a story told thru photos captured by Kimberly Harris @kiimberlyharris, feature photo assembled by Isaac Morris
written and illustrated by Renee Thompson
For me, the relationship between weed and animation has always been clear.
Although it goes unspoken, it is apparently a familial tradition to smoke weed and watch cartoons. First, my grandfather watching Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings in the 60’s, and then there’s present-day me: smoking a bong in the wee hours of the morning watching Ranma ½. There is a certain wonder and magic about animation, about seeing art come to life. It exposes you to different perspectives, and perhaps because people don’t take it as seriously, there is more room to explore the world of cannabis. Animation is relaxing, beautiful, and more often than not, it’s funny. This stellar combination makes watching animation the perfect companion to a cozy night in with a joint (or three).
When cannabis is ingested, perception is altered in many possible ways. While every person reacts to cannabis differently, as well as having varied responses to various strains, most people do report heightened focus abilities and other changes in their senses. Spanish vision researchers at the University of Granada in 2021 found that cannabis use does affect vision, and the participants of the Effects of cannabis on visual function and self-perceived visual quality study reported seeing halos and other small visual distortions. As someone who watches animation both sober and high, I have noticed slight color, hue, and shade changes as well as small light halos which do slightly alter the works while being under the influence. For most cannabis consumers giddiness, hunger, and fatigue are common side effects to consumption that go well together with watching a funny cartoon and eating your favorite munchies.
After consuming animated works for some time, one begins to notice repeated symbols, metaphors, and other coded language that is used to bring cannabis into the audience’s mind. In adult animated T.V. series, like The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park, references to cannabis, like South Park’s Towelie, are in-your-face even if they were produced when cannabis use was illegal in the U.S. Characters in these types of shows can be seen purchasing cannabis from dealers, consuming cannabis, and may even have a designated stoner character. In some cases, watching these types of shows were many people’s first encounter with cannabis related concepts and rituals. I feel that animation is also largely affected by the creatives that make them, and since cannabis has been known to alter creativity, it makes sense that artists who may use cannabis would slip in these references into the art they make. Even though animators like Adventure Time’s Pendleton Ward, Steven Universe’s Rebecca Sugar, and Gravity Fall’s Alex Hirsch have been speculated by fans as cannabis users, none of them have ever made any public comments about using cannabis.
Animation made after cannabis legalization in America, like Midnight Gospel, seem to be moving away from more joke-like cannabis use and focus on real conversations embedded in the dialogue. Midnight Gospel opens with cannabis activists being eaten by zombies as the main character, Clancy, interviews the President of the United States, played by Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist, about the pros and cons of drugs. Together, the characters have an in-depth conversation about sensations, experiences and research related to psychedelics. The animated fictitious tale combined with real interviews created a new type of story–telling that I had never seen before.
Animated films on the other hand, are not as cannabis-friendly as adult animated T.V. series. Most likely due to the fact that a majority are made for children. However, there are some exceptions. In the animated film Persepolis, a film based on the autobiographical comic The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Marjane recounts her use of cannabis as a way to forget about the troubles she left in war-torn Iran and connect with her new friends in Europe. In the film, which was made in France, you see Marjane buying cannabis, consuming cannabis, and reflecting on her own use of the substance. Whether displayed as exaggerated use, as shown in shows like American Dad with the golden blunt, or a more realistic use as seen in Persepolis, adult animation is where you see the bulk of cannabis references and use.
As for non-adult animation, references are more hidden. In season 4 of Hey Arnold!, Arnold’s grandpa insists he cannot go back to school because he, “lost too many brain cells,” and insinuates Woodstock for being partially responsible. There are also more blatant references in shows like Bob’s Burgers, which is rated 13+, but also shows the Belcher children working on an illegal weed farm and selling weed to other characters. In the realm of advertising, the partially animated Expensify commercial featuring rapper 2 Chainz, which aired during Super Bowl LIII in 2019, shows a scene where the musician helps the reindeer he is riding smoke out of a bong. In that same Super Bowl, an Acreage commercial calling for medicinal cannabis legalization was blocked from airing.
There is something extremely nostalgic about cartoons, animated films, and anime that reminds me of simpler times. Even though the days of walking to Blockbuster video to get the latest Studio Ghibli movie are over, animation has never been more accessible. Today’s streaming services offer thousands of choices, and one could watch animated works for years without watching anything twice. Animation has always been a stage to talk about real life, as distorted as some of the creations are. This is also one of the few mediums that has been able to implement cannabis culture, possibly because of the artists behind the animated works and/or the audiences that consume them. I hypothesize that as cannabis consumption becomes more normalized, we will continue to see realistic, and perhaps less humorous, cannabis use in animation.
For those that are looking for some recommendations, here are some of my favorite animated T.V. shows and movies not yet mentioned in this article. Most of these titles are available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or HBO Max, but you could also find some of these works at your local library.
1. The Secret of Kells, 2009
2. My High School Sinking Into The Sea, 2016*
3. Loving Vincent, 2017
4. Disney’s Fantasia, both 1999 and 2000 versions
5. Chico and Rita, 2010*
1. Bee and Puppycat, 2013
2. Daria, 1997*
3. Tuca & Birdie, 2019*
4. Disenchantment, 2018*
5. Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin’ Sclopio Peepio, 2016*
*Related to cannabis, or has cannabis references.
an opinion piece written by staff writer Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex
It is my opinion that psychiatrists and psychologists may be misdiagnosing some people who use cannabis with Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Now, my argument is not that people cannot misuse cannabis or cannot be addicted to it. Instead, I want to focus on how some symptoms of endocannabinoid deficiency can fit in with the diagnostic profile of Cannabis Use Disorder. It wasn’t until recently that cannabis education for medical and mental health professionals became more common, and maybe even more desirable to those professionals. Let’s start with some basics. Cannabis Use Disorder is defined as having 2 or more of the following symptoms;
- Cannabis is often taken in larger amounts over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or insignificant effort to cut down or control cannabis use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain cannabis, use cannabis or recover from its effects.
- Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cannabis.
- Recurrent cannabis use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
- Continued cannabis use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cannabis.
- Important social, occupational or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of cannabis use.
- Recurrent cannabis use in situations which is physically hazardous.
- Cannabis use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems that are unlikely to have been caused or exacerbated by cannabis.
- Tolerance, as defined by either:
- A need for markedly increased amounts of cannabis to achieve intoxication and desired effect, or
- A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of cannabis.
- Withdrawal, as manifested by either:
- The characteristic withdrawal symptoms for cannabis, or
- A closer related substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Again, I am not saying that cannabis is not addicting or that people don’t misuse it. It is very understandable for criteria such as failing to fulfill major obligations due to your use of cannabis to be cause for a CUD diagnosis. I generally agree with criteria 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. The reasons I didn’t include 1, 4, and 8 are because I think that they can be easily misinterpreted in sessions, however, they do have standing when paired with other criteria and situations. For criteria 10 and 11, this is where I think endocannabinoid deficiency can provide a different explanation.
Cannabis tolerance is still a new research topic. It is very dependent on one’s own endocannabinoid system, for example, some people have developed a high tolerance in order to function on their dosage of medication. Some doctors may misinterpret this high dosage use of cannabis to indicate the cannabis tolerance is negative. One withdrawal symptom of cannabis is stated to be a lack of appetite, but what if that is the reason you choose to medicate with cannabis? Other withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, depression and irritability, several of the many reasons why people choose to medicate with cannabis in the first place. Therefore, it would make sense that these symptoms would occur when cannabis use is stopped. However, therapists and other mental health professionals often stigmatized the use of cannabis and may misdiagnose their patients, creating a problem that does not exist.
Humans have two major endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Research has found that the endocannabinoid system in humans plays a large role in several bodily processes and functions, including ones that occur in the above-mentioned conditions. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis. When someone is deficient in certain endocannabinoids, this can cause dysregulation of that homeostasis, which in turn may be the possible cause of several conditions and symptoms. Endocannabinoid deficiency has been suggested to be the cause of several types of disorders that before have not been found to have a specific cause. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, glaucoma, bipolar disorder, and more have all been suggested to be linked to endocannabinoid deficiency.
As an example, let us take a brief look at migraines and the endocannabinoid system. From 1843 to 1943 when cannabis was put on Schedule I, cannabis was one of the main treatments for someone suffering from a migraine. While there are limited human clinical trials, the case studies and survey research that have been conducted have shown that cannabis use may help to treat migraines. From the research that has been done, individuals who suffer migraines show decreased anandamide and 2-AG levels. CBD acts via the TRPV1, a specific cannabinoid receptor, and also limits the production of the enzyme fatty acid amidohydrolase (FAAH) which is responsible for the breakdown of anandamide. THC on the other hand activates the CB1 receptors which may help treat migraines by potentially inhibiting the trigeminovascular system which plays a huge role in migraines and headaches. Supplementing with cannabis, THC and CBD can help bring the endocannabinoid system back into homeostasis.
In addition to phytocannabinoids, there are things that an individual can do to naturally boost the body’s endocannabinoid system. We call these “cannabimimetic agents” and they include activities such as exercising, eating foods, or taking supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Activities such as these help to boost your body’s endocannabinoid system without using any part of the cannabis plant. While you may be able to boost your endocannabinoid system without cannabis, there are still many unknowns when it comes to treating things like migraines, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. If using cannabis helps mediate symptoms than your standard pharmaceuticals, then the concern needs to be focused on researching why cannabis is working to treat that disorder instead of stigmatizing and misdiagnosing patients.
Russo E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009
Written and photographed by Noah Noteboom
As you sit in your room listening to the rain hit the roof, you find yourself craving something to do. With the weather taking a turn for the worst, staying indoors is probably a good idea. Autumn gives us the opportunity to huddle around the fire or catch up on those movies we have stashed away for rainy days. But movies like Hocus Pocus, Good Will Hunting or The Nightmare Before Christmas can only provide entertainment for so long, before you need something else to do.
That is where our Strain of the Month comes into play. Cantaloupe Haze (also spelled as Cannalope Haze) takes the honor this month. Although low in CBD, this flower more than makes up for it with earthy smells and a higher concentration of THC.
This indica-dominant strain is a mix of Mexican and Haze Brothers to create a blend of cannabis that is meant to uplift the spirits and soothe your mind. Cantaloupe Haze can be a sweet relief from the seasonal sadness that often comes with the change in weather.
The fruity flower has a very potent aroma. The smell of flowers and tropical sweets romance you, and the earthy nugs have a similar taste as well. As you indulge, you can taste hints of sweet and sour melons along with a slight whiff of pine in the aftertaste.
With THC levels ranging anywhere from 20-28%, use caution when smoking this strain. It is recommended that newer users consume smaller doses and with lots of patience to avoid couch-lock. As with most indica strains, the amount you intake has a direct impact on the weight of the effects. Smoking just the right amount will make getting things done a breeze. But be careful, because if taken in excess, this strain will leave you feeling sleepy and unmotivated.
Especially in the current condition of the world, Cantaloupe Haze offers a big morale boost. Quarantine will feel a little less claustrophobic and a bit brighter with this mellow, productive strain guiding you through the day.
Written and photographed by Jassy McKinley
What made you want to get into the cannabis industry?
Well originally my mom had a medical marijuana card, and she actually started getting her card in 2001. So I was about eleven or twelve years old then, and my parents weren’t shy about it being an open thing. Honestly, it helped my mom turn around 150 percent. She was a recovering alcoholic, and she still is eighteen years sober to this day. I think it’s partly because of marijuana. When I saw that it essentially saved her life in that aspect, it really got me to understand there is more to helping people than just pills and what the doctors prescribe on a daily basis. Twenty pills a day weren’t doing what one to two bowls of marijuana would do for her in that aspect of healing. So once I started getting into it right out of high school, I got my own medical marijuana card and started doing my own research. Eventually after getting into dispensaries as a medical patient, I got to know a lot of the owners. I got hooked up with one of the owners here in town at the Flower of Life originally and she hired me as a budtender. That was before it was recreationally legal. So I started as a medical budtender then became a recreational budtender and that was about 6 years ago.
Would you say your mom shaped the way you got into the industry?
Absolutely. I’ve seen what she’d been through, I’ve seen it all too commonly. Looking at it from a medical standpoint, it’s definitely fueled my way of looking into more natural resources as far as treating people in the medical industry and stepping away from pharmaceuticals. I personally don’t take any pharmaceuticals. I treat it all with marijuana. You read about these diseases, and then you look at what marijuana has done for those people. When you see these stories and hear them over and over again and you’ve seen it for yourself, you can’t deny those results. They may not come from a scientist or a doctor necessarily, but when you have a person stand in front of you who had a death sentence three years ago you have to wonder, how?
What is your favorite strain of all time?
My favorite strain of all time would be white widow, if i had to pick just one. There’s something about the taste, the smell, the high. It all around compliments me and who I am, and the type of high I enjoy at the end of the day.
When did you first try Cannabis? Could you walk me through your experience?
Despite my parents growing in my house I didn’t actually try it until I was eighteen. I wanted to wait, a lot of the kids were peer-pressuring so I was around it and I was aware of it but it happened to be with a group of friends. It was an interesting experience because it was like ten of us in this group, so I don’t think I really got stoned at that point because everyone was passing it around so maybe I got like one hit off of the bowl. A week later I smoked a joint with a friend and it was just between the two of us, and that’s when I really got stoned for the first time. I lived in a small town so we smoked at the boat dock and right after we had finished a cop rolled up and I was so stoned. My friend had smoked before so they were fine but I was just staring at the cop and he was asking me if I was okay. My friends were like “she’s fine! she’s fine! she’s tired!” I was just thinking how much trouble I could have been in.
How long have you been a budtender?
In the broader span of being a budtender, I did take a little bit of a break in the six years for about four to five years I took maternity leave. But for the greener side I’ve been here for about 2 years.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding and favorite part of my job is the people. Being able to interact with them and have that relationship that I have with them is my favorite part. When you spend 40 hours a week away from your family this becomes your 2nd family.
Have you experienced any challenges/successes lately?
The challenges haven’t been as big lately I feel the industry has really taken a jump forward, especially since COVID has happened. That might seem a little weird to some people but budtending has sped up for sure.
What would you want people to know about being a budtender?
Some people think it’s kind of an easier job since you just sell weed but I think that’s what kind of sets our dispensary apart, because here we want to be knowledgeable and we want to know about the products. Don’t be shy, be picky about what you want because that’s what your budtender is there to do for you.
What is something you take pride in your dispensary?
We take pride in definitely what we order and what goes on the shelf. We care about what everyone is getting, we double check everything we put out, and we don’t want to put stems in there. We want to make sure if we wouldn’t buy it then we wouldn’t sell it to the public. That’s another thing I love about it here.
Do you have a favorite quarantine munchie?
Ben and Jerry’s jamoca ice cream had me there for a couple of months. I think that’s what contributed to my ten pounds from quarantine.
Is there anything you would like the community to know?
It’s a really fun industry. Anyone thinking to get into it and you’ve been second guessing yourself: don’t. Just go for it, I kind of did and I am not regretting it. Now ten years after thinking back to all the college applications I was doing, what career I was getting pushed into. I realized I was settling for something I wasn’t really passionate about and when you’re passionate about something you love that makes every day your job. If you want to get into the industry now is the time to definitely get in and start doing it before the rest of the United States takes off. Opportunities are waiting especially for the rest of them around the corner and I know there’s a ton of states on the ballot for medical and recreational marijuana this year here in a couple of weeks. So definitely get out there and vote! Your voice definitely matters at this point in time if you want to see marijuana become the way of the future, it’s just a matter of time. We could use all the voices.
written by Guthrie Stafford
In response to recent suggestions that intravenous injections of disinfectant could be helpful in battling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like a good time to share some helpful high-giene tips in order to support the initiative for radical cleanliness.
(Disclaimer: The following is intended for entertainment and satirical purposes only and should not be taken seriously in any way.)
1. Respiratory Cleansing
Everyone knows it’s important to clean out a bong from time to time to prevent the buildup of unsightly and odoriferous residues. But few cannabis users are aware that a similar treatment can actually be used to refresh and revitalize one’s lungs. Have you ever experienced a slight cough, shortness of breathing after exercise, or general tiredness? All of these may be signs that your lungs are clogged and need cleaning. Fortunately, the process couldn’t be easier. To start with, simply aspirate a well soaped sponge. Any sponge will do, but the more abrasive the better. Jump up and down a few times, perform vigorous sit ups, or roll around on the ground to ensure a thorough internal scrubbing. This part of the procedure may be accompanied by minor discomfort, but don’t worry. No pain, no gain. When the outwash runs clear, your respiratory system will have been restored to a state of pristine, alpine purity. The sponge can be left in place to make future cleanings easier.
A quick note on safety: soap can cause gastrointestinal irritation if ingested. Make sure it goes into your lungs and not your stomach.
2. Safety Conscious Sharing:
One of the greatest joys of cannabis consumption is the social communion fostered by the sharing of a simple toke. As we embrace social distancing practices to protect our community from infection, however, it would seem that this joy is no longer feasible. ¡Au contraire! With a few straightforward precautions, the ritual of puff puff pass may be rendered entirely sanitary and safe for even large groups to engage in. One popular and effective method is the passing around of a communal “industrial detergent cup” for a quick swish before partaking. If the smell is disagreeable to the group, however, don’t despair. The application of a little targeted high intensity radiation can sterilize the lips just as effectively. Whatever your chosen strategy, as long as you scour all organic material from the mouth of every participant, you should be able to keep puffing and passing with abandon throughout the pandemic.
3. Immune Boosting Strains:
By now you’ve sterilized your lungs and your lips, but what strain is pure enough not to sully your newly pristine body? Introducing Purell Kush, the first top shelf cannabis strain from the makers of Purell Hand Sanitizer. With the refreshing aroma of a hospital waiting room and the zesty taste of a latex glove, this strain is sure to satisfy the hypochondriac in all of us. Purell Kush comes hermetically sealed in a chic hazardous bio-waste container, so you can be confident in its quality from the moment it leaves the CDC cannabis laboratory to the moment you spark your first bowl. The flower itself is densely packed and opalescent, although the vibrant color may simply be an effect of the disinfectant gel which covers the nugs. And, as if the quality of this strain didn’t speak for itself, the additional health benefits take it to the next level. The smoke from Purell Kush will actually kill any coronavirus particles it comes in contact with. Not only that, but it will also dissolve the cells in your body which the virus relies on to reproduce. Now that’s what I call a clean hit!
written by Skyla Patton, photographed by Kimberly Harris
As an avid lover of chocolate (my fifth grade class photo was taken in a shirt that said “I love chocolate!” with a stain from a Hershey’s bar on it), my heart just about jumped out of my chest when I first heard of the strain Chocolate Chunk. A direct descendant from Afghani, this pure Indica strain from TH Seeds has a classic earthy aroma with hints of woodiness and sweet cocoa.
Chocolate Chunk mirrors it’s namesake with rich colors and a decadent sweet smell from seed to smoke. This lush dessert is not to be truffled with (get it?) and is best saved for the later hours of the day, making it the perfect strain for a good night of sleep… or a good night of not sleeping.
The real outstanding feature of this chocolatey bud comes from it’s relatively low levels of THC. Ranging at a low of around 10% to a high peak of 22% THC, the potency for Chocolate Chunk is significantly less than the intense, high-level strains that are flooding the dispensary shelves these days. While a little known fact, high levels of THC can actually inadvertently negatively impact your “freak in the sheets” goals.
A preclinical study determined that THC can block the release of GnRH, more commonly known as the production of hormones like testosterone, and while the science is less known for the ladies, it’s also considered to have similar impacts on estrogen. Along with this, there have also been connections between higher levels of estrogen, like during ovulation, and incredibly heightened sensitivity to THC.
Whether you’re a stoner in the sheets or tend to keep your cannabis out of the bedroom, it might be worth trying a strain like Chocolate Chunk for some good ol’ fashioned experimentation. The smooth blend of low-level THC and a classic aphrodisiac like chocolate is sure to lead up to the midnight romping (or sleep) of your dreams.
The relationship between our endocannabinoid system and our hormones is a closely intertwined one, and while there are plenty of people who love the high headspace during intimacy regardless of the intensity, it’s worth trying a low-potency strain like Chocolate Chunk while experimenting in the bedroom.
words by Josh Delzell
A study by Dr. Benjamin Han, assistant professor of internal medicine at NYU, found that between 2015 and 2016, 9 percent of adult between the ages of 50 to 64 had at least tried cannabis in the past year, and 3 percent over 65 had also tried it within the same time period. While these percentages may seem small, it’s actually a statistic on the rise. In 2013, 7 percent of middle aged people had tried it, and 1.4 percent of those over 65. Is cannabis use normalizing for older Americans, or is the devils lettuce still too infamous for baby boomers and beyond?
At a minimum, there’s less of a stigma around cannabis use in certain areas than there once was. In 2018, 10 states — as well as the District of Columbia — passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and several others pushed for new legislation or took the first step with legal medical use. The number of states that may pass legal cannabis is also rising in 2019, with states like New Mexico passing a bill that would legalize cannabis.
Doug Fuchs, a Eugene resident and older generation cannabis user, noted the rise in cannabis use for people his age. “A lot of people my age started using [cannabis] in the past 4-5 years since it has been legal,” said Fuchs. “My inlaws are in their 80’s and lived through the anti-cannabis era. Now they are using it because of its medical purposes.”
Fuchs also helps run the Oregon Homegrown Challenge, in which contestants bring their own flower to be judged, and many of the participants fall into the baby boomer category — not only consuming cannabis, but taking the industry by the reigns. It’s like a brew contest, but for cannabis. Currently, Fuchs is working on establishing The Willamette Valley Homegrowers as a local cannabis gardening and network club, an organization Fuchs founded himself.
Medical relief is also a huge motivator behind older generations increasing use of cannabis. These properties come from the benefits that cannabinoids provide for easing common ailments like nausea, pain or spasticity. Medical cannabis also has shown to provide positive benefits for diseases like parkinson’s, which tends to affect people over 40.
The Alzheimers Society recognizes the ability of cannabis to soothe symptoms of alzheimer’s such as aggression or agitation. Dr. Joshua Briscoe of Duke University told NPR that even the most modest benefits of cannabis use would be beneficial to the elderly. “We prescribe substances that are far more dangerous than cannabinoids,” Briscoe told NPR during an interview on elderly use of cannabis. He also noted that the elderly are far more likely to experience side effects from medication in general.
While cannabis can be helpful for older patients, because of the strict federal regulations on cannabis, it’s hard to fully know the benefits and risks cannabis can have on elderly users. Dosage amounts are especially important for older consumers, because of metabolism rates slowing with age. Sticking with a smaller dosage until comfortable with cannabis is a good idea for older users to avoid potential side effects that can come with a heavy-handed edible or preroll.
Whether or not cannabis helps elderly users is still up for debate in an empirical sense, because of the lack of research, but anecdotal evidence has shown that it can help tremendously.
Cannabis use is increasing every day as states begin or continue the process of legalization, storefronts pop up across the nation and the stigma slowly fades. Baby boomers and older generations were raised with a dark image of cannabis, and old habits are undeniably hard to break. Despite this, education is spreading and the healing properties of cannabis are starting to dominate the conversation — regardless of your age.
That being said, maybe your parents have been using cannabis behind the scenes. I just found out only a couple months ago that my dad has been smoking since he was in his teens. Do you have a fun or hilarious story about learning that your parents use cannabis? Message us on Instagram or Facebook @greeneugenemag!
words by Bryan Dorn | photos by Dana Sparks
As marijuana tiptoes towards legalization and legitimacy all over the world, healthy and effective methods of consumption are popularizing. Alternatives to smoking such as edibles, topicals and vaporizers have stepped up to the plate, each with their own pros and cons. However, vaporizers may be the latest and greatest option for consumers looking for the respiratory relief of using edibles and topicals without the slow onset.
“I would smoke a spliff like every night basically,” esays Shae Wirth, musician and marijuana enthusiast. “When I would wake up and try to play the horn I just didn’t have the amount of power behind my lungs as I had before. So I finally was like alright this has gotta change.”
Wirth got his first herbal vaporizer, the Da Buddha, in his freshman year of college in an effort to minimize the smell associated with marijuana smoke — a vaporizer is a device that converts herbal and/or concentrate material into vapor, typically for inhalation. However, the lack of portability made strictly vaporizing difficult for Wirth. It wasn’t until Wirth’s junior year of college that he purchased the portable vaporizer known as the Pax 2, and committed to herbal vaporizers as his regular form of consumption. Wirth describes the difference as night and day. After buying a portable unit and sticking to it, Wirth realized that vaporizers were not only a different way to consume, but a better way.
“If you do wanna smoke a lot, just vape. Because I’ve found it really doesn’t affect my lungs,” says Wirth. “I know tons of music majors who really struggle with this— they’re like coughing in rehearsal and shit —and I’m just like get a vape. That’s the solution, get a vape.”
Vaporizers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, with many having temperature control features. These devices most often take on two forms in the marijuana industry— desktop and portable. Desktop vaporizers, such as Wirth’s Da Buddha, plug into the wall and are typically larger and more expensive than portable vaporizers. Meanwhile, portable vaporizers run on battery power and are typically smaller than desktop units, such as Wirth’s Pax 2. “Usually my friends are kind of hesitant, because they’re like ‘oh vaping that’s kind of whatever,’ but as soon as they try it they usually like it.
An experiment from 2004 published by the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics found that marijuana vapor contained three non-cannabinoid compounds while marijuana smoke contained 111— five of which were known organic pollutants that have proven toxic and carcinogenic effects. One of the three non-cannabinoid compounds found in the vapor was the terpene caryophyllene. Terpenes are organic compounds that gives each marijuana strain it’s distinct smell and flavor profile.
It’s no secret that different compounds boil at different temperatures. The same is true for the various compounds found in marijuana. Vaporizers with precise temperature controls allow marijuana smokers to dial in the high they are looking for by tapping into the various terpenes and cannabinoids associated with the product. This means consumers could experience a whole different suite of compounds, from the same buds, by vaporizing at a different temperature.
Studies have yet to accurately test the differences between an all-vape and an all-smoke lifestyle for marijuana users over a long period of time, and a lot of the research around it is still up in the air. This leaves users to find out the possible health benefits of switching to vaporizers on their own.
While vaporizers may seem like the be-all end-all of healthy marijuana consumption at first, many users still prefer to smoke. According to University of Oregon senior Ryan Lemoine, marijuana consumer, many people complain about vaporizers not hitting as hard or being too expensive. “All types of smoking are very different, like a bong rip is going to hit you immediately and you’ll probably be coughing,” says Lemoine. “Vape smoke definitely lasts a lot longer, and it’s less intense for sure.” This lower intensity means using vaporizers can take more time to get high and have more of a learning curve, according to Lemoine.
Many people can also be deterred by the price of vaporizers. While a small oil pen typically won’t make a large dent in your wallet, some desktop vaporizers can cost up to $600 for the unit alone. These high costs are not easily overlooked by consumers who aren’t planning on vaping regularly or have a tighter budget. However, for consistent consumers who enjoy puffing herb more regularly, the pros and cons of looking for alternatives should certainly be considered.
Quality herbal vaporizers are not commonly stocked at local smoke shops, but it never hurts to look. The popular portable Pax vaporizer can be found at smoke shops such as Midtown Direct. However, websites like Puffitup and Planet of the Vapes have a much wider range of options than smoke shops near campus. Those looking into purchasing a vaporizer should consider multiple options to see what will best fit their price range and lifestyle.