auctions and in galleries in downtown New York City. Generations of glassblowers to come owe their six figure pipe sales to this man, The Godfather of Pipes.

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter are reshaping America. How will cannabis retailers rebuild?

Dozens of cannabis shops across the country have suffered a one-two punch. First COVID-19 forced many to close down and then came the damage from what most owners have cited as people taking advantage of the recent protests against police brutality.

Boston-based Pure Oasis, the first adult-use, Black-owned cannabis shop in Boston, originally opened on March 9, 2020.

Two weeks later it closed for two months due to COVID-19 then reopened on May 25, the same day George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis. Less than a week later the shop was ransacked by looters who made off with nearly $100,000 in cannabis and other products on June 1.

“They didn’t destroy the property, like other shops, they were just after the weed and they took it all,” said Kobie Evans, who owns Pure Oasis with comedian Kevin Hart.  “The robbery occurred at 1:40 in the morning, well after the streets were cleared of protestors and the police were elsewhere.”

Pure Oasis, which opened as part of Massachusetts’ social equity program, is one of the few dispensaries to employ people with prior drug convictions.

“Our shop, after all, was created as a solution model to address discriminatory police policies in drug enforcement, and we’ve got a long way to go,” Evans said. “Naturally we stand in solidarity with the protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and around the nation.”

Pure Oasis was lucky enough to open the very next day after the looting occurred, thanks to the generosity of the cannabis community.

“People started calling right away and offering their help – a pound of weed here, a few pre-rolls there. It was amazing. Folks in the cannabis community seem to embrace each other,” Kobie said.

‘We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…’

Two other dispensaries outside Boston were also looted and not all cannabis shops have been as fortunate as Pure Oasis.

In California, among the Los Angeles-area dispensaries vandalized was Cookies on Melrose, which is co-owned by rapper and weed entrepreneur Berner. 

Shortly after his shop was robbed, Berner released a video in which he made it clear that he was more concerned about the injustices being highlighted by protestors than stolen cannabis merchandise. “I can’t expect anything less until justice is served.

“We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…we stand with what’s going on in the world. A statement needed to be made,” Berner said in the video.

MedMen temporarily closed all of its locations, according to Marijuana Moment, after several of its Los Angeles stores were totally cleaned out. 

In the Midwest, the Chicago Sun Times reported that the city’s Mission Dispensary South Shore was destroyed and three others were targeted.

Kris Krane, Mission’s president, said the shop’s staff, 90% of whom are people of color, closed the dispensary when they saw that neighboring stores were starting to be ransacked.

He and his team got out safely minutes before it was “targeted by 40 to 50 men and women, some armed. Everything of value was taken, and the store was mostly destroyed,” Krane wrote on Facebook.

“Despite the sadness and destruction, my support for the protests and the underlying goal of ending police brutality, systemic law enforcement reform, and societal recognition of the fundamental humanity of people of color in this country remains undeterred,” Krane wrote.

Shops in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Ohio, and Oregon were ransacked or robbed, according to THCNet.

“What’s happening is that the protests were so huge that looters insulated themselves within those large groups,” said Eugenio Garcia, founder & CEO of online publication Cannabis Now. He opened the Cannabis Now CBD shop in Los Angeles in May 2019. A year later the shop was ransacked and robbed of nearly $100,000 worth of products.

“It was very difficult to watch how criminals embedded themselves with the peaceful demonstrators who are seeking justice and an end to the murder and police harassment of African-Americans,” he said.

Garcia arrived at his shop after reports of looting. He said he was then physically threatened and assaulted when he couldn’t remember the combination to the safe. Once he escaped from the 15 or so looters, it was heartrending to watch, via the store’s cameras, as his shop got torn apart.

“For the entire decade since our publication began, Cannabis Now has been all about building an all-inclusive community knowing full well that Blacks and Latinos, of which I am one, are constantly and indiscriminately targeted by law enforcement for weed violations. We also know that racial injustice has been a part of this society forever,” Garcia said. “Still, our efforts to help change all that are as strong as ever.”

And now the efforts to rebuild

Many, like Cannabis Now’s shop, have opened their own GoFundMe pages to raise money for reopening.

The owners of hemp farm and retailer The Botanical Joint are hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser for Black-owned CBD and cannabis companies that they’ve worked with in the past.  

Most cannabis businesses are unable to purchase insurance coverage on their property or protection against robbery. Hence, the GoFundMe campaigns.

This, in addition to a lack of access to banking and financial institutions, has kept cannabis businesses in a consistently vulnerable situation for years. Even credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa refuse to code cannabis sales, forcing dispensaries and cannabis events to operate on a cash-only basis.

Cannabis dispensaries across the country suffered significant losses from which they may not recover. Most owners vowed to rebuild. The question now is how.


Featured image by Josh Chapman

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Everything you need to know about the Arizer Air II

With all the tech-savvy portable vaporizers on the market, it’s easy to forget that a mere ten years ago, a lot of us were passing around Volcano bags, blowing vapor rings from V-Towers, and generally getting high af off desktop vaporizers. While this idea now seems nostalgic at best, and antiquated at worst, there’s a lot to be said for those pricey, high quality flower vaporizers, as well as the brands who make them. 

It seems that in the transition from big expensive vapes to small portable vaporizers and vape pens, we’ve lost a lot of product quality, which in turn has soured many weed-users on the concept of vaporizing weed altogether. Even as a cannabis journalist, deep down I was one of those soured, combustion only stoners just days prior to writing this article. 

The Air II, the first portable flower vaporizer from industry vets Arizer, re-opened my mind to the benefits of the intake method, as well as the perks of having a high-quality flower vaporizer in the mix. Clearly (a follow up to) the first portable device from a brand known for epic desktop setups, it’s a genre-bending product in that it’s both a portable and an at home vaporizer. Neither of which I knew how badly I needed. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new vape, or just curious as to what all the buzz is about, here’s our take on the Arizer Air II. 

What is the Arizer Air II?

The Arizer Air II is a portable convection vaporizer from the brand Arizer, well respected industry vets known for their no nonsense, high quality products. While Arizer initially rose to notoriety over 12 years ago for their desktop setups like the V-Tower and Extreme, they evolved with the times, and now have five portable vaporizers in their roster. The Air II is a follow up to the popular Air, which when it was released in 2011, was the brand’s first portable vaporizer. 

Blurring the line between a high end, at-home vaporizer and a portable vape for on-the-go use, the Air II uses convection heating technology (using a ceramic heating element) to produce unmatched flavor. But just because this is fully a portable vaporizer, doesn’t mean it’s the type of vape you would want to sneak into a music festival, for example. Due to it’s design, which is simple but definitely prone to breaking, it seems more portable in the way that you would bring it from your living room to your bedroom, or maybe keep in your car.

While there are only two moving parts (the vape itself and a glass tube you preload with ground flower), the design of the Air II lends itself more to a sedentary session because the glass tube sits on top of the vaporizer itself, which is thin and could easily topple over. Though the tube fits snugly, it doesn’t fully lock into place, making the device particularly prone to vibe-shattering accidents.  

What Can You Vape with the Air II?

The Air II  is only compatible with ground flower. 

How do you use the Air II?

Now that we’ve been over the basics, here’s how you use the Air II. 

Charge the Air II

The Air II comes with a swappable 18650 battery that can be charged while inside the Air II via USB, or outside of it with an 18650 compatible charger. This interchangeable batteries allows you to pre-charge batteries if you’re going camping, or doing something that doesn’t include electricity. A single charge can last for up to 90 minutes of continuous use, and the device takes about 3 hours to charge fully. 

To charge the battery within the Air II, simply plug in the USB cable and adapter. The Air II’s screen will display the battery percentage, letting you know when it is fully charged. It is not necessary to fully charge the Air II upon first use, and the device can also be used while charging. 

Control Panel

The control panel of the Air II consists of an OLED display and three buttons: Menu (M), Plus (+), and Minus (-). With these, you can control every aspect of the device, using M to toggle through the menu, and plus and minus to set things like temperature settings, brightness display, shut off timers and more. I turned the device on before reading the manual. The set up is so simple, it’s pretty much self explanatory.

Temperature Settings: The Air II has a large range of temperature settings, from 122 degrees fahrenheit to 428 degrees fahrenheit, in 1 or 10 degree increments using the plus and minus buttons. 

How to Vape

  1. Load Glass Aroma Tube: Put coarsely ground flower in a small container, then twist the the glass tube into the container to fill the dish, being sure not to press too hard or pack it too tightly. It comes with a stainless steel stirring tool that helps with packing.
  2. Insert Glass Aroma Tube: Pre-heat unit before inserting the tube, then insert the flower filled tube into the top of the Air II. 
  3. Press and Hold the (-) and (M) Buttons to Turn On: A timer will count down on the OLED screen showing the power on delay and a greeting message is displayed when the unit is powered on. 
  4. Set the Temperature and Let Unit Heat Up: Press one of the tree control panel buttons and the Air II will start to heat up automatically. Press the (+) and (-) buttons to adjust the temperature in 1-degree increments, or hold the button down to adjust the temperature in 10-degree increments.  
  5. Inhale and Enjoy!: The Air II will remain heated and ready to use until you turn the device off. Because of the convection heating method, the flower is only heated when you inhale, meaning there’s virtually zero waste with this product. To turn off, hold the (M) and (+) buttons. 

How to Clean the Air II

Essentially maintenance free, the Air II is extremely easy to clean. Simply soak the glass parts in isopropyl alcohol for a couple of hours, then rise with hot water. Make sure they are fully dry before re-inserting them into the top of the device .

What’s the Appeal?

With it’s simple design and high quality vapor production, The Air II is a great vaporizer for novice and seasoned users alike. Whether it’s the people who want to get into using cannabis but don’t want to smoke for medical reasons, or heavy smokers who either want a break from combustion or to conserve (and truly taste!) their weed, the Air II fills a void in that its a desktop-quality vaporizer in the form of a casual, portable vape, even if it is a little fragile. 

Just because a hot new vaporizer has enough bells and whistles to link with a bluetooth speaker across the street doesn’t make it a good product when it comes time to get high. The Arizer Air has stood the test of time, and it’s successor, the Air II, will surely carry the flame for years to come. 

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The hype about CBD coffee, explained

For many people, coffee is a crucial part of their morning routine (read: I can’t function without large quantities of caffeine). While coffee can feel like magical get-stuff-done juice, too much of a good thing can leave you jittery, anxious, and seriously over-caffeinated. 

Cannabidoil (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, can help solve that problem according to some consumers. Currently, CBD can be found in all kinds of products, from pet treats to skincare to CBD lattes at your local coffee shop. And CBD-infused beverages have made an especially large impact — Zenith Global projects that the market for CBD and hemp infused drinks will grow to over $1.4 Billion by 2024. 

Of the drinkable CBD products currently sold, CBD coffee is one of the most popular. Over the last several years, the number of coffee shops and cafés offering different CBD-infused coffee and espresso drinks has noticeably increased. For the dedicated coffee-drinker, the appeal seems obvious: all the focus and productivity of a solid caffeine rush without the impending doom of potential overindulgence. 

What is CBD Coffee?

CBD coffee, as you probably guessed, is a combination of coffee and cannabidoil. It can include different ingredients and be made into regular hot coffee, cold brew, and various other types of drinks. Coffee shops that offer CBD-infused options typically add CBD oil to coffee after it’s brewed, while coffee brands add CBD (often in isolate form) to the coffee beans themselves. 

The amount of CBD per cup of joe will vary, but it’s important to only buy from trusted retailers. Since CBD beverages are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, companies don’t always disclose how their CBD is extracted or exactly how many milligrams are in each serving. 

According to Adrian Devitt-Lee, chief science writer at Project CBD, “Packaging should clearly indicate total cannabinoid content and dosage, and products should always have a batch number. Avoid products with artificial colors or flavors … Don’t be afraid to contact a company directly to ask them about their products —  if they are not forthcoming, pick another one.”  

What is CBD coffee good for?

Consumers report using CBD for a variety of reasons, but a lot more research must be done in order to know exactly which ailments it can clinically relieve. 

So, are there health benefits to a cup of coffee with CBD oil in it? Not likely. But based on product testimonials and five-star reviews, many consumers believe that coffee with added CBD can reduce caffeine-induced anxiety and help improve focus, and the logic makes some sense  — CBD has calming properties that may take the edge off of caffeine. 

However, it’s important to understand that both CBD and caffeine affect everyone differently, which means there’s no way to tell if it will help you without trying it for yourself. 

Does CBD coffee work?

The simple answer to whether or not CBD coffee works is: it depends. “CBD may be able to take the edge off of caffeine on a neurological level, but it’s also possible that caffeine could undermine some beneficial effects of CBD, including its potency as an anti-epileptic,” said Devitt-Lee. 

“Do they balance each other out or interfere? It will depend on the dose and [you] will likely have to experiment based on their own caffeine and cannabinoid sensitivities,” he added. 

I brewed a pot of Green Roads Hemp Flower Coffee to get the creative juices flowing as I sat down to write this article. My first impression was that the coffee tasted surprisingly good, not overly herbal or unpleasant. Lee Sosin, Chief Marketing Officer at Green Roads, explained, “The true flavor is really coming from the gourmet coffee beans grown on that lush Colombian estate. You will be able to taste the influence of hemp, but it is gentle and it works well with the coffee.”

Photo courtesy of Green Roads

After my first cup of CBD coffee (with oat milk and a spoonful of sugar) I didn’t feel especially caffeinated or relaxed, so I decided to have a second cup. That may have been a bit much considering I drink coffee on an empty stomach every morning, and I started to feel a little sleepy. I compensated with a regular cup of cold brew and a glass of water, which left me feeling the right amount of caffeinated and focused. 

After two to three cups of coffee,  the daily norm for 44 percent of Americans, I didn’t feel jittery or anxious at all. I did learn that I personally need a greater ratio of caffeine to CBD in order to feel awake, so next time I plan to limit my intake to one cup. 

The best advice I can offer to my fellow caffeine-lovers who suffer from stress is to understand that CBD coffee may not be the best method of consumption if you’re using CBD for medicinal purposes, and to always do your research before choosing a brand. “Many CBD companies are starting to use similar language about things like testing, but consumers should understand that there’s a big difference between companies that test their own CBD isolates, and someone like Green Roads that has an accredited independent lab run a full-panel test on every batch of finished products,” offered Sosin.

What are our favorite CBD coffees?

There are plenty of great CBD brands out there, but check out a few well-known options for an infused caffeine fix:

Green Roads Founders’ Blend

green roads hemp flower coffeePhoto courtesy of Green Roads

Thanks to the company’s strict quality control, Green Roads is a great option for CBD coffee newbies. Their Founders’ Blend is crafted in small batches, the most recent batch containing  9.67 milligrams of cannabinoids per serving. They also sell CBD tea, gummies, oils, and tons of other products to fit any lifestyle. 

Available: Nationwide

Price: $14.99

Flower Power Coffee Co. 

Flower Power Coffee Co. is another popular option for hemp-infused coffee, with 60 milligram blends like the New York Signature Roast and Big Island Joe. If you brew it on its own  — you could mix it with other coffee too — you’ll get 5 milligrams per cup, which is a great starting point for those who don’t know how CBD will affect them. 

Available: Nationwide

Price: $14.99

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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