What are cannabis vapes and how do you use them?
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- What are vaporizers?
- Tabletop vaporizers
- Portable vaporizers
- Vape pens
Cannabis vaporization is growing in popularity among people interested in consuming cannabis in an easy, discreet manner that’s healthier than traditional smoking methods. Both flower and concentrates can be vaporized using a wide range of devices.
Both flower and concentrates can be vaporized using a wide range of devices. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The leading benefit for vaping weed is that it’s a healthier alternative to smoking flower, as vapor doesn’t release the tar and carcinogens created during combustion (the process of burning flower). Instead, vaporization entails a slightly more complex process that creates a phase transition from liquid to vapor.
Additionally, portable vaporizers allow for easy and discreet use as the cannabis vapor creates a less potent aroma. Learning how to vape weed is generally easier than learning how to smoke it. Portable vaporizers are easy to use and fit in your pocket. Like flower and concentrates, the onset time is rapid.
What are vaporizers?
The process of vaping weed involves heating cannabis flower or concentrates to a temperature that turns the active compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes) into vapor. Vaporization is a healthier alternative to smoking as it occurs at temperatures that do not allow the flower to combust, which releases harmful tar and carcinogens.
Most vaporization devices are engineered to heat cannabis products just below the point of combustion, which ranges between 180 to 190 degrees Celsius (356 to 374 degrees Fahrenheit). Compared to smoking, vaping cannabis increases the amount of cannabis by-products that are activated, potentially bolstering health benefits for medical marijuana patients.
More research into the long term health effects of cannabis vaporization is needed, but there are studies backing up the perceived health benefits of this consumption method. A 2007 study, for example, observed self-reported respiratory symptoms in participants who used cigarettes and cannabis. The researchers found that while vaporization increased the amount of cannabis consumed, it also decreased respiratory symptoms in regular cannabis users who smoke. They concluded that the vaporization temperature was “cool enough to avoid the smoke and toxins associated with combustion.”
There are many methods by which people vaporize cannabis. The three main types are tabletop vaporizers, portable vaporizers, and vape or “hash oil” pens.
Tabletop vaporizers are stationary temperature control units that require a solid surface upon which to sit. Tabletop vaporizers come in many varieties, but all include four main features:
- A temperature dial to regulate the temperature
- A healing element that heats the flower or concentrates
- A heating chamber where you put the flower or concentrates
- A mouthpiece attachment
Some tabletop vaporizers use a bag to collect the vapor, which is detached prior to inhalation, while others use a long tube that is attached to the heating chamber and allows the vapor to move directly from the heating chamber to the person using the vaporizer. Most tabletop vaporizers of this style are used to vaporize cannabis flower. Once you know how to vape weed with one tabletop vaporizer, it’s very likely you’ll be able to use others.
Based on function, e-nail (electric nail) dab rigs could also be considered tabletop vaporizers. This method allows people to vaporize concentrates using an electric nail. However, a reference to the term “vaporizer” generally applies to a device that vaporizes cannabis flowers.
Portable vaporizers are small, discreet vaporizers that operate in much the same way as tabletop vaporizers. Portable vaporizers include a chamber to hold the cannabis flower or concentrate, a heating element and a battery. Most portable vaporizers contain variable temperature control devices that are operated with the click of a button or turn of a small dial. This activates the battery, which heats the element and vaporizes the flower or concentrate contained within the chamber, sending it into the mouthpiece for inhalation.
Portable vaporizers include a chamber to hold the cannabis flower or concentrate, a heating element and a battery. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Portable vaporizers can be used to consume many forms of concentrate including badder, budder, and shatter as well as flower in some cases. Before purchasing a portable vaporizer, consider the ways you intended to consume cannabis and look for one designed to accommodate that product. It’s important to distinguish the difference between portable dry herb vaporizers, wax vaporizers, and hybrids. While dry herb vapes and wax vapes are designed to work with specific types of cannabis products, hybrid vaporizers like the PAX 3 offer consumers the best of both worlds – compatible with both flower and concentrates.
Vape or “hash oil” pens are a type of vaporizer designed specifically to vaporize cannabis distillates and oils. They are called pens because the compact design of the vape device closely resembles that of a traditional pen. A vape pen consists of two pieces: a battery and cartridge.
Vape batteries come in a variety of styles – button or buttonless, cylindrical or rectangular, large or small – there is a shape and style to fit many personal preferences. One of the most popular weed pen batteries is the 510 thread, which is compatible with a large portion of pre-filled vape cartridges on the medical and adult-use concentrate market.
Hash oil” vape cartridges contain a mouthpiece, chamber and heating element, which is activated upon initiated contact with a vape battery. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
“Hash oil” vape cartridges contain a mouthpiece, chamber and heating element, which is activated upon initiated contact with a vape battery. The chamber of a vape cartridge is filled with oil or distillate, which contains concentrated amounts of cannabis cannabinoids and terpenes.
There are a number of considerations to make when shopping for the right vape pen for your consumption needs. For example, the battery capacity and type will dictate factors like the device’s heat up time and overall lifespan.
What is a dab pen?
Unlike a standard vape pen, which is designed for compatibility with vape cartridges filled with oil or distillite, a dab pen is used to consume dabs, which can be defined as an unspecified dosage of concentrate. Most dab pens, also known as wax pens, are essentially made up of the same components as a vape pen: a battery and heating element. With dab pens, the concentrate is placed into the heating chamber rather than loaded into a vape cartridge in liquid form. With this type of pen, users are not limited to cartridges, and can consume many forms of concentrate, including wax, badder, budder, and shatter.
With dab pens, the concentrate is placed into the heating chamber rather than loaded into a vape cartridge in liquid form. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How much is a vape pen?
The answer depends on the quality of the vape pen device and what comes with it. There are many options available on the medical and adult-use cannabis market. For example, you can find a vape pen starter kit that couples the battery with various tools and a device charger, disposable vape pens that arealy come with pre-filled vape cartridge, and cheaper replacement batteries that are sold separately.
In the case of disposable vape pens that come with a preloaded cartridge of cannabis oil, the price will also be contingent on the location it’s being sold, as the market can vary between different states. You can sort through a massive selection of verified vape pen products from reputable brands on Weedmaps.
What’s in a vape cartridge?
When choosing a vape cartridge, it’s important to know the type of oil contained within, whether and how it’s flavored and what cutting agents, if any, have been used to dilute the solution. This helps you anticipate the type of vaping experience to expect.
Vape cartridges are all filled with cannabis distillate that’s designed for optimal vaporization using a portable battery. During the distillation process, the cannabis oil is stripped of all flavor and aromatic compounds. At this point, it can be left in its raw form (flavorless/tasteless), it can be mixed with terpenes for extra flavor, or with some form of glycol (PG, VG, PEG) to give the vapor extra mouthfeel (thin versus thick, smooth versus chalky, dry versus buttery).
Raw vape cartridges
While all cartridges contain cannabinoids, not all cartridges contain terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds that give plants their aroma and flavors. “Raw cartridges” are vape cartridges that do not contain any additional cutting agent or terpenes, just the pure cannabis distillate.
Strain-specific and natural terpene cartridges
The reintroduction of terpenes is common in distillate-filled cartridges, as the distillation process removes the natural plant terpenes and results in an odorless, flavorless viscous liquid. Some extractors have mastered a technique that allows them to remove the terpenes from the plant during the distillation process and reintroduce them prior to filling the vape cartridges. These cartridges are known as strain-specific vape cartridges that use cannabis-derived terpenes to retain the same aroma and flavor of the plant that the oil was derived from.
It’s also common for cartridges to be filled with naturally derived terpenes that create exotic flavors that smell and taste like fruits and candies. The reintroduction of terpenes after extraction allows manufacturers to create countless cannabinoid and terpene combinations to suit a variety of needs. These terpenes can also change the viscosity and color of the distillate in the cartridge.
Some THC vape juice contains cutting agents similar to those used in e-cigarettes, added to improve vape cloud production and the mouthfeel of the cartridge. The most common cutting agents include polyethylene glycol (PEG), propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG).
Polyethylene glycol has many medical, commercial and industrial applications and is used as a cutting agent in vape liquids to maintain an evenly mixed product that increases overall vapor production.
Propylene glycol is a binding agent that blends with solvents for use in food, hygiene, industrial and lab applications. It’s a common cutting agent in “hash oil” vape pen liquids due to its promotion of even draws.
Vegetable glycerin is used as a preservative in the food, pharmaceutical, bath and body and e-cigarette industries, among others. Vegetable glycerin is used in vape liquids to create large vapor clouds.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled these various cutting agents as safe for human ingestion, but there are still concerns about what happens when these compounds are inhaled. A 2010 study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, concluded that inhaling PG could potentially exacerbate asthma and allergies. Additional research also suggests that, when vaporized at high temperatures, both PEG and PG breaks down into the carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
More research is required to fully understand the effects of inhaling these cuttings agents, but if you prefer to avoid them, look for raw vape cartridges or other products that don’t utilize these cutting agents.
What are cannabis vapes and how do you use them? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What are vaporizers? Tabletop vaporizers Portable
The 15 Best THC Vape Pens
Are you looking for an alternative to the harsh, hack-inducing smoke produced by your joints, blunts, bongs, and Thai sticks? Try THC vape pens instead.
In this article, we’ll tell you why many consider vaping to be a “safer” option than smoking. Then we’ll show you 15 of the best THC vape pens on the market to get you started. First, though, let’s discuss what vaping is and what it isn’t.
Vaping vs. Smoking
The product that eventually became known as the THC vape pen was first produced as an electronic cigarette to help tobacco smokers quit. It wasn’t long, though, before canny cannabis consumers recognized that these little devices could be used with marijuana as well.
And when they started modifying their electronic cigarettes to handle THC liquid, wax, and bud, they saw that the process of vaporizing was a great addition to the process of smoking joints or blunts.
Vaporizing is better than smoking because vaporizing reduces the temperature at which cannabinoids change from solid or liquid into gas.
This reduction in temperature preserves many of the active ingredients in marijuana—the stuff that gets you high and makes you feel good—that would otherwise have been destroyed when the cannabis was burned.
Think of it this way: a flame is pretty much only one temperature. It’s hot enough to burn your bud and turn it into smoke, which, for marijuana occurs at around 450℉.
But—and here’s the kicker—cannabinoids can be changed into a gas at much lower temperatures (around 284℉). All that extra heat is just destroying a large portion of the cannabinoids you’re trying to get into your system.
That’s where the THC vape pens come in. They operate at much lower temperatures than your common, everyday flame. Rather than producing smoke (through burning), they produce vapor (through vaporization).
As a result, you get more “bang for your buck” — or perhaps “cannabinoids for your cash” — because the THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and others don’t get burned away.
And this occurs in a sleek and indiscreet package that doesn’t require bulky bongs or a plethora of extra tools. All you need is a THC vape pen and your favorite liquid, wax, or bud.
But which vaporizer should you choose? Here are the 15 best THC vape pens to help you decide.
The Best THC Vape Pens
The Dr. Dabber Aurora doesn’t have a lot of flash. It’s sleek, matte-black finish is very indiscreet and low key. But what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in features.
The Aurora includes multiple atomizers — the component that vaporizes your cannabis — including dual ceramic rods and a ceramic heater. You can change these components out based on the differences in the liquid, wax, or bud you’re going to use.
2. The Executive
There’s nothing more discreet than a THC vape pen that looks like an actual pen. Watch out for The Executive by Dank Fung Extracts.
At $180, it’s the most expensive on the list. But for that price, you get a 24-karat-gold-plated surface, durable design, easy-to-use features, and an excellent atomizer.
It may not be for everyone, but the truly discriminating tastes will appreciate this visually appealing THC vape pen.
The DL in DL1 stands for “down low” and that’s exactly what this THC vape pen offers. It’s low price (just $50) and easy-to-use design make it the ideal choice for a “go-anywhere, smoke-anywhere” vape pen.
In addition to these features, the DL1’s atomizer is a dual quartz coil surrounded by a ceramic cup. This combination produces strong hits that will have you flying in no time.
The PuffCo+ is PuffCo’s improvement on the PuffCo Pro. The PuffCo+ houses a coilless ceramic atomizer oven that works to preserve your favorite strain’s terpene flavor profile while producing the best cloud of vapor possible.
The PuffCo+ even offers a dab dart under the mouthpiece for those times when you’re without your dabbing tools.
A lot of thought has gone into the PuffCo+ so that you can reach the point where you don’t have to think at all.
Dr. Dabber offers another THC vape pen, known simply as the Light. This one is smaller than Dr. Dabber’s other entry on this list and fits nicely in your pocket.
It’s an excellent choice for travel or other public venues. And it’s low price (just $49.95) makes it a great way to get started in the world of vaping without breaking the bank.
6. Micro Vaped V3
The Micro Vaped V3 by Nectar Collector is perhaps the most attractive entry on our list. It’s not the stealthiest THC vape pen ever created and probably isn’t the best choice for public use. But you’ll certainly get style points for breaking out this bong-like vape pen.
The Micro Vaped V3 isn’t just something to look at. It also produces powerful hits that get you where you want to go in no time flat.
That said, the Micro Vaped V3 is one of the more expensive entries on the list at $130. Because of that, it’s probably not the entry-level vape pen for most consumers.
But those with more experience will likely recognize that the Micro Vaped V3’s benefits outweigh its high price tag.
7. Source Orb 3
The Source Orb 3 by Source Vapes is truly the Swiss Army Knife of the THC vape pen world. It offers seven different atomizers so you’re prepared for whatever cannabis situation presents itself.
You’ll be ready to pair just the right atomizer with just the right marijuana. Because you can mix and match, the Source Orb 3 produces some truly potent hits.
Oh, and let’s not forget about appearance. The Source Orb 3’s sweeping lines and bulbous mouthpiece are reminiscent of a hookah and remind you that you can get high and look good at the same time.
It may not be much to look at, but the Donuts THC vape pen by KandyPens gets the job done just the same. Yes, the design is simple, but why do you need something super fancy to get your fix?
The Donuts offers three different temperature settings so you can customize your vaping experience. The ceramic chamber produces a dense cloud of vapor for some truly righteous hits. And the Donuts even has a fancy 10-second automatic shut-off so the atomizer doesn’t get too hot.
It’s about middle of the road in terms of price ($99), but it does what it’s supposed to do without a lot of unnecessary flash.
The Sirius by Pulsar Vaporizers is thicker than most entries on this list but, perhaps because it’s so thick, can heat up to 842℉ with just the click of a button. Those high temps in combination with the Sirius’ ceramic atomizer can make for some seriously wonderful vape hits.
The low price ($49) makes it another great choice for those looking to take their first tentative steps in the world of THC vape pens without spending too much dough.
Start here, see if you like it, and then consider dropping a bit more coin on a high-end model.
The FogPen by Myster is another entry that looks more like a pen than a vaporizer. That makes it a go-to choice for those concerned about getting their fix without standing out.
The FogPen’s double-quartz atomizer is housed in a clear chamber that allows you to see the vapor forming. That’s a nice little addition to a subtle design.
When not in use, the FogPen can be covered by its cap, which transforms it from a vape pen to a regular pen for easy concealment and carrying.
11. Eleven Pen
The Eleven Pen by Vapor Brothers is a standard THC vape pen — no fancy features or artistic presentation — that gets the job done and gets it done well. It’s not going to win any awards for design, but it will get you high when it’s supposed to.
The Eleven Pen comes with three choices of coil: a ceramic dual, a ceramic single, and a quartz single. You can mix and match depending on what form of cannabis liquid or wax you’re using.
The Eleven Pen also offers the ability to charge using any mini-USB cable so you don’t have to lug around a bulky charger. Perhaps best of all, the Eleven Pen can be used while it’s charging.
Additionally, the Eleven Pen has a built-in air hole that allows for improved airflow.
12. Hypnos Zero
The Hypnos Zero by Linx combines a glass mouthpiece, a ceramic atomizer chamber, and an airflow hole for improved carburetion.
The combination of these elements, plus the relatively low price ($78), makes it ideal for first-time users or those concerned with size and portability.
Some users call this one of the “best tasting” THC vape pens on the market. Others use this vape pen as their constant travel companion when they’re on the road because of its solid construction.
13. Oozi Pen
The Oozi pen by Clout is a THC vape pen with a bit of artistic flair. The glass globe looks and feels like a bong, and watching it fill up with vapor can be just as pleasurable as inhaling.
The Oozi Pen is probably not for those on the go or who are worried about discretion. The glass globe and the swirling vapor inside make this a spectacle no matter how hard you try to conceal it.
Perhaps reserve this one for your home vaping needs.
14. V2 Pro Series 3X
The V2 Pro Series 3X comes with a wide variety of features that make this one of the most versatile THC vape pens on the market.
You can customize your V2 Pro Series 3X vape pen to accommodate oils, dry herb, and even dabs. You also have a choice of three different atomizers (0.9 ohms, 1.2 ohms, and 1.5 ohms) that open the door to a wide variety of e-liquids.
Couple that with two different mouthpieces, three different colors, and the option to vary the voltage and airflow settings, and you’ve got yourself an all-around THC vape pen for any situation.
15. The Wasp
If you want a simple THC vape pen that does one thing well, give the Wasp a try. This vape pen is perfect for oil, shatter, wax, and even budder.
Inside, the carborundum coils resist acid slag, oxidation, and melting while still vaporizing your cannabis quickly to deliver outstanding flavor and consistency.
Coupled with the Wasp’s built-in microprocessor, the coil actually heats up in two to three seconds so that you don’t have to suffer through a lengthy preheating before you can vape.
5 Benefits Of THC Vape Pens
1) Measured Dosing
With anything you inhale — joints, blunts, bongs, and, yes, THC vape pens — it’s incredibly difficult to gauge how much THC you’re getting with each inhale.
But one of the major benefits of using THC vape pens is that you don’t have to consume the whole thing right away. You can take one hit, set the pen aside, and see how you react.
Not buzzed enough? Pick up the pen and take another toke. Continue until you’re sufficiently stoned.
Plus, you can keep track of how many hits it took to get you to a certain point last time and go right for that number the next time you vape.
For more helpful information on THC dosing, check out this Honest Marijuana article: Get The Right THC Dose: The Honest Marijuana Guide.
THC vape pens are extremely portable. You can transport all the components in your pocket or bag without even really knowing they’re there.
No pre-rolled joints that get scrunched and bent. No baggies that rip and spill. No lids that come off. Just THC in the palm of your hand.
And now that pocket protectors are cool again — we’ve been wearing them for years — you can carry your assembled vape pen front and center in your shirt pocket with your favorite fountain pen, gel ink pen, and ballpoint pen. Now that’s a collection to be proud of!
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, THC vape pens are more potent than smoking because the vaporizer changes the cannabinoids from liquid to gas at much lower temperatures.
Because there’s more THC in vapor than in smoke, with a vape pen, you need fewer hits to feel the same high.
With the various burn methods — joints, blunts, spliffs, bongs, etc. — you’re usually aware of, if not downright concerned about, the smoke and smell.
Sure, you could use a sploof, but even that won’t make blazing up a fat boy in the office more acceptable.
Vape pens, though, don’t draw quite as much attention as a flaming joint because everything is self-contained and the vapor doesn’t have that tell-tale marijuana smell.
And the whole thing looks just like an e-cigarette, so you can always tell those who cast a disapproving eye that you’re just trying to quit smoking.
It’s important to remember that there are more discreet methods of getting your daily dose — edibles, gummies, tea, coffee, tinctures — but for those who like to inhale their cannabinoids, THC vape pens are an ideal solution.
5) Ease Of Use
THC vape pens might not be the simplest method of getting ganja into your system — pills and dissolvable strips probably hold that honor — but they’re certainly a close second.
Screw the two pieces together, press the button, and inhale. Few things could be easier.
5 Drawbacks Of THC Vape Pens
1) Mixed Opinions
THC vape pens have gotten a bad rap in the press lately thanks, in large part, to shoddily prepared cartridges (and the oil therein).
Even the scientific community can’t agree on the long-term effects of vaping good quality THC oil.
But that’s to be expected from the same people who once considered cannabis to be the downfall of modern society. Decades later, they’re finally starting to see the myriad medical benefits that marijuana has to offer.
When compared to the other common methods of consumption — edibles, smoking, dabbing — THC vape pens are one of the more expensive options.
There’s tiny technology in that there cylinder that wasn’t even possible just 10 short years ago.
Plus, when you think about the cost of a typical vape pen, you also have to factor in the portability, the convenience, and the discretion that comes with it.
You can’t get those same features from a joint, so paying a little bit extra might be worth it for you in some cases.
3) Terpene Content
When the topic of terpenes comes up in any cannabis conversation, we’re talking about flavor.
Terpenes are oils that the pot plant secretes during its flowering stage. Over 100 terpenes have been identified so far, each with its own unique flavor and smell.
Like the sweet, fruity taste of Strawberry Cough? That’s the terpenes. Can’t get enough of the skunky smell of Sour Diesel? Again, terpenes.
Not concerned about flavor and aroma? Try this on for size: Terpenes also create an entourage of health benefits.
Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, cancer, depression, insomnia, nausea, lack of appetite, muscle strain, asthma, breast cancer, stress, gallstones, or some other ailment, there’s probably a terp to treat it.
But because of the way THC cartridges are produced, they often contain fewer terpenes than the raw bud you buy at your local dispensary. That means the vapor won’t be as flavorful as the smoke from some fresh, high-quality organic bud.
4) Longevity Of Effects
The effects from a THC vape pen are decidedly shorter than those produced by the tried-and-true pot brownie (or pretty much any other edible).
But, really, is that such a drawback? Maybe you just need a quick hit to take the edge off for the next hour or so instead of an all-day, can’t-discern-up-from-down high.
A THC vape pen can do the former. An edible, the latter. It’s all about choosing the right tool for the job.
5) Technical Knowledge
Many argue that THC vape pens require advanced technical knowledge.
It is true that some vape pens are incredibly complicated, allowing you to set vaporization temperature and a whole host of other variables.
Most of the pens on this list, though, are pretty straightforward and require little more than a rudimentary knowledge of how to screw two things together and push a button.
Our best advice: find a simple THC vape pen to play with, get some experience, and then you can move up to a more complicated model.
Which THC Vape Pen Is Right For You?
The answer to this question depends on what you need from your THC vape pen. What form of cannabis will you be using (oil, wax, dry bud)? How small of a pen do you want?
Do you need versatility, or can you get by with the pen doing only one thing? Do you want to customize your vape pen?
These are all questions you need to ask (and answer) before purchasing a vape pen. Talk to the budtenders at your local dispensary. They can give you plenty of information about THC vape pens. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to make your own decision.
Discover the 15 best THC vape pens on the market and learn why vaping can get more cannabinoids into your system than traditional smoking.