Vaporizing as a way of consuming dry herb or cannabis based products is increasingly popular state side. There are many reasons why consumers are wising up and switching to vaping; the health-benefits compared to smoking, the fashionable high-end looks, the convenience, and the discretion of portable electronic devices. Yet, despite the fact that vaporizers have also been widely available in Europe for a number of years, it’s surprising how many medical patients and recreational cannabis-fans don’t seem to know what they are. When you pull out a Crafty or a Firefly, they don´t know if you´re going to take a toke or phone a friend. So, we thought a little 101 breakdown of some of the differences and class leading varieties was in order.
What is Vaping?
A vaporizer is a handheld or desktop device for partaking of herb or using cannabis based oils or concentrates. Smoking burns the actual flower, not only can this release smoke and chemicals (e.g. in the rolling papers) that you don’t really want to be inhaling it. It also uses your bud up quickly and you can’t reuse it afterwards. Usually electronic these days, vaporizers in contrast are able to maintain a constant temperature for heating the cannabis, and so avoid combustion. The vapor released is cleaner than smoke, and in addition many devices are made suitable for multiple forms of cannabis product. Last, but definitely not least; vaping your bud will give you the best flavor sensation you’ll ever have! Trust me, after you’ve tasted the complete terpene profile of your favorite strain with a vaporizer, you’ll never want to go back to burning your weed in a bong or joint.
Temperature is what makes vaping cannabis so interesting. And yummy…
Most vaporizers have a variable temperature setting, which means you can adjust them to preference. As the various cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant are released at different temperatures, vaping at different temperatures can vary the effect and give you a lot more control over the high. For activating THC you need to vape between 157 and 200 degrees Celsius. To release more CBD the temperature should go up to 160 – 180 ℃, and for other cannabinoids it can be a little higher. By vaping at around 200 ℃ you should be releasing most of the goodness in the plant.
Should I go for a portable or desktop cannabis vaporizers?
That’s perhaps the first question to ask yourself. Larger desktop vaporizers, might make you think of a water pipe or hookah, they’re sometimes popular with medical users who only ever toke at home, in a coffeeshop or in social groups who like to share.
The market leader here is the Volcano (from Storz & Bickel). Desktop vaporizers like this have a large chamber for your product and the option for single or multi-person use. They also have a built-in fan that you can use for inflating plastic vape balloons, are easy-to-clean and should have a relatively long life-span which helps make them more cost effective over time: prices for these type of vaporizers start at around 250,- euro and go up to about 400,-, depending on the brand, the retailer and the add-ons you go for.
What kind of cannabis product can I use with a vaporizer?
Most desktop vaporizers like the Volcano take solid extracts (like hash), liquids and dried herb, and you can buy a variety of accessories. It’s worth doing your homework before buying a new device to make sure it is suitable for the type of cannabis product you want to use. If you think you’d like a multi-product vaporizer, do look at the differences between extracts closely to see what kind of potency they offer, which cannabinoids they contain – and with oils – that they are safe to use; recent studies indicate differences between oil bases and suggest that not all are safe for the purpose of vaping.
Vaping cannabis on-the-go
Portable devices come in quite a lot cheaper. So, if budget is a driving factor, then you may want to start small. A decent portable device can be found for as low as for around 60,- to 70,- euro. They are usually small, light, and above all, discreet for carrying around. Though the battery life can be a bit on the short side at those prices, these sorts can be a good starters’ buy.
If you’re a convert to vaping and want to invest in a portable device that is going to have more options, superior build quality, create good consistent clouds of vapor or maybe want something more stylish, then you can fork out a bit more for something like the Crafty or The Firefly 2 (they take both herb and concentrates). Both these are shiny, slimline and spacy looking which makes them popular with image conscious cannabis enthusiasts. Rechargeable, lightweight, easy-to-use and with a good size chamber that you can fill full to produce cloud banks of vapor.
For medical or heavier consumers something like the Crafty (also Storz & Bickel) is robust, long-lasting and offers exact temperature adjustment, it can also take herb or most forms of extracts. These sleek portable devices give you the option to use in combination with a mobile app to help you monitor temperature, maximize flavor and learn your preferences: they start at around 239,- euros and go up from there.
What is the difference between Convection or Conduction heating?
Each vaporizer will have a slightly different heating system. If you’re using dried bud this can be important, for efficiency. A conduction (heated chamber) system won’t always heat your bud evenly, meaning it may need stirring to avoid wastage. A convection system, however, circulates hot air to heat the flower evenly, Firefly also suggest this as the reason behind their claim to have the cleanest, crispest flavor to the vapor.
If you want to know more about vaping check out Herbert M. Green’s earlier post on the benefits of vaping or head over to the shop to check out our range of top quality vaporizers.