Cannabis Vaping 101: Everything a Beginner Needs to Know
Vaping lets you enjoy cannabis benefits without the mess and fuss of rolling joints. You don’t need a bong or pack a pipe. It’s better for your lungs than inhaling burning debris. And, it’s discreet and cheap.
However, there remains some risks in cannabis vaping. Recently, UCLA doctors have warned,
“The way a regular cigarette is constructed is very well-known, whereas these vaping products haven’t undergone the rigorous testing of other consumer products.”
What every beginner needs to know —
In the cannabis world, vaping heats cannabis until it produces a gaseous form disbursed into the air. It owes its origin to hookah traditions where water filtered the heated product you puffed from a hose.
You can buy a vaporizing machine to do the same thing. It stands upright, and you breathe in the fumes from heated marijuana flake through a hose. But, these days people use e-cigarettes or handheld vaping devices to do the same thing. The technology is moving quickly to make the process even easier and cheaper.
Basically, the device holds a heating unit that warms a fluid until it produces vapors but before it burns. The fluids come with or without cannabis content, in flavors and scents, or with or without nicotine. These e-liquids usually contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin with flavor and other additives.
Some vape devices have a chamber where you can place dry herbs like ground marijuana. Others are constructed to use liquids and/or dry herbs. But, customers have been lining up for compact palm-sized “mod” options.
Vaping e-cigarettes —
An e-cigarette is a tubular device like a cigarette. But, the more features included, the longer and thicker it gets. Still, the idea is to imitate the sensation and behavior of cigarette smoking.
Inside the “cigarette,” a heating unit warms a small e-fluid cannister that produces a vapor that users inhale and exhale in a cloud that is fuller and denser than cigarette tobacco smoke.
Smokers see benefits to using e-cigarettes:
- To wean yourself off tobacco
- To enjoy a smoke
- To reduce the risk attached to tobacco
- To “smoke” where tobacco smoking is banned
- To save money
E-cigarettes let you choose the e-liquids with nicotine or not. So, you may continue with the oral fixation associated with smoking and still reduce the addictive and toxic effects of nicotine.
E-cigarettes have a short battery life. Small and compact, their mechanics are small and compact. Their increasing popularity is driving innovations like heating and temperature controls.
Handheld vaporizers —
Mods are handheld, palm-sized modified vaping devices. Their size allows more features and customization. They call them “mods” because they can be modified.
Mods are powered by unique batteries that allow users to adjust, time, and customize their experience. Mods are mechanical without wiring because the battery feeds the atomizer directly.
Those lithium ion rechargeable batteries last long and issue more power. But, you cannot ship or travel with them. Some smaller mods depend on an in-built battery you can recharge with a mini-USB.
- Vape Pens and eGos are sleek and simple in appearance. They can fit comfortably and discreetly in your hand like a cigarette with an extension. They assembled and disassemble easily for cleaning and repair.
- Box Mods are larger units with lots of style features. The “box” fits in your palm, and you inhale from a device sticking from the top. They double the effective performance of the smaller cigarette-size devices in terms of battery life and vapor cloud. Cheaper than cigarettes in just short time, they satisfy the cravings of most long-time cigarette smokers. The box mods use e-fluid tanks or cartridges. And, the main unit sports LED panels with the variable voltage and temperature.
- Cartomizer differ from the atomizer infrastructure of the vapers that have dominated the market. What the cartomizer does is combine the atomizer and e-fluid cartridge in one unit. They even come conveniently pre-filled.
- Clearomizers have a clear polycarbonate or Pyrex tank which holds more e-fluid than atomizers. New and selling quickly because of their low cost, they use a silica wick to heat the heating coil.
Vaping cautions —
- Lithium ion batteries present some risk, so you should research the product you are shopping.
- More heat creates more vapor, but too hot and the vapors will burn your lungs as you inhale. So, you must keep your device’s watts between 4 and 9.
- Since ohms measure the resistance in the device’s coil, you want to invest in a device where this is easily managed.
- If vaping is easier on your lungs than tobacco smoking, you still want to know what’s in your e-fluid.
- WebMD.com reported a 2015 study in The New England Journal of Medicine that found “some e-cigarettes release formaldehyde, a probable cancer-causing substance (or carcinogen), when heated with batteries set at high voltages.”
- The same article reported an FDA review of 18 different e-cigarette cartridges found “All but one of the cartridges labeled ‘no nicotine’ did, in fact, contain nicotine.” Without gold standards for ingredients and labeling, this risk continues to threaten.
Vaping may be a path to stop smoking cigarettes. It is cheaper in the long run, and is likely to be less harmful to your lungs. It is convenient and satisfying for long term smokers. And, choosing the right device and right e-liquid may provide hours of relaxation and pleasure.
But, like everything new, it takes research, study, and self-education. If you want to vape, you must know what you are doing. You can find a huge inventory of vapers and e-fluids online, but until you have some experience behind you and if you have cannabis dispensaries available in your area, you can ask your budtender to review your needs and objectives in detail.