Despite the fact it is 2022, many people STILL are not aware that you can vape weed – or that it is infinitely healthier. Here’s everything you need to know about weed vapes…
The world’s first ever commercial weed vape was invented by a man called Eagle Bill back in 1993. It was called the Shake and Vape and its first public outing was at Amsterdam’s 7th Cannabis Cup, High Times’ weed festival which still takes place in Amsterdam every year.
The Shake and Vape was immensely popular following its official debut but it was quickly surpassed by more powerful weed vaporizers, notably Storz & Bickel’s Volcano vaporizer – an $800 forced air-style vaporizer – which was, at the time, considered the best dry herb vaporizer on the market.
If you’re utterly confused by everything you have just read, stick with me – all will become clear soon.
In this article, we’re going to go through literally EVERYTHING you need to know about vaping weed, including:
- How Cannabis Vaping Works;
- The Benefits of Vaping Weed;
- How Weed Vapes Work;
- The Different Types of Weed Vapes You Can Buy;
- What You CAN and CANNOT Vape With Them;
- And, Finally, What The Current Best Weed Vapes Are Right Now
It’s going to be a long one, but stick with us to the end. At the close of this post, you’ll know literally everything you need to know about weed vapes and which style of vaporizer is best for your exact needs and requirements.
Introduction to Weed Vapes: What is Cannabis Vaping?
Cannabis, or weed, has been consumed by humans for millennia. Nearly every culture and civilisation on Earth, at some point, has used marijuana either recreationally or as part of its cultural ceremonies.
Here’s a quick history lesson to illustrate the point:
The term assassin, something we all know from books and movies, derives its lineage from cannabis. Back in the 11th century, a sect of islamic nomads, who’s goal was the protection of the Nizārī Ismāʿīlī State, used cannabis as a means of getting “amped up” before taking on their enemies.
News of this sect, known as the assassins, made its way to Europe and the West via Marco Polo, who understood the name as deriving from the word hashish.
Obviously, these guys – as well as everybody else from the 11th century up until the late-20th century – smoked or ate their weed. But from the early 1990s, the idea of vaporizing weed started to catch on with users, freeing them from devices like bongs and pipes and tobacco-based joints.
With most traditional forms of cannabis use, the weed itself is burned – either in a bong or inside a joint – and the fumes born from its congestion are inhaled by the user, along with all the noxious chemicals produced through the process of burning something.
Just as with smoking cigarettes, traditional forms of cannabis usage – joints, bongs, and pipes – produces hundreds of carcinogenic compounds that, again, like smoking, can cause all kinds of damage to your lungs, mouth, and throat.
Obviously, this isn’t great. But it also isn’t that nice for your weed either because when cannabis is burnt at high temperatures a fairly large portion of its THC compounds are destroyed in the process, meaning less THC making its way into your system.
And keep in mind that it is THC that gets you high, not CBD or other compounds found in cannabis, which effectively makes smoking or burning cannabis one of the least effective ways of getting it into your system.
This is why, when you eat cannabis, you get a much more pronounced effect – you’re getting the full whack of all of its THC inside a singe dose. Nothing is lost in the flames of combustion.
When marijuana burns, between 20-30% of the THC in the plant matter is destroyed by heat (pyrolyzed). As a result, when you smoke a cannabis joint, you only ingest 20-37% of the total THC in the plant matter. The rest is pyrolyzed or lost to side stream smoke. Research conducted in 2007 revealed that a vaporizer captured 54% of the THC, which is a significant improvement over smoking.Jointly Magazine
And this brings us nicely to our next point…
Benefits of Weed Vaping
We touched on this above, but it is worth going over again in more detail. When you burn something – be it tobacco or weed – thousands of toxic chemicals are produced as a byproduct and are ingested into your system.
This is why smoking is linked to huge increases in the likelihood of users getting things like throat and lung cancer, as well as mouth cancer. And if you’re smoking weed, it isn’t really any different. Sure, you might not smoke AS MUCH as a normal cigarette user, but you’re still getting exposed.
In addition to this, if you already smoke cigarettes AND you also smoke weed (we’ve all been there), you’re effectively doubling down on your chances of negatively impacting your health at some point down the line, providing you continue your habit for decades.
Public Health England has stated, categorically, numerous times, that vaping is 97% safer than smoking cigarettes. But what about vaping weed? Is it healthier too? As you’d expect, it is – and by a huge margin when compared to smoking weed via joints, bongs, and/or pipes.
Smoking cannabis is the most dangerous way of using it. Burning cannabis is the thing that releases tar and cancer causing chemicals. Unlike a joint or bong, a vaporiser heats cannabis to below its combustion temperature to produce a vapour.
This means that the THC is released but the smoke containing tar and toxins is significantly reduced. Whilst the evidence is not conclusive, it is likely that vaporisers reduce the risk to your lungs. It is also likely that some types of vaporisers are better than others in protecting your healthNCBI
Other benefits associated with vaping weed are as follows:
- Vaping weed provides a purer and cleaner experience than smoking weed.
- Effects of vaping weed are more powerful, longer-lasting and include the added bonus of secondary effects from terpenes.
- Flavors produced by vaping weed are better-tasting due to terpenes being released intact.
- Vaping weed is more discreet and convenient with no smoke, ash or lingering smell.
- Vaping weed is more efficient as a delivery method, reducing wasted cannabinoids.
- Vaping weed offers long term savings due to its efficiency.
- Switching from smoking weed to vaping weed also reduces your risk of long-term lung disease
OK, we’ve covered WHY you should vape weed. Now you need to know HOW to vape weed, meaning what kind of devices are available to people that want to switch from burning their weed to vaporizing it.
In the intro we talked about the Shake and Vape and the Volcano vaporizer. These types of devices are large, powerful machines that operate from a mains connection. They aren’t portable in the slightest and are colloquially known as desktop vaporizers.
The most commonly used types of weed vapes nowadays are portable dry herb vaporizers – either vape pens or portable weed vapes (aka a weed vaporizer box, vaporizer mod or a weed mod).
These compact vaporizers work in much the same way as their larger, desktop-bound counterparts – they heat up and vaporise cannabis.
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Most Popular Types of Weed Vape
- Portable Dry Herb Vaporizer
- Desktop Vaporizer
- Vape Pen – Used For Concentrates and/or THC oil
Generally speaking, desktop vaporizers are used in a home setting, whereas portable, pocket-sized weed vapes can be taken anywhere – festivals, on holiday, on road trips, to work.
They’re ALL IN ONE devices too, complete with a mouthpiece, so are perfect for taking discreet hits on when you’re out and about.
Portable weed vapes are discreet by their nature and they run on rechargeable batteries (either internal or, in the case of the DaVinci IQ series, removable 18650 ones).
A vape pen ALWAYS runs on an internal battery too, but most desktop vaporizers run off the mains.
Beyond size and design, you also have to think about the “type” of vaporizer you want – meaning the way in which your weed is heated up and vaporized.
For instance, some weed vapes use conduction heating, while others use convection-based chambers. Both yield the same results, but some users prefer one style over the other.
Here’s a quick explanation of how convection and conduction vaporizers are different:
- Convection Vaporizors: These types of vapes use hot air to heat and vaporize your weed. The advantage of this type of vape is that it doesn’t burn your weed, so you get to enjoy all the active ingredients (THC, CBD, etc.). The downside is that it can be a bit tricky to get the temperature right, and if it’s too hot, it can ruin your weed.
- Conduction Vaporizors: These vapes use direct contact between the heating element and your weed to vaporize it. The advantage of this is that it’s very easy to use and you get a lot of vapor from a small amount of weed. The downside is that it’s easy to burn your weed if you’re not careful.
Both types offer high-quality vaping experiences, and they’re both preferable to rolling papers, but beginners will probably better suited to a convection vaporizer – they’re easier to work with, cheaper in most cases, and offer the most customization options (with respect to your vapor production)
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Best Temperature For Vaping Weed
When it comes to weed vaporizers and temperature settings, there is no one-size-fits-all answer – it all comes down to your own, personal tastes.
And the capabilities of your weed vape.
On top of this, different weed strains require different temperatures, although, generally speaking, it’s best to start low and work your way up until you find a setting that works for you.
This is why nearly all weed vaporizers have adjustable temperature settings that range from around 350°F up to 430°F or thereabouts.
Different Temperature Settings For Weed Vapes:
- 350°F-400°F: Low temps bring out more flavor and aroma but produce less vapor.
- 400°F-435°F: Mid temps create a balance between flavor and vapor production. This is often the best setting for most weed strains.
- 435°F-450°F: High temps produce more vapor but may also create harsher flavors and higher levels of toxins.
Again, for the best overall performance your best bet is to start nice and low and slowly build up as you work through your session. This way you’ll get the maximum flavor, the maximum amount of potency, and far fewer noxious chemicals produced.
Portable Weed Vape vs Desktop Vaporizer vs Weed Pens
Portable weed vapes produce less vapor than their larger, desktop counterparts but they’re still very effective devices. Popular weed vape brands include PAX, DaVinci, ARIZER, Storz & Bickel, DynaVape, KandyPens, and Dr. Dabber to name just a few.
You can also buy weed pens filled with THC vape liquid in many parts of the USA and Europe too, although you need to be careful with these products, as there has been a slew of “incidents” related to THC oil and THC oil carts.
It is important to note, however, that the THC carts in question were black market, home made carts, used via a JUUL vape.
These knock-off products did cause a MAJOR media shitstorm back in 2018, giving the FDA cart blanche to try and ban all vapes, the deaths, tragic as they were, were the result of dangerous, black market THC carts, not weed in and of itself or vaping products in general.
Again, the devices and products responsible for these deaths were illegal, home-made THC products – not the kind you buy from legit dispensaries and/or vape shops. This is a very important point to know, as the media misled A LOT of people about what actually happened during this period.
Either way, for peace of mind, you’re always going to be better off sticking to vaping actual cannabis bud, as you don’t have to worry about any “additional” additives. I also find it tastes better and is less “crazy” at higher does. Concentrates are a little intense for my tastes.
Having said that, if you prefer to vape your THC via e-liquid infusions there are now a plethora of companies that produce safe THC-infused liquids and vape juice (concentrates).
The PAX ERA runs exclusively on this type of THC product which is technically known as “concentrates” – although, be warned, concentrates are VERY potent.
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How to Choose a Weed Vaporizer
According to a recent study, the number on thing stopping current cannabis users from switching to vaporizer devices is price – most people think vaporizers are prohibitively expensive.
And in some cases they are.
But, thanks to the wonders of free market capitalism, there are now myriad cheaper options when it comes to both desktop and portable weed vaporizers, so you don’t have to wait for Black Friday to pick one up.
You can spend as little as $80 on a portable weed vaporizer and around $160 on a desktop vaporizer which, in the grand scheme of things, is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying $800 back in 1996 for the Volcano vaporizer.
But as with most things, when it comes to weed vapes you really do get what you pay for. For this reason, it is worth holding off on your purchase, saving some cash, and investing in a decent weed vape – it will last longer, perform better, and produce significantly better vapor.
Having said that, there are some seriously great products that are sold for very competitive prices on the market right now.
Here’s a selection of my current favourite cost-effective weed vapes that deliver massive amounts of performance:
- Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer – an affordable, highly powerful desktop vaporizer ($159)
- DaVinci IQC Precision Vaporizer – one of the best performing handheld weed vapes on the market. I have one and I use it most days ($199)
- DaVinci MIQRO Vaporizer – a smaller, less powerful version of the DaVinci IQ that costs 100 bucks less but still delivers the goods ($99)
- PAX 3 – Rapid heat-up times and excellent vapor production combined with its sleek design make this a great option for less than 200 bucks (£199)
- Arizer Solo II Vaporizer – arguably the cheapest and best portable weed vape on the market. This thing is bloody phenomenal. I don’t know why it so cheap and I’d happily pay double the price for it ($164).
- Crafty+ Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel – on the more premium-end of the spectrum, the Crafty+ is more expensive than most portable weed vapes, but with good reason: it is nearly as good as a desktop vaporizer ($279)
If you’re after a cheap desktop vaporizer, go with the Arizer Solo II Vaporizer – for the asking price it is bloody insane. It does both whip and forced-air vaporizing and it even comes with a remote control. And all for less than $200 bucks.
For portable weed vapes, I’d go with either the Arizer Solo II Vaporizer. Again, for the price and performance, it simply cannot be beaten. Or, if you can afford the extra, the Crafty+ – it delivers the best overall performance of any portable vape on the market.
For concentrates, you’ll want to go with the PAX ERA.
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Style and Size Considerations
As we’ve already established, weed vapes come in all shapes and sizes. But generally speaking, they all fit into one of two categories: portable weed vapes and desktop weed vapes.
- Desktop vaporizers – like the Volcano and Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer – are large devices that take up quite a bit of room. You cannot simply pop them in your bag and head out the door. This means they’re designed for strictly at-home usage.
- Portable weed vapes – this category of weed vapes includes weed pens and slightly larger but still extremely portable weed vapes like the PAX 3, DaVinci IQC, and the Crafty+. These types of vapes are designed to fit in your pocket and are meant to travel.
- Weed Vape Pens – these are usually smaller than standard portable weed vapes; they look kind of like disposable vapes and usually run on concentrates or THC e-liquid.
If you want to vape weed while on the move or out and about at parties and/or events, go with a portable weed vape – either a dry herb vaporizer, a weed pen, or a concentrates weed pen like the PAX ERA.
If you prefer to do your weed at home and want maximum performance and vapor production, go with a desktop vaporizer like the Dr. Dabber, Volcano Hybrid, or Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer. These types of vaporizer deliver massive amounts of performance and vapor.
Finally, you also have web vapes like the Plenty Vaporizer and the Dr. Dabber which aren’t desktop vaporizers in the true sense of the word but also aren’t that portable either – they kind of exist in the middle.
With these types of weed vape, you can transport them in a bag, so they’re technically portable, but they don’t fit in your pocket, so they cannot be considered truly portable.
The benefit of these types of vaporizer is that you get a more portable desktop vaporizer-grade experience. And, as a nice side benefit, the Plenty Vaporizer is A HELL of a lot cheaper than the Volcano vaporizer too, and is made by the same company so its performance is exceptional.
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In conclusion, weed vapes come in a variety of styles and sizes to meet every user’s needs. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything covered above:
- Portable weed vapes such as the PAX 3 and DaVinci IQ2 Vaporizer are great for vaping on the go, or when you want a more discreet option.
- For those looking for higher performance at home, desktop vaporizers like the Volcano Hybrid and Arizer Extreme Q Vaporizer will provide more performance with larger vapor production.
- Finally, weed vapes such as the Plenty Vaporizer and Dr. Dabber provide a more portable desktop experience with excellent performance at an affordable cost.
- Weed vapes come in a variety of styles and sizes to meet every user’s needs
- For concentrates and oils, use the PAX ERA, and for a cheaper but equally good weed vape (for bud) go with the Arizer Solo II Vaporizer – it is incredible for the price.
Drake EquationCo-founder and Editor of VapeBeat. I make the words.
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