Gone are the days of apple and soda can pipes. With new technology and growing education about the benefits of medicating with cannabis, many people are turning to cannabis vaping as their chosen method of consumption.
While this is a trending way to ingest, many users have questions about how cannabis vaping works, the benefits, and whether it really is better than the old tried and true methods.
What is Vaping?
Leafly defines cannabis vaping as:
“…An electronic mechanism to heat air. Once the air reaches a certain temperature, the hot air actually heats the cannabis flower and/or concentrate, extracting the THC and turning the material into a vapor without charring the substance.”
Basically, your vaporizer turns your cannabis into potent THC vapor, which you then ingest and exhale, just as you would with smoke.
Is it Safe?
Medical cannabis is incredibly beneficial on a variety of levels, but ingesting smoke of any kind comes with its own risk factors and possible carcinogens. Blunts, joints, bongs, and chemicals released from lighters, often expose smokers to toxic by-products. While the chemicals released from rolling papers and lighters are minimal, vaping is a great alternative for those trying to use cannabis in the healthiest way possible. Many sources, like The Cannabist and Medical Daily, are claiming that vaping your cannabis could be the safest method.
In an academic study published by Scientific Reports, Varlet et al. (2016) explain:
“Vaporization conducted at less than combustion temperatures is one of the best recommended alternative methods to cannabis smoking. A vaporizer heats the cannabis plant material at a moderate temperature, causing the active cannabinoids to evaporate into an aerosol that contains far fewer harmful components.”
What Kind Do I Buy?
The health benefits of cannabis vaping are also reliant upon the vaporizer itself. Portable vaporizers can be purchased for relatively inexpensive, but many do not allow for temperature adjustments, or only allow for cannabis in one form. Here are a few of your options:
- Table-Top Vaporizers: These vaporizers are for home-use and are not portable. They generally must be plugged into an external outlet. They will either contain a Whip (a long tube which you use to inhale the vapor) or a Bag/Balloon (a bag that fills with vapor, which can then be inhaled out of an opening). These vaporizers are usually high-quality but can be complicated for new users. They range anywhere from $150-$1,000.
- Dry-Herb Vape Pens: This kind of vaporizer uses a battery to heat ground cannabis by using either conduction heating or convection heating. Conduction pens directly touch and heat the cannabis, creating a heavy, while sometimes uneven, flow of vapor. Although these pens are usually less expensive, it can be difficult to control the heating temperature, which can create a less desirable vapor. Convection pens heat the chambers surrounding the cannabis flowers, creating even vapor that will generally taste better than vapor created from conduction pens. If you’d prefer to not stray from using the actual herb, this type of vape might be the right kind for you. Both pens can be charged using a USB outlet, or wall charger, and can range from $100-$350.
- Oil/Wax Vape Pens: Oil/Wax pens also run using batteries that can be charged with USB, however, they come either pre-packed with a THC oil cartridge, or allow for the consumer to purchase various kinds of cannabis oil cartridges or wax concentrates (Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid, as well as varying THC levels) to insert into the pen. The pen creates vapor by gently heating the oil/wax and warming the active ingredients. These devices are a great option for inexperienced and experienced cannabis users alike. Disposable oil vape pens can start around $18, while reusable devices can range anywhere from $50-$200.
- Combination Portable Vapes: Many portable vaporizers actually allow for the all-in-one use of the dry herb, oils, AND wax. For an enthusiastic vape user, this is the best type of vaporizer in which to invest. There are hundreds on the market, and they allow for a range of vapor strengths and potencies. Combination vapes can vary anywhere between $50-$350.
For first time users, purchasing a disposable vaporizer, which usually contains a cannabis oil, is a great way to become accustomed to the differences between vaping and smoking. However, in order to receive the most benefits, users should eventually invest in a higher quality vaporizer, with more customizable options.
In addition to health benefits, vaporizers can be much more discreet, generally, produce a less potent cannabis scent, and can be gentler for the throat and lungs during inhalation. If you’re looking for a simpler way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, vaping could very well become your new favorite method!Get Your Card Now