It’s been a while since your humble author was called upon to review a plain old vape cartridge, what with exploring everything lately from cannabis humidor systems to new strains of psychedelic mushroom. Ah yes, vape cartridges! We young pups spent many a day under gramma’s apple tree puffing our vapes, yessiree! Well, today’s cartridge encounter was “interesting” to say the least. I’ll try to unweave this mystery for you as clearly as I can, but this is just one of those stories that keep getting worse the longer they go on.
We’re looking at Serene Tree vape cartridges. It looks like they go for somewhere are $29-32 on their site. Just to clarify, this is Serene Tree’s own in-house brand, not the other brands they also sell on the site.
- Didn’t kill me
- Where’s the beef (potency)?
- Packaging conflicts with COA
- Delta 8 when you were expecting Delta 9 feels like getting underwear for Christmas
- Consistently mislabeled oil across cartridges as shown by the year-old COAs on their own site!
Recommendations: UH, maybe GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER in general?
Serene Tree Cartridges: Are they Delta 9 or Delta 8?
Disclaimer: Let me start out by saying, I’m not doing this to point fingers or make anybody look bad. The cannabis industry situation out in California is an unimaginable circus, especially in the vape cartridge industry. I’m honestly amazed anything gets done out there. Yet the owner was kind enough to reach out to us and provide a sample, and we offer critiques as constructive, hopefully, helpful advice in the interest of helping every company shine.
So, here is a situation that does not shine, and does not spark joy. In fact, there’s no point being nice about it by now: This is a cluster-f***.
This is what we got. Two nearly-identical 501 vape cartridges in consistent packaging. One “Cookies” and one “Ice Cream Cake,” because only diabetes flavors are allowed in Candyland (California), but no matter, they taste like Cookies and Ice Cream Cake, and for once the flavor is not overwhelming. Both of them clearly labeled “DELTA-9 THC.” Does everybody see that?
On both cartridges, it even says “delta 9 THC” in several places on the packaging. That’s established.
So I screwed a cart into my trusty TIK20, puffed away, waited a bit, puffed some more… frowned and went “hmm, this is not hitting like a D9 cart at all.” So I checked with the site for a COA (certificate of analysis, i.e. a lab sheet). They’re posted here. I even checked with the owner to make sure I’m looking at the right thing. They don’t seem to have one for Ice Cream Cake but here’s the one they show for Cookies:
Okey-dokey, can anybody see what’s wrong with this picture? You in the back? Yes…
The lab sheet shows 58% delta-8, no delta-9
And I note, they were even too skimpy to toss in some CBD. Total cannabinoids are 60%, so it’s pretty much all delta 8.
It’s too weak even for 58% delta 8
Now, even taking this into account, I go back to huff the cart and still can’t believe this is 60%, even for Delta 8. I feel something that fades almost before I exhale. It tastes like the Cookies flavor carts we know and love. For the effects, practically nil. I even tried it over a couple of days just to be sure my tolerance isn’t throwing me off whack. If you asked me, I’d say 30% delta 8, tops.
I had the same results off the Ice Cream Cake, by the way.
Possible Explanations for the Serene Tree anomaly?
At first, I almost went “Awww, the poor company just obviously mixed up the wrong oil in mistaken packaging for you, it happens all the time.” I was standing on the doormat of the threshold of forgiveness, ready to give them the benefit of that doubt. Then I had a thought: “The packaging in the COA is not an *exact* match though, because even though the type is blurry, you can tell a few words differ there from here. Companies re-design their packaging, see, so this is two different carts in the same product line we’re talking about, which tells me that this has happened more than once.
Then I thought to check the other COAs on the site. There’s the one for – and I quote – “Serene Tree Delta-9 THC Cartridge – OG Kush“:
In fact, that’s the same thing showing up on the COAs for Granddaddy Purp and Pineapple Express and Super Lemon Haze.
They do this consistently!
Serene Tree offers both delta 8 and delta 9 products, so they obviously know the difference. The date on the Cookies lab sheet says August 2022, so they’ve all been this way for an entire year. Nobody has even noticed??? The QR code on the box goes to the COA page.
OK, so far, beyond my little cartridge review, we have a company that is pretty disastrously mismanaged to say the least, and exposing itself to a possible penalty fine, which does happen.
What Else Could Be Wrong With This Oil?
But remember, I said that even if the COA is the gospel truth, there’s no way I’m even vaping 59% delta 8 here. It feels more like 30% if that. For one possible explanation, these cartridges might simply be old. Cannabis loses potency over time, because cannabinoids break down organically. The same thing happens in a cartridge, which is why most cannabis derivative products have a 6-month shelf life, max 1 year.
The oil in these also looks a bit darker than your average tawny blond oil:
Should I consider myself insulted?
At least they sent me the right logo card for their company. It was the only correct thing in the package.
I mean it’s not like I went out looking for these guys, they came to me. With this. Intuitively, one would assume when a company offers its product for public review, that they’d send their best. I clearly tell everyone: We do not guarantee reviews, we’re a hardline consumer advocate. I’m flabbergasted to explain any motive here, but I can say that this looks like one messed-up company and not only can I not recommend Serene Tree vapes, I’d advise driving with the windows up in Vista California lest you recklessly drive downwind of the meth shack they call an extraction facility. For a licensed, professionally-presenting company to perform this way is nothing short of scandalous.
This is the first time I have discovered a licensed company that actually performs poorer than some black market brands I’ve seen. I’m not even mad about that part, I’m just amazed.
Readers, tell us about your botched-up vape cart stories in California (I’m sure they’d fill several volumes!) in the comments below or in our relatively sane forum.