How to Use a Weed Vape
As cannabis continues to work its way to complete legalization, vaping weed has grown in popularity. This can be mostly contributed to the easy, discreet use and improved quality. Vaporizers are often small and quick to use, making them an easy travel accessory. They also don’t have much of an aroma due to the elimination of many tars and carcinogens created when burning. This makes vaporizers a better alternative for your lungs and for those around you.
In this article, we'll cover:
- How Cannabis Vaporizers Work
- Types of Cannabis Vaporizers
How Weed Vaporizers Work
Weed vaporizers instantly heat cannabis products, edging the threshold that allows them to vaporize but not burn (and therefore not release as many toxins). This allows you to optimize the benefits weed, especially medical cannabis, has to offer. To heat this way, there are two types of heating systems: convection or conduction. Convection heating doesn’t allow the herb to touch the heat source. Instead, it flows hot air and steam over the product. If you have a convection heating product, it’s most likely made of ceramic or steel to ensure even and effective heating. Conduction products connect the heating source and product. Normally, this heat source will be some type of metal plate. The issue with hot-plate heating is that it is a concentrated heat, often making the temperature difficult to regulate and burning the flower inside the vaporizer.
While there are many ways to use vape products for weed, the three most popular are tabletop vaporizers, portable vaporizers, or hash oil pens.
How Vape Pen Buttons Work
When using a vape or dab pen, there are standard button instructions across most types.
- To turn on the pen – 5 button clicks
- To adjust the heat – 3 button clicks
- When inhaling – press and hold
- To turn off – 5 button clicks
Although these are considered the standards, every vape pen is a bit different; therefore, you must carefully read the instructions. There are a few types of pens without a button on them. These are considered ‘auto-draw’ pens.
Vape Pen Color Settings
Auto draw pens are nice; however, it’s more difficult to control the heat settings. There are generally three settings that correspond with different colored lights (again, this greatly varies by pen and company):
- Red/Yellow – 4.0 Volts
- Blue – 3.8 Volts
- Green – 3.6 Volts
The higher voltages heat the pen to a hotter temperature but often come at the cost of faster battery drainage. Along with these lights, there are often blinking or red lights that appear when your battery is either dead or dying. It’s important to keep your battery in good condition by not overcharging it and keeping it in a dry place where it won’t overheat. Many times, when traveling, people will use disposable vape pens so that they don’t damage theirs at home.
Types of Cannabis Vaporizers
The largest vaporizers, tabletop vapes are commonly used to vaporize dry cannabis. They need a surface to sit on in order to be used and have four main parts:
- Mouthpiece attachment
- Temperature dial
- Healing element
With this type of vaporizer, there are two options for distribution: whip-style and bag-style. If there is a bag filled with the vapor that detaches for inhalation, it’s a bag-style vaporizer. If there is a long tube that delivers the vapor from the heating chamber to the user, it’s a whip-style vaporizer. The line on separating tabletop vaporizers from other products is thin which is why dab rigs are often considered to fall into this category (although a rig will use wax instead of cannabis flowers).
Hand-held vapes are much smaller than their tabletop counterparts. With these types of vaporizers, it is most important to check what form of cannabis you are intending to use. Portable vaporizers are extremely popular due to the fact that they’re versatile, able to handle shatter, crumble, budder, and dried flowers among other forms of concentrate. There are wax, flower, and hybrid vaporizers, so make sure you are buying the right product to accommodate your needs. The three main elements of these are:
- Chamber (used to hold the cannabis)
- Heating element
There aren’t traditional temperature dials like on a tabletop vaporizer, instead, they’re controlled by clicking a button or turning a dial. Pressing the button will trigger the battery to vaporize what is in the chamber.
Also known as “hash oil” pens, they burn cannabis distillates and oils. They are the most compacted of vaping products and do resemble a pen as the name suggests. Like any other vaporizer, it’s important to know what function you are shopping for as battery capacity and chamber size will greatly vary depending on the purpose. It’s also important to understand what there is in your cartridge. “Raw” oils won’t contain any cutting agents or terpenes. Terpenes are used to add aroma and flavor to the oil you are vaping and cutting agents are used to create effects such as bigger ‘clouds’ or smoother draws. There are two main parts to a vape pen:
There are hundreds of types of batteries ranging in size, style, shape, design, etc. Therefore, there is a greater ability to customize your vape pen to your specific style and preference. When it comes to cartridges, there are many options. The most infamous is pre-filled vape cartridges. They vary in makeup (percentage THC, what it’s cut or flavored with, etc) and are produced by a multitude of companies with a variety of intended results. These are often extremely concentrated with a quick onset of effects.
One product commonly confused with vape pens are dab or wax pens. They are one variation of a vape pen that is filled with dabs instead of an oil or distillate. These pens are extremely versatile as almost any form can be loaded into their chambers, not just specified cartridges. These pens look similar to the same main components, but the dabs are in a heating chamber instead of a vape cartridge (where the liquid form is maintained).
There are many categories and types of cannabis vaporizers, and each of them is used for a slightly different purpose. When shopping for a vaporizer, it’s most important to get a device that matches the purpose you are searching for. Do your research before buying your product and make sure to check into other factors as well (such as battery life and power). Don’t forget to also check into the quality of your cartridges, not just your battery. Many times, vaporizers are healthier, safer, and easier than ‘regular’ smoking and there are enough styles to find one that is a fit for you and your needs; so, start your search and begin the hunt for your perfect vaporizer.