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Convenience Store Vapes: Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-Derived THCA

Convenience Store Vapes

It seems like every year, without fail, February is a weird month for me. I would get the flu just in time for my little sister’s birthday, which happens to fall basically in the middle of the month, like my gift to her was my absence and all of the cake to herself. This trend seems to have continued into my adult life and this February was no exception. Some unforeseen financial circumstances left us about $420 (nice) short for the month of February and it was looking like a semi-involuntary tolerance break was on the horizon. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely get why tolerance breaks are necessary sometimes and have taken my fair share of them, but I’ve been dealing with some abnormally increased pain levels recently and was not looking forward to what that would look like for me. That’s when an unexpected gift from an angel at a convenience store changed the trajectory of my cursed February for the better.


Dawn of the Planet of the Vapes

Puns aside, I’ve always been a little bit of a flower snob. It’s probably the contrarian in me but something about vaping has always turned me off. I was even an early adopter of some of the very first iterations of nicotine vapes that came in fake “packs” and were disguised as metal cigarettes. If I think hard enough, I can still feel the itch they gave me in the back of my throat. The thrifty [read: cheap] side of me loved this aspect of vaping, but nicotine vapes in particular just did not do it for me. At this point in my life cannabis extracts were absolutely not on my radar at all, let alone portable cannabis vaping apparatuses. The entirety of my cannabis vaping experiences began and ended with one of the “old school” box vaporizers, which I’m still quite fond of. 


Fast forward to a few years later and I’m living in Texas now. My mom starts telling me about the cannabis extract vapes she’s loving because she can use them in public and basically nobody knows the difference. Sorry mom, secret’s out. If I’m remembering correctly, this would have been one of my first introductions to a live rosin type of concentrate. My mom sent me home with some of her more empty or least favorite cartridges to share with my partner. I think I still have the PAX vape and in my neuroticism might have squirreled a few pretty empty carts away, “just in case” [insert giant eye-roll here]. 


Fast forward another couple of years and our weed guy is getting carts now. They are unreliable at best and some of them were just straight garbage. I won’t name names to avoid slandering a brand over what could have been a knock-off, black-market cart, but thank goodness we have an understanding hookup because one cart we bought just tasted like vomit. All of my complaining aside, if there weren’t good cartridges in the mix we wouldn’t have kept buying them and we absolutely did - when we could afford them. Flower was always our priority and a cart was like a little treat, especially at around $40 a pop for a one gram cart. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you if that was competitive or exorbitant at the time price for what we were getting, but I do remember it always felt expensive. 


Smash cut to today and here I am, puffing on one of the four cannabis vape carts that are present on my desk - three of which are empty. It’s been a slow shift to more regular vaping but if I had to pin-point it, I’d say that our vaping really started to pick up at the end of last year and early this year. To be fair, while we were conveniently located at the same place as our cannabis hookup, my partner and I were vaping not an insignificant amount. He called it quality control, we just said “thank you”. 


It’s pretty normal for us to not know exactly what is going to be available to us at any given time, but recently it’s been either two gram pens that can switch between live resin or liquid diamonds, or different brand’s 2g liquid diamonds, both rechargeable and disposable. 


Time for another confession. Besides being a flower snob, I am also kind of a big scaredy cat. You tell me there’s even a slight chance that my vape has been tampered with or refilled with something nefarious? Counterfeit? I shudder to think about it and I will throw it away. Something about these single-use disposables that are now more easily available - and that also sometimes come in a sealed plastic bag inside of the box - gives me a sense of security that I appreciate, even if it may be a false one. These pens usually run us around $50 a piece and we share them, so I bet you can imagine how quickly two adult humans can annihilate one a two gram cart. 


January was coming to an end, February was looming and we were hitting empty vape pens with sad and hollow results when on a whim, my partner went to a different convenience store. 


Enter the Looper-verse

Living in a rural area means that when you need to go to the convenience store, that often just means the first one you see. For us, that’s a QT that’s still about a ten minute drive from the house. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like I could get to a gas station in 3 minutes or less from every place I ever lived in Phoenix. Anyway, despite the fact that the QT is the closest, there are no less than 3 more convenience stores a minute or two more out of the way, one of which is a family owned place that sells incredible breakfast tacos and apparently completely legal three gram vapes. 


The same family has run this place for a long time, and my partner and his family have known them just as long, so it was only a little bit shocking when he came home the other day with a gifted Looper brand vape. The clerk said it wasn’t working and he was going to throw it away anyways, so my partner might as well see if he could get it to do something different. He came home and plugged it in and lo and behold, it worked like a charm. Not only did it hit like a dream after, to my surprise it did pretty much exactly what we wanted it to. 


We were a little stoned, pretty relaxed, able to sleep well and function better the next day. What he had acquired was a Looper XL Melted Series Miracle Alien Cookies disposable vape. Less than 0.3% delta 9 THC, these cannabis derived vapes are perfectly legal under the farm bill, which we’ll get into more next time. These vapes use a combination of “hemp”-derived cannabinoids and terpenes to achieve a desired effect or combination of effects, and so far, I can’t say that I’m not impressed.


Part of my flower snobbery is an “I prefer the drugs I ingest to be natural” la-de-dah BS attitude. Something about cannabis extracts and derivatives and “so on and so forth” freaked me out, regardless of how much research I did - or sometimes didn’t - do. Even delta 8 THC gave me the ick for some reason. Would you believe that all it took was realizing that these are $30 for three grams, and that they last us almost a full week, to overlook the fact that I had no idea what “THC-H” and “THC-P” were - which we’ll get into more next time. 


As I’m writing this, we are technically still in the stressful trenches of February, except now I am more confident that I’ll be able to make it to the end of the month without having to make huge compromises on controlling my pain levels. This is what matters when people talk about accessibility to legal cannabis; I know now that even during tough months I can still have relatively easy access to cannabis that does what I need it to do.


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