Cannabis vaping has soared in popularity recently, and it’s easy to see why. Vape pens are portable, require nearly no set up or messy cleanup, and can be quickly puffed and discreetly tucked back into a pocket or bag. You can easily adjust the amount of cannabis you consume and save the rest of the cart for later, making vape pens a really practical method of consumption and as easy as simply pushing a button — sometimes even easier, just breathe in on the mouthpiece. Knowledge is power when it comes to exploring any type of cannabis consumption method, so we’re here to give you the rundown on what to look for in a vape.
What is Vaping?
Vaping cannabis involves inhaling heated oil or concentrate through a vaporizing device, most often a vape pen. The process of vaping involves heating the cartridge to a temperature that converts the desirable cannabinoids and terpenes — the compounds found in plant material that provide aroma and flavor — into vapor.
Anatomy of a Vape Pen
If you’re buying a vape for the first time, you should know the basics. While there’s a wide variety of customization and technology in vaping, the easiest option to turn to is a vape pen. These are the key components:
The metal or plastic bit you inhale from with, well, your mouth.
The tank holds your cannabis extract. Most likely it’ll be a pre-filled disposable cartridge. Keep in mind there will always be a tiny amount of headspace above the oil level. This is intentional, as the heating element may absorb oil when the cart is filled to ensure an ideal draw from your first use.
The atomizer heats your cannabis into vapor. It can be made from a variety of materials and customized to work with oil, concentrates, or wax.
A rechargeable battery that you can plug into a USB charger or computer port. Many vape pen packs will contain a USB charger with the packaging. Lower-voltage vape pens or pens with temperature controls are optimal for a smoother inhalation.
There are two main categories of vape pens to choose from: those with cartridge-battery combinations that are often sold separately, or disposable vape pens that are essentially one unit. Most batteries can be charged via USB and come in a standard format that works with any cannabis oil cartridge. Disposable pens don’t require that you charge them–they can be tossed after the tank is emptied.
Outside of the category of pens, vaporizers in general can vary in size, ideal draw time, how they activate, and the materials they vaporize such as dab pens or portable flower vapes.
The Basics on Cannabis Concentrates
The golden oil inside your vape cartridge is the result of a meticulous lab extraction process. To make concentrates, a liquid is derived from reducing plant material down to its most potent parts containing all the good stuff: terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids.
Distillate is a widely available, potent cannabis concentrate created through crude oil extraction methods, where the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) are separated from the plant matter and reconstituted to achieve specific potencies and formulations.
Live resin is crafted from fresh frozen flower through a gentle extraction process which preserves the full plant profile. The resulting oil delivers superior aroma, potency and flavor compared to distillates. Liquid Live Resin vape cartridges even fit on the same pen bodies as other vapes.
Oils may come with descriptions of strain names, such as Sour Diesel or Girl Scout Cookies, or with their intended effect like “energize,” “uplift,” or “relax”.
How to Properly Dose with Your Vape
While there’s no “one-size-fits-all” dosage for vaping, choosing the right vape for you will depend on a range of factors including body weight and tolerance. Everyone’s metabolism and endocannabinoid system is slightly different, which can yield unique results for each person.
The most common vapes recommend short, quick draws as opposed to a few long ones. Exhale comfortably and thoroughly as THC and CBD enters your system within seconds of inhaling (no need to hold it in your lungs). Wait a minute or two before inhaling again. If it’s your first time, wait 10 minutes in between pulls, and ramp up slowly. The residing wisdom with trying any form of cannabis consumption is to “start low, go slow.”
For newer cannabis consumers, vaping may be a good place to start because it only requires small puffs and offers a flavorful option that is ready to go whenever and wherever you are. Now you know what to look for in a vape — consume responsibly, and enjoy!