Vaping is the latest trend in the cannabis community, promising both recreational and medical users a healthier, safer alternative to lighting a joint or smoking a bong. Even Willie Nelson, the 84 year-old country music legend and avid cannabis activist has put down his joint in favor of a vaporizer.
However, many rookies get intimidated by the complexity of some of the vaporizers on the market and struggle to vaporize properly. To make sure you get the best out of your vaporizer, it’s vital you understand how vaporizers work before following a handful of simple tips next time you bake.
HOW DO VAPORIZERS WORK? WHY SHOULD I BOTHER VAPING?
Vaporizers are designed to avoid combustion. Unlike some traditional smoking methods, vaporizers use new technology to bring cannabis to the ideal temperature to extract the main compounds from the plant (such as cannabinoids and terpenes) without actually burning the plant material.
Vaporizers work on the principles of convective or conductive heating; convective vaporizers will heat the air around a product, whereas conductive vaporizers work by heating the surface underneath a product. Conductive vaporizers generally need to be shaken while in use to avoid burning the product in the chamber.
Because vaporizers don’t actually burn cannabis and produce vapor instead of smoke, they offer cannabis users a healthier alternative to traditional smoking methods. Regardless of how healthy you think cannabis might be compared to tobacco or other similar products, inhaling cannabis smoke exposes you to many adverse health effects very similar to those of smoking tobacco.
By switching to a vaporizer, you’re also able to extract more cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from your buds. THC, CBD, and many of the other key components in cannabis start to evaporate at relatively low temperatures (around 300+°F or 150+°C). Joints, bongs, and blunts burn way above those temperatures (reaching temperatures of up to 2000°F) and actually waste a lot of weed. By using a vaporizer, you’re able to heat your cannabis to the exact temperature needed to extract its essential compounds, allowing you to use less weed.
TIPS FOR VAPING EFFECTIVELY
Using a vaporizer can be daunting. Luckily, with these simple tips you should soon be on your way to becoming a vape pro.
PREHEAT YOUR VAPE
To get the best results out of your vaporizer, make sure you allow it some time to reach its ideal temperature. Think of vaping while cooking; you don’t stick a whole roast into a cold oven. Take the time to preheat our vaporizer while you elect and prepare your weed and you’ll enjoy thick, even draws.
USE DRY WEED
When using a vaporizer, you want to make sure your bud has the right moisture content, just like you would when smoking. Because vaporizers operate at lower temperatures and don’t actually heat the cannabis with a flame, you’ll want to use slightly drier weed than normal.
Before you load your chamber, make sure to expect your weed to ensure it’s not too moist. You can do this simply by pressing a bud between your fingers and seeing how it responds to the touch.
GRIND IT FINE
To get the best results with your vaporizer, it’s important you grind your weed properly. We suggest using a high-quality grinder, but any method is fine as long as it creates an even, medium-fine grind.
Don’t go overboard and grind your weed into really fine powder as this won’t vaporize well. Also don’t try to stick a whole bud in your chamber as you’ll achieve poor results. Your weed needs to be ground evenly in order to ensure even vaporization.
PACK IT TIGHT
One mistake many novice vapers make is not packing enough weed into their chamber. You’ll want to make sure your vape chamber is nice and tightly packed so as to produce to thick, heavy draws.
How much weed to pack into your vaporizer obviously depends on the size of its chamber. A good rule of thumb is to pac the chamber til its full and slightly compress it with your fingers Just remember, vaporizers can be fragile so be careful not to press yours too hard.
TAKE SHALLOW, STEADY BREATHS
Remember that vaporizing isn’t like smoking a bong or joint. Don’t try to deep, fast draws like you would when ripping a bong. Also don’t try to take petty little puffs like you might when you’re sucking on the end of a joint. Instead relax and take shallow, steady breaths, being careful to draw the vapor into your mouth and lungs.
Finally, avoid holding vapor in your lungs for as long as possible in hope of getting “higher.” Studies done in Australia actually suggest most THC in cannabis is absorbed within the first few seconds of inhalation, so there’s no need for you to look like a puffer fish.
KNOW YOUR TEMPERATURE
This is arguably the most important factor when it comes to vaporizing effectively. Having your vape set too low will produce light vapor with little-to-no concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes. Meanwhile, high temperatures risk combusting your weed and expose you to the same carcinogens found in a joint or blunt.
Most cannabinoids begin to vaporize at around 300°F (150°C), while cannabis flower material starts to combust at around 410°F (210°C). The exact best temperature for vaping is a highly debated topic, but we suggest sticking to roughly 340°F or 170°C.
Some experts suggest pushing these temperatures a little higher. They suggest 410° F (210° C) is the ideal temperature for vaping. At this temperature you should achieve the ideal balance of vaporizing both terpenes and cannabinoids while producing a nice, thick, and smooth vapor.
At this temperature, however, you may be at a higher risk of combusting your flowers. If you’re really worried about smoking and want to minimize your exposure to smoke as much as possible, we suggest sticking to 340°F or 170°C.
When we say cannabis starts to combust at 410° F (210° C) that doesn’t mean it will turn into ash if you go one degree higher. When you stay between 300°F (150°C) and 410° F (210° C) the weed will still look the same after vaporizing. It will keep the green color for example. But the higher the temperature you get, the more it will start to look like burnt material. First it will get a more brownish color. And at one point it will start to simply burn.
Sticking to these temperature guidelines will allow you to produce a good, strong vapor while maximizing the extraction of cannabinoids from your buds. Whereas regular marijuana smoke from a joint contains 85% non-cannabinoids and a ton of carcinogens, vapor from a vaporizer can contain up to 95% cannabinoids and only 5% carcinogens, offering a purer, and healthier way to use cannabis.
CLEAN YOUR VAPE
Last but not least, one of the most important tips for vaporizing effectively is regularly cleaning and maintaining your vaporizer. Make sure to read through the instruction manual that came with your vaporizer and follow the cleaning instructions. This will help you ensure your vape runs properly and produces clean, smooth vapor.
Also read through the instruction manual for tips on how to maintain your vape. Some parts may need regular replacing or special cleaning every couple of months. If you can’t find your instruction manual, contact the manufacturer of your vaporizer.