The cannabis sector is one the fastest growing industries in the world, which is being fueled primarily by cannabis concentrates. In fact, cannabis concentrates outsold flower for the first time in California last year.
And within that group, the most growth occurred in the vaping sector. Vape sales went up 69% in 2018, and CBD vapes climbed 105% in the same year.
As we've spoken about previously, this shift towards weed accessories such as vaporizers is due to several factors.
Firstly, it's not just the cannabis industry that's moving towards vaping. Cigarette sales have been sharply dropping as people increasingly move towards vapes. This shift is almost entirely due to changing health concerns and a growing desire to avoid inhaling smoke. Because vaporizers don't combust any plant matter or tobacco, there aren't carcinogens or toxins going into your system.
Though unlike smoking, there are a few additional reasons that cannabis users might turn to vapes beyond health concerns. For some marijuana smokers, discretion can be important. As you're not burning anything when you use a vaporizer, you won't be leaving behind such a prominent smell.
On top of this, it's hard to distinguish a vape that contains nicotine from a vape that contains THC in it. So those wanting to be more public with their cannabis use might prefer vapes over joints.
And lastly, some vapes boast far higher THC concentrations, so for those looking to get high, these are your ticket.
Sound good? Well, then you'll want to decide which kind of vape you want.
Oil Cartridge Vape Pens
Oil Cartridge vape pens are the most prominent, and are probably what come to mind when you hear the word 'vape.'
As the name suggests, these vape pens take oil cartridges, typically filled with a substance known as "THC vape juice."
THC vape juice is a concentrated form of cannabis that consists of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids derived from marijuana plants. Through carbon dioxide or alcohol, the THC is then extracted into a liquid product that you can use in your vape pen.
The first benefit of any vape pen is that you're not dealing with plant matter. This is a preference for some, as the herb can grow mold on it or dry out over time. While this won't impact potency a great deal, it will result in a less pleasurable inhalation experience over time than an oil vaporizer which will avoid those pitfalls.
You've also got portability and discretion with oil vaporizers. With the growing trend towards e-cigarettes and vaping nicotine, very few will even notice the difference if you were to have some THC vape juice instead.
Another benefit to oil cartridge vapes is potency, which is something that herbal vaporizers can lack. With herbal vaporizers, you're still having the raw flower, much like you would a joint, except that you're vaporizing instead of smoking it. With an oil vaporizer, however, you're having a cannabis concentrate instead, which in some instances can have 90% THC levels. This means that users can get a distilled dose of their favorite cannabinoids and terpenes at a much higher concentration than found in raw flower.
And, on the note of terpenes, those who consume their THC through vape juice will also have the luxury of having their product flavored, scented, or even designed to elicit certain moods. So rather than your house smelling of burnt weed all the time, you might smell blueberries or feel like you're relaxing in Bali.
Another benefit to oil cartridge vaporizers is that you'll also have the choice of vaporizing THC or CBD, depending on what mood you're in.
For those that don't want to get high, or who are seeking CBD purely for medicinal benefits, oil cartridges are your best bet. Some even argue that vaporizing CBD can alleviate smoking cravings and help people kick cigarette addiction.
Herbal Vape Pens
For those that want to stay in touch with their roots without the respiratory issues, herbal vapes might be the best option.
As the name suggests, herbal vapes take the raw flower and vaporize it at a low enough temperature to avoid combustion. Though be mindful, cheaper herbal vaporizers can get too hot and begin to rise above 350°F / 176.6°C which will burn the plant and give you the same health concerns as a bowl or spliff.
One of the biggest benefits of using a herbal vaporizer comes down to dosage. The higher the THC content you ingest, the more likely users are to experience anxiety. Unfortunately, the rising prevalence of cannabis concentrates has led to an increase in cannabis-related hospital visits.
Put simply, people are ingesting a lot more THC than they're used to, and it's causing them to panic. With dry herb vaporizers, especially if you've smoked cannabis previously, you'll know how much you're having and generally what effects it will have.
While you won't have access to different flavored oil cartridges, you can load your herbal vaporizer with herbs to perform aromatherapy. Vaporizing herbs can give users unique benefits and flavors that are specific to that plant.
You could vape Chamomile, which is said to improve indigestion, alleviate headaches and stress, and reduce anxiety and depression. There's also Eucalyptus, which can provide powerful antibacterial effects and is said to relieve the common cold or flu and improve respiratory issues. Or you could even have peppermint if you wanted to freshen up a bit.
A desktop vaporizer is a vape that sits upon a table and is typically plugged into a power socket.
There are two main kinds of desktop vaporizers, you have balloon vapes and whip vapes.
Firstly, let's look at whip vapes.
Whip vaporizers are similar to a shisha or hookah, in that you put the ground herb into a chamber and inhale through a long plastic or silicone tube to receive the vapor. The main benefit to a whip vape over a balloon is setup time, as whips heat up quite quickly. They can also have quite a bit of reach for those that like to get comfortable during a session.
Balloon vaporizers, on the other hand, use forced air convection to fill up a big plastic balloon with vapor. Once full, the balloon can then be separated from the adapter and users can pass it around and inhale.
Because a desktop vape is plugged into a power socket, the first benefit is not having concerns about battery life as you're always charging. Though, as you're always plugged in, you won't have the mobility that a vape pen has.
The size of desktop vaporizers is also an asset, as they have better temperature regulation and larger heating chambers than their portable counterparts, which gives users a much richer experience. Having effective temperature regulation is beneficial, as it gives users a consistent experience that handheld vaporizers can lack. On top of this, the flavors, aromas, and experience provided from desktop vaporizers are far better than that of a vape pen. This is becausde portable vape pens have a much smaller heating chamber, so you won't be producing the same high-quality vapor as a desktop model.
And unlike using vaporizer pens—which can be a solitary experience—with a balloon vape, users can load up the chamber, and take leisurely inhalations before passing it on to the person next to them.
The best situation for a desktop vape would be at home either alone or with friends. You won't be able to take your vape on the bus with you (very easily) and you'll have an even harder time finding a plug for it on your lunch break. But if you've got a few friends over, and you're playing Monopoly or watching movies, a desktop vape might be the right choice.
All in all, there's a lot of vaporizer variety out there and to choose what'll work best, you need to consider what outcome you're after. Do you want some relief while you're on break? Or do you want to have a fun night at home with friends? Are you trying to get high or quit smoking? Or Both?
Whatever your reason, there's a vape out there for you. And given the current trends, we may one day see vaporizing overtake all methods of smoking.