Do I Need Special Equipment to Vaporize Weed?
So here’s the one major downside to vaping cannabis – You can’t exactly make a home made bong or an apple pipe for vaporizing. Vaping weed does require specialized equipment, and cannot be easily replicated in a DIY fashion. However, as cannabis legalization has spread and the marijuana industry has grown, vape equipment has become more wide-spread and affordable, making vaporizers easier and cheaper to get into than ever before.
There are several different types of vaporizers on the market place, but ultimately boil down to two different types: Dry herb vapes and concentrate vapes.
How to Vaporize Cannabis Flower
Dry herb vapes are used to vaporize cannabis plant material – Fill the heating chamber with weed, let it come to temp, take a puff. Classic models such as the desktop-sized Volcano and the handheld Iolite are both well-known dry herb vapes that take raw cannabis flower and, though precise heating control, coax it up to the proper temperature to release the cannabinoids contained within.
Large models such as the Volcano are typically powered by electricity and require a wall outlet to function. Once plugged in a small chamber inside holds the ground cannabis flower while a heating element begins to reach a specific, usually user-defined temperature. After the temperature is reached the vaporizer holds the cannabis at this temperature, typically using a fan or some other fashion of delivery system to push the cannabis vapor into a holding chamber or bag.
Hand-held, portable vaporizers typically run off of butane – Rather than the butane directly burning the weed, though, the flame inside is kept against a heating element, and switches on and off as it reaches a specific temperature range. Smaller models offer a portability that desktop models don’t but usually eschew precise temperature controls, and can be less efficient than their larger cousins.
Also important, while herb vaporizers don’t require special product to smoke (IE: concentrates) they can take time before the heating chamber reaches temp and the vaporization is complete and ready – This means upwards up to a 2 minute wait before you can take a puff.
What About Weed Concentrates?
Concentrates are in an interesting position. Many dry herb vapes will also allow for the use of certain concentrates (we recommend adding concentrates to dry bud for the best experience) but concentrate vape pens usually will not work with cannabis flower; their construction and method for heating the concentrate is far different from that needed for dry herb, and is usually why concentrate models (such as vape pens) are much cheaper than those that handle bud.
Vape pens, or e-liquid pens, work by heating a small element directly against the concentrated liquid held inside the cartridges – This rapidly turns the liquid into a vapor which can then be inhaled. Because of the design and construction of the vape pen, though, they can only hold e-liquids; any attempt to use another fashion of marijuana concentrate inside will likely just end up with wasted product (and potentially a busted vape pen).
If looking to use more traditional concentrates, such as hash oil or hasish, or other forms of solid/semi-solid products such as wax or THCA diamonds, there are specially-designed vape pen models and other portable vaporizers designed for these types of concentrates. These are typically battery-operated (USB charged) and will hold a variety of THC concentrate products. Though their action for creating vapor isn’t instant, like with most e-liquid pens or e-cigarettes, many only require seconds of warm-up time before they’re ready to be hit.
What’s the Best Temp to Vape Weed?
Temperature can vary depending on what you’re trying to vape, and many larger models can offer temperature settings that may seem confusing at first. We go over this in detail in our article “What’s The Best Temperature to Vaporize Cannabis”, but to recap here: Many vape pens and smaller vaporizers will automatically aim for a temperature somewhere around 375°F, as this will vaporize a good majority of the cannabinoids present in any given cannabis flower or extract.
While 375°F is a good generalized temperature, being able to “dial in” a more precise temp is a definite feature for many vaporizers. The temperature your cannabis is vaporized at can have a large effect on how hard (and harshly) your vape hits, with lower temperatures offering a less harsh smoke and higher temperatures activating more of the cannabinoids and terpenes available in your product.
If your vaporizer offers temperature control options we recommend playing around with temperatures ranging from 355°F – 390°F; temps much lower than this range won’t activate most of your THC, while temps too much higher can end up with your weed getting smokey or burned.