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Just as you would never think of making so much espresso that you filled a coffee mug, even the most experienced concentrate user would tell you never to use more than one pea-sized dose at a time. It's been called the champagne of cannabis; caviar might be more accurate. (Roger Voldarsky, a Los Angeles CEO who dubs himself the Johnny Appleseed of dabbing, prefers the espresso analogy, praising the uplifting and focusing effects of the cannabinoids and terpenes that remain when they're shorn of CBN, the sleepy cannabinoid, which the process of dabbing leaves until last.

I tend to agree; your mileage may vary.) How: The Stuff. After trying every style of concentrate California dispensaries offer — not every strain, but every style — live resin is by far my favorite. This is made from freshly-harvested or immediately-frozen cannabis; it hasn't been dried or cured, two processes that annihilate terpenes. With its tiny crystalline structures, live resin is the only concentrate that actually looks as beautiful as caviar. The smell and taste is at once subtle and incredibly rich, increasing the sense that you hold the entirety of this particular strain of plant on your fingertip. (Not literally; your dispensary will likely sell it in an adorably teeny glass jar for about $20 to $30 per half-gram, and you're supposed to only handle it with a tiny metal pick, or tweezers.) One poetic expert wrote that live resin is "like going on a date with the ghost of a plant." As for the strains, there are as many to list as there would be with flower. My advice to certain reader would be to go with the favorite strain of your dispensary's budtenders. They may have a dumb job title, but they know what they're talking about, and tend to be concentrate gourmets. I've found wax to have enjoyable effects, even if it is more physically and sensually muted, and more likely to send you to sleep.

The only concentrate I can't get along with is shatter; it yields too little and turns too sticky and difficult to clean when vaporized. Many devices exist to help you consume concentrates. Unfortunately, in my experience, you get what you pay for. Tons of sub-$100 "concentrate pens" or "wax pens" fill the online marketplaces. In almost all of them, you put concentrate in a tiny chamber that's in roughly the same place as the THC oil in the vape pens. Online and in-real-life reviews for the pens are mixed, however, and critics don't seem to have come to any consensus on the best models. Too many seem to use cheap heating coils and battery attachments. You may find a pen that works consistently; many users have. Others have had a similar experience to mine, which happened to be with the $90 Puffco Plus pen: it worked great, really great, until it didn't. The battery simply stopped recharging, or rather claimed it was fully charged when it wasn't. You're supposed to clean the battery contact point with rubbing alcohol. I sent it back and got a new battery a month later, which also conked out. Whereupon I banished it to the exile of the Bad Review Units box. I'll update this article if and when I find a great slim pen that works for more than a few months at a time. The only devices I've tested that I unreservedly recommend, below, are somewhat larger and more expensive than the pens, most end up in the $250 range including all the parts you'll need. But they're also all worth that price tag, and will likely give you years of good service. For all occasions: Pax 3 ($200 plus concentrate insert) The Pax 3 and its unassuming concentrate cartridge. The Pax 3 was the first device I ever put live resin in, and the one to which I find myself returning after going out on quests to try alternatives. The size and solidity of a chunky marker pen covered in metallic sheen, it feels great in your hand, and it plays well in pockets. It's often used to vaporize flower, so you have that option too. But the concentrate insert, which costs $50 from Pax (or as little as $13 for third-party versions on Amazon), is all I use it for these days. That insert, the little gray metallic box on the left in the photo, is labelled HOT on one side for good reason; do not try to open it immediately after a session. But if it's just warm, you'll have no problem teasing off the tiny lid and inserting a pea-sized grain of concentrate. Cleaning (which you should do with all of these devices, when the concentrate has gone dark and sticky, when still warm, using Q-Tips) is a breeze, even with two little odd-shaped nubbins inside the box. The Pax 3 takes a minute or so to heat up, but it's worth the wait once you're there. You set the precise temperature via the Pax app — I recommend the "flavor" setting — and inhale at leisure until you turn it off (or it will auto shut-off in 3 minutes, whichever comes first). Inhales from the Pax are consistently smooth, rich, subtle, effective, and, in my experience, less likely to make you cough than any other device. The Pax 3 loses points for having a proprietary USB charger.

Its cartridge-based cousin the Pax Era charges via any micro USB cable. At least the Pax 3 charger is as thin and light as a regular USB cable. Most professional: G Pen Connect ($150 alone, more with 'rig') The G Pen Connect is the newest kid on the high-end concentrate block; it was released this week by Grenco, the company that makes the G Pen THC oil cartridge vaporizers. It's at once smaller than the Pax 3, and also designed to be used with something much larger. You'll probably hear experienced concentrate users talking about their "rig." That's a fancy word for a roughly $100 piece of glassware that looks a bit like a bong, if bongs had angled mouthpieces that were easier to reach. You put water in them, as with bongs and smoke, to make the vapor cooler and smoother. You're supposed to add something else called a "nail" to hold the concentrate, and a "torch" to vaporize it, but forget that noise.

The G Pen Connect, with a glass attachment that fits most rigs, does both jobs in one, electronically. Bonus points: The battery, a box that snaps on magnetically, is chargeable via micro-USB, and lasts for much longer than the Pax 3.


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