What’s a Vaporizer for Weed?
Say the word, “vaporizer,” and some people envision a humidifier steaming up a baby’s room. A vaporizer for weed is much different.
Vape Dry Herb Or Concentrates
You have likely seen these devices by now, either for sale online or in the hands of someone you know, but you may be wondering what all makes up a vaporizer? After all, they come in different shapes and sizes and do a variety of different things, whether it is vaping oils, dry herbs, or wax concentrates. There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to these different vaporizers.
Power Source + Heating Element = Vape
A vaporizer is generally made up of two major parts: a power source and a heating element. The way they work is simple, the power source, usually, a battery, sends a charge to the heating element, which in turn gets hot and vaporizes whatever it is in contact with. The user then inhales this vapor, which carries the same medical constituents that smoke would, like THC and CBD. The main advantage is that vapor does not contain the tar and carcinogens that smoke does.
Three Major Types of Vaporizers
There are three major types of vaporizers: oil vapes, dry herb vapes, and wax vapes. In today’s world, there is a diverse marketplace of vaporizers that have different functions, different battery lives, and come in different styles and looks. Overall, they all serve one purpose, to vaporize whatever you put in them. In the following categories, we will make learning about each kind of vaporizer easier, and go over the advantages of vaping and how to choose the vaporizer that is right for you.
Dry Herb Vaporizers
Dry herb vaporizers were born out of peoples desires to find an effective and less toxic way to consume cannabis. The main compounds in cannabis buds, THC, CBD, and the flavor-producing oils (terpenes), are all heat activated. This means with the right amount of heat, they can be extracted from the plant matter.
For the longest time, simply combusting the cannabis was the go-to option for everyone in love with this herb. However, burning the bud also released tar and carcinogens – a byproduct of smoke that can blacken the lungs and possibly cause lung cancer over time. The dry herb vaporizer is meant to be a healthier alternative to combustion.
These vapes work by applying enough heat to the cannabis so that it activates the compounds and turns them into vapor without the need for incineration. Thus, users can inhale these vapors without the toxic byproducts of smoke.
There are two main types of dry herb vaporizers: combustion and convection. There is some controversy regarding combustion vapes. These style of vapes have a heating coil that reaches temperatures hot enough to combust the cannabis, much like smoking. As a result, people generally tend to choose convection style vapes, which do not cause combustion.
Convection vaporizers heat the air inside of a chamber and that hot air is what heats the herbs. The chamber is typically ceramic or metal. You put the dry herbs inside a chamber, and then the vape battery heats the chamber to a specific temperature. As the chamber heats and vapor is produced, you draw from the mouthpiece and inhale the resulting vapors. A proper convection vaporizer will leave the herbs a toasted brown with no ashes, and the vapor it offers will be rich in THC, CBD, and the flavorful terpenes.
There are many styles of dry herb vaporizers that range from small to large. Some allow the user to adjust the temperature so that they can fine-tune the amount of heat to get the amount of vapor they desire. These vapes also sometimes come with OLED screens that display information about the temperature and coil. The way you load the cannabis into the vape varies as well. On some devices, you put it in through the top of the chamber (under the mouthpiece), and on others, you put it in through the bottom of the chamber (where it connects to the battery).
If you are familiar with wax concentrates, then you likely know what a dab rig is and why people use them. A wax vaporizer performs the same action as the dab rig: it exposes the wax to heat and turns it into vapor but without the need for a bulky, glass pipe or a torch. Because of their portable size and simplicity to use, wax vapes have become a popular form of vaporizer.
Wax vapes come in a plethora of designs, all with different features and functions, but at the end of the day, they all do the same thing, they vaporize wax without the need for a rig. These vapes, like the dry herb vapes, use a coil to heat the wax. This coil comes in either ceramic, metal, or quartz.
You apply the wax to the coil inside the vape’s heating chamber. Then, with the press of a button, you heat the coil up until the wax turns into vapor. Unlike dry herbs, the temperature you use to vaporize the wax is not quite as important to the average user. It only really matters that the coil gets hot enough to vaporize the concentrate.
There are, however, more and more functional wax vaporizers entering the market every year. These vapes have functions that allow you to fine-tune the temperature for smoother, tastier hits. The newest to the market, the Saber Vape Pen has an auto-heat function that simmers the wax at a low, constant heat for 15 seconds, giving you the best vaping experience possible.
Cannabis Oil Vaporizers
When people talk about cannabis oil, they are referring to the natural oils that growers extract from the plant matter itself. There are a few ways this can be done, but the end result is an oil that is rich in THC. The growers then infuse the oil with cannabis plant terpenes to make a flavorful mixture that people can consume using vaporizers.
The most popular way of acquiring this oil is in pre-filled cartridges. These are usually slim, 510-threaded tanks that hold anywhere from a fraction of a milliliter to just one milliliter. These cartridges work on almost any style of vape battery and function much like any vape tank. You simply attach it to the battery, supply it with a few watts, and enjoy the flavorful vapor.
There are a variety of batteries to choose from when using these oil cartridges. Some batteries are activated by your inhale, so it fires while you puff without the need of a button. However, many people starting out will use the slim, eGo-style batteries. These devices are not adjustable, and only deliver a few watts to the coil.
While a few watts are all that is needed, many people have made the shift to box mods because they have a wider combination of functions. These include adjusting the watts for a larger or smaller hit, an OLED screen to monitor the ohms and watts, and a much longer battery life. Having the ability to adjust the watts in 0.1 increments allows total control over the vaping experience. E-juice vapers originally made the box mod popular, but now these devices are proving useful in every aspect of the vaping world, from dry herb vapes to wax vapes.
How to Choose a Vape
Choosing a vaporizer that is right for you can be exciting and a bit overwhelming, given just how many there are on the marketplace. The best way to start is to figure out what you are looking for from a vaporizer. This includes the type of atomizer you will need and the style of battery that will best fit with that atomizer.
First, decide what you will be vaping, whether it is dry herbs, wax concentrates, or cannabis oil. Once you know, you can shop for an atomizer in that specific category. There are a number of options for dry herbs, such as the type of coil, the capacity of the chamber, and whether or not it is convection or combustion heated. The same goes for wax atomizers. Some will use ceramic or quartz coils, or have larger or smaller chambers.
When it comes to batteries, your options expand even more. You can choose from standard slim batteries, or, if you want more control, from feature-rich box mods. Some batteries will have a wider range of watts to adjust from, have support for temperature control, and have longer battery lives. If you are getting a 510-threaded atomizer, you want to make sure the battery you pick supports 510 attachments.
The setup you choose will vary on your budget and personal preferences. A good rule of thumb is to always read reviews about the device you are considering before making the purchase. Other people’s experiences will give you an idea about whether it is right for you. If you plan to vape a lot, you may want a longer lasting battery. If you want control over the amount of vapor you get, you may want a mod that allows you complete control over the watts.
Vaping Versus Smoking
The vaping versus smoking debate has been going on for a while. It began when people started shifting from cigarettes to e-juice. Former smokers began to see the benefits of vaping soon after the switch. Smoke carries the lung damaging tar and carcinogens that vapor does not. People noticed their breathing improved after switching as their lungs began to clear up from all the toxins caused by smoking.
Soon after, a movement of combustion versus convection began to sweep across the cannabis industry. Some states that made the medicinal use of this herb legal realized the benefits of vapor over smoke. Some patients were also sensitive to the smoke, or could not consume smoke for health reasons. As a result, there was an influx in cannabis vaporizers on the marketplace.
Cannabis vaporizers also opened a doorway to new opportunities. Unlike smoking, vaping allowed users to be more discreet about their hobby. The vapes also allowed them to be more mobile about when and where they enjoyed their herbs. Given the vapor carries none of the toxins found in smoke, it also improved the quality of their lungs and health in general. For these reasons, the vaping versus smoking argument has placed its roots in both the tobacco and cannabis world.
About the Author:
The article was written by John Winston, Chief Editor at NY Vape Shop.