Vaporizing or “Vaping,” cannabis is exploding in popularity with all types of cannabis users. If you’re new to vaping or to cannabis this article will get you acquainted with the basics.
How Does Vaping Cannabis Work?
The principle behind a vaporizer is simple. It uses heat to extract cannabinoids from cannabis and lets you inhale them. Since it uses temperatures higher than the boiling point of the cannabinoids but lower than the point of combustion, it gives you get the effects of the cannabinoids without the smoke.
The Different Types of Heating in Vaporizers
Not all vaporizers use the same type of heating. In fact, there are three distinct types, each of which is detailed below.
Infrared Heating: This is a rare type of vaporizer which gets its name from its radiant heating source. It works by sending energy into the cannabis in the form of infrared light, raising the temperature to create vapour. This type of vape isn’t too popular because the cost is high and the technology can be unreliable.
Conductive Heating: A conductive vape heats cannabis directly using a “hot plate” which is usually made of metal or glass. These vapes are more dependable, but they can take a bit of time to heat up.
Convective Heating: This type of vape heats up the air instead of a conductive material. The air passes over the cannabis and extracts the cannabinoids evenly and efficiently.
The Different Types of Vaporizers
There are a three types of vaporizer. All of them are comprised of a heating system to produce vapour and a delivery system which allows the user to inhale it.
Let’s take a look at the three main categories of vapes.
Direct-Draw Vaporizers: As the name suggests, this vape lets you pull vapour directly from the heating device. Direct-draw vapes are compact and portable, making them some of the most popular vapes on the market.
Whip Vaporizers: Whip vapes get their name from the tube (called a whip) which extends from the base. This tube connects the heating chamber to the user’s lips and serves as a mouthpiece.
Balloon Vaporizers: A balloon vape is made up of a base which contains the heating unit and a balloon-type bag inserted into the base. The base fills the bag with vapour which the user can then pull out an inhale.
Which Cannabis Products Can You Vaporize?
Different vaporizers are designed to handle different products. Some are designed for dry buds, some can handle oils and concentrates, and some can do both.
Most vaporizers are designed to handle either buds or concentrates/oils, not both. Make sure to check if a vaporizer can handle the products you like to use before making a purchase.
Temperature and Cannabis Vaporizers
Understanding the role temperature plays in vaping cannabis is essential. The temperature of a vaporizer can have a serious impact on the potency and content of cannabis vapour. If the temperature is too high, the cannabis could combust. If it’s set to low it could have a low cannabinoid content.
Many vapes can reach temperatures beyond the point of combustion (around 210°C – 235°C) on their highest settings. If you’re trying to vape, you’ll want to avoid setting it that high.
170°C is a great temperature to start with because several different cannabinoid compounds vapourize around that temperature. Different compounds get released at different temperatures, so the ideal temperature for you is partially a matter of preference.
You can find plenty more information online about which temperatures release which cannabinoids.
Which Vaporizer is Right for You?
Practically every vaporizer on the market is capable of producing potent vapour, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Maybe you prefer the portability of a direct-draw vape, or maybe you’d like the durability of a balloon vape. If you’re new to vaping it’s a good idea to do some research online to find out what other people’s experiences have been.
Before you buy a vape, be sure to check that it can handle the type of cannabis products you like to use.