Stoner MacGyver marijuana product review: Omicron personal vaporizer

Now and then, companies send us medical marijuana-related products ranging from vaporizers to board games. We showcase them in our quasi-regular product review section, Stoner MacGyver.

The latest? The Omicron personal vaporizer.

What is it, dude? Omicron Personal Vaporizer

How much coin will it run me? Around $100 for a single battery set, $180 for a double battery set. Both include the batteries as well as a USB charger and carrying case. Empty cartrdiges run about $6-$10.

Where can I get one? You can find them at various dispensaries around town, including Natural Remedies, Greenhouse and Platte Valley. You can also find them online through Concentratebar.com and Delta 9 Vapes.

The problem with most portable e-cig vapes is that they require a pre-made cartridge that usually contains glycerine or some other medium along with the meds that allows the THC to be vaporized. The Omicron, on the other hand, uses the same hash oil, wax and even high-grade bubble hash that you make at home or find at your nearby dispensary. So instead of relying on a pre-determined strain mix, you can find the strain that works for you and load it into the vape yourself

Getting the oil and wax into the small cartridge can be a bitch -- especially because you have to be careful not to clog the tiny inner chamber with any wax. The Omicron comes with a funnel-like device that helps the process, and the folks behind it suggest heating the tube to help the oil slide down like a slug. In my experience, though, that clogged up the operation more. Because of this, amber shatter works best, because the dust-like particles easily fall to the bottom of the cartridge. Wax is a bit tougher, and I found rolling it into skinny little snakes helped it go through the two small openings meant for loading.

Once you've got the hash in, you simply screw the cartridge on to the battery and hold down the only button on the thing while inhaling. Though simple, getting the thing to heat up and hit properly takes patience. You can kick-start the process by warming up the cartridge with a lighter, but even then it takes four or five pulls before vapor starts to flow. Once it's going, however, it rips like a champ. Like any vape, if you pull on it quickly, it will cool the heating element down. It takes some practice and is counter-intuitive to most smoking devices. Still, maintaining a slow and steady drag on the Omicron gives the best hits overall.

Our Completely Unscientific Test this week involved ripping one of the cartridges apart to see how the whole thing works. Using a pair of tin snips, I slowly began peeling back the aluminum casing and was surprised at how much hash oil had been left behind on what I figured to have been a spent cartridge. Probably a good half gram was caked along the inside of the tube for the first three quarters of the way down. The Omicron is billed as giving as many as 400 hits off of as little as a half-gram, so I clearly wasn't as through with the cartridge as I thought. In the bottom quarter of the tube, a small ceramic piece with a copper wire wrapped around it melts the oil, which flows into the bottom of the ceramic element. There, it vaporizes and is drawn back up the skinny tube running through the middle.

While other methods of smoking hash and hash oil, like a skillet or a nail-and-dome set, are much flashier and, some would say, efficient, blowtorches and hot metal aren't the most discreet methods of consumption. The Omicron has them beat in that department, hands down. Traveling with the thing is easy enough, as most people know what an e-cig looks like. That said, I would be careful where you take it, as it does look suspiciously like a .50 cal machine gun bullet when put together.

The Omicron produces much less smoke and smell than any of the above mentioned methods, and it can be used discreetly just about anywhere. I've used mine in hotel bathrooms to avoid stinking up the entire floor, for discreet tokes while friends have cigs outside of bars, and for simply puffing on the couch after dinner. It smokes well enough to go beyond the realm of novelty to something that is truly functional.

But I don't use it all the time, and if you're looking for a way to just smoke hash and hash oil, there are better and easier ways of doing it. But if you already have those and want to become more portable -- or you really value keeping your usage stealth -- it's a great tool to add to your arsenal of smoking devices.

We can't guarantee all products sent in will be reviewed, but if you've got something you think is the greatest invention since sliced pot-bread, send us an e-mail at marijuana@westword.com

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