Confessions of a concentrates virgin

Published on May 13, 2022 by Special to the oz.

Photo: the oz.
The Pulsar dab pen is one of a number of options for those who are interested in using concentrates, but intimidated by a dab rig. Whether you call them concentrate pens, wax pens, or something else, they are an inexpensive way to try enter the concentrates space.


In this first-person perspective, medical cannabis patient, Doug, talks about his venture into the world of concentrates and gives some tips for beginners.


When it comes to concentrates, I admit I’m a complete rookie. We didn’t have that kind of fancy stuff back in the 1970s when I first got into cannabis, unless you count weed oil and hash.

Coming back to cannabis as a patient after decades away, I’ve now been consuming flower daily for almost six years and my tolerance has slowly grown with time. I now find myself needing stronger medicine.

I’ve been supplementing the flower with vape carts, but my curiosity about concentrates finally got to me because of their high THC levels.

The thing about concentrates is that they seem quite complicated to get started with. To be honest, I was pretty intimidated.

There just seemed to be so much to learn, even just figuring out the differences between live resin, live rosin, flower rosin, shatter, crumble, diamonds and sauce, etc., seemed like a big task. And that’s before I got into figuring out what bangers, nails, and rigs are.

What I like about concentrates is that they’re strong medicine. I can save time, plus wear and tear on my lungs, by cutting back on my flower consumption and using my wax pen instead.

After consulting with Twitter, I purchased a wax pen, which seems to be the simplest and cheapest way to get started with concentrates. I got the Yocan Evolve Plus XL (thanks to @Extractedca for the recommendation) but most of what follows should apply to most wax pens.

Before just diving in head first, I prepared by watching a few YouTube videos so I could see exactly how others used the pen. I also read a few “using your wax pen” articles during my learning process.

I even did a little research on the various concentrate types. This is a decent resource.

When I finally did get started, here’s a few tips that I wish I’d known up front:

  • Don’t put in more dab than you’re going to consume in one session.
  • One coil, one product. Don’t start mixing things up unless you have a reason.
  • If you wet your metal dab tool, the concentrates won’t stick as bad.
  • Buy a couple of extra coils when you buy your pen.
  • Never put anything except true concentrates in your coil, even if someone on Reddit tells you bubble hash works, don’t, it’s not a quartz banger with a torch, it probably won’t work.
  • Rosins prefer lower temperatures.
  • If your rosin is a little soupy, put it in the freezer for 3 minutes.
Photo: Adobe Stock/the oz.
Cannabis concentrates can be intimidating to first-timers.

Here’s a few other useful tips I did find out in time:

  • Start low and go slow, a couple of hits from a wax pen is a lot.
  • When you’re using a new coils for the first time, prime it by heating it up well to burn off manufacturing residue.
  • Put the dab right on the coil, that’s the hottest spot and you want it to melt, just be gentle with the metal parts of the coil, they’re delicate.
  • Pulse the power button on and off a few seconds at a time when consuming so it doesn’t overheat your dab. I do 2-3 seconds on, 2 seconds off, repeat.
  • You can clean your coils by soaking in iso and rinsing in distilled water. Dry thoroughly. Prime well before using again.

What I like about concentrates is that they’re strong medicine. I can save time, plus wear and tear on my lungs, by cutting back on my flower consumption and using my wax pen instead.

What I don’t really like is that they can be messy, and they’re definitely a little fussy to deal with, especially at first. Sticky fingers are pretty much a given when you’re starting out.

I have gotten better though, I’ve learned to get the amount I want on the dab tool, scrape it off on the top of the jar, then wet the end of the dab tool, gather it together and drop it on a coil. If the tool is wet, the dab doesn’t stick to it as much.

Concentrates are also a little tricky to dose when starting out. I’ve found that a piece half the size of a grain of rice gives me a couple of good hits, and for me, two big hits from this wax pen is about equivalent to a bowl of flower in my Arizer Extreme Q vape.

I will say that consuming concentrates with a wax pen is probably not really suitable for newer patients. This is more something for those of us struggling with a rising tolerance level.

Concentrates sometimes still seem a little bit more like a hobby to me than a really practical medicine delivery mechanism, but it does get easier with practice, and now I know all the tips.

Plus, they say having lots of hobbies is good for you, and I like the gadgets and the rituals, so I’ll probably stick with this one.

Photo: Instagram/@yocantech
The Yocan Evolve Plus XL is pictured.

As for the Yocan Evolve Plus XL itself, it’s a decent relatively simple starter platform, and it’s doing what I want it to for now.

What I liked:

  • Inexpensive 
  • Easy to clean
  • Buy coils, coil caps, and batteries separately as add-ons or replacements 

What I didn’t like:

  • No temperature control, pulsing can be hit and miss
  • Light is hard to see
  • No indication when the battery’s getting low it just doesn’t get as hot and eventually stops producing vapour
  • The coil cup is quite deep and it can be hard to get a dab onto a coil

For more information on the pen, see here.

About the Author

Known on Twitter as @TheGuyFromWpg, Doug is a medical cannabis patient who writes about the products that he uses to keep his disability at bay. He lives in Winnipeg.