Vaping, short for vaporizing, is a method of enjoying inhaled cannabis without the harmful use of combustion. Rather, heat in the form of conduction, convection, or induction, depending on the device, gently heats the herb without coming close to burning it. This results in a gas or vapour, that delivers a satisfying, potent, and gentle ‘smoke’, rich in bright aromas and distinct flavours.
While there are many vaporizers available on the market, there’s no need to become overwhelmed by choice. Cannabis vapes are designed to give you exactly what you’re looking for, so you just need to ask the right questions.
Do You Prefer to Vaping Cannabis Flowers or Concentrate?
Vapes are typically designed to produce vapour from either cannabis flowers or concentrate. For many who enjoy both, some devices cater to that preference. If you’re new to cannabis and are not sure which you prefer yet, it is actually recommended that you start with pure cannabis buds. Chances are if you’re just starting to discover the recreational and therapeutic benefits of vaping cannabis, your tolerance level is quite low. Vaping flower is ideal for low-tolerance users and has many benefits. Herb is less expensive than concentrates, with an easy learning curve that allows for worry-free micro-dosing.
Concentrates are derived through extraction processes that yield a product with little plant material and a high concentration of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other desirable compounds. These concentrates come in various forms, like wax, oil, and shatter and deliver a far more intense experience in one hit than the flower could do alone. This makes concentrate ideal for medical patients who require higher doses and for recreational users looking for a potent high.
Do you need a portable device for vaping cannabis?
There are many small, discrete, and portable vapes on the market to serve the need for discretion. For minimalist-minded individuals who prefer clutter-free environments, a large device that takes up counter space could seem like a poor alternative to a sleek, portable device, even if discretion isn’t a concern.
This is a good time to break down the three types of vaporizing methods that can be used by a device to help explain why large devices can actually be superior to the kind you can take on a nature hike.
Back to School: Vaping Cannabis with Conduction, Convection, and Induction
There are three types of heating methods used in cannabis vaporizers available on the market today: conduction, convection, and induction. Ultimately, the goal of vaping is to expose the volatile oils and active compounds in cannabis flower or concentrate to the right amount of heat to turn it into a gas or vapour. This process is carried out in three steps: apply heat to the herb, use heat to extract the herb’s essential oils, and cause those oils to evaporate and form a vapour for inhalation.
Vaping Cannabis with Conduction
It helps to use the analogy of cooking to explain the differences between the three methods of vaporizing. When you’re frying onions in a skillet on the stove, you’re using conduction to heat those onions. To cook them evenly, you have the stir them. The same can be said when using a conduction vape to ‘cook’ herb or concentrate. Just like the onions relied on heat transfer through direct contact with the pan, in conduction vaping, the cannabis comes into direct contact with a heated surface to induce evaporation. The herb will also need to be stirred to ensure that its entire surface area comes into direct contact with the bowl. A controlled temperature ensures that even with direct contact, no burning occurs.
Vaping Cannabis with Convection
As you move away from conduction towards induction vaping, you are reducing the herb’s direct contact with the heated element. The reason for doing this is to maximize the quality of the vapour and enhance the overall experience. Convection relies on an element heating air that then passes over your herb.
Back to our cooking analogy, using an oven or an air fryer is heating by convection. An insulated space is filled with hot air. Once the correct temperature has been set, whatever you’re cooking is evenly heated from all sides. If you’re still cooking those onions in a cast-iron skillet on the conduction stovetop, you can transfer that skillet to the oven. Now the onions are receiving an even amount of heat from all sides on both surfaces. They cook faster and more evenly. Cooking enthusiasts will agree that finishing off a protein in the oven achieves a far more flavourful meal, with juices sealed all around.
Convection vapes work the same way, taking advantage of the product’s full surface area with one precise hit of perfectly tempered heat. The resulting vapour is pure, inhaled entourage effect, the total array of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids mingling. This air is either powered by an internal fan or will use the power of your own draws.
Vaping Cannabis with Induction
There aren’t as many induction vapes on the market, but as achieving the entourage effect becomes a more precise science, more sophisticated methods will be embraced. To return to cooking analogies, induction vapes operate like induction stovetops. When turned on, a magnetic field is produced. A coil mechanism allows an alternating current to flow, creating the potential for heat when a pot comes into contact with the stovetop. The pressure of the pot against the magnetic field creates eddy currents that produce heat. An induction vape uses this method to create heat extremely fast, that doesn’t directly touch the herb.
Graduation: Vaping Cannabis with a Desktop, Portable, or Pen Vaporizer?
Now that you know a bit more about the different ways that vapour is created, you can appreciate some of the differences in design. So back to that original question, which is the best for you? At varying price points, from $50 all the way up to $800, not all vapes are created equally and there are a few more things to consider now that you’ve got the heating method down.
Pen Vaporizers: Discrete and Affordable
Vape pens are too small to deliver the mighty vape hits of a convection or induction vaporizer. Users who value discretion, affordability, and portability will enjoy pen vaporizers. Designed for maximum discretion, many are similar to e-cigarettes, with a fast-heating operation that releases vapour through a push-button system or direct draw. Cannabis vape pens mostly rely on conduction to produce vapour.
Portable Vapes: High-Quality Hits on the Go
A portable vape is a step up from the vape pen. While they are still portable, they are larger and contain more features that help to produce a more precise vaping experience. Unlike pen vapes, portable vapes offer both conduction and convection mechanisms, which will account for price differentials.
Desktop Vapes: Gold Standard Vapour
Here that cooking analogy comes in handy once more, to wrap up our discussion of vapes. Just like an oven or air fryer takes up a little more space than a stovetop, so too will a convection desktop vape like the Volcano take up a fair bit more room than a portable. That extra space is used to create an ideal chamber where temperature, insulation, and accuracy are enhanced to extract the maximum potency and flavour from your herb. They also generally make smoking with friends easier, as their chambers can accommodate more herb.
Summary of Vaping Cannabis
Whether you’re out to get the most out of cannabis flower or concentrate, on the go, or at home, vaporizing cannabis helps you get the best out of this versatile herb. Conduction, convection, and induction all offer good results with various considerations.