If you’re new to vapes, what you really need to know, more than anything else, is how to use a vape pen. You’ll find everything you need to know with regard to vape pen use, how to vape marijuana, and more in this complete guide.
After all, you’ll need help winding your way through the world of concentrates, waxes, oils, if you’re going to get the most bang for your buck, right?
The act of vaping weed, vaping thc, vaping cannabis, or however you want to refer to it, is bursting at the seams. But no need to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the sheer breadth of options available.
Can you vape weed? Yes. And we’re here to make the whole process a little less daunting and a lot more fun.
So, What Actually is a Vape?
A vape is nothing more than a device used to heat up dried cannabis flower or cannabis concentrate to a high temperature. So much so, that the primary material is converted into a vapor, containing all the elements of the original. This vapor is then inhaled. When a vape is working as it should, it heats the material to the perfect temperature, designed to convert it into a vapor, but not so hot that it burns.
The distinction here is vital. A burning product produces smoke. A vaporized product doesn’t. Smoke, when inhaled, is incredibly damaging, causing coughing, discomfort, and longterm health issues. All the beneficial ingredients of dry cannabis, when burned, are lost in the smoke. Even long, deep, draws on a burning pre-roll cannot offer the same product benefits as vaporized cannabis.
The Basic Elements of a Standard Vape
Most, but not all, vapes are made up of a few basic elements. The main function of a vape is to heat the cannabis inside, which is why the most important element of a vape is its heating device. All vapes also always come with an extraction chamber, which is where the vapor is generated. The mouthpiece of a vape is the part used by the consumer in order to draw and inhale.
Most portable vapes are designed to allow you to inhale directly from the extraction chamber. Desktop vapes also include what’s known as a holding chamber, which is where the vapor is held until the consumer is ready to draw and inhale. Let’s take a more detailed look at the difference between the portable and the desktop vape below…
The Different Types of Vapes
There are two main types of vapes: portable ones and desktop models, sometimes referred to as tabletop vapes.
5 Facts about Portable Vaporizers
If we had to choose five essential facts to share about the portable vaporizer, they would be as follows:
- On-the-go smokers tend to prefer the portable vape.
- Portable vapes are also known as vape pens. The cannabis vape pen is highly popular.
- E-cigarettes, a particular type of vape pen, have become incredibly popular over the last decade and are almost solely responsible for turning the vape, in all its forms, into a mainstream product.
- Most portable vapes run off of lithium-ion and alkaline disposable batteries. Others are powered by butane or flames, but are generally considered less efficient, which is why, therefore, they are also less popular.
- Some portable vapes can be recharged by simply plugging them into a socket, while other models require that the battery is removed and charged separately. A third option exists for car drivers: the portable vape that can be charged with a car adaptor.
Tabletop Vaporizers: Consumers and Models
Desktop vaporizers tend to be favored by well-seasoned, serious vapers. Mainly because the desktop vape plugs directly into the plug socket, resulting in a strong, steady power current and a more efficient, more reliable vapor flow. The fun element of a desktop vape is increased because of the variety of models available to choose from:
A whip-style vaporizer comes equipped with a tube, commonly referred to as “a whip”, that’s usually made out of vinyl or silicone. Hot air is pulled along the tube of a whip-style vape, and over the top of blends and concentrates, via a process known as convection. Vapes that operate using the convection process ensure that the heating element never comes into contact with the material being vaped, which means there’s no risk of setting the material on fire.
In a forced air vape, an internal fan drives the hot air over the materials to produce a steady stream of vapor. The vapor is then usually collected in what’s known as a balloon bag, and sits waiting for the consumer to inhale. Most premium vapes have adopted the forced air design feature.
The dual-style desktop vape is, quite frankly, a win-win situation. As its name suggests, the dual-style vape is both a whip and forced air vape in one. You can switch between both styles using the same single device. These vapes are incredibly practical and allow you to opt for the exact kind of vaping style that will best match the material you’re inhaling.
So, What Can You Vape in a Vape?
Whether portable or desktop, some weed vapes are better designed for inhaling dried cannabis flower, while others have been specifically crafted for the consumption of oils, waxes, and other concentrates.
Some vapes require that you buy pre-filled concentrate cartridges. Others give the option to buy the concentrate of your choice, place it on the vape’s dish or bowl, and then heat until it turns into vapor. If you’re looking for the most convenient vape model, then you definitely need to invest in one that supports both dry cannabis flower and concentrates.
How Far Back does the Vape Go?
It wasn’t really until the 1960s that most people in the West really began to understand and accept the dangerous health implications from inhaling tobacco smoke. As concerns began to rise, more people began to search for alternative ways to enjoy nicotine consumption. Enter, Herbert A. Gilbert; the man credited with the breakthrough of designing the world’s very first vape in 1963.
But despite Gilbert’s cool invention, vaping just didn’t catch on until a Chinese pharmacist, called Han Lik, came along with the Ruyan in 2003. The Ruyan, which roughly translates to “like smoke” in Mandarin, was the vape that Lik created after losing his father to cancer. It sped its way through China, it quickly arrived to Europe, and then it flooded onto the U.S. market in the late 2000s. The country hasn’t looked back since.
Who Would Benefit from a Vape?
Cannabis consumers like to bong, inhale through pipes, roll joints, or even have someone else pre-roll one for them. So, why move over to vapes? What’s so great about vaping and who would really benefit from or enjoy it? Here are the top three reasons for choosing to vape:
- If you’re particularly health-conscious, but you love to inhale cannabis, then vaping is the way to go. It eliminates the existence of actual smoke, thus protecting your lungs from tar and other toxins.
- Feeling the force of social pressure? Do people hate the fact that you smoke? Is it harder and harder to find an outdoor location that permits smoking? Then it’s time to switch to the more socially-acceptable vape. Vaping, unlike smoking, is odor-free and a lot more discrete.
- If you consume cannabis for medicinal reasons, or if you love to taste the pure flavor of specific cannabis strains, ditch the pre-roll and pick up the vape. When we smoke cannabis, 89% of the smoke that we inhale has no medicinal value whatsoever. But when we vape, around 95% of the beneficial plant compounds are absorbed within the first few seconds. Pretty incredible, right?
To Vape, or Not To Vape?
As with everything else in life, there are advantages and drawbacks to vaping. You just have to weigh them up and decide if vaping’s for you based on what you evaluate. With that in mind, here are some of the possible benefits of vaping:
- Vaping is healthier and safer than traditional smoking.
- Vaping doesn’t produce secondhand smoke.
- Vapes are not affected by no-smoking laws.
- Vapes can be enjoyed almost anywhere.
- Vaping doesn’t infect clothes, or the air we breathe, with foul-smelling odors.
- Vaping doesn’t affect the freshness of breath.
- When you vape, there are no tips or papers to clean up afterwards, which means less work for you and a much better panorama for the environment.
- Vaping is cheaper than traditional smoking, applicable to both tobacco and dried cannabis flower.
And here are the drawbacks:
- Little research has been done to test the overall safety of vaping.
- The vaping industry remains highly unregulated, which means there are lots of inferior products out there on the market.
- Vapor isn’t the same as smoke, pure and simple, and some consumers just never really take to it.
- There have been some cases documented of exploding vape batteries.
How To Use a Vape Pen
So, how does a vape work and how do you vape correctly? Well, before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s make one thing clear. All vapes are different. All manufacturers are different. The industry isn’t highly regulated, which means that the most important thing for a consumer to do before using a vape, even the most experienced of vapers, is to read the instruction manual, cover to cover.
For example, some vapes allow you to directly set the temperature, which means you can manually adjust it to make the appropriate shift between dry cannabis flower and concentrate consumption. Most vapes with temperature controls come equipped with dials, knobs, or digital displays. Some have been manufactured with preset temperature options. Again, read the manual. Make sure you’re clear on how your particular vape functions.
Avoid filling your vape with dry clumpy cannabis. Grind the clumps down before you put them into your vape. Be kind to your vape. Give it less work to do. HOWEVER, don’t grind them down too finely, otherwise you’ll run the risk of them slipping into the chamber and making a real mess of the vape’s internal mechanisms.
Step by Step
Once you’ve read the manual and you’ve prepared your material (dry cannabis or concentrate) you can follow this basic step-by-step guide. Take it slow and don’t be afraid to ask for more help or clarification before you begin should you need to. That’s what we’re here for.
- Power up your device. This means either plugging it in to a socket or making sure the battery is fully charged.
- Let the vape heat up to the required temperature. Some vapes conveniently come with an LED light that switches on when the vape is ready to use.
- Load the hand piece, chamber, or whip with your dry, ground-up, cannabis flower or concentrate. When it’s a third full, stop.
- Draw the vapor in through the mouthpiece. Go gently and adjust your drawing style as needed.
- Always turn off and/or unplug your vape when you’ve finished using it.
- Let it cool down thoroughly and then pack it away.
How Easy is it to Clean a Vape?
Another cool thing about vapes is that they’re super easy to clean. They don’t get half as gunky and dirty as bongs and glass pipes, but you do still need to pay them a little love and attention at times, particularly if you want them to last.
As mentioned previously, read the manual that comes along with your particular vape. Cleaning instructions will be provided and they should be followed to the letter. However, in general, the following steps are normally taken when giving a vape a good clean:
- Buy some rubbing alcohol, Q-tips, pipe cleaners, paper towels, and a small bowl or container of some kind.
- Remove all attachments. Place them to one side.
- Wipe down the base of your vape with a paper towel, slightly dampened with cold water.
- Remove loose herbs from the chamber by flipping it upside down.
- Use Q-tips, soaked in rubbing alcohol, to clean out the heat trench beneath the herb chamber. You can also soak the herb chamber in a bowl of rubbing alcohol if necessary.
- Use the paper towels to dry.
- Repeat the process for all other elements that form part of your vaping device.
- If your device has a HEPA filter, check it each time you clean and buy a new one when it starts to look pretty grimy.
Are There Any Risks Linked to Vape Use?
In general, vapes are fairly safe to use, but the heating element in some devices can pose a few risks. Most vape models come equipped with a shield that covers the heating element, thus protecting you from accidental burns, but it’s still important to keep an eye on it and to check that it’s not suddenly overheating.
It is important to note, however, that the possible health risks associated with vaping are largely unknown, particularly the potential long-term health risks. The industry needs, and is eager, for more research to be conducted, in order to learn more about the effects of vaping on a regular basis. However, it’s commonly agreed that vapor is far less harmful than smoke, which is one of the reasons why it remains hugely popular, particularly in the cannabis space.
Some vapes are at risk of short-circuiting, especially when the battery overheats. A short-circuit could result in a fire, which is why it’s important to invest in a high quality vaporizer and not in a super cheap model from an unknown brand.
Some of the low-quality vaporizers have been known to explode. When gases are unable to escape, they bottle up inside the vape until they cause an explosion. That being said, explosions are incredibly, incredibly rare, and with vape technology improving all the time, there’s very little cause for concern.
Is Vaping Right for You?
The only real way of being able to answer this question is by investing in a vape and giving it a try. If you know someone who already uses a vape, why not ask them to show you how it works and to let you inhale a couple of times to see how it feels?
However you choose to launch into the world of vapes, if you do decide to buy a device, make sure it’s a good one. Scour online reviews in search of the trending models and find out as much as you can about each option before you buy. Make sure it’s a vape that has the potential to address your specific needs and ask us for help if you need to.