How To Get The Most From Vaporizing

High. Welcome to our bring-your-own-bud Vapor Lounge.

Whether in Vancouver or Toronto, without a doobie doubt the Storz & Bickel Volcano Digit is the Cadillac of cannabis consumption on the tables of cannabis cafe’s and chronic connoisseurs. It’s a geeky ganja gadget that appeals to both our love of high-end tech toys (think XBox360 & iPhone) and toking.

Savvy stoner tourists flock to marijuana vapor lounges in Canada. Controlling the exactness of the extraction is the engine or warp core of cannabinoid vapor technology that brings them here.

Here at Vapour Central in Toronto, our old-skool Captain Kirk Enterprise vape is kitschy with its dill pickle jar dome shape, but wasn’t a true vaporizer. Like Kirk it smoldered lustily before becoming unbearable.

When the Volcano Classic arrived, getting gunned on vapor went Next Gen by allowing stoned troopers an opportunity to vaporize THC with a tweak of a dial. A bold advancement of the digital readout, thermostat, and auto shut-off adds a precision scientific element to extraction that appeals to Mr. Data Doobie types.

But life is all about the kinds of weed we vape, not the technology we use.

While it may seem anathema to fill the Digit Volcano’s rocket shaped canister with anything but the best bud, unlike a high performance automobile or starship, our expensive German engineering enjoys low-grade ganja too.

The true beauty of owning a vaporizer is its ability to extract the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavinoids from any cannabis plant matter – be it leaf, trim, stock or bud.

A real vaporizer test isn’t based on model or brand comparison and throwing a Tokers Bowl-winner in the chamber to determine how good and gunned one got, but how the technology tackled a variety of tokes.

Possibly verging on ganja gluttony is when your stoner buddy smokes a half-quarter in bong hits and is still not high enough, while you can barely finish the third bag from a half-gram in the Volcano, you know we need a vapor lounge in every major city and a Volcano on every table. But take that toke, as the longer vapor is left, the more THC lost as it condenses on the surface of the bag.

The Basics of Boiling and Evaporation

Burning plant matter boils the liquids, but is a bad delivery medium. Cannabinoid-saturated leaf gets vaporized just fine when exposed to any excessive heat, but with burning, smokey invaders hitch-hike with the THC down the road to your lungs.

Temperature setting table for the Volcano Classic.Temperature setting table for the Volcano Classic.Flavinoids and terpenes, the smell and taste of toke, evaporate and begin boiling off at about 132°F, with water boiling at 212°F, they are delicious together. But you don’t get very high with luke warm air.

Bring up the heat a bit because THC has a boiling point of 392°F, but with the Volcano Digit having the help of the venturi effect, you can vaporize efficiently with temperatures as low as 350°F. But problems start for the Vapor Head when you reach 451°F, combustion.

Fahrenheit 451, and you got smoke…

However the heater on a joint or cherry in our bong can reach temperatures of 800°F or higher. With a bonghit or jay we’re going well over our needed burn rate, causing plenty of THC loss and unwanted carcinogens hampering our high and weed taste. Low heat is best when burning your bud.

Depending on material, the highest THC efficiency is extracted slightly below combustion around 440°F.

Flash-frying herb above 420°F immediately creates a thick, heavy toke. Flavor takes a back seat in a cloudy cannabis mix that puts an emphasis on blasting bud quickly. Higher temperature burns up a lot of THC on initial boil, while disintegrating flavinoids that would have boiled at much lower temps.

On the lower end of the temperature scale we get a lighter vapor with more flavor that lasts longer, but less THC per bag. Creating more bags to pass around, but packing less punch.

Many Bag-Sucking Experts say enthusiasts want their first vape to be a heavy hitter because they’re used to joint and bong hits. Thus encouragement is always for high heat.

Many chronics have their preferred temperature, so, like a manned rocket excursion to the moon, our space trip with a Volcano Digit is best accomplished in stages, low to high. Keeping within a consistent temperature range is the simplest method to getting gunned (375°F/400°F/425°F), but not particularly useful when dealing with herb in different states.

Getting The Best From Wet

Dry season is one of the most stressful times for a stoner. Worst is when the grower is running or out of ganja with dry hook-ups or no coin.

Don’t regret your purchase of a Volcano Digit! It’ll save your broke ass, continue to impress bud babes and get you through lonely nights when you thought you didn’t have toke.

First invite friends over with their herb to enjoy your expensive toy. This is a surefire way to get high off your friend’s supply when just getting by. But do not pawn your Volcano Digit for pot to them!

Any scraps you can find go a lot further in a Volcano than a joint or a bong. Many people report doubling their weed’s distance by using a Vaporizer – that little bit can go a long way.

Make your hash mob grimace when you produce bags of vapor from fresh, uncured pot. Whether the nugs came from harvesting lower branches prematurely or from leafy trim you saved or purchased for pennies, the Volcano Digit produces potent, tasty vapor every time.

Don’t worry about the manicure. Stem. Leaf. White succulent THC-laden angel hairs. It’s all ganja goodness in the Volcano when boiled correctly.

Begin chopping your uncured nug to their horror. Work your shears into a sticky frenzy to create a resinous mound of very green ganja. Keep snipping until finely diced. Stopping once the marijuana mound resembles a garnishment one would top a salad with.

Then place this sticky, very-wet, never-gonna-burn green lump into a Volcano Digit canister for vape off. Given the bud is dramatically different than the crumble-in-your-fingers kind of cannabis, one would presume it boils differently.

By boiling this fresh weed just for flavinoids (280°F – 300°F) once, sometimes twice, the results will be dramatically better than attempting to blast the THC free from the nug (410°F – 425°F). This lower heat creates a very steamy, moist bag with the vape something akin to eating celery, a little bit of flavor, but clearly lacking in cannabis calories.

It’s amazing at sucking out water from just-picked bud. Way better than the old-timer-toker method of actually putting it on low heat in their oven. Or new-timer method of microwaving wet weed. Ugh.

After one or two low flavinoid runs, you are able to empty the canister and roll a jay or do bonghits with the bud now compressed into a disc. But it’s way better to simply bring the temp up into THC firing range on the Vaporizer. Skipping the initial boil with just picked by going straight to THC range produces celery results with subtle hints of psycho-activity on the first few bags, before petering out completely.

Bone Dry Doobie

There’s a fine balance between just-right and too dry.

Sometimes a stoner wakes after a heady session to find her perfectly pickled weed has slipped into the realm of ground dust by leaving their bag or container exposed to the elements.

Dry pot often creates the problem of more smoke bellowing out of the bong than hitting the lungs. This weed worry is eliminated with the Volcano.

When vaporizing dry, THC-laden weed, it is important not to go too hot, as the risk of flash boiling is very high. This eliminates taste, flavor and ultimately THC. Oh sure, the first vape is killah illah, but it falls off fast. Not too mention, it could cause coughing. A well-produced bag will create very little to no after-hack.

Being careful your bone-dry bud doesn’t blow through the screen, drop the temp into the 350°F – 370°F range, and inhale your vapor without the leaf sand-storm in your mouth or bad taste in your throat.

If the vape is passable in opaqueness, taste, and high, chances are awesome subsequent efforts will turn out fan-didly-tastic at that temperature.

From Bubble Bag to Volcano in 4:20 Minutes

Goopy hashish may liquefy into your screen or leak out of the canister bottom, gumming up the Volcano’s heating element. When vaping honey oil or yummy gooey bubble substances, use the oil screen. You know, the metal dish-scrubby looking thingy.

This device also works wonders when it comes to sampling just-finished full melt hashish.

Who can possibly wait two days for a few grams of ganja goodness to harden? Especially after the marijuana manual labor one goes through pulling a pound of leafy matter through the Bubble Bag Kit.

Use the oil screen and you can cut down cannabis congealing time to nothing. Our Afghani #1 made delicious vapo bubble hash ten minutes after it’d been made. Just drain excess water from the just-made bubble then dump the lump on the oil screen. Halfway through our vapo bubble hash session we opened the rocket to witness a pot primordial ooze with gorgeous green hues bubbling beautifully.

For fresh bubble, low heat is best, but high heat is needed when working with pressed black hash.

When ground right, on high heat, hashish is delicious with an extra silky smooth taste. The grind is very important as too chunky produces poor results.

It takes a real hash master to work their Volcano Digit professionally to achieve amazing results every time.

Getting Rid of Roach Taste

Brushing teeth. Gargling with garlic. Cleaning a public restroom with your tongue. Nothing will eliminate the harsh awful sensation of vape’d roaches. Nothing! It’s worst than bonghitting with roaches. Way worse, as the taste has been enhanced. Instead of lingering shortly, it’s like a roach party in your mouth. A sensation maybe only horribly tasting coffee will eliminate.

For the sake of experimentation, eighteen roaches were unrolled. The paper discarded and the remaining roach reefer then ground into a fine powder. Do not put paper in your Volcano!

Strangely, no one else wanted to partake in a full afternoon of harsh, rancid vapor tokes. Where did everybody go?

A full afternoon toking those godawful roach remains turned out to be great because the resinous high was wicked.

The Volcano Digit beats the bong on this front, but there is the real problem of enhanced roachy flavor. About the only time when you don’t want increased flavor is with roach meat. Still working on that one.

Stem And Other Pot Particle Matter

Can you get high off branches? Conventional weed wisdom says no. Or at least it’s says it’s not worth the yack…

Try placing your stalk collection directly in the Volcano by stripping off the outer fiber, then busting open the stems, scooping out the innards then grinding everything (with the orange Storz & Bickel grinder) to get results. Blast it with high heat!

It tasted better than roaches, but containing very little happiness. Two rounds produced traditional, but very, very light bags, and our third bag was nothing but air.

For crystal (kief) keepers empty your source directly into the rocket. Do not over-boil! Crystal is tenderer than bone-dry, requiring very little heat. Anything in the 360°F – 385°F is plentiful for sweet results. A heavy bag is very possible in this temp range, but cranking it higher doesn’t produce better results.

Crystal can be mixed with batch or previously vaporized herb to avoid blowing through the Volcano screen.

Becoming A Vapor Pro

Practicing pothead opaqueness is the best way in determining when your weed is pooched. Turn the bag sideways. Hold up to your glazed-over eyes. Not being able to see through the bag is a good thing. Seeing through the bag is bad.

Having several mounds to vape allows experimenting on the first run before settling in for a serious session at the right temperature. Demonstrate pothead professionalism by leading a discussion in the outcome of each run. Get your hash mob to determine whether increasing the temperature by an increment would produce better results – an excellent method of developing interpersonal stoner skills.

Vapor Poo

Is that tobacco? No, the byproduct of vaporization is usually brown, with some yellowish/greeb hues, and looks like tobacco.

Some THC and many of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that may not be vaporizable are still be present in the brown left-overs. By making weed oil, cooking into butter, you can extract these left-over cannabinoids into amazing products.

Can you smoke that? Although you clearly can burn the brown vapor cache, and you may even gain a mild psychoactive effect, the head ache, negative health effects and gross taste leave this option as a last resort for someone seeking a high.

What about the Resin? When scraped off, the resin buildup within a vaporizer is unlike anything found in your bong or pipe. It is pure, heat extracted cannabinoids which can also be re-vaporized or smoked for a potent effect.

Some slang terms used to refer to the vaporized remains of cannabis: Cached, ReBurn, Spent, Redope, Duff, Revap, Post Roast, Gak, Browns, Floyd Tibbs, Eva Brown, Mary Brown, Vapoo, Vapor poo, No, Toasties, Vapor-leavin’s, Cashums, Vented, Vapeweed, Vapedoof, Vaped Chron, or Vaped Bud.

Don’t have a Volcano? Visit the BC Marijuana Party Vapor Office in Vancouver or Vapor Central in Toronto – or purchase a Volcano Digit or Volcano Classic from the Cannabis Culture Store.

Read Chris Goodwin and Matt Mernagh‘s blogs on Cannabis Culture.



  1. Chico on

    If you can extract and make butter with the vaped bud, can you also make tinctures (putting bud in 100 proof alcohol) If this can be done, does anyone have a recipe?

  2. Uncle Bob on

    That brings a whole new meaning to the expression “shake and bake”…

  3. J*B on

    You forgot about putting a couple shots of vodka in the old bag ,when you change to a new one.thc adheres to the vodka and you have a green dragon like shot!

  4. J*B on

    You forgot about putting a couple shots of vodka in the old bag ,when you change to a new one.thc adheres to the vodka and you have a green dragon like shot!

  5. Uncle Bob on

    Thanks. I was thinking this would be perfect to use with a Roor bong.

  6. Anonymous on

    would be my pick, mine is older model. Adjusable in terms of temp, air flow, etc. the cadillac for sure.

  7. Uncle Bob on

    I checked out the website for the heatguns. They have 15 models ranging greatly in price up to the hundreds of dollars. Which one(s) of these do you recomend?

  8. Anonymous on

    I recommend the Steinel Digital heat guns. Awesome, also, no plastic involved, just use a glass b.

  9. Anonymous on

    i just found out that if you push the + and the – at the same time the volcano swtiches from F to C

  10. Uncle Bob on

    Hey Chris and Matt….how ’bout making a video for CC with vaping info? Could be a good idea for a regular series maybe? Reviews, tips and tricks, new products, etc. Whattaya think?

  11. Anonymous on

    this was a remarkable article! i’ve had my vaporizer, cheap-o wooden box mind you, and i have always wanted to know, in some absolute terms, how the hell to do this right. i’ve heard so many different theories from people about how they do it, but i’m still left wondering; not to mention the instructions that come with the vape only tell you how to vape rosemary and other, in my endeavors, useless herbs. in one word, thanks. bookmarked.

  12. cybergenesis on

    Hi. I’ve been using a Volcano for a while- the analogue model.

    I find that its best to let the air pump through for a few seconds BEFORE you attach the baloon. If you have a STRONG, BRIGHT light, and something black to use as a background, you can SEE the vapor starting to come out of the volcano when it heats up enough.

    I find it takes about 20 seconds for the first baloon, 30 for the second etc…

    Not putting the balloon on until the vapor starts coming out solidly might give you some more THC in your baloon, but might effect taste, as some of the chemicals which effect taste seem to start coming out very quickly (put your nose near where the vapor comes out and you can almost immediately smell flavors when you do your first baloon).

    With the vaporizer, HOLDING YOUR BREATH definately improves absorbtion.

    I have found if you take a big breath of vapor, that it takes about 40-45 seconds in time, before you can blow your breath out and NOT see much vapor. So it seems to take a while to FULLY absorb the vapor. It takes some practice, but eventually it becomes fairly easy to hold your breath for 40-45 seconds. I strongly recommend trying to hold your breath for at least 20 seconds, and if you can hold it for 40 it will be even better. Also agree with the post above, generally taking a full lung full of vapor is not a good idea. If its strong stuff, it can cause you to cough, thus expell all the vapor before its been well absorbed. It may take longer, but smaller breaths probably allow for overall greater absorbtion, because you have lesser amounts of THC spread for absorbtion over larger amounts of lung tissue, or in effect.

  13. on

    Great article! For efficiency, I like the Purple Days vaporizer. What I used to smoke in a week now lasts me almost three. No joke. If you’re a grower and not concerned about efficiency or you want monster vape hits for large groups of people, it’s not the one for you. The Purple Days are handmade by one guy in Oregon, available through only one distributor, and there’s a waiting list.

  14. Uncle Bob on

    Making Canna-milk with vape leftovers.

    200 Ml Whole Milk
    50 Ml Half+half cream
    3.5g Vape poop

    Put ingredients in a double-boiler, and boil lightly for about 1/2 hour.
    Strain spent herb out with cheesecloth or fine strainer. Use milk for such delicious treats as “Pot Chocolate” (Hot choc) or my favorite…”Green Eggs and Ham” (Scrambled Eggs) You’ll sleep very nicely afterwards. Milk will keep for up to a week in the fridge if you want to make extra.

  15. Uncle Bob on

    I’ve had my classic Volcano since 2003. I wouldn’t upgrade to the digital model until they make it possible to switch off the 30 minute timer. The Classic model is actually faster than the digital by a minute in heating up. (See youtube for Volcano race video) Some other tips for those new to vaping. You should only fill your lungs about half way when vaping as its more potent than smoke. Also keep lots of water on hand as you’ll need it. I’ve had chronic bronchitis most of my life and smoking makes me want to hack up a lung. Vaping however, is so kind and gentle to the lungs… its a no-brainer. It is true what they say about your herb going a lot further too. I use Everclear and Q-tips and papertowel to clean the parts. Don’t use Isopropyl alcohol for cleaning as it has by-products harmful to your body. Look! Oven Turkey bags are usually 2.69 on sale for pack of 2 at Superstore in Edmonton.

  16. Brian Kerr on

    I am quite happy with my HerbalAire for 1/2 the price of a Volcano.

    Just the vapor oil (condensed vapor) can make an oz of weed last 3 weeks more not to bad. The Duff when ground to a powder can also be put in to Gel caps
    I find 4 gel caps size 00 packed with powdered duff is quite the buzz. It dose take quite a long time to come on. I get about 40 gel caps of 00 size per oz of ground duff. If I would take 4 per day after work that would add another 10 days of cannabinoid intake. Stretching the oz even further. This is all on top of a more efficient cannabinoid intake system than smoking, with better flavor.

    Why don’t you want to put paper in your vaporizer. If you are not afraid to smoke it in a joint ?

  17. NewCannabian on

    Many thanks for the tips on getting maximum usage from the Volcano. I’ve had mine for nearly four years but still didn’t know about the possibilities of vaping stems, uncured plant mater or freshly made bubble. Great article, much appreciated!