If you’re like most marijuana users looking to get into vaping, you
probably have some questions. Vaporizing, or vaping for short, has
become an incredibly popular marijuana delivery method over the last
several years, and more and more people are appreciating the medical
benefits and convenience that vaping has to offer. As a medical
professional, I’m all about medical benefits and convenience. So let’s
discuss marijuana vaping, shall we?
What is Vaporizing?
A vaporizer is a device that heats up marijuana for the purpose
of releasing its active ingredients without burning them. While smoking
marijuana can be an effective delivery process, many consumers have
found that the ash produced by smoking is too harsh on the lungs.
Proponents of vaping hail it as a safer alternative to smoking that
still provides marijuana’s positive effects. Vaporizers are compatible
with marijuana buds, wax, oils and eLiquid.
Using a Vaporizer
Consumer use of vaporizers depends upon individual preferences. As a
general rule, consumers who use whole herbs grind them finely before
smoking. This produces a finer flavor and a more pleasant vaping
experience. The herbs (or the marijuana concentrates, if the consumer
prefers) are then placed in the vaporizer’s compartment, where they are
heated and prepared for inhalation. Unlike other types of marijuana
inhalation, vaporizing doesn’t produce any visible smoke. Instead, the
user experiences only a pleasant taste with each inhalation.
Filling the Vaporizer
As I mentioned earlier, vaporizers can be filled with a whole host of
different marijuana products, from waxes to whole herbs. The choice of
what to use depends largely on what you like and don’t like. On one
hand, people who enjoy smoking may choose to purchase a vaporizer that
can be filled with finely ground marijuana, which allows for exploration
of different strains and tastes. On the other hand, people who don’t
enjoy smoking and would prefer to inhale cannabis exclusively through
vaping may prefer to purchase concentrates, like oils or waxes. A word
of caution about oils: they may contain harsh chemicals that can harm
your lungs, so do your research before you buy. Substituting one danger
for another is no way to live life.
Conduction vs. Convection: Which Is Best for Vaping Marijuana?
As you dive deeper into vaporizers, you’ll soon discover that there are
two distinct types: those that use conduction heat and those that use
convection heat. Get ready for some science: Conduction and convection
are two different types of heat transfer; conduction occurs when heat is
transferred between two objects (such as when a hot stove surface heats
up a pot), while convection occurs when liquid or gas are involved (such
as in the creation of steam). I’m often asked which process I believe is
best, both for efficiency and medical benefits. The answer is that most
professionals, myself included, believe that convection vaporizers are
more efficient and offer a better inhaling experience.
Why? Conduction vaporizers often use metal chambers to heat the
marijuana product, resulting in uneven heating. The metal is heated
continuously, even if you aren’t actively inhaling from the vaporizer.
Further, if you pack the chamber too tightly, you may need to stir and
shake after the initial pulls to encourage thorough heating. If a
marijuana bud, for example, is packed into the chamber, the part that
touches the metal will get hotter than the rest. This isn’t an issue if
you’re using oils and other concentrates, but if you’re using whole or
ground plants, you could end up playing hot potato.
Convection vaporizers are more efficient because they offer even,
on-demand heating and a decreased risk of burning the plant. Consider a
regular oven versus a convection oven – convection ovens distribute heat
evenly so you don’t undercook half the turkey and burn the other half.
Think of your marijuana bud as that turkey. Even heat distribution makes
Loose Leaf vs. Cannabis Concentrate
The next large question that arises surrounding the topic of vaping is
whether to use loose leaf marijuana or marijuana concentrates. People
who want to engage in environmentally friendly vaping will appreciate
loose leaf vaporizers, as they present less plastic waste and a lower
level of processing. On the flip, people who want to use their
vaporizers on the go or in public may prefer to use concentrates, which
produce less smell and are more portable. Concentrates are generally
more convenient, because loose leaf vaporizers require filling and
heating time before every use.
When choosing between loose leaf and concentrate, you’ll also need to
consider the experience each option offers. All vaporizers change the
smell and taste of medical marijuana slightly, but many consumers who
consider themselves connoisseurs don’t care for the smell of plants that
have been vaped. Because of this, many people opt to vape concentrates
exclusively. Keep in mind that, since vaporizing is a cleaner method of
medical marijuana inhalation, the effects of inhalation are often
markedly less "heady," which many users appreciate.
The Case for Vaping Cannabis
If you’re looking for a clean, effective form of marijuana inhalation,
vaping may be your go-to. From providing immediate, effective relief
from various symptoms to offering an inconspicuous way to enjoy medical
marijuana in a group setting without the harsh effects of smoking,
vaping is a fantastic option for many medical marijuana users.
Photo credit: Vaping360