The new week progressed much as the previous one had ended; smoking less but still smoking nonetheless. Time to review what I’ve learned so far?
- That the Volcano is a useful supplement in that it does get you high without using tobacco, but it still lacks satisfaction for a smoker.
- That the process by which one gets high is as important as the getting high; in other words, part of me is still resisting switching to smoke-free.
I had been told that the Volcano bag gave the vapor an aftertaste, and I’m afraid that’s true. Not horribly, but there is a slight taste. It is also rather dry on the throat compared with the water-cooled vapor from a Verdamper, my only other vaporizer reference point.
Judging by the pop culture references (for instance, a Volcano features in the cult US comedy and Ted Danson vehicle Bored to Death, now in its 3rd season), I can see that this wonder of German engineering is a bit of a status symbol in the US. If you’ve got the space (and no curious kids wondering what it is), a Volcano does make a cool centrepiece and a novel talking point. And it is still a social way to indulge.
But I had been finding myself wistfully thinking of the coffee shop in central Amsterdam that’s smoke free and stocked entirely with Verdamper vaporizers. I never got as far as cycling into town specifically to visit there, and fortunately the offer was made to temporarily swap my Volcano for a Verdamper – and I jumped at the chance.
The swap was made. I located all the little spare parts, brushes and bags and packed the whole Volcano up. Then I unpacked the loaner Verdamper, assembling the finely crafted glass components and filling the chamber with water.
Sure, it looks like a chemistry experiment, and that aesthetic appeals to its fans. But where the Verdamper really excels and the reason it has become the standard vape in Amsterdam cofeeshops, is the unparalelled smoothness of the water-cooled vapor combined with the exceptional clarity of taste of the weed used.
The hit is instantaneous – strains are easily differentiated by taste alone – something you simply can’t do with a tobacco joint.
I also added a new weapon to my armoury: several packs of Dutch Spirit non-tobacco smoking/vaping herb mix, with the tip that making a joint from 50-50 tobacco and Dutch Spirit was a good way of easing me out of nicotine withdrawal while still allowing the psychosomatic need for a joint.
I have to say I was an immediate convert! The 50-50 mix of tobacco (American Spirit), and the five healthy, lung-boosting herbs (and naturally the 6th herb) is actually a sweeter, smoother taste than pure tobacco.
The idea is that you smoke the 50-50 mix for a couple of weeks, then step up to 75% herbs and 25% tobacco for a while, and gradually ease into smoking 100% herbal mix before you body even realises it’s no longer dependent on nicotine.