Smoke Cartel Blog

25 Oct

Why is Cannabis Illegal Today?

Posted by Patrick on Tue, Oct 25, 16

Cannabis is currently illegal on the federal level in the United States. But did you know that the founding fathers drafted out the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper? George Washington was an avid hemp supporter— he was even quoted on more than one occasion instructing Americans to sow the hempseed. So how did America transform from being lead by a hemp-crazed individual to its current state of federal prohibition?

Cannabis was actually legal for consumption everywhere in the United States until Massachusetts banned the plant in 1911. Many experts believe Massachusetts banned cannabis as a direct result of an influx in Mexican immigration following the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Some immigrants enjoyed recreational cannabis use, and states responded with laws against cannabis. Starting with Massachusetts, 26 states prohibited cannabis between 1914 and 1925. William Hearst, owner of several American newspapers, heightened the nation's animosity in the 1920s by launching anti-cannabis campaigns in all of his newspapers. These campaigns took the form of advertisements, editorials, and biased cannabis-law coverage (Herer). These fear mongering advertisements called the plant “marihuana” instead of cannabis, demonizing the plant by exploiting America’s fears of mexican migration. By extension, Americans were lead to believe that cannabis couldn’t have possibly existed in America before Mexican immigration. This association was racially fueled, and lead to many Americans forming uneducated opinions about the plant.

Cannabis was doomed when Harry J. Anslinger was appointed to Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner by President Hoover. Anslinger exploited racial tensions to further demonize cannabis. In a testimony before Congress supporting the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, a document Mr. Anslinger drafted, Anslinger famously attributed rape and murder to cannabis usage. He specifically referenced cases in which black individuals were the aggressors: a white girl raped by a black individual, a man’s face smashed in by another African-American man, all high on marijuana (Anslinger, Hearing on Marihuana Tax Act of 1937). This tactic directly connected cannabis to violent crime in the minds of many Americans. There are quotes available on the internet portraying Anslinger as an outright racist, though they can not be verified.

Because Anslinger was Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, his claims went unquestioned. Anslinger’s role at the Bureau put him in an authoritative position. As a result of Anslinger’s testimonies, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was adopted and effectively banned possession of untaxed cannabis in the U.S.

The Nixon and Ford administrations delivered the knock-out punches to cannabis thirty years later. Under Nixon, the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized cannabis as a schedule one drug, indicating it had zero medicinal uses. Despite the fact that U.S. published Pharmacopeia recognized cannabis as medicine until 1942, when it was removed from the pharmaceutical encyclopedia. Six years later, President Ford banned federal funding for cannabis research. This move effectively prevented cannabis from being positively viewed by suspending cannabis in the xenophobic and racist attitudes of the early 20th century  As a result, the general public learned about cannabis via Reefer Madness and Anslinger’s quotes rather than via factual information.

So how was the federal government able to transform a measly little plant into a feared and prohibited substance? By exploiting the racial fears and tensions of the general American public. The federal government indicated there was a direct causal relationship between marijuana and mexican immigration, violent crime, interracial sexual relations, and even satan. As a result, those were the types of images associated with the harmless cannabis plant. These thoughts were reinforced with propaganda such as Reefer Madness, and William Hearst styled PSAs using language to incite fear.

United States. Congress. Committee on Finance. Hearing on Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, July 12, 1937. 75th Cong. Washington (statement of Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of Narcotics, Federal Bureau of Narcotics).

Herer, Jack. "The Forgotten History Of Hemp." Earth Island Journal 5.4 (1990): 35. GreenFILE. Web.

18 Oct

Terpenes & Storage

Posted by Patrick on Tue, Oct 18, 16

Terpenes are responsible for the flavors and aromas in concentrates and flowers. Terpenes degrade overtime when they're stored incorrectly, reducing the flavor and effects of your concentrates. 

Terpenes are volatile organic compounds and will evaporate when not properly cared for. In order to prevent degradation from happening, dabbers must take care when storing their pick up. Medical grade silicone is an excellent storage container for concentrates. Silicone containers are airtight and nonporous, protecting your terps from the damaging oxygen and light!

Make sure to always tightly seal your container to prevent your terpenes from evaporating. Even incorrectly sealed containers can lead to a less flavorful slab as the concentrates get exposed to oxygen overtime. If you don’t have a silicone container, keep your concentrates securely wrapped in parchment paper. If you’re picking up small amounts of concentrates at a time, it’s probably fine to store them in parchment — you’ll likely consume your stuff before the terps degrade. But if you’re scooping larger amounts of concentrates you should seriously consider investing in some silicone, otherwise you’re losing precious flavors! Terpenes even play a role in your smoking experience by binding to receptors within your brain. Why would you want to miss out on that!?

Silicone containers also prevent dust and other gross particles from settling on the surface of your concentrates. If you’ve got an animal, you know the struggle of keeping your concentrates hair-free. Take the precautions to keep your slabs fresh and terpy by sealing them in silicone containers! Click here to learn more about silicone on Smoke Cartel’s knowledge base.

This Smoke Cartel silicone concentrate container is perfect for preserving the terps in your concentrates!  Want to take some concentrates to-go? This Wax Wallet by 420 science is small, discreet, and preserves your terpenes!

Note: Never use wax paper for concentrates. The wax coating will bind to your concentrates making them unfit and possibly dangerous for consumption. If you’re using wax paper, please, for the sake of your health, head to Smoke Cartel’s oil accessories collection for some silicone dab containers!


Handling your Concentrates

While we’re at it, we should also talk about handling your concentrates. Touching concentrates with bare hands can transfer skin-oils and bacteria onto your slabs. Now, I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to be dabbing is someone’s gross skin germs— that doesn’t sound terpy to me.

To prevent the transfer of germs and skin-oils onto your slab and by proxy into your lungs, always handle your concentrates with non-latex powder-free nitrile gloves. Or, just keep your hands off! There’s literally no reason to ever touch your slab, they make dabbers and dab tools for that. Due to the sticky nature of concentrates, it’s also super easy to end up with a decent portion of your pickup stuck to your skin. Nothing is worse than wasted concentrates, any dabber would agree!
13 Oct

Terpenes & Low Temps

Posted by Patrick on Thu, Oct 13, 16

Low Temp dabs enable smokers to taste the full flavor profiles of their concentrates. This creates a smooth and very flavorful dabbing experience.


What are terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally occurring volatile compounds responsible for much of the flavors and aromas within plants. Ever pop open a fresh bag only to be hit in the face with a lemony or pine-forward scent? Those aromas are a result of different combinations of terpenes. But terps affect more than just the aroma and flavor of your pickup— they have a direct effect on your experience.

For example, the terpene Myrcene possesses an earthy aroma and is naturally found in thyme and hops. While Myrcene is responsible for the relaxing “couchlock” effects experienced when smoking, it also carries a variety of specific medical benefits. It’s anticarcinogenic, relieves muscle tension and inflammation, and even treats insomnia. Limonene on the other hand carries citrusy aromas. This terpene reduces stress and works to elevate mood. Limonene also treats heartburn and helps relieve gastrointestinal issues. As research continues, the medicinal values of terpenes are being discovered in droves and giving smokers more control over the effects of their smoking experience. Though terpenes are a relatively new discovery within the industry, their presence on your dabstation establishes a unique medicinal link that was previously unknown.

Terpenes are generally released between 300-450°F, which is drastically lower than the intense temperatures created by a cherried bowl or joint. Cherries can reach temperatures higher than 1000°F. At those extreme temperatures terpenes are burned away rather than activated. This destroys both the flavors and effects of the terps before they have a chance to be released.

Because of the potent nature of concentrates, you get really intense flavor profiles when dabbing correctly. But terps are volatile, and without proper care they will evaporate from your slab! Where it takes an experienced extractor to create terpene rich concentrates, it also takes a well educated dabber to truly get all of their terps. Follow these steps to get the most out of your terps!



Low Temp Dabs

Combustion starts at 451°F. While boiling temperatures vary with every terpene, it’s important to not exceed 450°F to experience the taste and complete effects of your terps. If you take dabs at combustion temperatures, you may incinerate your terpenes before they are fully released. The higher the temp, the quicker this process will take place.

Some dabbers are hesitant to take low temp dabs due to the puddle they leave behind on the nail. This visual can deceive people into thinking high temp dabs are the correct way to dab, as no puddle is left behind. Because terpenes and other chemicals are activated between 300-450°F, low temp dabs enable dabbers to get the most of their concentrates. Hot dabs burn away the terpenes before they can be released, which greatly increases chest discomfort and negates the full effects of your concentrates.




While titanium nails are extremely durable, they deliver less flavor than nails made of other materials. If you’re looking to taste your terps, your choices are between quartz and ceramic. Ceramic is less durable than quartz, and when not heated evenly will crack due to heat stress. Quartz heats up and cools significantly faster, making it easy to quickly get to those low temperatures. Dabbers across the country have exchanged their domeless Ti nails for quartz bangers and qfz style carb caps. When used together, qfz style carb caps restrict airflow and turn your banger into a sort of convection oven. These caps allow the quartz to maintain heat for a short time by circulating hot air within the chamber of the banger.

Check out quartz nails at Smoke Cartel for an awesome selection of bangers and other quartz heating elements. Smoke Cartel even has HQX bangers and fitted caps, handmade in Asheville by Jason Hoyes and his team. These bangers are fashioned from the same quality quartz as Evan Shore Bangarangs, Joel Halen Troughs and Honey Holes, and even Quave Club Bangers. The only difference is that you can scoop an HQX for a fraction of the cost!



Q-Tip Tech

Q-Tip tech is a relatively new technique that prolongs the life and flavor of quartz nails. After every dab, take a cotton swab and mop up the leftover puddle until the nail is clean. Leftover puddles that aren’t cleaned up will harden and oxidize, permanently affecting your quartz. You know how quartz gets cloudy and gray overtime? That’s a direct result of oxidization. In order to keep your quartz as fresh as new, enact this technique with every dab starting with the first hit on a fresh banger. While Q-Tip tech sound meticulous, dabbers around the world have adopted this as a useful technique to maintain the look and flavor of their quartz.

Note: For more information on quartz, check out this article on Smoke Cartel’s knowledge base.

06 Oct

Hemp: The Ultimate Sustainable Resource

Posted by Patrick on Thu, Oct 06, 16

We live in an era of uncertainty, where money and greed run the world instead of logic and sustainability. Our earth is constantly consuming at an untenable rate, disregarding the fact that future generations will have to live with the world we leave for them. We continue to cut down, incinerate, and deplete our resources while there are energy sources more viable than oil currently available. You may be surprised to know that hemp could aid many of earth’s largest environmental issues.

But first, let’s back up. If hemp is soooo great, why isn’t it widely embraced today!?

The thing is, hemp and cannabis used to be both widely embraced in the United States. Believe it or not, U.S. Drugstores sold cannabis based medicines and oils well into the 20th century. Cannabis was legal for consumption everywhere in the country until 1911, when Massachusetts banned the plant. This set off a chain reaction, leading to the prohibition of cannabis in 26 states between 1914 and 1925.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that cannabis was completely prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. This act made no effort to distinguish cannabis from hemp, prohibiting the production of hemp on American soil. Though America imports over $36 million dollars worth of hemp seeds and fibers a year for use in manufacturing, the federal government failed to recognize the different between industrial hemp and cannabis (Renée). The best recent example of this ignorance occurred in 2007, when the North Dakota Department of Agriculture requested to regulate industrial hemp farming within its state. The DEA denied this motion, referring to industrial hemp as “marijuana - the most widely abused controlled substance in the United States” (Rannazzisi).

Hemp and cannabis are two fundamentally different plants. The maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of modern cannabis can reach up to 30% whereas hemp contains less than one percent of THC. Therefore, there are no psychoactive effects to hemp. Unlike cannabis, hemp has been cultivated for centuries to not flower. Hemp plants are also male. Therefore, hemp is solely used as a resource rather than a medicine.

So, what can hemp really do?

The hemp plant contains cellulose fibers that can be manipulated for use in textiles, construction, and paper. The fibers are significantly stronger than cotton, making hemp clothing and ropes far more durable than cotton materials. Clothes made completely from hemp are more absorbent, breathable, and cheaper than environmentally-destructive petrochemical synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon – and hemp is biodegradable (Herer).

Hemp can also be worked into a concrete substitute made from lime binder, water, and hempherds. Studies show hemp-crete walls are far more insulating, fire resistant, and even breathable than standard concrete. Concrete production is a leading producer of carbon dioxide, where hemp-crete actually locks carbon dioxide within the material. Hemp-crete could greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by alleviating our reliance on concrete.

Hemp can even be worked into biodiesel— thus curving America’s addiction to fossil fuels. Before the discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania in 1859, hemp seed oil was the most common oil used for lamps. Hemp can be worked into oil without taking environmental risks such as offshore drilling and fracking. Plus, unlike oil, a hemp oil spill couldn't possibly harm the environment as toxic chemicals are absent from hemp oil. Hemp prohibitionists that support environmentally friendly legislation may suggest corn as an alternative resource to fossil fuels, but hemp’s per-acre output of biomass is ten times that of corn. America could replace fossil fuels with hemp-based biodiesel using only six percent of our nation's acres (Herer). Hemp is a miracle plant for that reason alone!

If any fact within this blog post surprised you, spread the awareness! More people need to be knowledgeable about the sustainable properties of hemp.

Herer, Jack. "The Forgotten History Of Hemp." Earth Island Journal 5.4 (1990): 35. GreenFILE. Web.

Johnson, Renée. Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity. Rep. no. RL32725. Congressional Research Service, 2 Feb. 2015. Web.

Rannazzisi, Joseph. “Letter to Roger Johnson, Commissioner of North Dakota Department of Agriculture.” 27 March 2007. Letter. Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C.. Vote Hemp. Web.

Source for better understanding Hemp and its many uses:

Anne L. Ash. “Hemp: Production and Utilization”. Economic Botany 2.2 (1948): 158–169. Web.