When I’m at a dispensary picking up some fresh buds, the budtender usually asks, “So, what do you have going on today?” and I tend to reply with some version of “smoking all this weed, of course!” Like what the fuck else would I be doing, right? But then on your way home, a little mulling over the real question becomes, “How am I going to consume all this?”
It’s no secret that you can get high in a multitude of ways from smokables, vapes, edibles, transdermal patches and more. When it comes to consuming cannabis flower, there are a handful of options, and as the industry continues to progress, new methods have emerged along with some new brands and cultivators that have made their way into the marketplace.
One of those new brands is 22Red. For those who don’t know, 22Red is the brainchild of Shavo Odadjian, who is best known as the Grammy-winning bassist from System of a Down. His love and passion for the plant and its healing power inspired him to create a brand that shares his values and lets customers and fans get a taste of what the mastermind himself enjoys consuming. Each strain is hand selected by Shavo and his team of master cultivators, and none of them will leave you disappointed. The 22Red strains I’m trying this time around are Caramel Gelato and Mimosa 22.
The Caramel Gelato, like its sister, Gelato, is a little bit on the sweeter side and has an earthy aroma mixed with a sweet citrus blend that tickles your nose when you crack the nugs open. The dense buds are sticky, firm and break apart nicely when ground up. This hybrid strain is derived from Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint GSC and is a great strain to consume pretty much any time of the day. The Mimosa 22 is equally as beautiful as the Caramel Gelato but with a slightly brighter green color and more orange hairs. This hype hybrid strain is a cross between Purple Punch and Clementine and delivers a strong citrus smell that keeps your nose coming back for more. The nugs are also dense and coated in trichomes and smell like you’re in a citrus grove when you break them apart. The look and smell immediately let me know I’m in for one hell of an awesome sesh.
To fully explore the brand in different ways, I decided to roll a joint, pack a bowl, fill the vaporizer and squish some flower rosin for dabbing.
1. Roll a Joint
Starting with the joint, I rolled the Mimosa 22 with an OCB paper and glass tip. While sparking the joint, my face is engulfed in flames as the smoke is ignited by the lighter. The sweet citrus taste is immediate, and I can instantly feel the onset of this potent strain. The sativa uplifts me, but unlike some strains that make you paranoid, this experience was quite the opposite. A few drags in and the orangey-citrus tang is still strong. The cool smoke against the glass tip of the joint offers an excellent experience and allows the taste from the terpenes and flavonoids to come through regardless of the combustion taking place. That was one damn fine joint and consistent with my experience when I first tried a 22Red pre-roll of the same strain.
2. Pack a Bowl
Nine times out of ten, I will politely decline if you pass me a glass bowl. Not that I’m some weed snob (I am), but it’s just not my favorite way to consume⎯too much lighting if you ask me! Personal preferences aside, smoking out of a pipe, bowl, spoon (whatever you want to call it) is hugely popular and also great for dosing since you pack smaller amounts at a time compared to a joint. With that in mind, I bust out the Caramel Gelato, grind it and pack up a nice bowl.
Adhering to proper stoner etiquette, I spark a corner of the bowl so only a portion of the fresh cannabis is lit, leaving a “green” hit for the next person in rotation or so your next hit is just as tasty as the first. Lighting the corner, the flower glows cherry red as I start to inhale. After drawing the smoke into the pipe, I release the carb, feel it rush into my lungs like a freight train going full speed, and am overwhelmed by the size of the hit. After taking a second to pull myself together, I let out a dragon-sized exhale of smoke, cough for a few seconds and feel the effects of the Caramel Gelato and its sweet earthy yet citrus flavory.
A few more puffs on that bad boy, and I’m straight chillin’. Do I want to go back to smoking bowls? Nah. But I think it’s safe to say smoking 22Red out of anything is bound to be a wonderful experience.
3. Vape It
Not all cannabis users are created equally. Some people suffer from medical conditions like asthma and Lyme disease and cannot be around the smoke, while others are just sensitive to smoke and prefer to avoid it. With vaporizers, you can still inhale and feel all the effects without ever sparking up.
The use of vaporizers has been steadily increasing over the last decade as users become more health conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies. Vaporizers like the Volcano by Storz & Bickel have been changing the market by providing high-end tech that ends up paying for itself over time because you consume less plant material compared to methods like smoking. Vaporizers like the Volcano use convection, which heats up the air passing through the cannabis to temperatures ranging between 330 and 446°F and boils the resin off the plant, allowing for the release of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
The result? Flavor Town. Population? Me.
Packing the terpy and tasty Mimosa 22 into the Volcano and vaping at 332°F is such a treat. The limonene really comes through and, without a burnt taste from the fire, it’s easy to appreciate the unique taste of this strain. It’s fruity, tangy and the onset is different from smoking: It offers much more clarity and is headier than a body high that puts you into couch lock. After a couple of bags of vape, I kick back on the couch and enjoy the fact that the same amount I smoked in a joint will last me 2-3 times longer when vaping and it was hella tasty. (PRØ Tip: Save your lightly toasted vaped flower in a jar and, when you have a lot, use it to make edibles.)
Vaporizers are definitely the most bang for your buck when it comes to consuming flower, but it requires electronic devices, so keep that in mind if you're thinking about making the switch.
4. Dab It
Last but certainly not least, we come to the dabbing. But wait, you thought I had flower, right? So how can I dab? Well, luckily there’s an at-home method for making your own dabs from cured cannabis flower. The process applies heat and pressure, and the end result is called rosin.
In this case, we’ll be squishing flower rosin from the Caramel Gelato. To get started, I weigh out 2.2 grams of the flower and press it into a small, compact brick using a mold and vice. The brick is inserted into a 25 micron-sized filter and placed inside parchment paper before being inserted into the rosin press. At a temperature of around 200°F, the heated plates apply pressure to the brick of flower for about 90 seconds, and all the resin in the plant is expelled onto the parchment paper to be collected. (Rosin can be made from a variety of materials besides cured flower such as ice water hash and dry sift hash or kief.)
True to its name, the Caramel Gelato flower rosin came out a golden color with a nice caramel-like consistency that reeked of that sweet citrus/cookie smell. After heating my quartz banger ‘til it’s red hot, I patiently wait the 92 seconds it typically takes to cool down to around 600°F so I can take my dab. At the beep of my little red timer, I place my dab tool oozing with rosin on the side wall of the banger. As it melts, the sizzling sound combined with the bubbles in the rig are like music to my ears. I place my bubble cap on the banger and, as I spin it, the rosin swishes around the banger and the vapor turns a thick, milky color.
I can already taste it before the hit is even halfway over. A couple more seconds and I remove the bubble cap, pull all the vapor into my lungs and release it all in an outpouring of clouds… and BAM! Stoned. Like, immediately. After cleaning my banger with a Q-tip, I’m straight cheesin’ from sheer happiness. The dab was clean, tasty, potent and leaves you wanting more.
When it comes to consuming cannabis products, there is no shortage of ways to get your fix. Cannabis flower itself can be used a multitude of ways, each best suited to the end user and his or her needs. Remember, the next time you pick up flower, take some time before you just spark it up to think about how you want the experience to be. Whether it’s a joint, a bowl, vaporizer or dabs, it's important to always know your limits, choose your strains wisely and remember that it’s all about the starting material.
22Red is a brand that boasts quality, so pick some up for yourself and try it four different ways to see which method you like best. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Photo by Elena Kulikova.