Quick Start Guide to Vaping Cannabis
By Zelda Flowers
This is some quick and dirty information for new cannabis users who wish to know more about vaping. We’ll cover what vaping is, the benefits and the main options you’ll need to consider before you start.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is when a material (oil or flowers) is heated to a temperature that releases compounds in a vapor, but is below the temperature of incineration. When you smoke cannabis flowers, the heat incinerates the plant material releasing both the effective cannabinoids and burnt residue, responsible for the gooey black build-up on your pipe bowl.
The primary reason for vaping is the health benefits. With smoking, you’re introducing charred material in the smoke to your mouth, throat and lungs. If you’re a regular smoker, you’ll notice a measurable difference in a matter of days. In addition to feeling healthier, your house will smell better. You’ll also begin to truly experience and appreciate the diverse flavor profiles of different strains. In fact, after becoming a regular vaper, you may find it hard to return to smoking!
Types of Vaping
Pens: Vape pens are probably the most popular way to consume cannabis oil. Vape pens come in a variety of style, but most work the same. Either by drawing air or drawing and pushing a button, the vape pen heats oil contained in a special cartridge to a vapor which the user inhales. The benefits of vape pens include access to a vast variety of cannabis strains and plenty of brands to choose from. Replacement cartridges vary in price and are mostly universal in fit. The higher priced cartridges tend to be purer and of higher potency.
A note on purity: This applies to both cannabis oil cartridges and waxes/shatter/budder, etc… Purity is the main thing to look for when choosing a cartridge as the concentration process also increases the potency of any chemicals or contaminants that were used on the flowers. Some companies use highly toxic chemicals in their extraction process like solvents and antifreeze, while other use the much healthier C02 method.
Dry Vaporizers: This refers to vaporizers made to heat ground flowers. This is likely second in popularity for vape options. You can purchase anything from the uber-stylish Pax handheld vaporizer to the classic Volcano tabletop vape. They aren’t cheap but they work exceptionally well and are long-lasting. A good tabletop vape is a solid investment for someone who regularly uses cannabis at home. The main benefit of using a dry vaporizer is that you can use any flowers, grown yourself or bought from any dispensary.
Wet Vaporizers: This refers to any vaporizer made for oils or concentrates like waxes or shatter. If you’re going to get into dabbing, that’s another guide. I’m referring to handheld or tabletop vaporizers that utilize chambers you can fill with your chosen concentrate, not dabbing rigs requiring a butane torch. There are several brands of vaporizers made to handle these products; some have interchangeable chambers to switch between flowers and concentrates. The main difference between this type of vaporizer and the pen is that the selection of concentrates is much broader. Vape pen cartridges typically last for 100+ draws, to switch strains you simply unscrew the cartridge and replace it with a different one. With an extract vaporizer, you’ll need to clean the chamber frequently, especially when switching strains.
That’s about all you need to know to get started. Your local budtender will be happy to show what options they have in stock or you can buy a vaporizer online from websites like VapeWorld.com and ShopMarijuana.com.