Note from Kristina: My have things changed since I first wrote this post! There are a variety of concentrate options available from many of Florida’s MMTCs. I’ve updated the post to include some of these new options. I’ve also included some personal input on my preferences for accessories. I’ve had over 6 months of experimentation to work some things some out!
Distillate & CO2 Oil
One of the most popular products in Florida’s Medical Marijuana program is distillate or C02 concentrate. Each dispensary may call it something different, such as Trulieve’s Truclear or Surterra’s Pure Reserve Oil. Available in a variety of strains and ratios from multiple MMTCs these concentrates are a versatile product that can be utilized to save money. They typically are the lowest price per milligram product available, and come decarboxylated, meaning they can be inhaled or ingested as is.
Distillate can be used to fill your own vape cartridges, or make your own capsules, sublingual oils, edibles, and topicals. Vaping concentrate is a more pure option - allowing patients to avoid added common vape oil thinning agents like MCT oil. A draw back to these concentrates is that they do not possess the same spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of other concentrate cannabis forms.
Shatter, Crumble, and related Concentrates
Shatter, crumble, and other forms of solid concentrates are only effective for inhaled use as they haven’t been decarboxylated. These forms of concentrate typically preserve the original cannabinoid and terpene profile of the plant it’s extracted from, producing a powerful and flavorful medicinal punch. While sought after for their potency and superior flavor, these concentrates do not have the same versatility as distillate oils. They cannot be used as is to fill vaporizer cartridges, but can be used in some concentrate pens and on dab rigs as covered below.
Always remember to use caution when medicating with cannabis concentrates. They are highly psychoactive and can be jarring for inexperienced patients or those sensitive to the effects of THC.
Dab or Oil Concentrate Pen
An oil concentrate pen was the first method I used for vaping distillate. While extremely effective, each “dab” of medication has to be loaded into the pen manually - not a convenient option when on the go. As it provides a heavy dose of medication, I prefer using my dab pen on days when I’m in extreme pain or discomfort. There are a variety of concentrate pens available for use with concentrates that can be purchase online, in some MMTCs, and in local smoke shops. Some pens can vaporizer shatter and harder concentrates, but this varies by device. I opted for a cheap “Things Thing Rips II” pen. While it works, the vapor can be harsh and not a good option for patients who are easily irritated by inhalation methods. I much prefer the flavor, smoothness, and control of a dab rig.
Dab or Oil Rig
“Dabbing” refers to the act of inhaling medical cannabis vapor via an oil rig. When dabbing, a patient heats a nail or banger made from titanium, quartz, or glass with a torch. Once heated, a dab tool is used to press a small amount of medical cannabis concentrate against the heated nail, while the patient inhales through the rig. Dabbing results in a less harsh inhalation experience, a pure cannabis taste, and better control over high dosages of medication. Like using a dab pen, a dab rig is best reserved for experienced patients or patients with a high tolerance for THC.
While dab rig setups often come with a hefty upfront price, they are a great long term cost saving option for patients who require high doses of THC. They can be purchased online or at any local smoke shop.
Dabbing is a bit of an art and takes some practice. If you are new to dabbing do some research about proper temperatures before diving in. I torched my nail black with impatience.
Fill Your Own Cartridges
Many patients prefer to vape their distillate by filling empty vape cartridges for use with standard 510 or other style batteries. Similar to filled cartridges sold in dispensaries, this option provides for simple, discrete on the go use. It's also much easier to take lower, more consistent doses making it a better DIY starting place for patients who are less experienced with medical cannabis.
There are a variety of cat-ridge styles available but but it needs to be designed to handle the viscosity of the thick distillate oil. I like Amigo and CCELL cartridges. I recommend purchasing vape cartridges through Christopher at Green Street Vapor. He’s a Florida patient and offers steep discounts to fellow Florida patients. He’s also extremely knowledge and a great resource for learning more about cannabis vaporizing accessories. The market is full of fake and defective cartridges, so if you purchase elsewhere double check to make sure you are being sold authentic products.
Each cartridge can be refilled approximately 5 times. With Truclear sold at $60 per 1mL (850mg THC) and pre-filled cartridges at $74 (600mg) it’s a savings of approximately $45 for every 1mL cartridge you make yourself.
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How to Fill Your Own Vape Cartridges
CCELL or Amigo Cartridge
14-16g blunt tip needle if using CCELL
Hairdryer or bowl of hot water & plastic bag
Unscrew the top of your cartridge, setting up the tank so its open and ready to be filled.
Warm your distillate for 20-30 seconds with a hairdryer or by sealing it in a plastic bag and placing in a bowl of hot water. (Note - some CO2 oil is very fluid and does not require being pre-heated.)
To fill a CCELL:
Remove the cap of the distillate and place a blunt tip needle on the end of the syringe, being mindful to lock the needle into place. If you do not lock the needle you are likely to have a sticky distillate mess. Insert the tip of the needle into the tank, rotating the cartridge in a circular motion to fill all sides. While filling, you may need to pause and gently tap the bottom of the cartridge against a table to help the oil slide down. Once filled, screw on top and make sure it is sealed. For a video demonstration of the filling process, click here.
To fill an AMIGO:
Remove the cap of your distillate and fill the tank of your cartridge, not exceeding the fill line. Reinsert the top and you will see the oil fill the tank.
Let the oil fully settle and soak the coils before using. I usually let mine sit for a few hours. To speed up the process you can heat the cartridge using the hair dryer or plastic bag/bowl of water. If your battery isn’t strong enough to heat the thick oil, you may need to prime the cartridge by holding down the button for a few seconds prior to drawing.
Work over a silicone mat. If you spill any medication it will be easy to save.
Rubbing alcohol or alcohol pads works well for cleaning up any sticky residue on fingers, cartridges, and surfaces.
Buy your cartridges & blunt tip needs in bulk to save money.
If you make multiple cartridges from different strains use permanent markers to label or color code them so you know what is what.
Make sure your blunt tip needle is secure before pushing through the medication. Double check it. Trust me.
Not a Florida Medical Cannabis Patient? Check out www.flmedcannabis.org to get certified and obtain your card.