When it comes to marijuana, patients and recreational users are not limited to edibles, pre-rolls, or smoking with bongs or pipes. Vaping is a popular consumption method of choice for many cannabis enthusiasts. Vaping marijuana is a more accessible, faster, and healthier alternative for those who typically smoke or are used to other consumption methods. Not only do vaporizers help enhance the effects of marijuana, but many are also portable and uniquely designed so patients can discreetly maintain their therapeutic cannabis regimens while on the go.
Due to the wide variety of vaporizers for cannabis on the market, choosing an appropriate device is not as easy as it may seem, especially for those just getting started on their medical or recreational cannabis journeys. Much of the selection process involves a bit of trial and error. Cannabis enthusiasts of all experience levels can use this in-depth guide to learn the ins and outs of choosing the right vaporizer for cannabis.
What Is a Vaporizer for Marijuana?
Vaporizers are known as vapes, vape pens, mods, tanks, marijuana, cannabis, CBD, or weed pens to some people. Vaping devices heat oil, liquid, and dry marijuana products. They come in many different designs, shapes, and sizes. Some vaporizers are small enough to fit into pockets and are designed to mimic pencils, flash drivers, and other items. Others are large enough to generate vapor clouds for entire rooms or groups of people.
Benefits of Using a Vaporizer for Cannabis
Despite stigmas and misconceptions surrounding the use of marijuana and the act of smoking, scientific evidence is emerging highlighting the benefits of using a vaporizer for cannabis and how they outweigh many of the associated risks. Marijuana is beneficial for many people suffering from health conditions, including treatment-resistant and substance abuse disorders. Vaporizing marijuana also reportedly activates more of its active compounds, cannabinoids and terpenes, more than traditional smoking, so users can enjoy more favorable effects and waste less product.
Besides portability and privacy, vaporizers offer several distinct advantages over conventional smoking practices. According to a recent study in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, vaping reportedly produces fewer toxin emissions, such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, carcinogens, ammonia, and other harmful substances that generally lead to respiratory distress, lung irritation, and other adverse risks associated with smoking. Participants who smoke experience higher episodes of chronic bronchitis, respiratory irritation, etc., than those who use vaporizers for cannabis.
The health benefits don’t end there. The effects of vaping marijuana are dependent on the consumption method. Vaping is arguably one of the fastest ways to deliver cannabinoids into the bloodstream to achieve the desired result. Medical patients and recreational enthusiasts can get the dose they need in less time.
Terpenes and Aroma
A highly undesirable characteristic of smoking marijuana is the smell. One of the biggest complaints and myths associated with cannabis involves smoking and odor. Vaporizers amplify the natural aromas in marijuana. With vaporizers, combustion or fire is unnecessary to heat cannabis; there’s less risk of burning. They use lower temperatures to release the cannabis terpenes to the user while emitting more favorable and less offensive aromas. Vapor also dissipates faster than smoke for additional discreet privacy and convenience.
Flavor and Taste
Part of the cannabis plant’s appeal is its taste. The marijuana plant contains terpenes that influence its taste, smell, etc. These terpenes respond to temperature and are converted into a more flavorful vapor. On the other hand, smoking generates so much heat that the terpenes are often destroyed, thus leaving behind a burnt, bitter, and unpleasant taste.
Cost and Affordability
Vaping is an excellent way for cannabis users to manage their dosing and lower their overall costs at the same time. Using bongs, wraps or cigarette papers, and other traditional smoking methods can be wasteful and diminish overall effects and user experience. It’s also a quick way to burn through personal cannabis supplies and incur higher expenses at the medical marijuana treatment center or cannabis dispensary.
How Do Cannabis Vaporizers Work?
To truly understand the benefits of vaping, it helps to know vaporizers work. Though some units include lower or higher temperature settings, most vaporizers work within a specific temperature range below the combustion point. After a certain temperature, many cannabinoids and terpenes lose their impact. Many enthusiasts may not realize it, but different temperature levels can determine how cannabinoids can influence cannabis strain properties and effects. Decarboxylation is a vital component of the cannabinoid conversion process.
What Is the Difference Between Using a Vaporizer for Cannabis and Smoking?
Vaporizers are devices that use special mechanisms to heat oils/concentrates, dry raw cannabis, or botanical herbs. The most significant difference between vaporizers and conventional smoking methods is combustion. With cigarette-style smoking, cannabis becomes ash and toxic smoke.
Vaporizers, however, do not require fire or combustion to transform dry flowers or oil products into vapor. Instead, special components heat the product to the right or desired temperature to create a mist full of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other beneficial substances with fewer smoking risks.
Types of Vaporizers for Cannabis
There are two main types of marijuana vaporizers to consider when it comes to vaping: portable and nonportable. Portability is one of the most common reasons cannabis enthusiasts of all experience levels enjoy vaporizers regardless of their preferred cannabis consumption method.
Portable Marijuana Vaporizers
Portable units range in size and appearance and have lower temperature settings than large stationary units. Portable vaporizers are small enough to transport practically anywhere. Many portable vaporizers are available as pens. Mobile cannabis vaporizers are further segmented by marijuana consumption form. There are vape pens for cannabis oil cartridges and units for flower and concentrates, such as distillates and dabs.
Dry herb vape pens: hash and weed pens heat concentrated marijuana extracts, such as distillates, oils, and dry flowers. Only a tiny amount of product is necessary for the heating chamber. Users simply choose the desired temperature setting, press a button and inhale.
Dry herb pens require some upkeep to protect their performance and longevity. Therefore, routine cleanings and inspections are beneficial and can lead to lower replacement costs. Without proper maintenance, portable vaporizers or vape pens wear out prematurely or cause heating issues that tarnish product quality and overall user experience.
Hash oil or marijuana concentrate portable vaporizers: are ideal for vapers who prefer concentrated marijuana or cannabis extracts, such as wax, dabs, and oils. Users add cannabis cartridges and select a temperature to use. Wax and dab devices require users to add a small amount of their product to the chamber, choose a temperature setting and press a button to start their vaping experience.
Many of these vaporizers are all-in-one pens and rechargeable pens. Single-use pens are disposable and predominantly designed for swappable cartridges. After several sessions, replacement is necessary. Rechargeable pens, however, are a bit more versatile in use and product type. These devices come with built-in rechargeable or removable batteries. Users can replace cartridges or swap certain vaporizer elements depending on the type of cannabis and recharge the batteries as needed for long-term use.
Nonportable Marijuana Vaporizers
Countertop marijuana vaporizers are so large that they’re often referred to as “tanks.” They are ideal for those interested in having more control over their vaping experience and are not limited by their settings. They are also suitable for group vape sessions.
Large vaporizers vary in style and features but typically include:
Attachable mouthpiece and tube
Chamber for cannabis flower or concentrate
Countertop vaporizers are for stationary use. They produce enough vapor for personal and group use. Stationery marijuana vaporizers are more expensive than portable devices and come with a learning curve. However, they last far longer than portable units, offer better temperature precision and control and provide more flexibility with cannabis costs for long-term convenience.
What Kind of Cannabis Vaporizer Is Right for You?
Choosing the right vaporizer for marijuana may seem confusing, especially if you’re new to vaping. Disposable pens are ideal for users without spending considerations in terms of affordability. But in terms of long-term affordability, rechargeable cannabis vaporizer pens are the most cost-effective portable vaporizer choice.
Stationary devices are great for those who want optimal flexibility but prefer nonportable options. There’s less need to replace them as often as disposable units. Users spend less over time. Both types are offered at dispensaries and medical marijuana treatment centers.
In order to choose the right cannabis vaporizer, take time to learn about cannabis and its many forms and therapeutic uses. Then, consider your desired effects and the type of vaporizer that best meets your needs. Don’t forget to do some research, choose a reasonable budget, and keep an open mind about your choices. Many enthusiasts go through different cannabis vaporizers before developing a preference.