A Beginner's Guide to Vaping Cannabis: Where to Start
One of the most popular ways to consume cannabis among new weed users, and an increasingly more available method of consumption, is vaping. Here's what you need to know.
From candies with the potency to put out an elephant, to delicately and perfectly dosed pre-filled syringes, the world of medical marijuana has exploded over the last decade and the average consumer of cannabis has many options at their disposal.
One of the most popular ways to consume cannabis among new weed users, and an increasingly more available method of consumption, is vaping.
Technically speaking, vaping is the heating of cannabis, or any related chemicals, into a fine vapor. None of this involves any combustion. Believed to provide a healthier method of consumption than traditional smoking, a person doesn’t inhale burnt plant matter when vaping.
As more and more people find vaping to be their choice method of marijuana use, it is important to have a solid understanding when starting out, as there are many vape tips and tricks that can come in handy in the beginning.
(Read also: Navigating Cannabis Terminology)
Here are the best tips for new vapers:
Understand the Different Vaping Devices Available
Despite what many people think, there is actually a wide range of types of cannabis vaporizers available to the general public. To begin with, there are three main types:
The table-top vape is simply a monster. This is not a portable device, and probably will not be leaving your house. More like plug-in small appliances, they tend to be the most expensive, but they are the most technologically advanced.
Investing a few hundred dollars in a desktop vaporizer will, in turn, allow the user to vape with precision and have ultimate control over temperature. The importance here is that different cannabinoids and terpenes – all with their own unique effects and medical benefits – require different temperatures to vaporize correctly.
A quality tabletop vaporizer will deliver the best flavors while cheaper vaporizers can make your cannabis taste burnt and roasted. If you need specific, and strong medication at home, then this might be the choice for you.
Dry herb vaporizers typically come in portable devices. Portable, handheld, and easy to use, they come in a wide variety themselves. Many features and price ranges are vast but they will all generally function the same way.
Dry herb vaporizers take the herb and heat it up to release vapors without carbonization. There is rarely much temperature control, unless you are dealing with extremely high-class model vaporizers.
For a user concerned with experiencing the same taste and effect as smoking, a hand-held portable will provide a very similar experience to actually smoking the flower. However, it is important to remember that because the way the chemicals are being released, the type and length of the effect may vary with smoking.
Cartridges and oil vaporizers are possibly the most popular types of vaporizers out there. Also known as pen vaporizers, they’re designed to be small and discreet for those on the go. Pen vaporizers are battery powered and can provide some very strong effects.
Some people will consider the strength of an oil-based vaporizer to feel closer to dabbing then to smoking actual herb. However, effects will always vary as cartridges come in every way. Lower cost and general effectiveness make cartridge pen vaporizers extremely popular.
Choose the Right Vaporizer for Your Needs
Now that you are aware of the different types of vaporizers, it is important to choose the right one for you. To help with that, check out How to Choose the Right Vaporizer for Your Needs.
Deciding between flower and concentrates is a big decision, and it will depend on your needs and what vaporizing experiences you are looking for. Perhaps experiment with both to see which fits your needs the best.
Choosing the Right Material for Your New Vape
After choosing your device and method of vaporizing, you now have to figure out what you are going to be consuming. You can't just pick anything! Of course, if you're using a dry herb, or a concentrate vaporizer, then you simply choose your favorite strain and stick it in.
However, when one is dealing with cartridges and oils, things get a little trickier. The market is full of brands to choose from, companies to explore, and flavors to experience.
Many people like to research the chemical solvents contained in their cannabis oil. Many cannabis oils are organic, and the oil is pure (solvent-free), while others may have certain chemicals added to them to make them function better. This is common for e-cigarettes.
Certain companies take pride in adding nothing to their product and staying “green”. Prices will go up according to these factors, but keep in mind that what you put into your device is probably more important than the device itself. In other words, it's the most important consideration to make before seriously getting into vaping.
Consider Your Usage
Using a vaporizer can be very different than smoking, or ingesting cannabis in some other form. Depending again on the type, the effect, as well as how long the user wants the effect to last, results definitely vary.
Table top vaporizes will provide powerful, and pure hits of specific terpenes, while dry herb vapes will be similar to traditional smoking.
(Read also: Already Vaped Weed - Learning your AVBs)
Cartridges and oils will lead to more of a concentrated and strong feeling, albeit sometimes short lived. Many people say that oils provide more of a cerebral high vs. a body high, which could be troublesome for those looking for pain relief.
However, speaking from personal experience, it depends on the brand of cartridge, the contents, and the amounts of active ingredients, whether it be the presence of THC or CBD present in the oil. It is important to know what you are buying because concentrates with THC will have psychoactive effects, while CBD oil won’t.
Try different strengths, types, and materials to see what works best for you and your needs.
Take Proper Care of Your Device
Once you are happy with your choices, it is now important to take proper care of your new device. It is imperative to maintain your gear. So many people fail to do this and end up having a bad experience, especially with some of the more pricier gear.
Many users will neglect cleaning and caring altogether, and completely ruin their vape. Keeping vaping gear clean and well taken care of is imperative to a good experience and cleaner consumption.
In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you make decisions that are best for you and your experience in beginning vaping. Happy Vaping!
(Read next: Lean & Dab: Safe Dabs and Optimal Methods)