Spotlight on Ascend: Cartridges
Ascend Cannabis Co. was founded in Aurora, CO in 2016. A local cannabis company through and through, they specialize in concentrate extraction. Producers of fine-tuned products like pure CBD Diamonds and terpene-rich oil, Ascend has made their name in the cannabis industry with their cartridges, which you’ve likely seen on most dispensary shelves if you shop in the area. Their specialized scientific approach to extraction produces a cartridge that is unique to the cartridge market both conceptually and practically.
In the laboratory, Ascend’s extractors derive first terpenes, then cannabinoids. They then distill that concentrated matter until it is purged of solvents, waxes, fats, and other impurities. What are left behind are terpenes, which provide flavor and nuance to your experience, and cannabinoids, which provide the potency. THC and CBD are the best-known, but there are 8 major cannabinoids present in cannabis. A whopping 5 or 6 of these are preserved in Ascend’s extraction process, where most companies feature just THC and CBD. Next in the process, they “emulsify” the material to combine the terpenes and cannabinoids seamlessly. The result is an oil that is pure, terpene rich, and potent in ways that many other cartridges do not boast.
Today the spotlight falls on their Cherry Diesel cartridge. The cartridge immediately appears full, and this is another unique attribute that Ascend boasts; cannabis oil cartridges are notorious for having a reservoir in the atomizer that 50mg of oil can seep into, and each Ascend cartridge is loaded with 550mg of material. While other cartridges provide a half gram of oil in the entire unit, Ascend cartridges come with 500mg visible in the unit, and an additional 50mg in the chamber. This provides a dual benefit to the consumer--the visual assurance of laying eyes on an entire half gram and the substantive benefit of receiving a little extra material with their purchase. It’s certainly satisfying to view.
Upon trying the cartridge, the first thing that the user will notice is the vigor with which the cartridge vaporizes. Just a small inhale produces a cloud of flavorful vapor, even with the battery set to a low voltage. It’s not as if the material is burning either--just a healthy and forthcoming production of vapor that retains its smoothness even within the large clouds that are produced.
The flavor is robust; while some Ascend cartridges that I’ve tried in the past have had a slightly generic flavor that seemed duplicated from cartridge to cartridge, the profile of the Cherry Diesel cartridge is very representative the strain it was derived from. Cherry and menthol notes dominate the palate on the initial draw, but upon breathing in and out several times a strawberries and cream aftertaste creeps over the tongue, reminiscent of some of the best Cherry Diesels I’ve had the pleasure of smoking.
After several minutes, a muted euphoria settles in. Socializing or cruising the town are perfect activities for this uplifting high. It’s light enough in the body to take your afternoon stroll all the way up to the mountains but not so intense in the head that you couldn’t hit a patio and chat with some friends. A daytime smoker’s sativa to be sure, but this is a mood lifter rather than a heavy stimulator.
To me the experience of the cartridge, both in intake and effect, match up to the company’s claims of quality. When comparing with other cartridges in the industry, Ascend vaporizes more heavily and has a more noticeable effect than other carts draw-for-draw. Paradoxically, even though Ascend cartridges vaporize more per hit than other cartridges, they also last longer. This makes Ascend the premium option for consumers whose main consumption method is cartridges. The brand checks all the boxes for cartridge user’s needs--potent, long-lasting, and hard-hitting--and delivers a satisfying flavor to boot.