As cannabis use becomes more widespread and accepted, it seems that weed lovers keep coming up with novel ways to consume it. Now, for those who like the classic appeal of a joint but want to look like a tycoon while smoking it, there’s a new option: the cannagar.
As the name would suggest, a cannagar is a cigar made out of cannabis, and it’s made pretty much the same way a tobacco cigar is: with a filler, a binder and a wrapper. Not to be confused with a blunt, which is a hollowed out tobacco cigar filled with weed, or a spliff, which is a mixture of weed and tobacco wrapped in a rolling paper, every part of a cannagar is made with cannabis.
Syd Eubanks, the manager of AKO Direct in Sitka, is a cannagar aficionado who’s been experimenting with making his own since he first heard about them. Eubanks explained the process to Alaska Cannabist during phone and email conversations.
Eubanks starts out with good, fresh bud, the stickier and more trichome-laden the better. He places a coconut oil-coated, food grade wooden skewer in the middle of a tubular mold and uses a specially made plunger to pack the bud as tightly as possible into the mold. He said it helps to add some kief to the bud because it makes it stick together better and burn better. If he’s feeling inspired, he will also add a little something extra into the bud.
“I’ve thrown diamonds in there and that really helps it burn hotter and slower,” he said, referring to the crystalline structures of pure THCA that develop during certain stages of the extraction process. “It adds to the high and it’s just amazing.”
Once the mold is packed as tightly as possible, the resulting cannagar core — which resembles Thai Stick, that expensive but high quality cannabis treat some old-school smokers may remember enjoying in the 1970s — is removed and wrapped in large cannabis fan leaves. Eubanks splits the leaves in half and removes the spines to help them conform to the cannagar core, then coats them in a diamond terp sauce made in AKO Farms’ concentrate manufacturing facility. This helps the leaves adhere to the core, and also aids in the burning process.
After the cannagar is fully wrapped with leaves, Eubanks rolls the finished product in parchment paper or tin foil and sets it aside to cure for several days. After that, the cannagar is ready to enjoy at your leisure.
Eubanks said a cannagar elevates smoking weed to “a special occasion thing.”
“It’s the ultimate party favor, and everybody that smokes it loves it. It’s definitely a conversation starter. Its so clean. You definitely know you’re smoking weed.”
A well-made cannagar can last about an hour and 45 minutes for one person or make the rounds several times in a group of 50 people, according to Eubanks. Since COVID-19 has put the kibosh on group smoking for the foreseeable future, Eubanks smokes his solo and can make one last several days.
“The appeal of a cannagar is that it’s all cannabis product, and you can light it a hundred times. I golf, and it’s really good for that. You can light it, relight it, throw it in the cart — it’s very durable.”
Since the removal of the skewer leaves an air hole running the length of the cannagars interior, the smoke isn’t as dense in that of a tobacco cigar. The result is a clean smoke that doesn’t choke you, according to Eubanks.
Cannagars have become increasingly popular in states where cannabis is legal, and like a traditional cigar, they aren’t cheap. A company called Leira, which produces several sizes of premium cannagars currently sold in Nevada and Washington state, offers three different cannagars ranging in price from reasonable to rock star level extravagance.
At half an inch in diameter and 3 1/2 inches long, the diminutive “Cannarillo” contains 4 grams of flower, smokes for 30 to 45 minutes and costs $100. Their regular Cannagar is roughly three-quarters of an inch in diameter, 6-inches long and contains 12 grams of flower. It smokes for two to three hours and is priced at $300.
Their third offering, the 24k Gold Leaf Wrapped Cannagar, is the same size as their regular cannagar and retails at $1,000, depending on the prevailing local market prices.
Though $1,000 may seem exorbitant, it pales in comparison to the price tag of a cannagar sold in Las Vegas last year. Packed with 24 grams of Pure Haze hybrid and wrapped in hemp leaves and 24k gold leaf, the cannagar was specially crafted by Leira founder and master cannagar craftsman Areil Payopay. Packaged in a purple velvet lined wooden box, the one of a kind cannagar was purchased by a Los Angeles restaurateur for $11,000.
So far cannagars have yet to catch on in Alaska, but Eubanks hopes to change that. Working at home and strictly as a hobbyist, Eubanks has crafted about 100 cannagars for his personal use. He’ll need to obtain an additional license in order to start manufacturing them and selling them to the public, but he said his passion for cannagars makes it worth the effort.
“I hope to have a line of strain specific cannagars in our retail store one day, and available through out the state,” he said in an email. “Imagine a cannagar with strawberry banana flower, diamonds, terp sauce, and leaf. The strawnanagar!!! That’s the stuff dreams are made of!”
Contact Alaska Cannabis staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 907-459-7582 or at dchomicz@AlaskaCannabist.com.