What are cannabis vapes and how do you use them?

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A portable device that consists of a battery and a cartridge with cannabis concentrate. Concentrates are heated rather than burned in a Vape Pen. Instead of smoke, vapor is produced. Some cannabis users prefer vaping to smoking because of the lack of smoke and the portability of Vape Pens.

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The history of vape pens

Vaping has a long history: Ancient Egyptians used hot stones to inhale vapors emanating from heated herbs, and the “shisha,” more commonly known these days as a hookah, was introduced to India thousands of years ago.

Fast forward to 2003, when Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist who was trying to quit smoking, figured out how to evaporate nicotine liquid using high-frequency ultrasonic vibration and put everything in a cigarette-like device. In 2007, the first e-cigarette vaporizer was released in the United States.

Today’s vape pens vaporize using a tiny heater, and marijuana users, of course, use a cannabis concentrate instead of nicotine juice.

Advantages of using vape pens

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Vape pens have some advantages over smoking cannabis flower, especially for new consumers.

  • They’re convenient. Cartridges are small, transportable, and pre-filled with Distillates and Concentrates. Carrying several of them is much easier than carrying several kinds of flower, and swapping them out is simple.
  • They’re discreet. Vape pens are often used by tobacco smokers, so they don’t draw much attention these days. The smell of vapor is also far less pungent than the smell of burning cannabis flower, so vaping could be done — possibly undetected — in many places smoking isn’t allowed.
  • They’re less harmful. Studies show that when cannabis is combusted, the smoke that’s inhaled contains at least 100 toxins, some of which can cause cancer. Because vaporizers don’t heat marijuana to the point of combustion, or burning, people who use them aren’t exposed to those toxins. Long-term research on vaping doesn’t exist yet, but a 2010 study of 20 daily cannabis smokers with existing lung conditions found that just one month after using a vaporizer instead, they had “meaningful improvements” in their lung health.
  • They’re cleaner. The cartridges are disposable, so there’s no sticky resin to clean up. And the only output is water vapor — no smoke, no ash, no mess.

There are also some disadvantages to opting for a vape pen instead of smoking cannabis flower, such as higher prices, fewer strain varieties, and potential health risks associated with cutting agents.

The anatomy of a vape pen

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Overall, there are four main parts of a vape pen:

  • Tank or cartridge: The container for the cannabis oil that will be vaporized. Tanks made of plastic, glass, or steel are refillable. Pre-filled cartridges are used until they’re empty and thrown away.
  • Atomizer: The heating element that vaporizes the cannabis oil.
  • Battery: The rechargeable lithium ion battery that powers the vape pen and heats the concentrate. Some batteries activate with the manual press of a button, while just inhaling activates others. Rechargeable batteries often come with a USB charger included. Disposable pens have a pre-charged battery.
  • Mouthpiece: The piece through which vapor is inhaled.

What goes in a vape pen

Various cannabis extracts can be used to fill vape pens.

  • Distillate is the most popular, as it is a highly purified oil with only a few cannabinoids, primarily THC or CBD.
  • Specialty concentrations (such CO2 oil, Shatter, and Full Spectrum Extracts) contain all of the cannabinoids found in marijuana plants and provide a unique experience.

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