I have been consuming the cannabis flower for many years of my life. Although, when I was first acquainted with what we just called “weed,” the only well-known way to consume it was just by smoking it, either rolled up or packed into some kind of bowl. As a consequence of my experiences, I would say that I have become set in my ways, and hence, nothing is more satisfying to me than the ritual of rolling my own weed and then combusting it with a colourful lighter. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence of a much superior method of ingesting cannabis, I remain victim to my Bic.
However, I eventually grew substantially curious about vaporizing dry herb, as the claims rose over this “all benefit and no consequence” way to use weed. Advocates for vaping herb boast, that since the material is heated to a precise temperature, substantially less smoke is produced, and so very little damage is caused to the respiratory tissues. The precise temperatures also certify that fewer cannabinoids become damaged in the heating process, and therefore, are delivered to your lungs in higher concentrations. If all this is true, it means that vaping allows you to get a larger amount of medicine from a smaller amount of plant matter. This would mean then, that by vaping your cannabis, you can increase your dosing efficiency, do less damage to your lungs, and also save yourself a bit more cash. The cherry on top is that a lack of combustion, plus the availability of pocket sized vapes, definitely makes vaporizing cannabis the most discreet possible way to use it.
I am still quite young, and still convinced that I am quite invincible, so to be honest, the discretion that vaping allows was the biggest motivating factor for me to invest in a vaporizing device for myself. I had a roommate in university who owned a classic desktop Volcano, and I recall the device being set aside after only a few weeks of use, in favour of our prior tried and true smoking methods. Therefore, I was unsure about how much I would even enjoy a vape if I bought one, although, I also desperately required a way to use my weed indoors and undetected. So, in order to fill this particular need, I drove over to a local headshop and then conveniently purchased what I told was an affordable yet competent portable vaporizer.
I doled out over $100 cash for the Aura Flowermate, a portable, conduction device, with a decent price tag and a surprising number of features. New to the world of vaping, I thoroughly read though the user manual, while my device was plugged into the USB from the box and reaching full charge. The kit from the box also included a packing tool, a bunch of metal screens, and 2 metal pods, one for herb, and one for oil or wax. The device itself was a thick, phallic, cylindrical pen, with a combined screen and mouthpiece that pops off to reveal a ceramic heating chamber. Once the device reaches a full charge (about 3 hours’ time), ground herb can be easily packed into the top, either directly into the chamber, or inside the herb pod. After replacing the plastic mouthpiece, the vape can be switched on via some very user-friendly controls. The Aura will heat to your desired temperature (set in °F or °C) in a quick two minutes and will alert you of its readiness with the appearance of a little flame symbol, which indicates that you can then take draws from the top. Although, you must continually keep your eye on the digital display, as the vape will shut off after 5 minutes, to prevent any forgetfulness-related overheating and accidents. If you do not hold down the power button in time to switch it back on, your session will be interrupted, and you will have to power the device off, and then on again, to continue.
The vapor produced by the Aura Flowermate was fairly impressive on first impression. The fully isolated air path allowed for some really smooth hits with a lot of flavour. Although, the chamber has to be opened and packed down a few times per bowl if you really want to vape all of the green out. The clouds produced were not overtly large, but this works in your favour if discretion is key, as very little odor is also produced. The ceramic chamber is easy to load, and easy to clean out with the small brush provided. I also appreciated the simple 3 button controls, precise adjustable temperature range, and comfortable grip on this little gadget. Although, the most pleasant surprise of all was the remarkable battery life of the Aura. A full charge will give you about 3 hours of use, which means you are able to get plenty medicated before you need to plug it back in again.
There were, unfortunately, also a few incidences that I had with my Aura that made me feel like I surely was using a cheaply made product. Firstly, my plastic mouthpiece cracked only a few weeks after purchase, which has been noted as a common complaint with this specific Flowermate product. A plastic mouthpiece, overall, seemed like a pretty large design flaw, as plastic can overheat, which may release toxins and also alter the taste of your herb. Additionally, the Aura isn’t something I would consider truly portable, because of its fairly large size, and relatively smallish chamber. And, since I personally don’t purchase many concentrates, I did not try the wax pod, although many online posts from other users deem the additional pods to be quite inefficient. Lastly, after some time, I ended up with a coating of mysterious build-up along the sides of the chamber that I was unable clean, and the ceramic pod eventually ended up looking as if it had been burnt to a crisp. This unfriendly black ceramic, plus a dangerously damaged mouth piece, made the device became pretty much unusable for me after about 7 months. However, the vape had served its purpose to me, and I was not all that sad to see it leave me so soon.
To summarize so far, even though the product I purchased served its intended purpose, it did not do it so extremely remarkably, and it also didn’t last me a very long time. Upon doing more research I also saw that it was possible to order the exact same vaporizer for about half of what I had paid, through certain online retailers. So, the fact that I had overspent on a device that ended up breaking so soon after buying, left me feeling a bit cheated in the end. However, the Aura Flowermate was a fairly nice introduction to vaping, it served me well as a beginner vape, and if bought at a price below $80 or so, it can be a very economical purchase.
Concludingly, through my experiences with the Aura, I have been able to learn that an adherence to vaporizing herb requires a larger monetary investment into a well-crafted device. Commitment to a vaporizer is ultimately a commitment to one’s health, and so, it may not be an area for one to be exercising frugality. Therefore, I know that in the future, the next vaporizer I buy will, sadly, not be from the low-cost Flowermate brand.