Medical cannabis users tend to develop ritual with their use, that is especially true if you inhale, or smoke cannabis flower. “I take 3 or 4 puffs once, maybe twice in the evening. That's all I need and I sleep like a baby”, and, “I like Sativa during the day so that I can keep my anxiety down, not get too sleepy, and then I’ll turn to Indica in the evening for rest, relaxation, and improved sleep.” Inhaling smoke has become taboo. Rightly so. Smoke contains the combustion byproducts of burned molecules. These molecules are well known to be carcinogenic. The smoking ritual usually involves a separate room (perhaps garage or office) to keep the smoke and smell contained. There are tools that are necessary to grind the cannabis flower and pack it appropriately into a “bowl”. If you are using a cannabis flower vaporizer machine, you might need to recharge a battery or wait until the heating element reaches temperature. Does it sound too complicated? It can be daunting. Many have given up and avoid the process entirely.
A few months ago, I acquired a Vape Pen and for awhile completely abandoned my old cannabis ritual. The “pen” came to me as a gift…. and my life completely changed. I was cleansed. The dust and ash magically disappeared from the top of my garage workbench and office desk. The fruity to skunky perfumed cloud that seemed to follow me everywhere had dissipated. My clothes seemed to change to snappy and colorful with less burn holes. I had put down the joint.
The vape pen is a small cylindrical metal pipe, about the size of a pen, that contains a battery, a heating element, and an attachment surface for a cartridge. The cartridge is a small tube attached to a metal mouthpiece and the other end has a matching surface that attaches to any vape pen. You guessed it...the last image in the a picture above is a USB attachment that also attaches to the vape pen and charges the battery. The cartridge contains a thick cannabis oil concentrate, extracted from the plant and doctored up (or not) in various ways.
So I began to use the vape pen and that’s how my life changed. My chronic smoker’s cough disappeared and breathe easier. I began exercising!! Where would this lead?!! My medical condition is anxiety and I rely on cannabis regularly to keep me functional, amicable, and sane. The pen slipped into my shirt pocket or even into the back pocket of my jeans as an old friend. The metal design was light yet sturdy. Dosing was an issue. Rather than smoking ½ gram (½ joint) to a 1 gram (full joint) of flower, I could get my relief in about 3 puffs. The pens vapor-smoke was cooler than a joint, producing less irritation to my throat. I had to get used to the film of oil that would coat my tongue and mouth after the vapor condenses to the bodies temperature. However, it was definitely better than the ash taste that I used to feel. The cartridges typically sell from $25 to $60. They last as long as an eighth ounce of flower. They are sometimes made with added terpenes creating different aromas and effects. I preferred the pure cannabis oil without added terpenes. As well, there is likely a solvent component to the concentrated cannabis oil to consider. Make sure you ask your dispensary staff whether the concentrate oil was extracted with carbon dioxide (CO2), ethanol or butane. I would stay away from the latter. There also may have been some coconut oil or medium chain triglycerides added to cartridge. Neither should be harmful.
So, like I said, for the most part my life is definitely not the same. Sometimes, I miss the old life and roll one for old time’s sake. Just a few puffs is all I want. I like my new life… and I am off onto a new adventure with only a couple things in my pocket.
Vape Pens available …
The Green Cross in San Francisco sells the BHANG vape pen only (no cartridge) for $15
Peace in Medicine in Sebastopol sells the O.Pen vape pen only (no cartridge) for $10
7 Stars in Richmond has a few different vape pens... vape pen only (no cartridge) for $18 - 20
Zen Gardens in Sacramento has the Jetty Extracts Pen, vape pen only (no cartridge) for $20
LAPCG in West Hollywood has a few different vape pens... vape pen only (no cartridge) for $10 - 20
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,
Co-contributor: Christopher Lindquist
MediCann Media Director