Weed Vapes: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide [2023]

By Drake Equation •  Updated: 02/07/23 •  17 min read

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…

Table of Contents

    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:

    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 health


    Other benefits associated with vaping weed are as follows:

    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.

    Additional Resources:

    1. Portable Dry Herb Vaporizer
    2. Desktop Vaporizer
    3. 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:

    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)

    Additional Resources:

    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:

    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.

    Weed Vapes: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide [2023]Pin
    PAX ERA Pods – This is What Concentrates Look Like.

    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.

    Additional Resources:

    How to Choose a Weed Vaporizer

    Weed Vapes: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide [2023]Pin
    The PAX ERA – An Ideal Option For Vape Pen Fans That Like Concentrates

    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:

    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.

    Additional Resources:

    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.

    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.

    Additional Resources:

    Key Takeaways

    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 Equation

    Co-founder and Editor of VapeBeat. I make the words.

    Keep Reading