Produced by the mCig company (which is now publicly traded under the symbol MCIG), the mCig is labelled as a “Herbal Electronic Cigarette” but is intended to be used as a vape pen for cannabis. After becoming curious about vape pens in the past, I managed to get my hands on an mCig and have been able to test it out extensively during the past week. The mCig claims that “it heats but never burns”, and I was curious to test this out as in my experience most vape pens tend to burn herb much more easily than dedicated portables. Furthermore, the kit was part of the second generation mCig which boasts a higher capacity battery (360mAh vs the previous 260mAh), shorter length (0.5″ smaller), and redesigned heating element.
The mCig came in sparse packaging with an instruction manual, charger, battery, stir stick, and heating chamber. The heating chamber has a flat stove type element at the bottom, and it can handle both loose leaf or concentrates. The bowl size was quite spacey, and approximately 0.5 grams of loose leaf marijuana can fit inside. The unit is also highly discreet (it looks like an e-cigarette!) and can fit easily in jacket and clothes pockets. After giving the unit an initial charge, I loaded a bowl of loose leaf with a few friends (who also use vapes), and we began to test it out. Once the unit is turned on, you activate the heating element manually (similarly to the Firewood and Firefly portables) by holding down a button for 3-5 seconds and then taking slow draws. The initial hits produced a medium amount of vapor using the lower setting, and produced even more on medium.
Unfortunately, after only a few very short hits on the high setting we found ourselves burning parts of the bowl. Because of the cylindrical design of the herb chamber (with the heating element at the bottom), we all found ourselves burning bowls easily and having to turn them frequently (with the included tool) in order to vaporize more evenly. The battery life was quite good, and it lasted several hours of heavy use (and can last me all day with light-moderate use), definitely an improvement over the first generation mCig. The heating chamber was also easy to clean out, and if it ever gets coated in resin simply dip a q-tip in some high proof alcohol and give it several good swabs.
Overall I feel that given the low price (only $10!), discreet design, and solid battery life the mCig serve as a great low cost introduction to vaporization, but my friends and I have to come to regard it more as an electronic joint rather than a true portable vaporizer. The fact that herb catches fire easily (because of the uneven heat chamber), and the three temperature settings taking time to get used to (I much prefer accurate gauges like that used by the Ascent as opposed to manual heating). The vapor produced is also not nearly as pure as a dedicated portable either. Hopefully mCig will refine subsequent generations of the mCig in order to produce an even better experience (they are definitely heading in the right direction). Although I have only tested the mCig with loose leaf so far, I imagine that it performs much better with concentrates (since they can be more evenly vaporized). Expect a follow up post in the near future with using the mCig for concentrates once I get more hands on some more!
James M, aka ‘Mr. Vape’