Some questions about the volcano vaporizer
June 30, 2008 3:59 PM   Subscribe

My friend is considering buying the volcano vaporizer. I should first note that price isn't an issue, he's splitting the cost with a few of his friends. He's also a purely recreational user looking for the most potent high he can get. Some of his questions are below:

1. How difficult is it to use?
2. How difficult is it to transport?
3. Is it the best way to get high? I've heard it's the most efficient method, is the hype true?
4. Are they known to break, and how would one get it repaired?
5. Do you often have to order certain replacement items online (balloons, valves, etc.)
6. How long does it typically last?
7. Has anyone used the newest one (the "volcano digit?")
8. Are there any health issues or possible hazards?

Any other advice is also greatly appreciated.
posted by JamesJD to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Also, what other things should he buy in order to have everything he needs?
posted by JamesJD at 4:01 PM on June 30, 2008

I tried a friends vaporizer (not sure if it was a Volcano). The vapor tastes a lot like bong water, which may be one of the most repugnant flavors I can imagine. Find a friend and try before you buy!
posted by chairface at 4:25 PM on June 30, 2008

My friend purchased a Volcano a couple years ago. ;) Let's see...

1. Not very difficult. I'd guess the most difficult aspect was affixing the turkey bag to the mouthpiece and making sure it was airtight. There are in-depth instructions (with pictures!) on how to do this included in the box. Your friend will also want to make sure he's using an optimal setting (the number dial on the front) and actually vaporizing the product and not burning it.

2. Transport down the street to a friend's? Easy! Overseas via airplane? Don't know, haven't tried.

3. This depends on personal preference. It's a different type of high than smoking a bowl/bong or joint. I don't think it's the most efficient. You use a lot of product.

4. Don't know. Friend's hasn't broken in 2-3 years.

5. The "balloons" are turkey bags that you can buy at the grocery store. You'll probably also need to purchase the metal mesh filter things once in awhile as they get bent and gross. The Volcano comes with a little bag of extras.

6. See #4.

7. Nope.

8. I can't speak on health issues. Friend has left their Volcano on accidentally for hours and their house didn't burn down. However, Volcano recommends you turn off the unit after you're session is complete.

Your friend will probably also need to purchase a quality grinder if he doesn't have one. The unit comes with everything else that you'll need, including turkey bags.
posted by re.becca at 4:27 PM on June 30, 2008

1. So easy a pothead can do it.
2. It is as difficult to transport as a small coffeemaker.
3. Best is subjective. It can be argued it is most efficient since temperatures don't rise to levels that would destroy active ingredients and the forced hot air will presumably remove all active ingredients with time.
4. The manufacturer has fairly generous warranty/repair services.
5. Balloons can be reordered online or kludged together yourself.
6. Quite some time.
7. No.
8. Many of the things people use them for are illegal.
posted by pseudonick at 4:31 PM on June 30, 2008

vaporizing gives you a slightly different high than smoking. i think it tastes great - you really just taste the herb, no smoke - so I totally disagree with chairface.

the high is much more mellow and less intense, and often less noticeable (if you're used to smoking). i certainly wouldn't call it the "most potent" - the primary benefit is that you're not inhaling smoke. if you want to get as high as possible, build a gravity bong.
posted by gnutron at 4:31 PM on June 30, 2008

3. I find it to be very efficient, maybe around 3x as much output than conventional methods.

2. Hard to transport. Buy the nifty case if you plan to do some traveling.

5. You don't need to use the official bags/balloons. You can improvise with any sort of balloon type thing. As far as other parts, you may have to order directly from the company.
posted by cazoo at 4:48 PM on June 30, 2008

The Vaporcannon from Vaporwarez is excellent and comes with a warranty. Plus no bags to deal with.
posted by Brian James at 5:19 PM on June 30, 2008

1. It's not difficult to use.
2. Well, it's not as easy to transport as a joint, a pipe, or a wooden-box type vaporizer.
3. I think vaping is the best way to get high. As mentioned, the high is a little different. I find it more of a head buzz. Good for creativity. However, in my limited experience with volcano vaporizers, I haven't loved them. I think they're good for a large group of people, but for personal use something like an aromazap will get you more stoned with less bud.

I tried a friends vaporizer (not sure if it was a Volcano). The vapor tastes a lot like bong water, which may be one of the most repugnant flavors I can imagine.

Something must have been wrong. Vapor just tastes like bud.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2008

So I'm a little confused because some people are claiming the vaporizer is more efficient while others are saying that it doesn't make you as high as you could get employing other means.

Assuming that you have the same exact amount of weed that you can use via (i.) rolling papers, (ii.) a bong, (iii.) a bowl, or (iv.) a vaporizer, which of these four means would give you the most potent high. If not the vaporizer then how is it more efficient? What does that mean (if not more potent)?
posted by JamesJD at 8:30 PM on June 30, 2008

My friend has one of these 3 yrs. he runs it at a high temp(7-8) produces dense vapor that is very potent. The volcano is the best, most economical, way of getting baked in existence.
posted by hortense at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2008

In my experience, the vape is more efficient if you look at how many sessions you can have with it before running out of weed. If you're using a gravity bong to get stoned, you will run out of weed a lot faster, because you will necessarily be using a lot more bud in each session. You'd also probably be getting more stoned each session due to the sheer volume of it. If you tried to vape as much bud as you use in a gravity bong session it would take you a lot longer. The effects are just different. Most people start out with bongs and such and lots of folks swear by those things no matter what. Does that make sense? I'm kind of vaped.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:41 PM on June 30, 2008

The tubing used in a whip-style vape like the vapor brothers unit requires extra lung power, due to the volume of air moving through the tube. So the Volcano should give you a more direct hit.

Still, think of a third alternative as a gateway to vaporizing: the vapor genie. A "friend" of mine swears by this device. You heat the bud via the flame of a bic lighter, which warms a ceramic disc at the top of the bowl. Takes a while to get accustomed to applying the flame correctly, but you'll glean these advantages:
1. A smaller volume of air in the pipe to inhale, making for an easier hit.
2. Convenience. No need to wait for the heating element to warm.
3. Extreme portability.
4. Price: Most retailers sell the genie for under $50.

The bud-consumption rate is slightly better than with standard, whip-style vapes, and the high seems to be about the same. Um, according to my friend.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:43 AM on July 1, 2008

Since you are not combusting in a vaporizer, you only get the THC. When you smoke, you get THC as well as some other, less desirable, intoxicants. The THC gives you that really heady high, energetic, clear thinking sort of high. The others give you the muddy brained, fuzzy, reverberating high, which can be bad at times. This is why when you smoke bad pot you get the muddy brains, but good pot makes you feel more like just using a vaporizor.

So... use good pot and you'll be flying... in the best of ways. Use ditch weed and you'll be wondering wtf you aren't getting all that high and have to keep packing the vaporizer.

The real reasons, IMO, to invest in a volcano are two: stealth and health (unintentional rhyming I swear.)

The unit itself looks discreet to someone who doesnt know what it is, especially the non-digital one because it's less obvious that the controls are for heat. Also, the smell of the vapor does not smell like typical pot smoke and hangs around in the air less. It is healthier because you are not inhaling any combusted or partially combusted plant material.
posted by utsutsu at 8:25 AM on July 1, 2008

I do not smoke, but I lived in the warehouse where Storz & Bickel (the makers of the Volcano) have their US distribution arm, so I can answer some of these questions:

1. How difficult is it to use?
Super easy, from what I saw -- you just shove the bag (which has a little plastic dealy at the end to make it mount correctly) in there and flip a switch. It's like a blender.

2. How difficult is it to transport?
See above, it's like a blender. I don't think it's the type of thing you take to the beach.

4. Are they known to break, and how would one get it repaired?
These things are solid. They had about 6 sitting on the shelf when I went in that were broken and had been returned for repair, and it looked like a couple of them had been at the bottom of a lake. I take this to understand that you really have to eff them up before the conk out on you. They're the kind of place that does no-questions-asked repairs: some of these things had *obviously* suffered mightily at the hands of their stony users, and they just shipped them out new ones.

The owner is super super nice, too, so there's that.
posted by fishfucker at 9:36 AM on July 1, 2008

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