Vapes are like bubblegum.
Hemp Connoisseur's THC Championship 2022 - Part B
Dear Friend & Subscriber-
Welcome back to my 2022 Judging Recap for the THC Championship.
For a variety of reasons, time has gotten away from me in releasing the second half of the reviews from judging this year's competition. But, this has the positive result of my being able to include the actual final results from the awards ceremony as a result. So, if you enjoyed Part A, you can follow up to see who ended up winning.
For 2022’s second batch of entries (Part B), I was lucky enough to judge:
Infused Pre-Roll & Rec Pre-Roll
Vapes (Med Vape, Rec Botanical Terpenes, Rec Cannabis Terpenes)
Med Flower (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid)
In total, there were 10 flower entries, each 1 gram in weight (typically 1 joint), 17 vapes, each 0.25-1 gram in weight, 10 pre-rolls, varying in weight and infusion, and 2 "premium" entries.
Premium/Innovative - 2
Infused Pre-Roll - 5
Rec Pre-Roll - 5 (6 entries but one omitted)
Vapes (Med Vape, Rec Botanical Terpenes, Rec Cannabis Terpenes) - 17
Med Flower (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid) - 10
Sativa - 3
Indica - 3
Hybrid - 4
As I've touched on, this year I felt that each category was a little light on entries with the sole exception of vapes, which had a staggering 17 entries combined.
I know why this is and I've discussed it on multiple occasions, but it is still disappointing. A category with two entrants (premium) is not even scratchign the surfaces of the industry in Colorado or at large; Premium was the "participation trophy" category this year.
With that said, I LOVED the upgraded flower packaging this year.
Moving to glass jars with recycled lids still accomplishes the goal of sustainability WHILE ALSO taking care of the terps for the connoisseurs. That said, like every year, there were a few samples stuff into plastic baggies inside of the jars, which I will never understand.
But the Vape category was unusually interesting for me this year.
Admittedly, I'm not a huge vape fan. I get it: They're convenient. They're easy to use. They're (often) disposable (which is a huge waste...) and easy to toss if a problem were to occur.
But, after years of having to vape (social stigmas, legal worries, etc.), and having made vapes myself, unless it's a solventless offering, I'll usually pass. And, even then, if flower or a dab is an option, I'll choose those over the former.
My expressed vape preferences did not hold up 100% of the time.
What I mean by that is that I openly state (and shop accordingly) that:
I'm not huge on vapes,
If I am smoking a vape, I don't want additives,
If am am smoking an unadulterated vape, I want it to be solventless.
Sadly, the only vape that came close to being solventless was a mislabeled vape from Sano Gardens claiming to be rosin but listing multiple solvents in its ingredients.
So, that was a let down. (As a side note, I just went through both an Olio Strawguava Rosin Cart and a 710 labs Gorilla Dosha x Jet Fuel Persy Rosin pod, and they were amazing. )
Of the vapes included, I found that I did not exclusively prefer cannabis-derived terpenes.
My favorite vape out of the 17+1 (the above "rosin" vape was in the premium category, technically) was the Pineapple Orange disposable vape from High Level Health. It was made with botanical terps, and by god if it didn't taste I-FUCKING-DENTICAL to a Mango Loco Monster Energy Drink. So good.
I smoked the entire thing, almost start to finish, even though I knew that there were botanical terpenes in it.
Of course there were. It tasted like I was drinking an energy drink. That's not possible in 99% of the cannabis I've tried. You can get close to certain profiles, but not artificial energy drink flavoring close.
My suspicion as to why I liked these products when I thought I "shouldn't" is two-fold:
First, we like what we like.
Even if we know we aren't supposed to, our sense overrule our brain. It's why we act contrary to what we know to be best (eating, smoking, Backwoods, drinking, etc.). In this case, my taste buds LOVED these fake terps.
Second, vapes are like bubblegum.
No one rips open a pack of Strawberry Bubblicious expecting real fruit juice and all organic ingredients. They expect sugary, exaggerated flavor blasts of bubble-smacking deliciousness.
Because vapes as a category have an artificial feel compared to smoking, our brains are ok with other aspects being artificial if they are enjoyable.
Because I wasn't lighting up a joint expecting the taste of combusted flower, my brain was ok with artificially sweet, fruity flavors.
But the biggest takeaway here is that you DON'T know better than your senses.
Mentally, I know what I "should" have liked based on my expressed preferences. I should have thought all of the botanical vapes were subpar, and that the solvent-based vapes were ok but harsh. And that the only semi-rosin pen was the closest to a step in the right direction. But I didn't.