⚡ Mashable Score
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Omura’s Series X vaporizer lets you feel like you’re smoking a joint without all the hassle.
I’ve consumed cannabis in countless forms, from edibles to vaporizers to the quintessential makeshift bowl made of fruit. It feels like I’ve tried every delivery method under the sun, but I enjoy few as much as a good joint.
Omura’s Series X vaporizer comes close, though.
The Series X is the second generation vaporizer by Omura, which was founded in 2018. Through “heat-not-burn” technology, Omura vaporizers heat pre-packaged paper “flowersticks” of whole flower so users can consume a precise amount of cannabis. Much like with a cartridge-based vaporizer battery, Omura users don’t have to go through the hassle of packing a bowl or rolling a joint, or risk inhaling irritating material that comes with smoking joints.
Marijuana use has not been linked to lung cancer or chronic lung inflammation. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found little evidence linking lung cancer to marijuana use, and another 2014 study published in Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology noted that while smoking marijuana may increase cough and sputum production, it does “not appear that marijuana smoke contributes to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
Still, the coughing and sneezing (for me, at least) that comes with inhaling smoke can put a damper on an otherwise relaxing activity.
Vaping concentrates and oils don’t always yield the same effect that smoking or vaping whole flower does. Concentrates and oils tend to be more potent than dried flower, which some people prefer. But many cannabinoids and terpenes — the molecules in whole marijuana plants that “drive” the high and impact mood, sleep, and appetite — may not make it through the extraction process that oils go through.
Like many other cannabis enthusiasts — and by that I mean retired stoners — I switched from smoking flower through vapes and glassware to vaping when I moved to a state where recreational marijuana is legal. Vaping through pens or cartridges was convenient, accessible, and discreet. And like many others, the 2019 vape lung crisis made me wary of most oil-based vaporizers.
Instead of burning the flower, which is an imprecise process that may burn off terpenes and cannabinoids, the Omura vaporizer’s heating mechanism allow users to possibly experience the “entourage effect” of those molecules working together for what some consider a more balanced high. Obviously, effects will vary for individuals.
Whole flower vaporizers aren’t new, but Omura’s pre-packed flowersticks are a clever innovation. One of the Omura’s draws, aside from using whole flower, is that the paper sticks replace plastic cartridges that many oil or concentrate vaporizers use. Health concerns aside, e-cigarettes and marijuana disposable vapes are contributing to the ongoing environmental crisis. As Gizmodo reported in 2019, companies “can introduce products into the market with no concern of how to close the loop on disposing of them,” foisting the environmental responsibility on the consumer.
Omura’s CEO Mike Simpson noted that while all companies must take some responsibility for contributing to overflowing landfills, booming cannabis brands have the opportunity to “considering sustainability at the heart of their brand.”
“What we’ve done this generation, especially my generation I hate to say it, has been guilty for creating so much either landfill or floating oceans of plastic,” Simpson said in a Zoom call with Mashable. “Now we know about all of those things it’s totally time we either stop it or reverse it where possible.”
Aside from the metal vaporizer itself, nearly all of Omura’s packaging is paper, from the box the device comes in to the flowersticks and its packaging. It’s a refreshing change of pace to the extensive plastic packaging that most cannabis brands use.
The eco-friendly packaging doesn’t sacrifice aesthetic value, though. The Series X is available in four muted colors and includes a matching charging dock. It’s something I don’t mind keeping on my nightstand, and while cannabis use in legal states shouldn’t be shameful, the Series X is definitely more discreet than a bong or volcano.
Vaping Omura’s flowersticks are similar to vaping with other whole flower vapes. The device is clearly geared toward new cannabis users; instead of daunting LED screens with multiple customizable temperatures and modes, the Series X automatically begins heating the flowerstick upon insertion. Users can toggle between two heating settings — a higher temperature for a more potent effect, and a lower one to experience more of the naturally occurring terpenes and cannabinoids.
The Series X will buzz when the flowerstick is heated enough to begin vaping, and then again when you’ve vaped all of the available flower. Instead of glassware that needs to be cleaned or a messy burned filter, users just have to toss the slightly singed paper stick.
For this review, Omura sent two flowerstick samples: a CBD-only box of sticks, and one with THC. The CBD sticks were a pleasant relaxation tool; I had one before a morning yoga practice and while I felt less tense than I usually do, I didn’t feel the high that often comes with consuming THC products. I also tried it with my morning coffee during a particularly brutal Saturday morning hangover, and while I didn’t feel great, my headache did dissipate with a mug of coffee and plenty of water.
The THC flowersticks weren’t particularly potent. Simpson likened vaping with the Series X to sipping a beer; it isn’t meant to be used for getting completely intoxicated. I had one minutes after closing my laptop after working, and while I did feel a slight buzz, I didn’t feel the cognitive impairment that comes with couch-locking, munchies-inducing highs. When I shared one with a roommate who isn’t a frequent cannabis user the next evening, neither of us felt particularly high but we both felt more at ease.
More experienced and enthusiastic cannabis users may find the Series X lacking, as they can’t customize the vape’s temperature or load sticks with their own choice of flower. But the Series X isn’t necessarily targeted for them — it’s for the newbies or those who just aren’t up for the stereotypical stoner lifestyle. If you don’t want to think about temperatures or scrounging around for a lighter without sacrificing the benefits of whole flower, you’ll probably enjoy the Omura Series X.
You can purchase Omura’s Series X vaporizer online, and if you’re in California or Massachusetts, you can buy the corresponding flowersticks at certain dispensaries. If you aren’t in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you may be able to still try the Series X with CBD-only flowersticks. Check availability near you here.
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