Perhaps you have seen all of your friends sporting these brand-new devices – portable vaporizers. Maybe you’ve just heard that they are better than smoking.You may be curious about the whole vaping phenomenon and want to try it.
Yet once you’ve made the decision to vape, you may be intimidated by the number of products on the shelves. It can be quite confusing for the beginner. Sit back and relax. We are here to offer you the definitive guide to vaporizing for a beginner. We’ll explain the type of vaporizers and the benefits of vaping over smoking. When you’re done reading, we hope you will be informed enough to make your first purchase with confidence.
Smoking vs Vaping
Traditional smoking methods involving putting a flame to flowers or herbs. This is called combustion. Combustion does release wanted ingredients from the herbs, but it also releases harmful carcinogens that you then inhale. Vaporization is an alternative method of smoking where fewer carcinogens are released.
It also can increase the amount of wanted ingredients per inhale. When you use combustion to smoke cannabis – you’re inhaling as much as 88% non-cannabinoids. All that THC has gone up in smoke – literally. The fact is that it will cost more in the long run as you have to use more and more product to get the feeling you want.
Vaporization, on the other hand, will deliver as much as 95% cannabinoids. Translation? You need much less to get the feeling that you want. The 5% non-cannabinoids also means fewer carcinogens.
Types of Vaporizers
There are easily dozens of vaporizers on the market. If you’re new to the vaporizer industry, it is easy to become confused and have no idea what kind of vaporizer is right for you.
Excluding e-cigarettes and cig-a-likes, you have three main types of vaporizers. You have pen-style vaporizers, sometimes referred to as an e-pen, then you have box mods, also known as mods, and then you have desktop vaporizers.
Pen-style vaporizers are probably the most popular and easiest for the beginning vaper to get their vaping experience started. Vape pens consist of three parts – the mouthpiece, the tank where the herb, e-juice, or concentrate oil is contained, and the battery. While some do have temperature control capability, most only have a button that is depressed a certain number of times to turn it on and off and then held to activate the heating process and allow the vapor to be inhaled. The battery is typically a built-in Lithium-ion battery and is charged via the same kind of charger as many cell phones.
If you’ve already tried a vape pen and you are committed to vaping, you might want to move on to a box mod. Also known as a mod, this style of vaporizer generally comes with the battery, a tank, a coil, and a mouthpiece. The battery part of the mod usually requires one or two rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, depending on their strength. They can vary in strength from 20 to over 200 watts. The tanks in which your e-juice is placed can vary in size as well.
If you’re fine with your vape pen, there is no need to move up to a mod. If you are fine with 20 watts of power, you do not need to invest in a mod that reaches 200 watts. But most dedicated vapers do move on to a mod.
Desktop vaporizers are intended for in-home use for heavy vapers. While they are portable – so you can carry it to that party – these styles of vaporizers are meant to stay in one place. They also tend to be more expensive than your average box mod or pen-style vaporizer.
Vaporizers for Dry Herbs and Concentrates
Vaporizers are also differentiated by what they vaporize. The vaporizer types above all work with e-juice, a liquid that turns into vapor when heated. Newer on the market are vape pens and mods that are designed to handle dry herbs and marijuana concentrates. Some will only handle wax or concentrates, others will handle only dry herb, while some pen and mod-style vaporizers offer the capability of using all three forms of cannabis. Most dry herb vaporizers can also burn tobacco, for you pipe-lovers out there.
When it comes to dry herb vaporizers, be they pens or mod devices, you have two further options that require careful consideration. There are two ways to achieve vaporization of dry herbs – convection and conduction. Vape pens and mods come in both types.
In convection vaporizers, the leaves of your herb are warmed by passing hot air around them. Conduction vaporizers vaporize the herb by placing the leaves on an element, which is then heated. Which is better? It will mostly come down to personal preference. However, conduction vaporizers have a greater chance of combusting your dry herb, which will reduce the active ingredients and increase the amount of carcinogens. However, they do work faster than convection vaporizers.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Like anything electronic, caring for and cleaning your vape is important to ensuring a clean, tasty hit every puff you take. It will also ensure that your device will go the distance and is still with you as the months turn to years.
Cleaning is generally easy and maintenance is a cinch. To ensure that your flavors do not mix, you will want to clean your tank before you change flavors of e-juice or strains of shatter, oil, or wax. Using a cotton swab or removing the tank entirely and washing it in warm soapy water should do the trick and keep your tank clean.
If you have removable batteries in your mod or pen device, make sure that they are specifically for vaporizers. Not just any Lithium-ion battery will work in your device. Buy your vaporizer batteries from a vape shop rather than getting them from a hardware store. You may also need to occasionally replace coils in mods when they wear out.
First Time Buyer
If you are looking to make your first vaporizer purchase, you should make a trip to a local brick-and-mortar vape shop. Some shops will only offer vaporizers and e-juices while others are a mix of a “head shop” that also sells vaporizers and vape accessories. Talk to the employees and let them know what you are looking for in a vaporizer. They will let you know what is best for your needs.
If you have a friend or relative who vapes, ask them to make the trip with you. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Take your time and make sure that you choose something that is right for you and your experience level.
Deciding on a type of vaporizer will often come down to what you intend to vape in it. Whether you are looking to replace tobacco or replace combustion methods of smoking your cannabis, there are vaporizers on the market for you.
Best of luck and happy vaping!