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Volcano Hybrid Desktop Vaporizer Review

Volcano Hybrid Canada Review
For those familiar with cannabis, Storz and Bickel, does not need an introduction.  Storz and Arizer are the top two manufacturers for vaporizers when it comes to quality and performance.  The Mighty, Crafty, Plenty,…

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Volcano Hybrid Canada Review

For those familiar with cannabis, Storz and Bickel, does not need an introduction.  Storz and Arizer are the top two manufacturers for vaporizers when it comes to quality and performance.  The Mighty, Crafty, Plenty, Volcano Classic and Digit (I always want to say Digital) are all part of the S and B’s strong line up.

The newest addition to their vaporizer offering is the Volcano Hybrid.  The Hybrid is an update to the beloved Volcano Digit, which will no longer be available once the new product launches in Canada.  The Hybrid is a convection/conduction desktop vaporizer that can handle big doses and produce pure, hard hitting flavour. This vape can handle both dry herb and concentrates, which will give you the flexibility to consume your cannabis any way you want.

Heating up 10 times faster than the Digit, the Hybrid uses its 100 watt heater to maximum efficiency.

A lot of cheaper desktop vapes come with a whip or a balloon, but the Hybrid offers both methods of inhalation.  A balloon is a thin plastic bag that attaches to the vaporizer and fills with vapour. This allows the user to inhale the vapour when it cools down inside the inflated bag.  A whip is very similar as it cools down the hot air over a long, tubular path.

I have to admit I am a portable vaporizer geek who typically vapes in the garage or outside.  I have never owned a desktop vape, so I was pretty excited when the Volcano Hybrid arrived.

The box itself has a plastic handle, much like a speaker box, which makes it easy to port around.  My advice is to keep the box because if you ever wanted to haul it around it makes it easy to throw the unit in there and hit the road. Plus, it comes with quite a few accessories which may get lost if you keep them separate.

When you unpackage the Volcano you will notice that everything is fitted perfectly into separate plastic containers.  Again, this makes it easy to keep track of all your attachments. Storz has really included a lot of add ins that will handle all of your vaping and maintenance needs for the future.  Included in the box are :

  • 1 pc. Power Cord
  • 3 x Easy Valve Balloons with Mouthpiece
  • 1 x Easy Valve Balloon with Adapter
  • 1 x Whip
  • 1 x Filling Chamber
  • 1 x Maintenance Pieces; Cap Ring, Normal Screen Set, Drip Pad, Cleaning Brush, Air Filter Set
  • 1 x Herb Grinder

I really appreciate the extra balloons and mouthpieces as these are the consumables that you don’t want to be without.  I was a little disappointed that they did not include dosing capsules as they did with my Crafty. It’s a small complaint, but I love those things.  The one bonus is the easy valve balloon with adjustable collar. This is the attachment that will let you cut, adjust and create your own balloons going forward.  Additional bag material is not included, but you can find these readily available on most sites or the instruction booklet recommends any food grade or medical grade plastic.

How does the Volcano Hybrid work?

I have read some other articles about the Volcano stating that it is a product designed for the advanced user.  I didn’t find this at all, as there are only a couple steps to get started. As always, the first step is to grind your herb prior to your session.  You will find the acrylic grinder (also known as the Storz and Bickel Herb Mill) included with the Volcano to be quite the shredder. The teeth are sharp and at 3 inches in diameter it will handle more than your standard dosage. 

The next step is to place your cannabis in the bowl and attach the top piece that joins to the balloon or whip.  This combo is known as the filling chamber and ensures a nice, evenly cooked, smooth vaping experience. The pieces are large and join quite nicely without the need to fidget or force them together.  

You will need to get this prepared ahead of time as the next step is to heat the volcano to your selected temperature.  This is done with the arrows on the display face or via the S & B app. This is an important step as you will need to reach the desired temperature first and then connect the filling chamber to the Volcano vaporizer.

Next you will need to choose your inhalation method; balloon or whip.  The balloon is a favourite amongst vapers and my experience was no different.  The easy valve balloon is correctly named as you just have to remove the black mouthpiece on stick it on top of the filling chamber.  That’s it! After this step is complete you will hit the air button on the display and the balloon will begin to fill with vapour. Make sure you stop before the balloon gets completely full.  It is recommended that you get a bag that is misty, but not completely opaque. The choice of how full is up to the vaper, but for this review I couldn’t help but go all the way. To stop the air pump, you simply hit the air button again.  You remove the filling chamber from the vaporizer’s easy valve and place the mouthpiece back into the orange coupling on the balloon. Now the fun part; just depress the mouthpiece and inhale.

The balloon itself is impressive, it has an auto lock system that traps the vapour in the bag to prevent leakage.  Air only comes out when the mouthpiece is depressed.

The process is similar with the whip only after the desired temperature is achieved, your run the air through the cannabis for 5 seconds then turn the air off.  After this, you attach the whip to the filling chamber and inhale. The Hybrid now operates like a hookah and still delivers a smooth, tasty, hard hitting toke. All of the inhalation is now lung powered, but still filtered through the bottom of the Volcano.  The whip is 1M (3 feet), so it still gives you plenty of options when hosting a group session, and it sits on a swivel for easy passing.

With both methods you can’t leave the filling chamber on for too long or it will get pretty hot.  Even when the whip is being used, you should take it off right after you have finished.

Performance- Whip it good

Both the bag and the whip produce smooth, tasty, vapour.  Some users switching from smoking to vaping complain about the vapour not producing the same effect as a joint.  My advice; get a Volcano! The balloon hits hard, very hard and has the best flavour I have ever tasted. The flavours (terpenes) were amazing and I could taste every bit of my Solei Gathers’ musky profile.  I let the vapour cool in the bag for around 30 seconds which produced a nice clean draw.

If you are a current Volcano owner you are probably wondering; how well does the whip work?  My answer is great, but I still prefer the balloon better. The vapour was still cooler, but not as smooth as the balloon.  At first, I also felt the taste was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Chalk this up to user error though. When you attach the whip, your first instinct is to get those clouds into your lungs as quickly as possible.  This was my mistake. Take long, slow draws so the warm air passes through the material for a longer time. This method improves the flavour significantly as your lungs now act as the air pump for convection heating to take place.

One thing that I did like about the whip was the flat shape of the mouthpiece.  Some whip attachments have cylindrical designs which I find roll around in your mouth too much.  The Volcano Hybrid mouthpiece sits nicely and is easy to hold.

Heating Time

With the Volcano Classic and Digit, heating could take anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes.  This is nowhere near comparable to a regular vaping experience. The Hybrid crushes the old heating times due to its re-designed double helix heat exchanger.

How fast does the Volcano Hybrid heating take?  It takes anywhere between 1 to 2 minutes, which is still slower than most portables, but you won’t care as the quality of the hit will be better than you could ever imagine.

Design

The Hybrid is much lighter than it looks and comes in at a sturdy 4 lbs.  The new face has a nice flat display and the temperature is easy to see and includes both your set temperature and current temperature.  You can control the intensity of the light with your app if you desire, but I didn’t think it was necessary with a desktop vaporizer. No real need for stealth when you are vaping out of a giant bag; right?

I also liked some of the more subtle features like the removable power cord which makes storage a breeze and the haptic feedback when you reach your desired temperature.

I have to admit the Volcano looks cool, like a nice clean stainless steel kitchen appliance.  This is still a classic look and has been virtually untouched since it was launched in 2000.  

The Hybrid will also vape concentrates.  Like other Storz products, it comes with a liquid pad that you can use with waxes and oils.  The pad can also be used as a reducer should you want to vape smaller dry herb doses. You can just put your herbs on top of the pad and enjoy a quick session.  Just be sure to tamp your material down, so you get a nice tight fit.

The bowl size of the Volcano is about the size of a toonie and will handle .5 grams.  I don’t think anyone will argue with the size of the bowl as it will handle big doses.

Volcano App

Storz and Bickel has also updated their app which now controls your Crafty and Volcano Hybrid.  I have to admit that I am a simpleton when it comes to vaping and easier is better. The S and B app, however, will allow you to set your session anyway you like it.  Aside from the typical features like temperature control, brightness, shut off etc, the app has a new feature for hard core users.

The new app has a workflow tab that lets you alternate between different temperatures and determines how long you want to pump air through your herb.  So you can select 375, pump air for 5 seconds, then increase the temperature and pump air for 15 seconds. My guess is this is designed more for medical dosing (especially now that the Medic version is only available in Europe), but connoisseurs will love this feature.

This is like brew your own for vape nerds.  I can see someone coming up with a hard hitting formula and posting it on social media sites. I know there is a super hit combo out there, but for now I’ll just select 1 temp per session.

Overall Rating:

If the OG Volcano Digit was a solid 9 then the Hybrid is definitely a 9.5/10.  It is a beautiful piece of machinery that deserves a try from even the lightest user.  It is like a fine bottle of wine; amazing quality, but for a price. The whip, improved heating time, detachable power cord and slick user interface are all an improvement over the old model.  I am only holding back .5 due to the price. It is the age old marketing battle between performance, price and quality. Having said that you cannot compare the output of this vaporizer to anything else in the marketplace.

 

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Growing

How to Identify Pests in Your Cannabis Grow

Experienced and novice cannabis growers alike understand that pests can ruin a crop, no matter how well watered, fed, or tended. One of the keys to making sure that your plants grow into healthy, robust, and consumable cannabis is to keep a close eye o…

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Experienced and novice cannabis growers alike understand that pests can ruin a crop, no matter how well watered, fed, or tended. One of the keys to making sure that your plants grow into healthy, robust, and consumable cannabis is to keep a close eye on any pests that might infiltrate your grow, then take the appropriate steps to eradicate them without ruining your garden. Not only will it help keep the plants alive, thriving plants have more energy to produce trichomes and terpenes, making for better bud

Let’s take a look at some common pests found on cannabis plants, how to identify them, and lastly, get rid of them for good. With just a little maintenance and vigilance, your cannabis garden can be pest-free.

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Common Pests Found on Cannabis Plants

According to the Smithsonian Institution, there are likely more unclassified insects in the world than classified, and the running guess is somewhere between 2 million and 30 million. Thus, this is by no means a definitive list of bugs that feed on cannabis but should serve as a good starting point for most pest problems. 

Caterpillars

Before a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly and flits away, it can be very hazardous to your cannabis plants. You know that book The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Turns out it’s a true story about how caterpillars eat everything in sight, including that tasty cannabis. Caterpillars can be very dangerous because they tend to go unnoticed, especially if they are a borer caterpillar, meaning they burrow into the plant and eat it from the inside out. But even caterpillars on the exterior will nosh away, potentially causing great damage to your plants. 

To figure out if caterpillars are ruining your plants, inspect the leaves weekly for holes from feeding, droppings on the leaves that look like tiny black specks, holes, and damage to the stems, and yellowing on upper leaves.

Natural enemies of caterpillars are wasps and praying mantises, and introducing those to the environment could make a difference. These options are typically easier for outdoor grows, but can also work indoors with some preparation. Other interventions include using a product like Bug Blaster spray or neem oil (which you can make at home).

Neem oil use has been controversial in some cannabis circles, as there is a belief among some that it may play a role in CHS (Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome), however, no definitive statements can be made without more research. The connection between neem oil and cannabis hyperemesis syndrome has yet to be fully explored or verified, but it’s still good to be aware and to be sure to closely follow usage directions.

Aphids

Even house plants have the occasional plague of aphids. Tiny and red, yellow, black, pale, green, or brown, these bugs can be easy to miss because they cling to the underside of leaves, reproduce quickly, and drain your plant of nutrients. Outdoor grows tend to fare a little better in the battle against aphids since natural predators are present, but indoor plants can be decimated quickly by these teensy pests. Not only do they siphon nutrients away from the plant, they leave a sweet substance called “honeydew” that attracts other insects and turns the leaves black and moldy

Aphids and their honeydew on a plant

The honeydew left behind from aphids leads to further damages to the plant by attracting even more pests. photo credit

Because that honeydew attracts other pests, if you begin to notice a lot of ants or ladybugs coming around your plants, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re well into an aphid problem. Aphids can be hard to shake, but wasps and ladybugs are natural predators. Nonetheless, you should visually inspect the underside of plant leaves at least once a week. If introducing predators doesn’t ameliorate the problem, there are a couple of natural solutions to get rid of cannabis pests to try, like garlic or tomato leaf water. 

Spider Mites

Spider mites are like the supervillains of cannabis pests: uber reproductive, zombie-like in their ability to come back from what you thought was death, capable of spinning webs while eating everything in sight then completely disappearing before turning up again – they’re nearly impossible to spot and even harder to eradicate. Spotting spider mites is difficult because they are minuscule, but doing a daily inspection of both sides of your plant leaves could help to prevent a massive infestation.

Signs of spider mites begins with speckles, then a browning or yellowing of leaves, and premature leaf death.

If any parts of your plant are covered in fine webbing, that’s a sure sign you’re in a bad spot. The best way to avoid mites is to stay vigilant with your leaf inspections. If you do notice signs of mites, try introducing a fan into the environment. Strong air currents make it difficult for mites to breed. Spider mites also prefer temperatures of 60-80 degrees, so experimenting with temperature might also slow an infestation down. Since mites are likely to come back, consider a spray like Azamax or Spinosad to get rid of them for good (again, be sure to follow use directions carefully).

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are just as hungry as caterpillars, but their gourmet meal is from the stem and roots of your plants and not the leaves. Beginning at the topsoil level, both larvae and adults will munch their way down into the root system, badly impact plant drainage, and compromise the structural stability of your plants. However, they’re nearly impossible to spot because they are dark in color, as is soil.

Fungus Gnats

Although fungus gnats are small, the damage they leave behind is mighty. photo credit

Seeing swarms of gnats near the base of your plant is one sign you’ve got a fungus gnat problem. Other symptoms are stems that weaken and simply fall over, adult plants that start to droop, wilt, spot, or yellow, or plants that stop growing altogether. 

Fungus gnats love moist conditions, so keeping the top layer of soil dry is a smart preventative measure. Some other hacks to try include placing a cloth on top of the soil to prevent female gnats from laying eggs or laying a sticky pad near the plant’s base to stick larvae. You could also mix some peroxide and water and spray it around the area of gnat infestation. A common-sense tactic for an indoor grow is to put screens on the windows and the doors closed to keep gnats out. 

Why Pests and Bugs Are Attracted to Cannabis

Something to keep in mind about pests, in general, is that they love a monoculture or a space dedicated to growing only one crop. Researchers from the University of California Davis theorize that if an insect makes itself at home in that one crop, it has a large food supply, creating an all-you-can-eat kind of scenario for the pest, making it that much harder to eradicate. As you likely don’t want to introduce other plants into a cannabis garden (for a number of reasons), this issue will always exist to some degree when dealing with weed. 

This is why, as mentioned, another option is to introduce other beneficial insects. Not only do they prey on harmful pests, but they are also an excellent chemical-free pest control option. The bugs already want to be there, you’re just bringing them to the dinner table. 

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The Wrap Up

Identifying pests should be a regular ritual, just like watering and delivering nutrients to your plants. When you keep them pest-free, all that hard growing work will hopefully pay off in healthy and efficacious plants. Once you’ve harvested, you can move on to other fun challenges like doing a proper cure for your cannabis harvest, and how to store your cannabis stash


How do you deal with pests in your cannabis grow? Share your techniques in the comments!

Photo Credit: ilovegrowingmarijuana (license)

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Connecticut

Governor of Connecticut Pushes For Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis In Budget Address

Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont proposed legalizing recreational cannabis in his budget address this week.

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Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont proposed legalizing recreational cannabis in his budget address this week.

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News

South Dakota Governor Delays Implementation of Medical Marijuana Initiative

It seems that Governor Kristi Noem isn’t quite done derailing voter-approved cannabis initiatives.

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It seems that Governor Kristi Noem isn’t quite done derailing voter-approved cannabis initiatives.

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