The main function of a vaporizer is to remove the element of combustion
Not so long ago it seemed like the only way anyone smoked weed was in a joint or bong, but these days it’s hard to imagine not having a plethora of alternative options at your fingertips. The rise of e-cigarettes as a method of defeating tobacco addiction kick-started the vaping revolution for the masses, yet the idea of vaporizing cannabis in one way or another has been around in its own right for much longer. Thanks to advances in technology, weed smokers can now choose a method which suits their needs and personal preferences from an almost endless list of devices from an even greater range of companies, so we thought it might be a good idea to have a look at a small selection of what you can find on the market today to help you make sense of it all.
In case you haven’t been brought up to speed yet, the main function of a vaporizer is to remove the element of combustion from the traditional method of consumption. Burning cannabis, tobacco, or any other herbal supplement produces smoke which can have adverse health effects, but it also can incinerate the parts of the material which have medicinal value. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are often lost in the process of incineration and all-too-often consumers are unaware that they are potentially inhaling nothing which is actually beneficial. Vaporizers have now gone high-tech and deliver the perfect level of heat (which in some cases can be varied to your liking) in order to ensure that you are only getting the best out of your buds.
High on the list of priorities for many canna-seurs are oil vaporizers as they tend to offer the strongest high (as long as they have good quality oil in them!). You’ve probably seen these before as some models are very similar to the e-cigs which people use, producing a similar size vape cloud to a normal cigarette, while others are capable of delivering a much thicker and intense hit courtesy of their increased chamber size. These operate via a cartomizer which contains a heating element to heat the oil until it reacts and the process of inhalation draws the vapor through a clearomizer before it is delivered to the consumer. When you first use this type of vaporizer, it is not uncommon to find that it tickles the throat and some people may find themselves coughing a little until they get used to the system of delivery. Seasoned consumers (especially growers) are likely to opt for making their own oils for consumption (in the same way as they would make BHO) but there are a multitude of suppliers who offer cannabis-based oils for vaping (CBD is particularly prevalent in the market at the moment, especially in the UK where THC content is limited to below 1%).
Recently, I invested in a Medistix Slider Vape Pen system for my day-to-day CBD vaping needs and there are a few aspects which I have been hugely impressed with. Firstly, the actual unit itself is incredibly well thought-out and comes with two pens contained in a slide-to-open charging case. This is a really nice touch as it means I never have to worry about running out of charge on the go because you can charge the unit and the two pens simultaneously and then use the case to recharge without plugging it back in to a power outlet. The other plus is that the case keeps my pens safe in my bag and I don’t have to worry about them getting dirty or broken. Initially I thought that the cartridge section was a little smaller than I expected, but it delivers a well-measured dose and doesn’t run out too fast. Prior to this I was just using a standard e-cig for my CBD needs and this is definitely a worthy upgrade (plus I can now carry two flavors of CBD with me at all times).
For those of you who prefer to use dry bud over concentrates, it can be difficult to choose one vaporizer from another when browsing the web or visiting a head shop or dispensary. Obviously, there is no substitute for trying out different models but this isn’t always feasible, so here’s a few we would recommend.
If you like to vape at home then the Volcano range always score highly in consumer testing and offer pipe or bag-based vaping experiences. By pumping heated air through the dried plant material, these units offer a clean and smooth output which is less irritating than most other delivery systems and some consumers prefer them because of the measured bag size which gives more control in terms of dosing. Portable vaporizing offers more choices, but the best all-round system is probably the PAX3. Offering variable heat control and a perfectly respectable heating time of around 20 seconds, the PAX3 is a fantastic blend of style and function with medical grade components and smartphone functionality.
If you’re old school and like to keep things simple, there is always the option of going for a more traditional pipe-style apparatus such as a Vaporizer Bubble. Looking somewhat like a lightbulb, this bypasses the need for oil and instead requires you to only place your preferred bud into the bowl and then heat the outside of the glass with a lighter. Instead of burning the bud, the process of heating the vaporizer creates heat without combustion and this turns the THC into a vapor which can be inhaled surprisingly smoothly. Due to its simple design, this is one of the most straightforward vaporizers on the market but some people may find that it is not the most discrete or portable system due to its glass composition and need for an external source of heat. While it certainly delivers a good hit, some members of the cannabis community may prefer something more sleek, stylish and subtle while on the go. However, if you are more likely to use your cannabis in the privacy of your own home then it’s a good entry-level piece. Should you be in the market for something a little fancier (and a lot more expensive) then you could do far worse than investing in the RooR Vaporizer XL. Instead of using an external source of flame, the RooR Vaporizer XL has a temperature controlled element, which allows you to ensure optimum levels of heat, along with a water chamber for purification of the vapor. This means you can get the strongest, smoothest vape out of your chosen strain every time.
What many people like is the option of choice, and fortunately there are a number of brands and models out there which give you the option of packing a vaporizer with bud, wax or oil (usually with a range of adaptors which come with the unit). One such option comes in the form of the Da Vinci Ascent Vaporizer from the makers of the DaVinci IQ (widely regarded as one of the best dry herb vaporizers on the market). Combining dry leaf and oil in one unit is not something you see every day, but the heating chamber is capable of accommodating either courtesy of the glass inserts which come as part of the pack. The unit is clearly built for precision vaping and has a handy display which keeps you informed of the temperature and gives you complete control over setting your optimum levels. What’s even better is that this unit has a decent size bud capacity and a battery life which is pretty reasonable when you consider the quality of its internal processes (you get about 100 minutes active use on average – but it does take a few hours to fully charge). If you like to vary your medication then this is likely to save you money in the long run, although some users report that it performs less-well with stickier concentrates. As we are looking at the ability to choose, one of the best all-round systems is probably the PAX3 from PLOOM. Offering variable heat control and a perfectly respectable heating time of around 20 seconds, the PAX3 is a fantastic blend of style and function with medical grade components and smartphone functionality that gives you the chance to switch up your medicine without too much trouble.
It’s impossible to cover every option on the market in such a short space of time, but if you are looking for more information or simply fancy checking out even more of what’s on offer then you can see a wide range of products on our website.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 137