Absolute Xtracts cartridges are a story of good cartridges getting even better. For me, they have always been the standard for a mass-marketed cartridge, widely available, yet without sacrifices in quality, purity, taste, or safety. Without getting into harder to find specialty cartridges, Absolute Xtracts has been my go-to cartridge brand since I discovered cartridges existed, and since then they’ve made some key improvements to their cartridges and added a wealth of information about each strain and the extraction process to their website. As the market for cartridges has become more competitive, they’ve managed to step up their game substantially. Absolute Xtracts Gorilla Glue and Royal Kush cartridges offer a window into everything there is to love about the brand’s oil cartridges.
Gorilla Glue is a heavy hitting hybrid strain that has seen a boom in popularity in recent years. It won first place in both the Los Angeles’ and Michigan’s 2014 Cannabis Cups, as well as High Time’s Jamaican World Cup. With parents such as Chocolate Diesel, Sour Dubb, and Chem’s Sister, this strain focuses on potency and a powerful hybrid effect.
The taste of the vapor starts with sweet lime, then is accompanied by piney, earthy, natural notes that follow. The overall aroma is pungent and slightly sour, with a mild chemical taste, sort of a mashup of the aromas you expect from high quality, hybrid cannabis. This is refreshing as I have more recently begun to pick up cartridges that don’t actually taste anything like cannabis, often thanks to the addition of terpenes derived from artificial sources, or sometimes plant sources other than cannabis. Instead of a perfume-like artificial taste, this Gorilla Glue oil tastes just like dank, resinous cannabis buds.
In terms of effect, Gorilla Glue leans slightly in the sativa direction, especially during the first hour. It starts with a wave of cerebral euphoria before later melting into the “gluey” couchlocking body buzz for which the strain is named. The lab tests for the cartridge, available on the Absolute Xtracts website, show a total of 55 percent THC. This is not high at all for the CO2 oil used in cartridges (which can go as high as 80 percent), but the strain feels like its packs a punch nonetheless. Gorilla Glue is a favorite for patients treating stress, depression, pain, and mild insomnia.
The Royal Kush cartridge is a different kind of experience than the Gorilla Glue, but also manages to be high quality and delicious. While also a hybrid, this strain leans considerably more toward indica effects. Bred from Afghani and Skunk #1, Royal Kush offers a more hypnotic, body-heavy effect with a higher potential for sleepiness than when compared with Gorilla Glue. In terms of flavor this cartridge is skunky and earthy, with a not-so-sweet berry undertone. Again, the taste is pure natural cannabis, unlike some cartridges.
The THC tests higher than Gorilla Glue, at 63 percent, but the effect is similarly powerful. Some of the most prominent terpenes in the lab test include alpha-pinene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene. The meditative, full-body effects become more sleep inducing as the hours pass, leaving you less alert than the uplifting Gorilla Glue. This is a better option for sedation and heavy relaxation, but you may want to save this one until later in the day.
Since my last review of Absolute Xtracts, the company has brought some key features to their cartridges as the competition has become more fierce, and as cartridges have become more popular. The lab tests are a helpful feature, allowing you to be certain about cannabinoid and terpene content, as well as the presence (or lack thereof) of residual solvents and other additives.
In their FAQ, the company specifies that their cartridges contain strain-specific terpenes extracted from the cannabis itself, confirmed in many of the lab tests. As people become more aware of the way the CO2 oil process eliminates terpenes, this is key to helping customers understand what they are getting. Using cannabis-derived terpenes helps to keep the cartridge experience a bit closer to the whole plant medicine enjoyed when smoking or vaping flower, when it comes to taste, effect, and medicinal benefits.
In a big boon to taste, Absolute Xtracts has also switched from plastic to metal and glass cartridges since my last review. It’s impossible to overstate how this boosts the purity and intensity of the hash oil flavor, but if you have tried their oil out of both types of cartridges, you will have noticed that the difference is like night and day.
You’ll find all kinds of features, flavors, and gimmicks from cartridge manufacturers these days, from lighter colored golden oil said to be easier on the lungs, to ultra-high THC content, and some of these are worth trying out, but often, these cartridges are harder to find and tend to be pricier. When it comes to the bigger manufacturers, Absolute Xtracts is the most consistent option around – and they’ve gone to great lengths to keep up with a quickly evolving market.