Vaporizers are quickly becoming the go-to gadget for many cannabis users. Discreet and easy to use, they heat dry flower or cannabis oil at a temperature that is just below combustion, turning it into a fine vapor.
Thinking about getting a vaporizer? Learn about the benefits and the different kinds of vapes available to see if the #vapelife is for you.
Smoking versus vaping
What’s the biggest difference between old-fashioned smoking versus vaping? Vaping is believed to be easier on your lungs since you don’t inhale burnt plant matter and therefore avoid harmful smoke while still enjoying all the benefits of cannabinoids. Since they don’t burn, vaporizers are also less odorous and more inconspicuous than traditional smoking. Plus, you never have to worry about finding, using or losing your lighter! Vapes come in all shapes and sizes, but there are two main types of portable vaporizers to look for.
Dry herb/flower vaporizers
Dry herb vaporizers are battery-charged, handheld devices that heat herb to release vapors without carbonization. Some of them come with temperature controls. For those who are used to smoking pipes or pre-rolls, dry herb vaporizers provide a very similar experience. There’s no oils or cartridges to deal with, here: simply choose your favorite bud strain and stick it in.
Concentrates/oil vaporizers (a.k.a, vape pens)
Cartridges and oil vaporizers are the ones you’re likely most familiar with. Known as “vape pens,” they’re battery-powered and designed for enjoyment on the go. Unlike flower vaporizers, vape pens work similarly to e-cigarettes, meaning the cannabinoids are suspended in a liquid filler, which is heated and inhaled as vapor.
Concentrate vaporizers are quickly outpacing traditional methods of cannabis consumption. Last year in California, concentrates outsold flower for the first time ever (37 percent compared to 33 percent, respectively). Vape sales increased 69 percent in 2018, while CBD vape sales grew 105 percent.
There are two kinds of concentrate vapes you can get: disposable and non-disposable. Disposables are meant to be thrown away after use and require no charging. Strengths can vary, so you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one for you. Pay close attention to the percentages and ratios of THC and CBD present in the oil. Concentrates with high levels of THC will have more psychoactive effects than those that are more CBD-heavy. Some studies have shown that vaping cannabis can produce a significantly stronger high than smoking, so keep that in mind and start low, go slow.
For the more experienced smoker, vaporizers that use wax and shatter, often referred to as “dab pens,” are a wonderful option. They vaporize and combust the wax or shatter into oil directly onto the coil, and can combine with combusting dry herb for an advanced smoking technique. Both wax and shatter are BHO concentrates with a high THC potency, providing a powerful, long-lasting high.
Sleek, low-priced oil vapes tend to be more budget-friendly, ranging between $50 and $100. They’ll likely have a simple body, smaller batteries and a single button, without temperature selections. Disposable pens tend to be cheaper. Mid-priced vapes that are in the $150 to $200 range and might offer a few more bells and whistles, plus longer battery life. Then there are the pricier, premium vaporizers that can cost upwards from $250. These powerful vapes can come with temperature options, heating different strains at different temperatures in order to activate certain terpenes and produce different highs.
Whichever you choose, the quality of the bud or oil you're putting in the vaporizer matters just as much as the device itself. Make sure you go to a reputable dispensary to ensure you’re only buying the highest-quality cannabis and concentrated oils.