With their convenience and high-powered, brain-scrambling effects, cannabis concentrates have seen significant uptake across the industry in recent years, and with good reason. In my experience, straying outside the boundaries of toking flower usually results in the sessions that have the most memorable stories. After all, what better way is there to annihilate a flower smoker than by taking a dab?
For instance, one time a coworker and I invited ourselves to another coworker's house, and everyone minus the host was soon absolutely wrecked after a single round of dabs. Though I'd surely had enough, I sheepishly volunteered myself as tribute for a second round, and the next 90 minutes involved me hazily watching the host smash another three dabs (that's five total) before passing around a single water cup for everyone to quench our thirst, all of us half-listening as he explained Japanese anime while watching Japanese anime. It was an experience, to be sure.
For the uninitiated, cannabis concentrates are made by extracting THC from flower by applying pressure at a high temperature to create a wax-like substance. There are varying ways to achieve this, of course, ranging from some true mad-scientist stuff to a DIY method that involves little more than wax paper and a hair straightener. The resultant goo can then be smoked through a glass rig (usually with the use of a blowtorch) or, more conveniently, put into a vape cartridge.
I opted for the non-torch option when I stepped into Swade's Cherokee Street location. It's a petite space ("cozy," if you're a realtor), and within steps I was checked in and on the sales floor asking questions about live resin cartridges.
One of the movers and shakers in the Missouri medical-marijuana space has been HeadChange, with its lineup of terpene-forward concentrates. Although my budtender confessed to having minimal knowledge about the cartridges, HeadChange helpfully puts a good deal of information on its packaging to let you get a better feel for what you're getting. After confirming the cartridges are "live," meaning they include the terpenes from the source flower — they're made from diamonds and sauce, in fact — I noted that they also listed the top three terpenes contained within, as well as tasting notes. I opted for Jurassic Gas, high in limonene, nerolidol and linalool, and clocking in at 69.9 percent combined THC and THCA. The strain is a cross between Jurassic Kush and Gas Truffle, and its flavor note was also intriguing: "Bubblegum T-Rex Breath." The sweet gas taste seems to be a popular one currently, and I was eager to try it out. I paid $57.34 for one half-gram cartridge.
Before going further, I had two main boxes I wanted to check: Does it taste good? And does the cartridge work?
I confirmed that the battery I had, an Ooze 510 thread, would work for the cartridges. HeadChange encourages a battery of two to three volts for a better experience. The user experience has indeed been a downfall of past cartridge experiments I've had: Clogged cartridges, battery malfunction or incapability, or tasting the extraction medium (I'm looking at you, butane honey oil) being the main culprits.
The two biggest advantages the cartridges have over a dab rig are the ease of use and the discretion. Taking it on a walk was simple; just slap the cartridge on the battery and head out the door. And if someone sees you, they just think you're vaping and, as a bonus, assume you're younger than you really are. I was caught off guard one morning while blowing a giant cloud in front of an old man who was unexpectedly sitting on his porch as I was wrangling my dog. "Good morning," I squeaked out while the cloud dissipated over his property.
HeadChange's emphasis on terpenes and taste meant my expectations were high, and I wasn't disappointed ripping clouds of the Jurassic Gas. The bubblegum flavor was more of a slightly more old-school gum like Big League Chew, and there were prominent fuel-like notes on my exhales. The taste was not overwhelmingly gas, but more of a sour tart turned sweeter, while not overwhelmingly sweet like a Runtz or other candy terpene strain.
The cartridge was enjoyed over the weekend. I felt more comfortable toting it around than the usual joint, since it is far more discrete. It was also not as obtrusive in the house, and because of that I blew through it fairly quickly. As for the mechanical side of things, I had no issues with the cart in two different 510 thread batteries.
So what's the final word on the HeadChange live sauce/concentrate cartridges? Do they check the boxes I set forth earlier? In my experience, the Jurassic Gas cart tasted wonderful, and it didn't break. Check and check. I'd definitely purchase it again.
Next time, though, I'll have to fire up a torch for some of HeadChange's live badder. Just please don't talk to me about anime.