Full disclosure: I loathe vaping cannabis flower. I find it to be a weak and cruel suggestion and I simply prefer bong rips or dabs which skip all the bullshit and force you into a death grip of buttery happiness as soon as it hits your lungs. That said, the Volcano Hybrid has genuinely made me reconsider this. It brings the science and tech of dabbing to smoking bud and makes more efficient use of your flower than a lighter would. Allow me to enlighten thee, good stoners of the world.
The classic Volcano has been around since 2000 and people still rave about it to this day. I have admittedly never used one because anytime I have $400 to spare I usually blow it on hash within minutes. I’ve long admired the way the bag system works and always meant to try one but it just never came up. I’ve tried about 100 other various flower vaporizers and hated every single one of them. They all tasted like burnt ass popcorn and I never felt like I was getting high enough.
When the Volcano Hybrid arrived at my house I wanted to leave my reaction completely up to science so I bought two eighths: one was super midsy on purpose and the other was some of the new Bad Apple from Connected (the single best eighth in the dispensary that day). I bought those two specific eighths so I could approach this from the perspectives and palettes of both an average consumer and myself.
Unpacking the Volcano Hybrid was a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of tubes, bags and different attachments that can be confusing if you don’t read the instructions so definitely read the little quick start manual that comes with it before using.
There’s essentially two ways to use it: the classic method of filling up a pre-made bag with vapor and then inhaling from the mouthpiece attached to the bag, or you can attach a tube directly to the unit itself and inhale as you please. I tried the Bad Apple using the bag first and it took a few tries to get it right but it was a super clean and relatively flavorful hit compared to other flower vaporizers I’ve tried. In my opinion, the same flower still tasted better out of a clean bong but it actually got me higher out of the Volcano because it made more efficient use of the flower than I imagine a lighter would have. I also tend to only hit a bowl once because after the lighter touches the flower, anything remaining usually tastes charred after the first hit but each hit out of the Volcano bag had a consistent, smooth flavor.
I wanted to try two distinctly different qualities of weed because in the past, all flower tasted the exact same out of any flower vaporizer I’ve tried. To my absolute delight, not only did the good flower taste significantly better than the lower quality flower, but the midsy stuff smoked much more smoothly for me than it would have out of a pipe or a bong. I truly cannot stand to smoke mid and it was very tolerable in the Volcano Hybrid. That alone should be a testament to its effectiveness.
It’s also worth noting that I caught a bit of a cold the day after the Volcano arrived so it was very nice to have a smoking option around the house that was easier on my throat. Ultimately, I still needed a couple dabs to get where I wanted to be but my throat was appreciative nonetheless because normally I dab like a loon from sunup to sundown.
Now let’s get to the features. I compared the Volcano Hybrid to dabbing because you can choose your own experience every single time. When I’m dabbing in the morning I let my nail cool down for 82 seconds exactly but later in the afternoon when I want to get punched in the face a little bit I hit it at 75 seconds or so. The Volcano Hybrid gets me extremely wet in this regard because it has an app that lets you fully automate and customize your smoking experience with regard to temperature and air. I can set it to heat up my flower for two minutes at 190 degrees Celcius, blow air and vapor into the bag for five seconds, then heat up an additional five degrees, then blow air for ten seconds and so on. The possibilities are truly endless. The app is only available for Android at the moment but there’s a web browser version for iPhone users.
I didn’t notice much of a difference using the tube versus the bags so I mostly stuck to using the bags because frankly, it looks cool as hell. But it is nice to have the tube option when you just want to lay in bed in the morning and get super high without moving at all or waking up sleeping people with the noise from the bag.
Now comes the big question of “Is it worth the money?”
Well, it retails for about $699 and I would argue that even though I personally would not spend that money on it, I advocate that others should and here’s why:
I’m a writer and writers aren’t typically swimming in disposable income, for one. But in all seriousness I just don’t care about flower much in the first place and I have an extremely high tolerance that does not beget the smoother, less aggressive experience you get with the Volcano Hybrid compared to more traditional methods of smoking.
However, I am not most people. The overwhelming majority of consumers I talk to just want to get high without losing a lung, not to mention the extremely high number of medical cannabis patients that need to consume weed but can’t smoke it without risking lung infection or something equally as ghastly. The Volcano Hybrid is worth the money for those people. It’s the ultimate experience for people who value the cilia lining their throat cavity and want to use cannabis with minimal damage to their body.
I’d suggest patience with this machine because flower vaporization is not instant and if you want it to taste good, “low and slow” is your new motto. Let it cook for a few minutes longer at a cooler temp rather than speed up your hit by five minutes. With midsy stuff that rule goes double because it already tastes bad, you don’t need to make it taste worse.
Another tip I have is to spend the time to figure out what temperature your flower will burn best at because I promise you it will vary from strain to strain and even from microclimate to microclimate so any temperature or time suggestions I have won’t be super helpful. 190 degrees Celcius is the recommended max temp but if you don’t care as much about flavor you can ramp that up to about 206 and get a solid bagful within two or three minutes without sacrificing too much flavor.
Overall, this thing is super slick and worth the extra money over the Volcano Classic in my opinion. It won’t be a daily driver for me because I’m a hash head at heart, but this thing will definitely be getting a lot of use in my house.