The O.penVape disposable vape pen comes loaded with 100 milligrams of hash oil. (Ben Livingston, The Cannabist)

This disposable vape pen could be the ideal hash oil option for pot tourists (review)

For my week in Amsterdam, I carried a glass bubbler with me. I bought it shortly after disembarking the train, along with some stainless steel screens for my seven-day European hash bender. I think most everyone, not just the locals, eyed me funny in the coffee shops, pulling out my bubble-wrapped bubbler and burning a screen like a crack fiend along one of the red light district’s canals.

But I was just a tourist who loves hash. And my obtrusive accouterments were simply the tools I needed to imbibe that Himalayan hand-rolled “malana cream” and all the local Iceolater-extracted water hashes without rolling them in a cannabis and/or tobacco cigarette as is common in coffee shop culture.

That travel experience is in part why I love the O.penVape and the increasingly popular disposable vape pen. Every day in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska a tourist wants to experience legal cannabis. And few of them want a fat glass bubbler for the trip. They want something small and discreet — but maybe not the five-dollar Chinese glass or the horribly-awesome Hollow Pointz 99-cent metal pipe.

What they want is a disposable vape pen for hash oil — a lot of them do, at least. First and foremost, the smell of hash oil tends to be less repellent to cannabis-conflicted olfactories. That’s important if the hotel clerk cheerily reminds you on check-in that any pot smoking in the “smoking room” you booked — thinking that’s what the hell they meant — will result in a $300 cleaning charge tacked on to your credit card. It’s important for a visitor whose options are limited by local laws about public cannabis consumption.

The form factor for the O.penVape is super discreet. The size of a cigarette, it fits in a pocket like few other pieces of paraphernalia. The ease-of-use can’t be beat. Just open the box, pull out the pen, stick it in your mouth and draw. You won’t spill pot on the floor or smear oil on the table. You won’t light your hair on fire or burn a hole in the chair fabric with a wandering ember. The benefits seem innumerable. No ash tray or cashing the bowl. No fingers that smell like a joint or pants that smell of spilled bong water.

Each O.penVape pen contains 100 milligrams — yes, one-tenth of a gram — of CO2-extracted cannabis oil mixed with polyethelene glycol to decrease viscosity (make it flow better). The tiny vape pen delivers small puffs, which I think is a good thing for the tourist crowd. Cannabis is not innocuous, and novice pot smokers need dabs like college kids need binge drinking. Each O.penVape lasts around 50 puffs, which is roughly 2mg of oil mix per draw — a long way from even a small dab of hash oil.

While part of me loves these convenient little pens, I think regular cannabis consumers should avoid small-dose, disposable vape pens. I mean, one-tenth of a gram total? Two-milligram hits? I’m a hash oil lightweight, but let’s take off the training wheels and provide me with a real hit, please.

Environmentally-conscious consumers avoid buying intentionally garbage-bound plastic products when possible. Each pen is around 10 grams of plastic; for every 100,000 disposable vape pens sold, that’s more than one ton (2,205 pounds) of plastic refuse. The environmental footprint isn’t as heavy as, say, our consumption of disposable lighters, but it’s not something to embrace without consideration. At the dawn of a newly-legal industry, consumers are especially empowered to shape the future, and cannabis culture should reward companies with holistic vision that includes a tenet of environmental stewardship.

The convenience afforded by these micro-hitters greatly increases the cost of hash oil. At a suggested retail price of $20-25, O.penVape consumers pay $200-$250/gram for hash oil mix. Pen people must pay a premium to have a professional handle the messy task of diluting hash oil with polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol or whatever hopefully-inert vaping agent they prefer, but $200/gram is still a bit steep. Unless they’re a tourist, of course, in which case it’s amazing that they can get a no-nonsense, mild-ride hash oil experience for the price of two hotel cocktails.

The O.penVape disposable hash oil pen is available at cannabis retailers in Colorado and Arizona. The company is working to launch in other states, as well as Jamaica. The micro-hitters come in Sativa, Indica and Hybrid. Conflicted as it makes me, I think it’s a great choice for lightweight tourists and infrequent locals.