By Spencer Winans

The simplest way to explain the Prrl is to imagine a lighter that somehow turns any pipe into a vaporizer.

To be more fanciful, it's kind of like having the power of Gambit from the X-Men—you have this ability to summon a very intense and controlled energy in the palm of your hand. If you're not careful with that power, the results can be disastrous. But, if you use it right, you can achieve something that previously seemed impossible.

The Prrl—referred to as "the Ember" in its beta form—is not currently available for sale. But it does exist. The inventor, Mark Lewis, lent me one of his prototypes. I tried it for a couple weeks, and it does exactly as the parent company, Prrl Labs, purports: It vaporizes flower.

I don't smoke a lot, but when I do, it's typically from a piece of glass—a one-hitter I bought at Farma a couple years ago for $5. I light it with a Bic and that's it. If I don't lose or break it, I won't buy another piece ever again, or rolling papers, or any other smoking device, for that matter. But part of me has always wanted a good, reliable vaporizer, partly because I run a couple of times a week and know it's better for my health. It's also a cleaner way to taste those terpene flavor profiles.

I've been told the Pax is the one to get. I've also been told it's the Firefly. In either case, the whole process is controlled and confined to a unit and brand you have to commit to. Either way, I'm going to have to throw down some serious cash on a device I'm not certain I actually want. But let's say I pay off all my student and credit-card debt before I die—then sure, I'll throw $200 at one of those doohickeys. But even then, I like my terpenes how I like my coffee: roasted and dark.

So, forget vaporizers. For $5, I already have everything I need. But now you're telling me I can vape my pot from my one-hitter? OK. I'm sold.

In function, think of the Prrl as a handheld oven. It uses interchangeable, airtight gauges to fit over the top of your piece, depending on what you use. Press a button and a coil made from jetfighter metal heats up, giving you a nice, clean hit of terpene flavor without the black lung.

The catch is that if you hold the Prrl over your pot long enough, without pulling a hit, your nugs could catch and burn. I was careful enough and it never happened, and it was worth the excitement.

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