Cannabis culture has defined certain practices and products as integral, such as the bong/water pipe, safe and functional heat sources, and healthy cannabis products. But among these pillars of “cannasseurship” are abhorrent trends that highlight the persistent immaturity in an industry that’s trying to break away from a charged, inaccurate portrayal of its plants and consumers. As we consider both the value and values of the cannabis industry, we must also weigh outdated practices and products to determine how we can outgrow these trends in pursuit of better, healthier cannabis culture.
Below are three “cashed” trends that I think need to be put out to pasture for the betterment of both cannabis culture and the industry as a whole.
The Wu-Tang Clan lives as gods in the hip-hop pantheon and has shown love for cannabis throughout the group members’ musical careers, but in no way do I believe the act of Wu-Tanging represents the esteemed musicians or their message. Aside from the stupid and potentially harmful act of inhaling a smoldering blunt or joint, the cannabis consumers executing this “trick” are bragging about their so-called gangster-like qualities. This facade reattaches cannabis consumption to race, crime, and “otherness,” when cannabis is so much more to so many people.
The image this gives to the public only perpetuates the mindless disregard towards cannabis consumers, lumping everyone together into an unappealing stereotype. This quote by Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan sums up a need for solidarity in and outside the cannabis culture:
“And as long as your cats is loyal to what y’all are standing for, and they know how to play the game, it should be no way you can lose. It’s about compromising; it’s about respecting one another’s position, and about going with your heart as far as what you believe in.”
Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with, thus Wu-Tang(ing) ain’t nothin’ to fuck with!
Plastic Wicks in Oil Cartridges
Cannabis oil cartridges are made from a variety of materials, and to be fair, the quality of the materials used in a cartridge’s construction isn’t always representative of the oil within it, and vice versa. When cannabis oil cartridges first hit the market, many were made of plastic and cut with PG (propylene glycol). As time went on, PG was cut from the equation and cannabis oil cartridges have been better for it ever since.
Replacing plastic, wick-based cartridges is the next step in perfecting the cannabis oil cartridge. In my experience, plastic wick cartridges impart a distinct chemical flavor, especially after consecutive pulls and when the oil is low. Whether it’s the extra heat or the volume of the cartridge, this first generation hardware needs to be replaced.
Regardless of potency, I think we can agree that the only flavor we want to taste is delicious cannabis oil and not the materials it’s housed in. Nowadays, oil cartridges are made of metal and glass and typically utilize an inline pipe system, removing the need for a wick. I’m aware of the cost differentials, but consider this: many metal and glass cartridges are refillable, and some dispensaries offer receptacles to recycle them if they are not.
If metal and glass cartridges become more cost-effective and functionally more convenient, cannabis oil consumers could have better flavor and the potency they’ve always enjoyed without too much compromise. And if refilling cartridges isn’t the trend we want to preserve, at least having a chance to recycle these materials could help reduce the waste and environmental impacted created by their sale.
Call me a snob, but I like the taste of cannabis, and all the imitation terpene profiles or bubblegum/unicorn tears/ bullshit-flavored cartridges out there should be left for the e-cig juicers. If you like e-cig flavors, that’s great, you do you. But to obfuscate the complexity and nuance of cannabis because appealing to sweet-toothed consumers is more profitable is a disservice to the plant, the industry, and the consumers within it.
Wine and coffee are two industries that have flourished because their audiences recognizes the difference between good wine/coffee and bad wine/coffee. Sure, a bottle of Three Buck Chuck will get you to where you need to be, and if you add a little Sprite and grape juice to the mix even the most caustic Cabernet will go down with ease. But if you’re used to adding more palatable flavors to a low-quality product, you may end up relying on those flavors too much and can fail to identify (or appreciate) what makes a high-quality product shine.
It’s the industry’s responsibility to grow the appreciation and respect for cannabis from seed to sale to smoke. Just remember, cannabis-derived, strain-specific terpene profiles are the way to go. They not only keep the cannabis smoking experience intact, they allow us to talk about flavors and experiences in a more concrete way by preserving the entourage of chemicals native to a particular strain. The breeder and grower are represented better, the processor is praised for the integrity of its oil, and the consumer gets a true-to-life cannabis experience that is recognizable. Do the right thing and keep it pure!
These are just a few practices that need to be poured out with the ashes. Time is always a better judge, but if you’re following, there are already movers and shakers taking note. The cannabis culture is more alive and vibrant than ever before, and I look forward to seeing it grow tall in the light of a prosperous industry.