When it comes to actually using cannabis there are many different routes you can take. We go over a few in our how to consume article, but the one I still get the most questions about by far is vaping.
Vaping dry herb cannabis is my go-to method. It’s instant relief when you need it by inhalation without the nasties brought in by combusting the product. It gives you leftovers you can reuse in cooking, and is incredibly economical.
But it’s something you kinda have to get into. It’s not as easy as popping to the servo and buying some papers to roll a joint with, but it’s also nowhere near as difficult to get into as what some of the bro science out there can make it seem.
That being said, the biggest hurdle for most to get into vaping is probably the initial expense. Worthwhile dry herb vapes can be bought for under $100 if you’re willing to go the manual Dynavap route, but even that’s a learning curve. You can get passable portable battery vaporizers for under $200 too, but they’ll often leave you wanting. The best cost around $500 and you really notice the difference.
Of course, the other option is non-portable vaporizers, or desktop vapes. These plug into an outlet, so you lose the portable functionality but gain instant use with no worries towards batteries. They also tend to hold more and be better for longer sessions. There are other perks too, but I didn’t know about them because good desktop vapes are incredibly expensive.
Or I thought so. Until I heard people raving about Arizer’s Extreme Q Vaporizer. I usually shrink away from anything extreme Q online but thankfully this is a very different beast.
Priced at usually just under $250 in Australia, the Extreme Q is the cheapest desktop vape I’ve found that also seems to boast satisfied customers. So I bought one to try.
Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer review
Opening a desktop vape is a bit of an experience. This one comes with a bunch of different interchangeable glass pieces for different tasks. You have two standard bowls, joints for a whip attachment and inflatable bag tools, even an aromatherapy bowl for after your use. It can be a bit overwhelming, but once you sort out what’s what the process immediately simplifies.
The main unit is a large black cylinder with an opening at the top and a display on the front. You place a glass bowl in the opening which sits it on the heating unit. Turning it on you can select from a range of different temperatures which will gradually heat the bowl.
Many desktop vapes also wield a fan and thankfully the Arizer Extreme Q is well equipped. The fan pushes the hot air from the unit up into the bowl and out whatever attachment you’re using. It’s good for an assisted draw or filling up the bag, but it also makes it a lot easier to get the bowl to a hot temperature before you add your cannabis which makes for more efficient and immediate pulls.
Both the heating and the fan can be controlled on the unit, or via a small remote. I remembered originally thinking the remote was silly but use it all the time. Especially for the fan control. Touché, remote.
From here, you load your cannabis and either use the whip or the bag to consume. Each has its own elbow shaped piece of glass which works as an adapter between it and the bowl, so you need to use the correct combination.
Whips are just silicon tubes that deliver a vape to mouth experience. The whip included has fairly nicely shaped glass mouth pieces that feel fine to use. The fan allows you to rely on the machine to do most of the work, and the construction means by the time the vapor reaches you it’s already incredibly cool and smooth.
For the bag you also need to use the correct attachments, and then wait for the fan to fill it up. There’s no automatic turnoff so you do have to be around to grab your inflated bag before it overfills. Inhaling from the bag is also incredibly smooth. It has the same mouthpiece so plugging it with a finger while not in use is a must, but once full it’s something you can carry from room to room and inhale as you please.
Both methods feel valuable and like they have their use cases. Leaving it on the whip and taking little inhales now and then works well for a longer session, sometimes even over a few hours. Filling a bag is great for when you don’t want to sit by the machine or want a bigger all in one hit. Both benefit from a full bowl and occasional stirring as well as bumping up the temperature as you go.
But that’s also one of the biggest problems with the Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer. It’s definitely designed for using more herb than what I’m generally used to. The bowls are much larger than portable vapes and for a single person it can be a bit much. So I went looking for a more solo-friendly experience to be had.
The community has mostly come through with a method called ‘Elbow Packing’. There are metal filters that go inside the elbow joint glass attachments which are shaped like little cups. Many solo users find packing all the herb into those a better way of using a small amount of herb or herb when it’s very fine. It absolutely works but it’s a bit of a pain, especially to clean up so I dug a little deeper.
I found that some users like myself who own the portable Mighty vaporizer use the dosing caps included with these to hold herb. These are just small metal compartments with holes in them that you fill with herb to go inside the Mighty. You can put these straight into an Extreme Q’s bowl as a way to hold smaller amounts of material. It’s not as good as just using them in the Mighty but it’s certainly another option.
Eventually my rabbit hole led me to DDave mods for vaporisers. These are often raved about accessories to enhance standard vapes, made by a third party. People especially loved the ones for the Arizer Extreme Q so I wanted to give them a try as part of this review.
I bought one of the $100 kits which came with its own bowls, whips, and bag adapters as well as a few other helpful pieces. Bits like those metal grates but with a lid so they’re easier to clean (but no longer packable), funnels, and even wax if your glass is sticking.
I was most interested in these smaller bowls. They’re built much lower and wider which sits the cannabis closer to the heating unit. At first I was completely sold. They heat much faster, allow for solid hits with smaller amounts of product, plus the other adapters feel a bit clunkier but also like they allow for more airflow. I got far less pulls out of it though, which I expected to some degree with less product but it was worse than expected. When I removed the bowl, I found the answer.
Both the original bowls that came with the Arizer Extreme Q and the DDave mod bowls use a metal mesh inside them to stop herb falling straight through. The DDave mod bowls had to have these pushed into them, rather than coming free fitted. I tried both bowls and using different and sometimes even multiple filters, but thanks to the wider lower bowl I was losing a significant amount around the sides of the mesh. This falls onto the heating element, which is protected but it just seems wasteful.
It’s not that these mods don’t work, I’m just not sure they’re the best solution so for now I’m using the original bowls but with some of the DDave kit interchanged. It’s perfectly fine for solo use and still good bang for buck. Just not necessarily as economical as something designed for smaller uses.
What’s most surprising is how decent the Arizer Extreme Q is just on its own, especially for the money. It feels like one of the best value for money vaping purchases around and is a really good option, especially for medical cannabis users. Portable vapes are great, but a good one costs a lot of money and having a desktop that’s always ready to go is very valuable.
This is a great product for those new to vaping, or just not wanting to empty their entire wallets. It has taken some personal experimentation to work out how best to use, but that’s also part of the fun with these things. For anyone who’s vape-curious and wants to make the switch, an Arizer Extreme Q is probably one of the lowest risk options you can find.
If you’ve been reading this article wondering “What, why does this Australian keep talking about medical cannabis?” here’s how you can access it too.
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Secretly several dogs stacked on top of one another in a large coat, Hope has a habit of getting far too excited about all things videogames and tech. She loves the new accomplishments and ideas humanity conjures and believes in a future where we work for the betterment of all. Until then, she does her best to bring light by sharing her excitements with you here. You can also find her screaming into the void on Twitter.