Al Olson, The Fresh Toast
Everything you need to know about vaping marijuana
This article originally appeared on The Fresh Toast.
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Joints. Bongs. Pipes. Matches. Lighters. Forget about ’em. Let’s vape instead.
Vaporizers have become the ubiquitous gadget for the modern-day cannabis enthusiast.
What is vaporization? Simply, it is a method of activating raw plant matter without combustion. In other words, get high without fire. You inhale vapor, not smoke.
For most cannabis enthusiasts — especially beginners — vaporizers allow for a milder, easier-to-control high compared to smoking. Added bonus: No smoke!
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Vaporizers have been around for decades, but the trend has take off in the last decade or so. As the benefits of vaporization have become known, the variety of devices has been increasing.
Which vaporizer fits into your lifestyle? Do you want to vape on the go or in the comfort of your home? Do you want to buy flower (herb) or concentrate (oil)? Let’s review the options:
Portable Or stationary?
It seems you can’t walk down the street these days without seeing someone using the ubiquitous vape pen. These handy, low-cost devices are ideal for the on-the-go commuter or those wanting a few puffs throughout the day. Vape pens contain a concentrated oil that heats up just enough to create a thin, wispy vapor.
If you prefer using dried herb (flower), consider vaping devices such as the Firefly 2 or the Pax a try. These units are not as easy to use as the vape pens, and the price may shock those on a tight budget. But for some enthusiasts, there is nothing better than vaping herb rather than oil.
If you plan on vaping primarily at home, consider buying a pricier stationary unit. Brands such as the Volcano, VapeXhale Cloud EVO and the Herblizer are great plug-in vaporizers for home use, but are not portable enough for on-the-go vaping.
Herb or oil?
Personal preference is the key here. Oil-based vape pens are everywhere for a reason: portability, price, and availability. But for some of us, vaping ground-up herb provides a tastier experience. My suggestion: Try a vape pen first to see if it suits your needs. After a few months, you may want to try something another device.
Conduction or convection?
Conduction vaporizers are generally less expensive and easier to maintain. The vapor is released as a result of the low heat from the heating element.
Convection vaporizers push hot air from the heating element through the herb, releasing vapor without direct contact. These devices (the high-end Volcano, for example) are pricey, but are considered more effective in releasing the cannabinoids.
There is no standard way to vaporize. If you choose this method to enjoy your cannabis, take the time to find the form factor best suited to your personal needs. It’s your chance to find the perfect cannabis tool. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends.
My advice: Start with a vape pen and see how it works for you. Vape pens are generally the most economical way to experiment. But you may soon be “graduating” to higher end devices in order to enhance your enjoyment.