What is vaping?
Vaporizing (vaping), is a relatively new form of inhaling cannabis that drastically reduces harmful carcinogens associated with smoking, while still activating the therapeutic cannabinoids in the flower. The difference between smoking vs vaping comes down to temperature. The temperature at which cannabis begins to “burn” is at around 450 °F, at which point the cannabinoids in the plant begin to combust and become useless.
- Some cannabinoids begin to activate at as low as 120 °F like CBN, or 320 °F for THC, all the way to 428 °F for CBC, but all of these begin burning away at temperatures higher than 450.
- By using a lighter to ignite your cannabis, the most common smoking tool, you can expect temperatures of at least 600 °F or higher. The fact is you can still activate cannabinoids in flower using a flame but a portion of those will be lost to the higher combustion temperatures. That goes for concentrates as well.
- Vaping allows for a reduction of the harmful carcinogen called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAH’s. This chemical compound is found in all types of smoke as a byproduct from burning material.
- The idea behind vaping is that you are heating your cannabis at a lower temperature to activate the cannabinoids without spoiling them, thus maintaining quality and decreasing health risks.
The exact suitable temperature for vaping is debatable. Some studies state anything below 450 will prevent carcinogen release while others indicate small amounts appear at 400. Also, you may not even be utilizing all the cannabinoids as some don’t fully activate until well above that temperature. In general, according to studies as early as 2002, vaping is an effective and relatively safer alternative to smoking cannabis.
How do I vape?
In order to vape you will need a vaporizer! These handy gadgets can be purchased online or from certain smoke shops and they allow you to heat your flower at a low temperature to avoid combustion, thus vaporizing.
Finding the right vaporizer
Finding the perfect vaping setup for you can be difficult. With countless online options and thousands of reviews it's easy to get overwhelmed by buzzwords and jargon. To make this easier we have provided 3 factors you should always look for when buying:
- Temperature Setting: This will allow you to adjust the temperature to exact degree to suit your needs which in this case, would be activating all cannabinoids and terpenes while avoiding combustion
- Concentrate or Flower?: Most Vaporizers handle both with ease but some specialize in one or the other. Make sure you determine this before buying
- Tabletop or handheld?: Tabletop vapes tend to be more expensive and less portable thus more of an investment, whereas handheld vaporizers can be charge dependent and have a lack of options.
Top 3 Vaporizers:
To give you a starting point for purchasing the right vaporizer product, here are our top 3 picks for vaporizers.
Dr. Dabber Switch from: https://www.drdabber.com/products/switch-1
- PAX 3 Vaporizer
- Handheld and portable offering 8-10 uses per charge
- Adjustable Temperature between 360-420 °F
- Useful for both flower and concentrates
- On the affordable end of the overall vape pricing at $250.00 US
- Best overall vape for price, convenience, versatility, and performance
- PAX 3 Vaporizer
- A highly touted tabletop vaporizer that more closely resembles and functions like a “Bubbler”
- Able to function as a dry herb vape or a concentrate vape it tends to lack on the dry side, seemingly working better for concentrates
- Provides water filtration system
- Digital temperature control and utilize Induction heating, a method using electromagnets
- Rechargeable and can be used for 30 min at a time
- Overall a good vaporizer that has mixed reviews for flower but great reviews for concentrate. A good substitute for a dab rig or bubbler that is easy to use and cost effective even compared to regular dab rigs
- It’s retail price is $339.96 US
- Dr. Dabber SWITCH
- On paper not enough good things can be said about this vaporizer. As far as reviews go you would be hard pressed to find a bad one
- High quality material from the once German engineering company and a 10 year warranty
- A tabletop vaporizer with a digital temperature setting and convection heating
- Offering the ability to inhale from the classic “Balloon” or a hookah like hose
- Far and away the most expensive entry on this list at $699.00 US
- Although more user friendly than its predecessors it does require some technical savvy to a short extent. A willingness to read tutorials or even watch the official youtube instructional videos would help
- Overall performance wise it doesn’t get much better than this for either flower or concentrates. If the price wasn't so high and it wasn’t slightly more of a set up than others, it would be at the top
- Storz and Bickel Volcano Hybrid
Every brand will have different methods to using their products, there is no one-size-fits-all tutorial. That being said, a general rule of thumb for most is:
- Packing a flower or concentrate pod
- Placing the pod into the device
- Setting temperature to anywhere between 392 °F (198 °C) and 420 °F (215 °C)
Every product listed here and most online will have instructional videos and layouts on their website under the description. They generally also come with a manual that should always be kept and referred to.
Note: As stated earlier 450 °F is when it begins to combust, however most studies show that the ideal temperature for vaping cannabis is 374 °F, as you activate almost all cannabinoids present.
Written by Ej Rao.
- A general Gov study on the potential positives for vaping over smoking: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456813/
- A study on Vaporizing temperatures and potential health benefits of vaping over smoking: https://www.canorml.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/jcantgieringervapor.pdf
- The Temperatures for each Terpenes evaporation point as recorded by a leading Cannabis research lab called Steep Hills: https://www.steephill.com/science/terpenes
- The Temperatures for each Cannabinoid evaporation point as recorded by a leading Cannabis research lab called Steep Hills: https://www.steephill.com/science/cannabinoids
- Cannabinoid Vaping chart: https://fuckcombustion.com/threads/vaporization-temperature-dependent-selection-of-effects.1637/page-14 and http://vape-nation.com/vaporize-marijuana-guide/vape-temps/