Out of all the ways to ingest THC, oil concentrates are far and away the messiest, stickiest and most irritating method. Unlike shatter, crumble or even wax, all of which maintain their shape and texture to some degree, oils have a knack for getting everywhere. It's especially tricky when you're trying to dribble minuscule amounts of oil into teensy Smurf-size cartridges used by mixed-media vapes (I'm looking at you, DaVinci Ascent). The new Era pen vape from Pax, however, solves that issue by taking a page out of the Keurig playbook and operating on a pod-based system.
Each 500mg cartridge is fully self-contained and single-use. That guarantees the sticky stuff inside never comes near your fingers or lips. Plus, the Era has an insanely short air path -- just through the cartridge itself, really -- which means you'll never have to clean the vape. What's more, the standardized pod design will enable any third-party company to make and sell these cartridges.
Of course, thanks to America's hodgepodge of state and federal cannabis laws, there are, as of now, only two places in which the pods are can legally be sold: California and Colorado. Bloom Farms and The Lab are licensed to make the pods.
But perhaps the coolest feature is the Pax App. Now hold on. I know I talk a bunch of shit about how every IoT device acts as though it needs an app. But this is actually superhandy. For one thing, the single app acts as a central hub for both the Era and the upcoming Pax 3. So rather than controlling an item, you're commanding the entire product ecosystem.
With it, you'll be able to adjust the Era's temperature output from 480 to 730 degrees F -- first in 10-degree increments by swiping left to right, then finely adjusting it in single-degree increments by swiping up and down. The settings screen enables users to adjust the LED color scheme and brightness as well as toggle Puff Mode and lock/unlock the device. The device lock is actually a really smart feature, as it prevents kids or thieving roommates from using the vape without your permission. Supposedly, you can play one of three games with the device: PaxRun, PaxSays and PaxSpin. I have no idea how to play any of them as the app provides precisely zero explanation on how to do so.
Additionally, the Era boasts an insanely long battery life. I was able to make it nearly through the entire test pod -- four days of consistent puffing -- before having to recharge it (which took all of one hour). And unlike the Pax 2 and 3, which require a special charging dock, the Era plugs uses a micro-USB port so there's one less accessory you need to carry. The Era retails for $60 at the Pax website, while the pods are going for $40 a pop at Bloom Farms and The Lab. That's a bit more expensive than what a half gram of loose oil will run you, but the convenience and ease of use easily makes up for the added price.