Any grower, legal or otherwise, can technically buy those round, 510-threaded oil cartridges that most manufacturers use that attach to countless different battery packs, but Pax pods are different. The pods and their filling equipment are proprietary products made by the company and then sold exclusively through vetted oil manufacturers.
This means that while Pax isn’t actually manufacturing its own oil, you have a significantly higher guarantee of quality (and Pax can make more money by controlling aspects of distribution). Once the empty pods leave the company’s grasp they belong to an official vape oil manufacturer, which must follow the laws of the state it operates in. Because marijuana isn’t federally legal in the United States, where and what you can buy depends on each state’s law. Right now, that means all products regulated to each state must remain within state lines.
Each pod contains one of the world’s smallest production NFC chips and is tagged to the exact batch of cannabis it contains. Pair the Bluetooth-enabled Era Pro to your Android smartphone, open up the PAX app, and it will even show you the states’ individual test results for that specific lot. Very impressive.
I have been told by executives at PAX that making such simple-looking software requires an insane amount of doing—both legal and otherwise—because each state has varying packaging and testing requirements.
My first thought, after inhaling a beautifully smooth bit of live resin from Buddie’s Cannabis here in Portland, is that Steve Jobs probably would have loved this in college. All you have to do is put a cartridge in and inhale, but behind the simple functionality, there’s a lot of Woz-y stuff going on.
When you pop a cartridge in, not only does the pen (using an equally small chip reader) check what specific cartridge you have inserted, it also pulls up the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting for the pod—which often changes from strain to strain.
You can adjust the temperature settings of the PAX by slightly pulling in and out on the cartridge, like pumping a bike pump. You’ll feel a small button-like sensation, and you’ll see the lights on the outside range from one leaf (coolest) to four (hottest), with a fifth stop and blinking light at the manufacturer’s recommended setting. Typically, I found that setting to be between one and two lights.
One cool thing about the NFC tech is that it is read- and write-able, which means that when you change the temperature setting for a specific pod, that specific pod remembers. Swap out pods and your PAX will adjust to each one’s setting. Pretty neat, especially if you like different pods at different temps.
Unlike other vaporizers, the Era Pro doesn’t have an on button; instead it feels when you’re inhaling using a series of extremely accurate pressure sensors. Unlike the Era that came before, the newer Pro has two sensors, so it shouldn’t accidentally leak weed smell into your pants when it thinks you’re inhaling on an elevator.