It was just another Puff Puff Pass Tuesday when I sat down to vape with Mel Frank, the man known to many marijuana aficionados as the “Godfather of Weed.” The occasional High Times columnist has cultivated marijuana for decades; these days he’s lending his expertise to Spliffin, a Los Angeles-based company that makes high-quality vaporizers and marijuana concentrates (hash oils), promoted under the slogan “Experience the difference.”
While seated on one of the cushy leather couches in Spliffin’s showroom, iced coffee in hand, I did just that. Vaping my way through the menu’s selection of “blondies” (sativa concentrates that boast 300 milligrams of TCH per milliliter) I didn’t just get high; I discovered the best high ever. After just a couple of hits of the strains Tangie and Jack Herer, I was abuzz with focused pleasure. In a word, I was Spliffin.
Spliffin’s innovation extends far beyond the high it produces. In the scuzzy world of vaping—where viscous hash oils that taste like burnt rubber are promoted as health-conscious alternatives—Spliffin takes health seriously. The brand’s concentrates are solvent-free, which means they don’t contain pesticides and heavy metals found in many of the butane hash oils (BHO) that dominate the vaping market and require a dangerous method called “blasting” to make. And while blasting may be cheaper and easier than the pharmaceutical-grade extraction process Spliffin uses, Spliffin concentrates retail for the same price as most BHOs.
“Most butane hash oil available today is made by getting a tube, putting trim in it, and shooting down butane from a lighter,” explained Sergio, Spliffin’s CEO and founder. “It goes into a pan with a lot flammable liquid, it’s heated, and then it’s purged off. That’s how most extraction is being done, by kids in their backyard trying to make extra money.”
Frank and Sergio are concerned that as legalization continues, states won’t be able to see past the health and safety concerns surrounding BHOs and will end up banning concentrates altogether—even though they ought to be healthier for consumers than traditional smoking.
Current law is confusing: In California it’s illegal to chemically extract cannabis to make BHO, although dispensaries may sell BHOs and patients may possess them. According to Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access, that could begin to change this year when the California legislature resumes discussion of comprehensive medical marijuana regulations. For now, Spliffin’s solution is to lay low (which is why no one from the company, including the founder, was willing to give a last name) and quietly push the whole industry to self-regulate by eliminating solvents.
“The more people that get on the solventless extract train, the better it’s going to be for everyone,“ said Sergio. “When California or the United States governments decide to regulate this industry, they’re going to have to meet our lab-tested, 100-percent solventless standards.”
A believer in the long-term power of healthy vaping, Sergio says he was motivated by lack of healthy vape options to create Spliffin. “Let me show you why you never wanted to get into vaping,” Sergio told me, as we examined a silver platter filled with vapes and and hash concentrates from Spliffin’s competitors. He dangled a syringe filled with dark, resin-like hash oil in my face. It was this type of hash lookalike that had made concentrates seem kind of repulsing to me before. A lot of those concentrates are typically made for super stoners and can leave more casual smokers too stoned to function. “I’ve had weed experiences where I get too high and internalize myself and begin thinking crazy things. That’s what I don’t love about pot,” Sergio explained. “But when I’m able to control my doses of THC with Spliffin, I love it.”
Weed is different for different people. For me, Spliffin highs are powerful without being overwhelming. They feel clean and controlled, and the sativa varieties are extremely energizing. The Spliffin experience is designed to be sustainable. It will get you as stoned as you want, it just won’t do so all at once.
“Our goal is to make a product that’s enjoyed by a wide range of people,” Sergio said. That includes marijuana novices to veterans alike, everyone from health and glamour conscious stoners to people with serious medical conditions in need of a chemical-free vaping experience.
“There are politicians trying to put an end to concentrates, but in five or ten years, I believe the majority of people are going to be dosing this way,” Sergio continued. “It’s consistent, it’s exact, and It’s safe. The only way to achieve that is extracting the THC, testing it, and putting into dosages.”