There’s one word to describe the experience of first using the Puffco Pro portable vaporizer: Flavor.
While many other labels come to mind, such as stealthy, sleek, and durable, those dropping even a mediocre-quality concentrate into this popular mobile vaporizer will be impressed by the integrity of the terpene profile flavor it produces.
The Puffco Pro is rugged, but will rarely be described as such, simply because it is such a svelte gunmetal ballerina. Its all-ceramic concentrate chamber features a titanium heating coil and achieves vaping temperature nearly instantly. With some top-shelf concentrates offering up to 90 percent THC, mobile vaping is an excellent and practical way for patients to gain on-the-go relief from pain, nausea, and inflammation.
Metal + Ceramic + Titanium
Forget the specs. What does it feel like to use the Puffco Pro?
Simply wonderful. The fact that this Applesque unit is fully void of any plastic or glue goes beyond its stellar performance and great in-hand feel. For example, to ease cleaning, the atomizer can be placed upside-down in an oven at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit; residual concentrate will drip out of the unit, almost perfectly cleaning it. That would not work with a cheap plastic vape pen — many of which are considerably more expensive than the Puffco Pro.
Battery life is stellar. If dead, it requires about three hours to fully charge via USB. Once charged, it will provide multiple days of concentrate vaping. The unit’s metal even features a protective UV coating, giving it a unique feel and ultra-durable enclosure. Sadly, I accidentally kicked my Puffco across a busy street after it fell from my pocket. Only slightly scuffed, it remained fully functional.
Most vape pens offer only a single temperature, one that is relatively high and may produce harsh tokes. Models like the Puffco Pro, which allow users to dial in the temp they prefer, can produce much smoother hits via the lowest setting. To change the temperature of this model, simply click the button four times; it will cycle through low (green), medium (blue), and high (red). To prevent unintentional vaping of a pre-packed chamber, this pen can be toggled on and off via five clicks.
At $79, the Puffco Pro is an excellent value and certain to catch the attention of a wide range of concentrate and vape fans — even those on a tight budget. It features minimal draw resistance, the biggest chamber in the business (it can accommodate nearly half a gram of wax, shatter, or one’s favorite concentrate), and simply feels great in the hand.
photo credit: Puffco
Many are familiar with the major cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, which have such great efficacy for conditions like depression, PTSD, and epilepsy. But cannabinoids are only part of the picture. Terpenes are like molecular cousins to cannabinoids and serve the primary role of delivering a wide variety of alluring aromas to cannabis flowers, but also offer a wide range of medicinal benefits as well.
In addition to aroma, terpenes deliver sometimes great medicinal value. They have been found to fight cancer and act as an analgesic (pain killer). Like amino acids, terpenes are powerful building blocks within the plant’s physiology that aid in the production of vitamins, hormones, pigments, resins, and — yes, that most prized part of the herb — cannabinoids. Cannabis plants release more terpenes when temperatures are higher (one reason they emit strong odors during the peak of harvest season).
More than 200 terpenes are available in the cannabis plant, while more than 20,000 exist in nature. They are produced in the small resin glands that appear primarily on the surface of the flowers and sugar leaves of cannabis plants called trichomes. It is estimated that there are nearly 1000 strains of cannabis that have been bred. Each of these features a distinct and unique mix of terpenes, something called a terpene profile.
Cannabis and cannabis products — such as concentrates — sold in legal and regulated states often feature a label providing a laboratory analysis that lists the exact percentages of cannabinoids and terpenes. Often, lab techs, budtenders, and pot nerds will discuss particular strains or extracts of cannabis in terms of their terpene profiles and how the overall efficacy of one profile (an individual of a particular strain) compares with other samples or methods of extracting concentrates.
Major terpenes include myrcene, pinene, and limonene. Myrcene, which conveys earthy and clove-like odors, determines whether a particular strain is indica or sativa by its percentage within the plant (further illustrating the important role played by terpenes). Pinene, a terpene also found in evergreens, has been found to increase mental focus and energy and acts as a bronchodilator — making it helpful for asthma sufferers. Limonene, as its name implies, provides an aroma of citrus and is found not only in cannabis, but also oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. It has been revealed to alleviate depression and aid in digestion.
Terpenes are very volatile, delicate molecules that are easily destroyed by heat and oxidation. Popular cannabis concentrates, like BHO and CO2 oil, are mostly void of terpenes. One new extraction method called live resin preserves the terpene profile of cannabis plants. This process involves cryogenically freezing plants immediately after harvest and then using a laboratory extraction process (backyard brewers need not apply) to remove and isolate a more accurate representation of a particular plant’s mix of cannabinoids and terpenes.
What is Linalool?
Linalool, one of the minor terpenes found in cannabis, conveys a floral aroma, sometimes with a hint of spice. More than 200 species of plants produce linalool, including a variety of mints and herbs. More important, linalool serves many roles in relieving a number of symptoms, including pain, depression, seizures, inflammation (similar to limonene), and even insomnia (because it acts as a sedative). Its tranquilizing effects are helpful for those suffering with many types of psychosis.
- Analgesic: Linalool is helpful for conditions like multiple sclerosis, dystonia, arthritis, post-operative pain, and chronic pain from any source because it is a pain killer. Combined with cannabinoids of the same efficacy, linalool can be a reinforcing agent in a patient’s struggle to manage pain, especially if they are trying to avoid or reduce use of opiates such as Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin.
- Antidepressant: More than 20 million people in the United States alone suffer from sometimes debilitating depression. This common psychological ailment can negatively affect one’s career, personal relationships, and even physical health. Linalool, when combined with cannabinoids like THC that are also effective in helping alleviate depression, helps form an overall strategy for using cannabis to treat these types of disorders.
- Anti-Convulsant: Just as chemotherapy is used to treat conditions other than cancer, seizures afflict those with conditions other than epilepsy, such as traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, and hydrocephalus. Most seizures feature a duration of between 30 seconds and two minutes. Typically, they do not cause lasting harm, although they seizures often very taxing, painful, or exhausting for sufferers. Seizures that last longer than five minutes are considered life threatening.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Those suffering from inflammation-based diseases, such as Crohn’s, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, asthma, fibromyalgia, dermatitis, IBS, lupus, and Parkinson’s, among many others, gain benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of linalool (as well as a variety of anti-inflammatory cannabinoids).
- Sedative and Sleep Aid: It is estimated that 10-30 percent of people suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives, with 10 percent reported to experience chronic and severe sleep deprivation. Cannabinoids like CBN, when combined with terpenes such as linalool, help patients get the sleep they require to maintain homeostasis (balance) and health. Adequate sleep is critical for patients to most effectively fight their condition or disease.
Ancient cultures have used terpenes like linalool, available in a variety of aromatic herbs like cannabis, for millennia to treat a wide variety of conditions. 21st century research has confirmed the beliefs of these ancient civilizations, revealing strong medical efficacy for a variety of conditions.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine revealed that linalool is a major anti-inflammatory agent, potentially helping with a variety of inflammation-related ailments, such as cancer, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. The same research team, in a 2003 study, found linalool to also be a pain killer. These researchers again, in 2006, conducted another linalool study that further collected and examined data from animal models. This study reinforced the fact that linalool is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
2008 research published in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal supported the sedative qualities of linalool. The study estimated that 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety-related ailments, with 16 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 54 being patients of one or more anxiety conditions, which sometimes lead to substance abuse and mood disorders.
This study revealed linalool to be a powerful sedative that delivers real efficacy to those who suffer anxiety disorders and one of their most common side effects, insomnia. Concluded the study:
“Our data…suggested that linalool modulates the central nervous system by producing unconsciousness and degradation of motor movements.”
A 2010 study involving mice that employed three different sub-types of linalool found it to be an effective anticonvulsant, meaning it shows significant promise for those who suffer seizures, such as patients of epilepsy and brain tumors. Reported the study:
“Linalool…[was] effective in preventing tonic convulsions induced by transcorneal electroshock in the animals.”
More Research Needed
As with all areas of cannabis science, terpenes like linalool are in desperate need of well funded, robust research in the form of human trials. Until cannabis is dropped from Schedule I and real studies are permitted by reputable research institutions and laboratories, medical professionals and patients must play a guessing game in terms of the types and dosages of terpenes like linalool that are most appropriate for particular conditions.
It cannot be denied that California has seen an increase in explosions caused by the chemical extraction of cannabis, known as “hash blasting,” since the legalization of medical marijuana. While it is illegal to practice this process of extraction without proper equipment and licensing, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed bills creating new, stricter penalties and prison sentences for anyone who harms another person in the process.
The Governor admitted there are enough criminal laws in the Golden State and the state must consider all angles before increasing the problem of overcrowding.
Following a butane hash oil (BHO) extraction explosion in Walnut Creek, Assembly Bill 849 was presented to the state by East Bay Assembly member Susan Bonilla. AB 849 created a new crime with prison sentences of up to six years for any BHO makers who harm others during the extraction process. On August 31, this bill was passed unanimously by the Assembly.
Governor Brown disagreed with the approval, however, and vetoed AB 849 along with eight other bills, sending his own message about the regressive, “get tough” laws that do not increase public safety by adding more non violent offenders to the already overcrowded California prisons.
“Each of these bills creates a new crime — usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed. This multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit,”
said Governor Brown.
“Before we keep going down this road, I think we should pause and reflect on how our system of criminal justice could be made more human, more just and more cost-effective.”
With the United States leading the way in highest incarceration rates in human history, Brown reiterates that locking up cannabis extractors for misuse of equipment does nothing to address the legalities of practicing safety while producing cannabis extracts. Many California medical cannabis advocates have recommended stricter licensing and regulations regarding the process of cannabis extraction and three bills addressing such an issue are still pending on Brown’s desk.
On Thursday, October 1, Oregon joined the ranks of those rare, but increasingly prevalent states that sell cannabis through dispensaries and retail outlets to citizens who are 21 and older. When Oregon passed Measure 91 in 2014, which legalized recreational cannabis possession and consumption for fans of the culture in the Beaver State, all stakeholders knew it would probably be 2016 before adults were actually able to legally walk into a safe, regulated retail outlet without a medical exemption and purchase cannabis.
The state surprised everyone when, over the summer, it announced that it would make recreational cannabis sales legal through existing dispensaries to expedite the rollout of the recreational market and get a leg up on illegal dealers eager to supply a newly motivated and hungry population of consumers. Said Portland resident John Finley:
“Before, I had to go through potentially dangerous, weird people in motels, for instance. Or just people I didn’t want to deal with or don’t trust. It was legal, but I didn’t have any options.”
A Short History
In 1998, Oregon became the second state in the nation to pass a medical marijuana law that permitted and regulated the cultivation, processing, and dispensation of medical cannabis to patients with a wide range of ailments.
Roughly 200 of Oregon’s 345 medical dispensaries have registered with the state to expand their customer base to recreational consumers. On June 30, Oregon passed HB 3400, a law to regulate recreational sales, including a detailed seed-to-sale tracking system and the progressive expungement of thousands of non-violent cannabis offenses.
Senate Bill 460, which Oregon governor Kate Brown signed during the summer, allowed recreational sales via dispensaries beginning on October 1 as a means of kickstarting the state’s recreational legalization while the Oregon Liquor Control Commission crafts regulatory language that will set the rules for all recreational marijuana sales in the state. Recreational sales will be tax-free until January 4, 2016, when a 25 percent tax will go into effect.
On July 1, Oregon’s recreational law went into effect, making it legal for millions of Oregonians to possess up to eight ounces of the herb, grow small amounts at home (four plants, if kept out of public view), and take up to an ounce outside their residence. But with only a network of medical dispensaries and no existing recreational retail outlets, cannabis consumers in the state have been trapped in a Catch 22, with no convenient and safe access to the herb that has finally been legalized.
By allowing medical dispensaries to also sell cannabis to recreational users, the state hopes to establish an advantage over the black market and cartels, pushing organized crime out of communities and generating much needed tax revenue. Unfortunately, the state will not even begin accepting applications from entrepreneurs and businesses for retail licenses allowing cultivation, processing, testing, and retail sales of cannabis and cannabis products until January 4, 2016. Recreational retail outlets are expected to begin opening later in 2016, most likely the third and fourth quarter.
Oregon joins Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia to offer adults 21 and older the legal right to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis for non-medical purposes. Ironically, while California was the first state to establish a legal and semi-regulated environment for medical cannabis in 1996 with Proposition 215, technically speaking, recreational sales are still illegal in the state (a recreational ballot issue scheduled for 2016 is expected to pass). Like Oregon until now, Alaska, which has legalized possession and consumption for all adults, also has not begun legal sales of cannabis to recreational consumers.
While pot sales between individuals remains illegal, gifting and sharing herb is permitted in Oregon. The new recreational law allows citizens to purchase “flower and dry leaf products, plants, and seeds,” according to Oregon.gov. Note the distinct exception of concentrates and edibles. Unfortunately, residents of Oregon who choose to take advantage of the state’s new recreational legalization will be limited to only seven grams (a quarter ounce) of flowers (buds) and related products (the same daily amount that Colorado allows tourists to purchase, while residents can purchase an ounce per visit).
This restriction will be teasingly painful due to the fact that recreational consumers can currently legally shop only in certain medical dispensaries, most of which also sell edibles and concentrates to patients. While displayed direction in front of customers, dispensaries won’t be permitted to sell such prominently promoted products to recreational shoppers. Oregon’s recreational smokers and vapers simply won’t have legal, safe access to concentrates such as Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and its myriad variants (like wax, shatter, and crumble), tinctures, CO2 oil, and live resin.
For those thinking of purchasing and consuming recreational cannabis in Oregon who aren’t tapped into the details of what’s permitted, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has published an infographic that may help. Those sad about a lack of legal access to edibles and concentrates can print out a copy and use it to blow their nose and wipe their tears of frustration.
Where Things Stand
Oregon has set a new record in the sparsely crowded field of states that allow recreational cannabis sales. It sold $11 million worth of non-medical weed after one week of sales. Compare this to what other recreationally legal states sold during their first week of legality:
- Colorado: $5 million
- Washington: <$1 million
- Alaska: $0 (rec sales have not yet begun)
Marijuana concentrates are gaining popularity in the state of Colorado. There are many different ways to produce cannabis concentrates, but at least one way can be very dangerous. Using a flammable solvent like butane to make hash oil has resulted in 26 felony charges in the state of Colorado in 2014. All of which involved a person blowing up a home, car, building or something else while making butane hash oil.
The at home way to produce butane hash oil usually starts with loading a pipe with cannabis flowers, leaves or trimmings. Next a person will release butane into the pipe, which extracts the THC and other cannabinoids into the liquid that drips out the other end. The liquid is then heated before it is left to slightly solidify. Butane is a flammable gas, and the fumes being released into the room in which the extraction is taking place is very dangerous because any little spark could result in an explosion.
District Attorneys throughout the state have taken different stances on the issue of homemade butane hash oil, and now the Colorado Attorney General, John Suthers, has released his opinion on the issue. In a statement released by the office of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, he explains why he feels it is illegal,
“Amendment 64 expressly prohibits an individual from making marijuana oil and unfortunately, Colorado is experiencing a real public safety issue as a result of unsafe and unlicensed manufacturing and production. The Blue Book made it clear that Amendment 64 allowed for the responsible and safe use of marijuana, so to decriminalize dangerous and unreasonable behavior in which people are getting hurt and houses are blowing up, defies the intent of voters.”
This released statement came after Attorney General Suthers wrote a brief on the case of Eugene Christensen. Christensen is currently being charged with arson, reckless endangerment and manufacturing cannabis concentrate after he caused an explosion while making butane hash oil. He is facing up to 4 years in prison, and his defense is that marijuana concentrates are covered under Amendment 64, as it allows for the “processing” of cannabis plants.
Attorney General Suthers disagrees. According to him, anything classified as “oil” is exempt from the definition of marijuana in Amendment 64. This is because in the Amendment, part of the definition of marijuana reads that it does not include oil.
One of the Amendment co-authors, Christian Sederberg, told the Denver Post that he agrees that making butane hash oil at home is dangerous. However, the way that the attorney general is using the definition of marijuana could lead to even hash oil possession being illegal.
photo credit: RollingStone, bloximages