Hash Rosin 101: Lessons from Experienced Solventless Extractors

Hash Rosin 101: Lessons from Experienced Solventless Extractors

Original Post: High Times: Hash Rosin 101: Lessons from Experienced Solventless Extractors

[Canniseur: Solventless concentrates are nearly impossible to find in most dispensaries in legal states. Water hash is almost the stuff of legends. In my experience at adult-use legal dispensaries in legal states, I always ask for water or solventless hash. I almost never find it. There’s one company in Colorado (Lazercat) who only creates water hash. Given the super high quality of their product, Lazercat commands a premium price. I’m sure there are others, but I don’t know them. The bottom line is that solventless concentrates are very difficult to find, but have incredible quality. Fascinating interview with several solventless hash makers in Michigan. But try to find their products!]

Your ultimate guide on hash rosin.

Made with no more than water, heat, pressure, and a few tools, hash rosin has become one of the most prized forms of cannabis resin today. Most hash rosin is made by squishing ice water hash instead of flower at the right temperature and pressure levels for yields that fail to rival solvent extractions. It also requires high-quality and properly maintained starting material to match the flavor and melt-quality of something made with hydrocarbon solvents.

There are also varying qualities of hash rosin. But thanks to the taste of concentrate connoisseurs, products like live rosin have become the most expensive and limited cannabis products being sold today. To better understand the many forms of modern hash rosin, I sat down with four premiere solventless extractors from Michigan with varying perspectives during the last High Times event in Detroit.

Solventless Extractors

Today’s hashmakers press their hash into rosin and don the titles of solventless extractors. The extractors I spoke to have several years of experience working with rosin.

After originally outsourcing their plant material to other hashmakers for years, the founder of Superior Flowers, Kerry, started Superior Solventless to create some of the highest-grade single source hash rosin in the state. Seeing jars with his labels in the stashes of most other competing local hashmakers I’ve met speaks volumes to how much his work is respected in the community.

Tyler of Wojo Wax recently took home a second-place medal for Best Non-Solvent Concentrate with their single source Cream D’Mint at the Michigan Cannabis Cup in 2019. Tyler said he has been making hash for about 2 and a half years but feels he really found his groove after taking a hashmaking consult in Las Vegas about a year ago.

Anthony AKA the Organic Mechanic, has been growing and making traditional hash for over 15 years with a focus on pressing rosin over the last two to three years. He’s a hash veteran that I’ve seen doing live demos and pressing hash and flowers that guests bring to his booth at the Cannabis Cup over the last few years.

Mark from Covert Extracts is one of the first to introduce mechanically separated hash rosin to Michigan cannabis consumers. Using the technique, he took first place for Non-Solvent Concentrate with the mechanically separated Mother’s Milk THCA and terpenes grown by Ghostbudsters Farm at the Michigan Cannabis Cup in 2019.

Not All Hash is Made Equal

Two jars of hash rosin from the same extractor, strain and batch.

When it comes to hash rosin, terms like 90u and 120u are different parts of the trichome separated by size. The “u” or μ to be accurate is a measurement that refers to the different micron sizes of the holes in the multiple bags used to filter and separate trichomes from the rest of the plant during the “washing” process.

“Washing” is slang for making ice water hash. More specifically, it is when plant material is put into a bucket of ice water and stirred before it is strained, leaving only hash behind. However, it’s worth noting that dry sift hash can be made without water and ice but most of the live rosin on shelves today is made by turning ice water hash made with freshly frozen materials into rosin.

In fact, all four of the hashmakers I interviewed use ice water hash over dry sift material when making their rosin.

Beyond that, different hashmakers include or exclude certain trichome sizes from their final product. As a result, certain jars of hash and rosin being sold on the market are labeled as 90u, 120u, full spectrum or some range in between.

Differences in Micron Sizes

Kerry of Superior Solventless broke down the differences between the separate micron sizes and what they mean to consumers.

He compared washing flowers to straining pasta. Big holes let the water out and keep all the stuff you want isolated from falling through. However, in the case of making hash, multiple strainers with smaller and smaller holes are needed to separate the different parts of the trichome from the rest of the plant.

“So, when you’re looking at something like 120u [up close], you’re going to see things that are intact. Basically, a stalk and glandular head right up on top. Then, when you see a 90u or a 73u, you’re mainly going to see heads. Heads that have been knocked off the stalks. You can even see them both individually in the 73 and 90u. That generally is what melts really well. Followed down by 45u and 25u.”

The trichome head has proven to be the most prized component of the plant. The fact that they mostly end up in the 90 and 73u bags as Kerry describes is why jars of pure 90 or 73u hash rosin have become more expensive and desired than full spectrum hash by some.

To get a better idea of what goes into the rosin I’ve been smoking, I asked the four hashmakers what sizes they include in their final product and why.

What is Full Spectrum Hash Rosin?

Fresh Press Banana OG full spectrum live rosin from Covert Extracts

When asked if they leave the 25u or anything else out of their full spectrum rosin Kerry replied, “We do not. Our motto or our philosophy and principle is to be full spectrum from the beginning to the end of the process.”

According to Kerry, the 90u and 73u are the “meat and potatoes of your dinner plate” and make up the majority of the weight of the yield. In fact, he claimed 90u alone “makes up 70 percent of your wash.”

He warned consumers that if they see a product that’s labeled 90u and you see that same strain from the same company in full spectrum form as well, there’s a chance the 90 or 73u were left out of that full spectrum. That means you’re only getting about 30 percent of the actual hash spectrum despite the full spectrum label.

When asked if he prefers to smoke 90u over full spectrum Kerry said he personally feels 90u lacks certain flavors and the “entourage effect” from missing cannabinoids that would have been in the full spectrum.

“We have one product. That product is all full spectrum. From there we manipulate the consistency,” he said.

The other three hashmakers I spoke to leave what they perceive as the less desirable ends of the hash spectrum like 25 and the much higher microns out of the final product.

Which Microns Make the Cut?

In response to what goes into their full spectrum, Anthony from the Organic Mechanic responded, “45-159u is what I use for my full spectrum.”

He added that he leaves out the 25 and the 159 because “in my personal opinion, it’s all the broken stalks and little pieces of heads that fall through.”

Anthony also added that you would have to wash an extremely large quantity for the 25u to amount to anything worthwhile.

Tyler of Wojo Wax agreed by saying, “like Anthony said, I catch 40 to 159. I’ve done 25 before and never went above 159u. My reasoning for it is it just makes the color a little bit darker and a lot of people base it [the quality] on color. I didn’t notice much of a difference as far as effect. Yields are obviously a little bit better if you are throwing in those bags, but I’ll sacrifice that yield for the lighter color.”

Covert also found that, in his experience, the 45 to 159u range for his full spectrum rosin was the best for maintaining the flavor of the original plant. The remaining hash that get left out of smokable product is still used in capsules or edibles.

I asked Kerry why he felt less inclined to leave out the 25u and he admitted, “the 70u is going to be white, the 25u or the 159 and above is definitely going to be on the greener, darker, less smelly side.”

But he added that he believes the ends have beneficial properties and those parts make up a much smaller portion of the weight of the wash.

Furthermore, when you make rosin, “you’re taking all the hash and you’re putting it through an entire filtration process again and you can look at that bag and you can see what’s leftover.”

Animal Mints live rosin jam processed by @greenthumbforpresident

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Hashmakers are tasked with selecting strains of flower that will provide a sustainable yield and desirable characteristics after being washed and pressed into rosin.

When asked what his favorite strain to wash was, Kerry of Superior Flowers responded, “I would say Purple Pebbles as well as TKP currently. The TKP was very deceptive when I was running through the pheno hunt. The plant to the naked eyes doesn’t look covered in frost like the Cookies strain.”

Despite the lack of visible frost on the plant, he assured us the yields from washing the TKP were surprisingly high.

And vice versa, he added, “if you’re familiar with the MAC, looking at it you would think ‘wow, that thing is covered [in frost], if it gets washed it’s going to do phenomenal,’ but sometimes that’s not the case and you never want to judge a book by its cover.”

Tyler’s current favorite plant to wash is Sundae Driver because it “checks every single box from nose to taste to yield.”

He described it as a delicious dessert dab with fruity flavors that speak to the Grape Pie half of its lineage.

The Organic Mechanic had similar woes with MAC and Tyler from Wojo Wax agreed that he’s washed material that was frosty in appearance but only yielded .3% — and when you’re getting that little in return, it becomes impossible for hashmakers to keep their lights on. To put that .3% into perspective, yields for hash-friendly strains like GMO can be as high as 8%.

Anthony from the Organic Mechanic said his favorite strain to wash is GG#4 because it has been consistent in every category including yield, potency and smell.

“The color on it is beautiful, the taste, the yield, the terp on it is just loud. Everybody that has got a hold of it likes it. Also, Cherry Punch from Greener Thumb’s outdoor grow is another one of my favorites because of the terps.”

Mark, the lead extractor for Covert Extracts says his current favorite is the mountain cut of Tropicanna Cookies bred by Harry Palms and grown by Ghostbudsters Farm because of the prominent terpene profile. He gave GMO an honorable mention as well because “it dumps, it’s stinky and it checks every box for me. It’s my go-to.”

Mason Jar Test Wash

Tyler admits he made the mistake of judging how well a strain would wash based of the quality of its appearance. After putting in tons of work processing an extremely large bulk of flower for a friend that ended up looking far better than it yielded, he learned his lesson the hard way.

Since it is impossible to rely on looks alone to tell how well a strain will wash after the harvest, Tyler recommends paying attention to genetics and performing a small mason jar test before washing an entire grow and being surprised it didn’t yield enough to break even.

Tyler said that when sourcing starting material, solventless extractors “have to truly look for what strains are going to wash well. You gotta look at the parents and then as you’re growing them too, you can tell by the size of the head if you’re scoping it. A new thing that we started doing is doing a test wash. You can put a small amount of flower in a mason jar with water and ice then start swishing it around to see if those heads fall off because it can be the frostiest plant ever like the MAC and not dump at all. It’s got to want to let that head go because we’re not after the stalk.”

With the mason jar test wash method, Tyler says only about a half ounce of flower is needed rather than using a whole plant or more when it might not yield much.

Live Rosin vs. Cured

Cured rosin by Mammoth Melts from Rhode Island.

Most modern hashmakers exclusively work with “live” or freshly frozen starting material. This is best illustrated by the fact that only one of the four hashmakers I interviewed for this article currently processes dry or cured flower.

I asked Anthony from Organic Mechanic if he preferred using fresh frozen starting material over cured and he replied, “I would do either one if the product was taken care of.”

However, he finds flavor can be lost during the curing process.

On the other hand, the other three hashmakers exclusively work with live products for a number of reasons.

Kerry said in his experience at Superior Solventless, he observed differences in the yield, color, potency and consumer demand.

Tyler used both live and cured products before the Wojo Wax team deciding to only use freshly frozen flowers. Tyler says that in his experience, the yield was higher with cured material. Despite this, he exclusively runs live material because of the enhanced flavor and the fact that it melts better in his experience.

Mark prefers live because it “tastes better, the color is obviously better” and that’s been enough to keep him exclusively working with freshly frozen flowers.

Single Source vs. Outsourcing Flower for Hash Rosin

I asked a few of the hashmakers if they noticed any differences when extracting flower they grew themselves versus outsourcing plant material.

“This is probably my favorite question so far because this to me is where you really get your difference [in hash quality]. We do everything single source,” said Tyler of Wojo Wax.

He says the reason for this is, “growing for hash is different than growing for flower.”

Macro shot of the GMO strain grown by Loki Gro

Growing for Hash

“For starters, I’m not defoliating as much as I am for hash because I’m trying to get as much surface area as much as I can. On top of that, I crank my room down as cold I can possibly get it for the last three weeks because that preserves the terpenes which is what we’re ultimately after. Another reason is because I’ve taken [other] people’s materials and it doesn’t always yield well. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news to somebody that they’re getting .3% back on a wash.”

When asked if he also noticed a difference when washing the same strain from his own grow compared to somebody else’s, Kerry of Superior Solventless admits the experiences were not the same.

“For example, we washed Wedding Cake that we grew and got 5%. We washed someone else’s and got 3%.”

Mechanical Separation vs. Jar Tech

There are two additional ways for hashmakers to further process hash after it has been turned into rosin. Using these techniques, they can turn the consistency of their rosin into something closer to a live resin sauce.

Live rosin jam.

Rosin Jam

One is called “jar tech” which just about anyone should be able to do at home with a jar of fresh-pressed rosin, a source of heat, time and practice. The consistency it creates has been called jam or “caviar” by Superior Solventless and it contains small crystals with a more liquidy high-terpene layer. The layers combine to create an applesauce-like consistency that is less likely to change at room temperature than fresh-pressed rosin.

Unlike the washing and pressing phases, the hashmakers I spoke to claim little to no weight is lost after a jar of hash rosin undergoes the “jar tech.”

On the other hand, the other technique which involves mechanically separating THCA out of the oil comes with a more significant yield loss.

If you come across a jar of solventless rosin with large THCA crystals and oil in it, they were most likely mechanically separated with a press and filters. Then, the crystals are melted down and manipulated into a shape of choice. Usually, they are made to mimic the appearance of popular live resin extracts made with hydrocarbon solvents.

Mechanically Separated THCA and Terpenes from Covert Extracts and Ghostbudsters Farm.

Mechanical Separation

According to Mark of Covert Extracts to make mechanically separated THCA, “you need wax rosin in order to make mechanically separated THCA.”

From there, he says, “to separate the THCA from terpenes I usually press the rosin wax in a 25u press bag at about 135 degrees to start. With a very low pressure at first before building to almost max pressure. Then, I repeat at different temps until I feel enough terpenes are separated. From there you can take the THCA and melt it down into a glass-like consistency at around 240 to 250 degrees.”

Comparing it to the jam tech or fresh press, Mark said it is a “long process and you have about a 25% loss in yield but potency and appearance of the final product sets it apart.”

The process appears to further isolate THCA in hash rosin with Mark claiming to have “had some testing out at 92% THCA.”

There was a point in time when most hash looked the same. It was a dark brown or green in color and stretchy. Traditional hash commonly came in a brick, ball, or bullet that may have traveled inside someone’s ass before getting to you.

Fortunately, today’s hash has is far more refined and versatile. It looks more like a lighter colored oil that can take on the form of dry sift, ice wax, rosin, live rosin, jam, or mechanically separated hash rosin. Not to mention the various consistencies that rosin can be shape-shifted into, like cake batter, sugar, or applesauce.

Hash Rosin 101: Lessons from Experienced Solventless Extractors was posted on High Times.

20 Trending Strains

20 Trending Strains

Original Post: High Times: 20 Trending Strains

[Canniseur: I still love Blue Dream and Red-Headed Stranger. These trending strains are this year’s best sellers. Have you tried any of them? What do you think? Let us know!]

These are the cannabis varieties you need to know now.

As cannabis breeding evolves, so do the tastes of its consumers. Aside from a few staple strains, you can expect to see a mostly new set of names on the menus of dispensaries and delivery services every year. In fact, you may have noticed the strains you cherished just a couple of years ago are nowhere to be found today. The classics of their time—like Sour Diesel, OG Kush, and Blue Dream—have survived, but they’re not as sought after as they once were. After analyzing data on the strains you searched for, requested and/or contacted us about, we compiled a list of the top 20 varieties that have you talking. These are the top trending strains of the year.

Do-Si-Dos

Do-Si-Dos is another child of the original Cookies strain. It’s a cross of Girl Scout Cookies and Face Off OG. The strain has picked up in popularity since the Archive Seed Bank bred it in 2016. Do-Si-Dos is an indica-dominant hybrid that tastes like its parent Cookies strain with hints of pine and citrus from the Face Off OG lineage.

Cherry Punch

Bred by Symbiotic Genetics before making the rounds into other popular cultivars, Cherry Punch is a cross of Cherry AK-47 and Purple Punch F2. It’s great for an uplifting and fruit-flavored smoke.

Garlic Cookies a.k.a. GMO

Despite having “Cookies” in its name, Garlic Cookies, or GMO, is one of the only strains on this list without a sweet aroma. This strain reeks of garlic and gas. Its presence here is proof that the once-popular loud, gassy strains have not been entirely left in the past. SkunkMasterFlex of Skunkhouse Genetics created the strain with a seed, labeled “Chem D x GSC,” bred by Mamiko Seeds. According to SkunkMasterFlex, the name “GMO” came after the revelation that GMOs were used in the cookies from the Girl Scouts of America. It also hints at how the strain grows as if it were genetically modified.

Apple Fritter

Apple Fritter is a cross between Sour Apple (Sour Diesel x Cinderella 99) and Animal Cookies (GSC x Fire OG) bred by Lumpy Seeds. While it made our list of the Strongest Strains of 2016 and scored high in flavor and aroma with our judges at the 2016 Northern California Cannabis Cup, searches for this strain only began to peak late last year. THC percentages on Apple Fritter reach well over 20 percent, and the strain features a prominent and enjoyable flavor profile.

Biscotti

Biscotti is a cross of Gelato #25 and South Florida OG (a.k.a. Triangle Kush). This strain is one of the many original varieties brought to us by Cookie Family Genetics. Like most strains from the Cookie Fam, Biscotti is an indica-dominant strain. This tasty variety is named after the Italian almond biscuits with the same appellation.

Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit is a mix of two classic fruit-flavored strains: Tangie, by DNA Genetics, and Cherry Pie, by the Cookie Fam. The smell of musky oranges dominates the aroma of Forbidden Fruit with hints of sweet cherry in the mix. Forbidden Fruit can also be quite visually pleasing. Many batches display more purple coloring than green and contain plenty of frost.

Miracle Alien Cookies (MAC)

Miracle Alien Cookies is the result of several years of breeding from the popular breeder Capulator. He crossed Alien Cookies F2 #7 and Miracle 15. Alien Cookies F2 was bred by JAWS Genetics, and Miracle 15 is a cross between Colombian seeds and the Starfighter strain bred by Alien Genetics. Despite being around for years, searches for the strain are still trending, and people are waiting in line for hours at cannabis events to purchase the latest MAC crosses directly from Capulator.

Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake is one of the latest dessert-themed strains to gain hype status. There are multiple strains going by this name, but the one generating the most buzz is the Wedding Cake x Gelato #33 cross bred by Seed Junky Genetics. The strain grows a frosty coat of trichomes and has a creamy vanilla aroma and flavor when smoked.

London Pound Cake

London Pound Cake is one of the latest hits from Cookie Family Genetics’ roster of original pastry-themed strains. It is said to be a cross between Nip OG and Cookie Fam’s Sunset Sherbet. The early success of London Pound Cake has already led breeders to cross it with other popular Cookies strains. In fact, a new cross between London Pound Cake and Gelato named Candy Rain is already trending in its own right.

Slurricane

Slurricane is a cross between Do-Si-Dos and Purple Punch bred by In House Genetics. A berry aroma dominates from the Purple Punch lineage with notes of something earthier from the Do-Si-Dos parent. The strain is popular thanks to its high THC levels and fruity flavor.

Mimosa

Mimosa is a sativa-dominant hybrid with one of the tangiest orange flavors you can find in a cannabis plant. The citrus strain would complement brunch better than any alcoholic beverage. Since last year, the child of Clementine and Purple Punch bred by Symbiotic Genetics has been exploding in popularity with famed cultivators like the Jungle Boys bringing it into full production.

Purple Punch

Purple Punch is a delicious cross of Grand-daddy Purple and Larry OG bred by Supernova Gardens. It’s considered by some to be the new Blue Dream. This is in reference to the hype Blue Dream has generated since it rose to prominence nearly half a decade ago. Since 2014, Blue Dream has been one of the best-selling strains in most states with legal marijuana, according to BDS Analytics.

Runtz

Runtz is at the top of all recent strain searches. It’s a cross between Zkittlez and Gelato—two strains that have been trending over the last year or so. Runtz was made popular by rapper and co-owner of the Runtz cannabis brand Yung LB. The strain got its name from the colorful buds and sweet candy-like flavor users have reported. There is a White Runtz phenotype that has also been highly searched for.

Melonade

Melonade has been skyrocketing in popularity since Alien Labs used it to take home the trophy for first place sativa at the last Central Valley Cannabis Cup. The strain was originally bred by Midwest Best before Alien Labs germinated dozens of the Watermelon Zkittlez x Lemon Tree #11 seeds to find a watermelon-dominant phenotype.

Sundae Driver

Sundae Driver is a hit strain bred by Cannarado Genetics, produced by crossing Fruity Pebbles and Grape Pie. The Jungle Boys were one of the first to bring the strain into full production. They settled on Sundae Driver #12 after popping and testing 500 different phenotypes of the strain.

Watermelon Zkittlez

Watermelon Zkittlez is one of several new crosses of the popular Zkittlez strain. The Watermelon variety is a refreshing twist on the already fruit-flavored Zkittlez. The original was brought to us by the award-winning breeders at Terp Hogz, and its Watermelon cross was bred by Dying Breed Seeds.

Gushers

Gushers was bred by Kush4Breakfast using the Gelato #41 strain, from Cookie Family Genetics, and Triangle Kush, which was bred in Florida. This fruity, flavorful strain packs a surprising punch.

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake (or Birthday Cake) is a cross of two popular Cookies strains: the original Cookies and Cherry Pie. The Cherry Pie adds sweet and creamy undertones to the earthy floral aroma from the original Cookies parent. The indica-dominant cross, bred by Seed Junky Genetics, won first place indica flower at the last High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Now the strain is being crossed to make new flavors that are just as popular.

Smarties

Smarties is another candy-themed original bred by Kush4Breakfast. It was made by crossing Blue City Diesel into the original Cookies strain. Smarties is covered in a blanket of trichomes and, like the candy, it’s multicolored.

Zookies

Zookies was originally bred by Alien Labs and pheno-hunted by Cannaman 707/Golden State Cultivators. This is one of the rare strains with a Z in the name that contains zero Zkittlez in the lineage. The key to understanding the moniker lies in the “Zoo”—its parents are Gorilla Glue #4 and Animal Cookies.

The trending strains of today could be forgotten tomorrow. Fortunately, many classics return in the form of new crosses. In fact, one strain that had a strong influence on this list is the original Cookies (GSC). It plays a part in the lineage of about half of the top 20 trending strains of today. Years ago, gassy strains like OG Kush and Sour Diesel were the most sought after. Today’s cannabis consumers appear to prefer sweeter strains or crosses that blend gas and fruit.


This feature was published in the May, 2019 issue of High Times magazine.

20 Trending Strains was posted on High Times.

Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers

Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers

Original Post: High Times: Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers

[Editor’s Note: This guide will help you understand what makes a quality quartz banger. All the pros and cons are listed.]

The finalists for the best quartz bangers let you finish your dab and taste it too.

There are several features that make a stellar quartz banger stand apart from the rest. These characteristics include functionality, durability, craftsmanship, and most importantly—flavor. Connoisseurs transitioned from titanium to quartz because the latter allows you to enjoy the flavors of the concentrate and get high as hell. Though titanium nail dabs got us stoned, but every dab tasted like hot oil and burned throats. With a proper quartz banger and quality concentrates, dabs should leave your mouth watering.

One thing to look for in a quality banger is how level the top is for perfect seals with carb caps. You can ensure the top is completely level by holding it upside down on a marble tabletop or completely flat surface, and blowing through the neck. If air is being blown back at you, it will have a perfect seal with a proper carb cap. You can test the seal of a carb cap by capping the banger, covering any holes in the cap, and blowing through the joint. If any air makes it out of the top, it means the seal is imperfect.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is bevels on the inner lip of the top, which creates the perfect seal with bubble caps. But one of the most important aspects to watch for when paying top dollar is the welding on necks and bottoms. You won’t be able to feel or see any creases or imperfections where the neck and bucket connect if it was handmade to perfection. The same goes for any attached bottoms like the opaques—perfect seals will have no ridges on the sidewalls.

Some American quartz makers save money and time by “cold sticking” the joint onto the bucket and calling it a day. Cold sticking is when a glass artist basically uses the flame as glue. The properties of quartz allow it to be stuck together instead of fused without snapping off easily. However, higher quality quartz makers use the flame to create a sturdier complete solid piece of quartz. In the cases of cold stuck joints, the seal won’t be as strong as a fully blown joint. A cold seal can be done in a couple of minutes, while properly binding a bucket to a joint can require up to 40 minutes of flameworking.

Another shortcut quartz makers use is imported joints. They still use American or German quartz buckets for heat retention and flavor, but import lower quality joints to save money. As long as those savings are passed onto the consumer, it isn’t the end of the world.

Cleanest Seals

As we mentioned above, bangers with a fully worked seal are one piece of quartz making them less vulnerable to snapping and breaking when compared to simpler cold seals. Not all seals are equal, however. A few quartz makers fully work and completely polish their joints for a seamless connection.

best quartz bangers seals 2018

Photo Courtesy of Toro Glass

Opaque Bottom JP Core Reactor by Toro Glass

Toro has been consistently making some of the most quality-controlled glass and quartz on the market today. The company is based in New York and they have several quartz nails including opaque and clear versions of the Grail, the Core Reactor, or the Terp Slurper for globbers (big dabbers). Since they started making bangers, they’ve been your favorite quartz makers favorite quartz maker. There are no “seconds” at Toro. Anything short of perfection is tossed into a quartz banger graveyard, never to be seen again. Many of their throw-aways look like they would pass the quality control test of the competition. After comparing Toro original bangers to others on the market, Toro consistently makes the most polished bangers in the game.

Price: $270.00

Pros: The Opaque Bottom Core Reactor combines elements from Toro’s original core reactor which we dubbed the best quartz banger in 2016 and the first opaque bottom which topped the list in 2017. The craftsmanship on this banger is unmatched in the current marketplace. The top is as flat as marble, the welds on the neck and opaque bottom are perfect with no sign of creases when looking at or touching the quartz. The cherry on top is the bevel on the inner lip of the top for better seals with bubble caps.

Opaque bottoms have nucleation sites that allow more vaporization to occur in a shorter period of time. It doesn’t retain heat for as long as clear quartz, however. Fortunately, this banger has a giant chunk of quartz at the center for all the additional heat retention you could need. For a while, the motto for low-temperature dabbers was “waste it to taste it.” But the Opaque Bottom Core Reactor allows you to taste your dab and finish it, too.

Cons: One of the most expensive bangers on the market but you get what you pay for and Toro has more affordable banger options as well like their clear or opaque bottom grails.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

Photo Courtesy of Eternal Quartz

Fat Bottom Banger V4 by Eternal Quartz

The V4 Eternal Quartz Flat Top comes with a thicker bottom than their previous versions. There’s also an opaque bottom version of the V4 with a whopping 6mm of quartz at the bottom!

Price: $159.00

Pros: The neck on the V4 and all other Eternal bangers are fully worked with no seams on the neck. There is nothing on the market that currently matches the quality at their price point. Eternal is out to make the thickest bottom in the game with 5mm on this model and 6mm at the base of their opaque V4 fat bottom. The added heat retention from the thicker base increases the window to drop an insert or dab at low-temperatures. Eternal offers one of the most polished bangers on the market at an unparalleled price point.

Cons: You’ll have to wait a little bit longer for things to cool off before dropping a dab or it’ll burn.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

Photo Courtesy of Grass Lab Glass

Opaque Flat Bottom by Grass Lab

Grass Lab Quartz operates out of Humboldt County, California, where they share a studio with renowned glass artists like Banjo and Bluegrass Glass. They have a few unique quartz banger designs and some of the best craftsmanship available on the market today.

Price: $180.00

Pros: The weld on the neck is immaculate. It’s on par with or better than most of the biggest names in Quartz. Not to mention, a seamless opaque bottom and the beveled top.

Cons: The opaque bottom and walls seem to have a noticeable difference in heat retention. For cold starts with an insert, you’ll have to go in hotter because the opaque bottom seems to lose heat faster than the walls.

Best Etched

The following quartz makers add a creative touch to their bangers to enhance the aesthetic of any custom or high-end dab rig.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

Photo Courtesy of Long Island Quartz

Flower of Life Long Island Quartz Banger

Long Island Quartz uses German quartz and leaves no stone unturned. Their bangers are built to last and perform with the option to have a design etched onto it at about the same price as most other high-end quartz bangers. Their custom quartz comes with a stand and glass so you can display it when you’re not ripping dabs.

Price: $199.99 ($99.99 for unetched)

Pros: The top is beveled for better seals with bubble caps and the bottom is rounded to make Q-tipping even easier. The 4mm thick base and 3mm thick walls provide extra heat retention. Long Island Quartz also forges their quartz into one piece with no sign of cold sealing at a lower price than any other American quartz maker.

You can have them etch a custom design of your choosing and the cherry on top has to be the matching custom stand that comes with every banger.

Cons: The bucket is large and bulky but this is a pro for anyone looking to drop big globs.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

Photo Courtesy of Quave CB

Tesselated Flat Top Club Banger by Quave

Quave is one of the most renowned glass artists in the glassblowing industry today and the most influential in quartz. He was the first to introduce the quartz club banger and now he’s adding his artistic touch to them.

Price: $220.00 ($170.00 for unetched)

Pros:  The new flat top gives users the flavor they’ve come to know and love from Quave Club Bangers with the option to use bubble caps. There is a bevel on top for perfect seals and etching on the bottom for you to get lost in after a few dabs.

Cons: Joints aren’t fully worked.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

Photo Courtesy of Evan Shore Bangers

Evan Shore Long Jawn Etched

Evan Shore is a Philadelphia-based glass artist making some of the best quartz nails on the market today. His original quartz banger design was the first to feature a billowed-out bottom design. Their original design was a slanted top but they now offer both options. They also added the taller “long jawn” banger to their roster in 2018. They give users several options when it comes to customization. From etching to their new “Truth Technique” that has yet to go on sale, Evan Shore brings a unique twist to the aesthetic of a quartz banger.

Price: $200.00

Pros: The new long jawn flat top design adds 5mm to the length of the bucket, making it possible to drop larger dabs with less risk of waste and a cleaner nail. Flat top and the beveled inner lip allow for perfect seals with bubble caps. The billow-bottom combined with the taller “long jawn” design allows you to spin your bubble cap like mad without getting any oil down the neck.

Cons: Not fully worked at the seal.

Most Innovative

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

@dabhanna/Instagram

OG Quartz

The next banger on our list deserved a category of its own. The OG Quartz banger was the first designed with cold start dabbing in mind. Cold starts are like reverse dabs. Instead of scorching your banger for a minute and waiting for it to cool down, you pre-load the extract into the bucket and place the cap on before torching the bottom for a few seconds. The result? Innovation in the form of a totally new approach to low-temperature dabbing.

Price: $160.00 (Cap Included)

Pros: Unlike cold start dabbing with a regular banger, you shouldn’t experience any burning. It took a lot of trial and error but the rounded bottom of the banger and thickened walls are the makings of the perfect cold start dab. You’ll have to use his carb cap for optimal function but it comes with the banger so you won’t have to stress an additional purchase.

To do a cold start dab with the OG Quartz banger, just load it up at the bottom of the bucket, or on the OG Quartz cap which doubles as a tool. With a Blazer Bigshot GT8000 torch, about five to eight seconds of heat should be enough for the first few hits of a flavorful low-temperature dab. From there, three to five-second additional bursts allow you to vaporize anything that was left behind. When done right, the flavor of a cold start dab with an OG Quartz banger is only rivaled by cold start insert drops.

The amount of time you should torch depends on several variables like how much butane is in your torch and the consistency of the extract you’re smoking. Go hotter for THC-A and colder for solventless hash oil. If it burns, give it less heat next time. If you want more vapor, you can torch for a few more seconds when the clouds of vapor get lighter.

OG Quartz fully works his joints and buckets into one piece. Additionally, the top of the bucket and the cap are tapered to improve seals.

With OG Quartz’s design, you’ll be dabbing in seconds instead of minutes. Not to mention, saving a ton on butane and extending the durability of your banger by not torching it red hot before every dab.

Cons: Not available in shops. You’ll have to place your order on Instagram until the OGQ website is up and running.

Best Bangers for your Buck

We get that not everyone wants to spend over $100 on a piece that you may need to eventually replace. Fortunately, a few quartz makers have created affordable options that’ll provide about the same function as most of our best quartz bangers of 2018 without any additional finesse.

Best Quartz Bangers Of 2018

@dabhanna/Instagram

Cheapo by Fadespace

Fadespace has made a name for itself with affordable quartz and silicon carbide products for flavor-chasing dabbers. Their cheapo banger is the most affordable banger we could find with decent quality control. It gets the job done without breaking the bank.

Price: $60.00

Pros: One of the most affordable bangers with enough heat retention for small to medium sized dabs.

Cons: To save consumers money, Fadespace imports their joints and cold sticks them to the bucket.

Other Affordable Options

If you want something affordable but slightly higher in quality, we recommend an unetched Long Island Quartz banger or the Evanshore Titty Banger at $100 and Eternal 2nds at about $90.

Last Year’s Winner

10 Best Nails Of 2017

@hollyhoodbambam/Instagram

The Highly Educated quartz banger is the first to feature the opaque bottom design that appears throughout this year’s list. Holding it to light reveals tons of tiny pores or “nucleation sites.”

Price: $180.00

Pros: Nucleation sites assist with the physical separation of solid, liquid, and gas. The nucleation sites provide more surface area, allowing bubbles to form and rise faster. As a result, more vaporization can occur in a shorter amount of time without higher temperatures. With the Gavel, we were able to leave behind smaller puddles without sacrificing any of the flavors. For those looking for the best dab nail, this is something to consider.

Cons: The joint on last year’s best banger wasn’t fully worked and attaching an e-nail coil leaves the opaque isn’t recommended as the bottom is vulnerable to popping off.

Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers was posted on High Times.

New Study Shows Joints Waste 300 Percent More THC Than Dabs

New Study Shows Joints Waste 300 Percent More THC Than Dabs

Original Post: High Times: New Study Shows Joints Waste 300 Percent More THC Than Dabs

[Editor’s Note: Even though dabbing is relatively new, the conversation (or argument) between flower and concentrate (hash) has been going on for centuries. So why is dabbing that much more ‘efficient’ than smoking a joint? This answers some of it.]

Dabs getting you higher than joints is not a new concept in the United States. In fact, they rose to popularity in the US when headlines touted their potency with unsubstantiated claims that one dab was as strong as five joints. While the act of consuming concentrates has become common among American cannabis users, hardly any available research exists on the subject due to federal prohibition.

Fortunately, dabs and dabbing were imported from the USA to Europe, where research on cannabis doesn’t face as many obstacles. A recent study conducted by Swiss researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern found that dabbing did a much better job of getting the total amount of available THC and CBD into your lungs than smoking. In fact, the study published in Forensic Science International found that joints waste 300 percent more THC than dabs.

If you smoke cannabis for the effects associated with THC or CBD, you probably want your lungs to absorb them as effectively as possible. What if scientists said that you only get a fifth of the available cannabinoids in your joint?

The study aimed to “investigate the decarboxylation of precursor acids of THC and CBD (THC-A and CBD-A) by dabbing and by smoking” and to “determine the recovery of THC in the condensate.”

Materials and Methods Used

The plant material and butane hash oil (BHO) used in this experiment were confiscated by police. From there, samples were submitted to a lab in Germany to test the total cannabinoid content. And finally, the samples were sent to researchers in Switzerland.

The marijuana flowers tested at a total of 17 percent THC while the BHO was more than four times as potent with 71 percent THC. The Swiss Cannabis SA also contributed hemp with 6 percent CBD for the experiment.

The first seized extracts had labeling that indicated they were from Washington State. The researchers claim “classical hash oil is extracted with solvents, and after solvent evaporation, residues are mixed with a vegetable oil.”

Vegetable oil is for cooking and has no place in traditional hash oil so something got lost in translation. Researchers could be referring to vegetable glycerin–a thinning agent used in certain weed cartridges and most nicotine-based e-liquids.

So their first encounter with BHO extracts may have been from an old or low-quality cartridge. The best THC cartridges no longer have any cutting agents and regular hash oil for dabbing definitely shouldn’t have any vegetable glycerin or oil in it. Today, vegetable glycerin is typically used for e-juice and low-quality or black market cartridges.

Smoking on Scientific Glass

Photo of the equipment used for the smoking portion of the experiment.

Researchers did their best to mimic actual human cannabis smoking and dabbing with scientific glass and tubing. Researchers wrote, “Ideally, the method of smoke production should reflect human cannabis smoking behavior.

For the smoking apparatus, a joints worth of plant material was squished into a glass frit that was connected by a short tube to two gas washing bottles for continuous smoking. This method makes it so no smoke escapes.

New Study Says Dabbing Recovers Three Times More THC Than Smoking

Apparatus used for the dabbing portion of the experiment.

For the dabbing apparatus, researchers decided to go with what they call “a new form of application for these extracts,” or the titanium nail. But to most modern dabbers, the titanium nail is a piece of the past. Most have traded their titanium in for more effective tools like quartz bangers and carb caps.

Researchers heated the titanium nail until it was red hot. Then, they waited a few seconds and dropped in 160 to 230 mg of BHO. This is no longer a recommended method of consuming concentrates. Today, quartz bangers and inserts are used to maintain lower temperatures for longer periods than titanium. In fact, researchers admit their method of dabbing “probably resulted in temperatures at which vaporization was accompanied by combustion,” creating further losses.

Results? Dabbing Saves Time and THC

The cannabinoid contents in the trapped condensates were tested to determine the lung availability and decarboxylation rate. Lung availability is the recovery of THC in the condensate. The BHO had 75.5 percent lung availability while the canna-flowers were only able to recover 26.7 percent. Both smoking and dabbing decarboxylated more than 99 percent of the THC-A.

Low-temperature dabs are vaporized, not combusted–so there is less of a loss in THC from burning.

According to the study authors, “In contrast to combustion, pyrolytic losses of THC should not occur upon vaporization of cannabis material.”

It’s worth noting that the numbers don’t account for any smoke that wouldn’t be inhaled during a normal smoking session. Smoke was constantly fed through until nothing was left. That means the recovery rate for the joint was generous, considering a dab can be completed in a single breath. On the other hand, it would be impossible to transfer every bit of smoke into your lungs when smoking a joint.

So the results reflect the maximum amount of THC that could be transferred from joint to smoke rather than “a realistic estimate of the amount of THC delivered during human smoking.”

The study also documented the amount of time it takes to smoke flower and dab to completion. It took about two minutes to burn the flower and less than five seconds to finish the dab.

Researchers Address Exaggerated Rumors on the Potency of Dabs

So does that mean a single dab is equal to smoking several joints? No. Comparing average dabs and joints, researchers estimate “a dab delivers a similar amount of psychoactive THC as smoking a joint.”

Myth is spread by the media about the alleged dangers of dabbing claimed single dab being as potent as five joints. Those claims have misled many and created a fear of extracts. A so-called “drug expert” named Dr. David Sack appeared on the television show The Doctors and claimed a single dab could be as potent as five joints. Maybe if the joint is average sized and the joint is five times as large as a single serving.

If you’ve never dabbed, imagine the first puff of your joint feeling like it’s the last. The high potency combined with the higher recovery rate provides full effects without the repetitive inhalation of smoke.

It’s important to note that these findings are preliminary in nature. Further research involving human subjects, more samples and preferably more modern methods of consumption needs to be conducted.

New Study Shows Joints Waste 300 Percent More THC Than Dabs was posted on High Times.

The Best THC Cartridges of 2018

The Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Original Post: High Times: The Best THC Cartridges of 2018

[Editor’s Note: Check out these top rated THC cartridges ranked by flavor and potency. Buyer beware though. Make sure you know how your choice of cartridge was made.]

There are tons of THC cartridges to choose from. Here are some of this year’s best

THC cartridges made getting high while visiting family a breeze this holiday season. They look just like e-cigs and best of all they won’t leave a smell on you. So there was no need to Febreze yourself on the way back from that “walk” with your cousins.

The concentrated cannabinoid content and the consumption method make cartridges perfect for anyone in need of discreet and quick relief. If you’re not a fan of waiting to find out whether you’ll be in the 9th dimension or nowhere with edibles, cartridges are the move for you.

Their convenience has made them one of the most popular cannabis products over the last few years and as a result, the market is now saturated with tons of brands to choose from.

How is a consumer supposed to decide? You won’t know what you’re getting until you buy it, try it and have it lab tested at a reliable facility. If you’re not about that life, here are the best THC cartridges we came across this year.

Best in Flavor

MPX Strawberry Fields

MPX Strawberry Fields

Melting Point Extracts or MPX makes some of the finest cannabis products out of Nevada and Arizona.

This is an extremely accurate representation of the actual Strawberry Fields strain. The sweetness from the Strawberry Cough lineage comes out strong on every pull,

710 Labs Lemon Tart Pucker

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

710 Labs

710 Labs products are available in California and Colorado. Their team selects the genetics and grows them in-house before extracting some of the most sought-after products in the industry. Their sauce pens contain no distillate or cutting agents. It comes from the

This is another one with flavor to match its name. On the inhale you get the sour lemon and on the exhale, the taste of baked goods lingers on your tongue from the Dough Dawg (Animal Cookies x Stardawg) in the lineage. The effects were euphoric and energetic, providing enough energy to walk around and socialize for a couple of hours.

Green Dot Labs Coin Style Full Spectrum Extract

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Green Dot Labs

Green Dot Labs is an extract focused cannabis-brand based out of Colorado. Sticking to their belief of “Quality In, Quality Out,” they make some of the highest quality extracts in every consistency a connoisseur could ask for.

Their Full Spectrum Extract brings the familiar flavors of their concentrate line into a portable cartridge for on-the-go enjoyment without any extra baggage. That means no additives.

Exclusive Melts Lemon Banana Sherbert

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

@dabhanna/Instagram

Exclusive Melts is the winner of several High Times Cannabis Cup awards, including TWO first place victories at the last World Cup. They use strains and flowers from some of the world’s most renowned breeders, including DNA Genetics.

The flavor was prominent and mouth-watering. It was a smooth and tasty hit down to the last drop and there was enough potency in the high terpene extract for effects to settle in after a few pulls. With a flavor that enjoyable and no distillates or additives, it didn’t take long for the cartridge to empty out.

Nexus OG Live Resin Sauce

10 Best THC Cartridges of 2017

Nexus Live Resin Sauce Pens were one of the first to bring natural terpenes and potency to the California market. Live resin lovers looking for something more convenient than a messy wax pen have found the answer.

It tastes like the flower smells. Not like some added flavoring. Nexus claims there is no additives and no distillate. You get a large cloud with every pull and strong effects follow. One of the smoothest, cleanest hitting cartridges on the market. The OG has that gassy aroma you usually only find in the actual OG Kush flower or live resin.

Like the rest of the live resin sauce or high terpene extract carts on this list, you won’t be able to keep it for long.

Even though there are tons of vape pen cartridges on the market it’s hard to find ones that shine. The best THC cartridges function properly from start to finish. They’re also filled with clean, quality medicine that hasn’t been tampered with.

Best in Potency

Happy Sticks Orange Crush

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Happy Stick

Happy Sticks are an up and coming cannabis brand based in California with a focus on cartridges. They’ve won a High Times Cannabis Cup and recently took 5th and 7th in the cartridges category with their new line of sauce pens at the Emerald Cup competition.

Their Orange Crush is a great flavor that matches the name. When vaporizing, you can expect smooth vapor going in and out.

In fact, it can take multiple hits back-to-back with minimal irritation. The flavors are tasty and usually unlike cannabis. If you prefer the taste of cannabis-derived terpenes, their La Jolla Diesel sauce pen has a taste unique to weed.

It never takes long for the potency to settle in. One to two large hits should have you cruising for a while.

Field Sour Sunset Sauce Pen

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Field Extracts

Field Extracts pheno hunts and cultivates the flowers they use for their hash and cartridges in-house in California. Their cartridges are a mixture of distillate and high terpene extracts. The ratio of distillate to sauce varies by the viscosity of their high terpene extracts.

Taking a big pull from their Sour Sunset sauce cartridge was a slap of gas from the sour diesel and sunset sherbet with some earthy undertones from the Cookies lineage. The potency crept after three moderate hits. It was a wonderful mix of being couch locked and euphoria.

Honey Vape Girl Scout Cookies

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Honey Vape

HoneyVape is based out of California. They were one of the first brands to put distillate in cartridges and they’ve maintained a quality product and excellent customer service over the years.

Their Girl Scout Cookies cartridge smokes smoothly with earthy notes and a hint of sweetness. Each pull is packed with potency, it only takes a few hits to blast off.

Each cartridge is filled with clean distillates and tasty terpenes. There is no hint of additives or residuals.

Stiiizy

10 Best THC Cartridges of 2017

Stiiizy is attempting to influence, inspire and innovate the cannabis industry. They quickly made a name for themselves, racking up tons of positive reviews, a strong following and an award at the High Times So Cal Harvest Cup.

The stealthiest and most convenient cartridge on the market. You just plug in a pod of THC distillate and inhale. Repeat until the cartridge is empty, toss, and replace. You’ll never experience any burning.

When taking a huge pull, it chucked clouds, but there was some irritation.

Best of Both Worlds

Tree Base Klear Str8 Lemonade

Best THC Cartridges of 2018

Tree Base Klear

Tree Base Klear is making unique flavored cartridges that hit hard but taste smooth. They’re made with clean distillates for high potency with natural terpenes that have flavors and aroma that come from cannabis plants.

Tree Base Klear collaborated with Str8 Organics to bring us their Str8 Lemonade cartridge. On the first inhale, you can tell where the name comes from. It starts with a piney and sweet citrus that’ll leave your mouth watering for more. On the exhale, there were gassier notes.

On top of great flavors, the distillate provides potency on a consistent basis. It only takes one or two large pulls to get to where you need to be.

The best THC cartridge will depend on your preference. If you’re looking for potency, go with a distillate cart. Flavor chasing connoisseurs are better off with sauce pens and full spectrum extracts.

Related Article

Vessel Vape Pen Review

The Best THC Cartridges of 2018 was posted on High Times.

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