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Volcano 101

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Another Leaf on the Vine
OK, so I’ve been spending some time trying to coax a reliable breakthrough from the Volcano Digital. It is definitely possible, but some aspects of the method might appear counter-intuitive. I was hoping to wait until I could produce a “Grand Unified Theory” but like most such goals, that is still some way off, so I thought I’d share my insights so far, with a few numbers, and see what other folks thought?

Disclaimer: I know the GVG is still the gold standard, but they’re too much hassle for me to obtain discreetly. I tried a wooden VG and wasn’t that impressed, so necessity beckons. Besides, it’s not just the vehicle, but how you drive it… VORSPRUNG DURCH TECHNIK!


If you usually journey alone, seriously consider chopping the standard balloon in half. It takes far too long to ever get a BT dose in from a full bag. We’re aiming for a small volume of concentrated vapour, that can be consumed in two inhalations max. Simply put a twist-tie or cable-tie around the midpoint of the bag (a bit more or less, if you prefer), and tie it off. Cut off the excess.


I’ve tried crystal, changa and enhanced leaf, and for now, it’s 1:1 enhanced leaf all the way. Vaping pure crystal is tricky and wasteful even with the pad, and changa is unnecessary, because the harmalas do not vape in any significant quantity at these temps. 1:1 makes the math easier, if you decide to examine your own results. Most important for vaped leaf is the texture of the substrate. You want a fluffy, springy leaf, ideally with minimal volatiles of its own. I use a mix of dried flowers of chamomile and mullein: it dries well and has great surface area. Don’t use eg. dried parsley sort of stuff, it will just form a claggy mess that is awkward to handle and weigh, and doesn’t vape efficiently.

I use IPA because I think it dries better than acetone in the cool climate here, with an optional single drop each of lemon and chamomile essential oils. Food safe and organic, not the synthetic crap from the drugstore. You get what you pay for. These smooth out the taste and come-up immensely, IME.


Spurred by another thread recently, I finally decided to test the air-temp inside the chamber, with a digital kitchen probe. I removed the upper screen, so I could insert the probe while the chamber was mounted, and the fan running. I dialled in 200C and the (pre-heated) probe eventually settled at…160C.

I repeated this test dialling in 180 & 210, which gave 155 and 165 respectively. Not very linear, but I think this probe is probably too cheap for the task, so I’d love to hear anybody else’s results. The manual clearly states the temp displayed is measured at the thermo-block, so some drop off is clearly to be expected, unlike with the Crafty & Plenty portables, where the chamber is much closer to the element.

The only other thing to say here is that 230C is definitely scorched earth, so your own personal sweet-spot will probably be somewhere between 200 & 220.


Haha, dust off the crock-pot and get brewing… You will appear to use considerably more material than you might expect, but I am confident it can all be used up, with minimal wastage, with a little care and planning.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the key issue with the Volcano is a thermodynamic one. Over the time taken to fill your bag, only a finite amount of heat can be transferred, meaning you will never achieve complete vaporisation. I think this is what leads most people to conclude that the Volcano doesn’t work, when they load up 25mg say, into a full bag, and get a light, next-to-useless vapour.

Exactly how much you will have to use obviously depends on you and your mix, but at 210C, if I blast 200mg leaf (so 100mg DMT) when the half-bag is full, after approx 20 seconds there is still about 165mg remaining in the chamber, meaning I have only consumed around 35mg of (mostly) spice. The remainder can be extracted on further passes, at slightly higher temps, with diminishing returns. Or, you can store it carefully, and use proportionately larger amounts to achieve the same results at another time. I’m pretty certain by now that negligible oxidation occurs at these temps and times, on fluffy leaf. Crystal on the wire pad, however, scorches easily though.

I’ve also found that even the “spent” stuff is much enjoyed by the sort of people who would like to try, but are too scared to ever just go ahead with it. A pipe or joint is a great send-off for it, and the dosage need not be quite so accurate…


Well, with a bit of practice, weighing your leaf before and after each pass to gauge consumption, you should fairly soon be able to dial in your perfect combo with a high degree of control. Which is kinda cool, I think.

The only thing that remains is to SILENCE THE FRICKIN’ BAG! Have a cushion or book handy to squash it dead once you drop it to the ground.

Chan said:
The only thing that remains is to SILENCE THE FRICKIN’ BAG! Have a cushion or book handy to squash it dead once you drop it to the ground.

Earbuds or headphones. external sound used to be a source of background anxiety for me....phone, neighbor's kids, doorbell, cat....all unpredictable. since i started using earbuds, i've never gone without. the crackling of the Volcano bag would not be audible.

thanks for your research!
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