Smoking joints, unsurprisingly, is the most common method of marijuana consumption. It is fast-acting, with the effects kicking in within minutes and lasting for 2 to 4 hours. As an option, you could also harness marijuana vaporizers. Not only do you reap psychoactive or therapeutic benefits, but you also take advantage of the unique selling propositions of the device itself. You only need to know which kind of vaping rig to use.

Overview Of Marijuana Vaporizers

You can use a vaporizer to produce vapor containing marijuana compounds. To do that, the canna-juice is heated just below the combustion point of 200°C (392°F). At this temperature, the heat is enough to decarboxylate, activating THC and other compounds. Since there is no combustion, vaporizing does not produce harmful by-products such as toxins, respiratory irritants, and carcinogens.

Aside from being a safer or healthier alternative to smoking, vaped marijuana tends to be stronger than smoked weed. Mainly, that is due to higher levels of THC finding its way to the bloodstream, suggesting higher bioavailability.

The Different Types Of Marijuana Vaporizers

Several types of marijuana vaporizers exist in the market. They can mainly be grouped into three kinds – forced air, portable, and pen. The main differences are size and portability. Forced air vapes, for example, are bulky, whereas portable and pen vapes are small and handy. All three can be used with either oil or dry herbs.

Is one type of vaporizer better than the other? No. It all comes down to your needs and preferences. That being the case, understanding the unique features or characteristics of each can help you decide which to choose when shopping for one. At any rate, stick only to established brands, and rest assured that you get only smooth, high-quality vapor.

Forced Air Vaporizers

This type of vaporizer – forced air – are also called desktop or tabletop vaporizers. Large, stationary, and heavy-duty, they need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work. They are, in other words, designed for home use. Portable types, however, are starting to hit the market.

Desktop Vaporizer
Example of desktop marijuana vaporizer

Forced air vapes rely on convection to heat the plant matter indirectly. It has an internal fan that blasts steam or hot air over your weed. Since the herbs do not come in direct contact with the heating element, there is little to no risk of scorching. It also uses heat efficiently, resulting in even burning.

They deliver the vapor in one of two ways – via a balloon bag or a whip.

  • Bags or Balloon-Style Vapes. They come with a detachable food-grade plastic bag, which has a valve to prevent the vapor from leaking out. Once detached, a mouthpiece is inserted into the valve, allowing you to pass the bag around the room.
  • Whip or Tubing Vapes. They come with a silicone tube around three feet in length. At one end is a mouthpiece, while at the other end is a compartment for the bud. It uses a screen to prevent the plant matter from being drawn into the mouth.

Advantages Of Forced Air Vaporizers

  • Perfect for leisurely vaping sessions – be it solo or with friends. You can inhale at your own pace without worrying about running out of power.
  • They are the most technologically advanced marijuana vaporizers. Most units, for example, feature precise temperature control. Vaporizing at different temperatures allows you to preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes better. Hence, you can maximize the effects, therapeutic benefits, and flavors of the chosen strain.
  • Varying the vaping temperatures also enables you to tweak and elevate the consumption experience. You can either attain precisely the effects you want – or try something new every single time.
  • The efficient use of heat produces superior, more flavorful vapor.

Portable Vaporizers

When it comes to functionality, you can never go wrong with tabletop vapes. But they are large and clunky, which is a hassle for those who frequently travel. And being reliant on a power source means you can’t use them just about anywhere. To address these concerns, portable vapes were developed. They are small, lightweight, and can be held by hand. They run on rechargeable batteries, although butane and flame options also exist.

Most portable vapes in the market rely on conduction or direct heat contact to vaporize cannabis. First, the plant matter is placed on a screen or solid metal. It is then heated, causing the e-liquid to produce vapor.

Portable vaporizer
Example of portable marijuana vaporizer

Most of these portable, conduction marijuana vaporizers can only heat the substance at a single, fixed temperature. You can regulate the temp, though. Once the vapor starts tasting burnt, for example, you simply have to press a button or turn a dial to lower the heat. A few portable vapes, however, offer precise temperature control. They do come with extra costs and are harder to come by.

Portable vapes deliver the vapor via direct draw. They feature a mouthpiece – which can be removable or permanently attached – that carries the cloud from the heating element to the user. All you have to do is inhale.

Advantages Of Portable Vaporizers

  • Small and handy, portable vapes are designed for active marijuana users who are always on the go.
  • Being battery-powered, they do not limit you to a single spot at home.
  • They are easy to use.
  • You can choose between dry herb or oil models.
  • Because it uses conductive heating, it has a fast start up time. After pressing a button, you can inhale the vapor within a minute or two – or even less. This makes it perfect for those who want instant medicinal relief or psychoactive kick.
  • Conductive portable vapes are affordable and widely available.

Pen Vaporizers

Pen vaporizers – or simply vape pens – are an innovation inspired by portable vapes. As the name suggests, these rechargeable handheld devices resemble a traditional pen or e-cig. They are designed to vaporize oils, waxes, and concentrates, with the material placed inside a refillable tank or a disposable cartridge.

Pen vaporizer
Example of pen marijuana vaporizer

Vape pens operate on conduction heating. In particular, they use atomizers as the heating element. These are metal coils that warm up the substance directly, turning it into vapor. Like any other conduction vape, it does run the risk of combusting your weed due to uneven heat distribution. Knowing how to properly use the device, however, can help avoid this problem.

Like portable vapes, you can inhale the vapor via direct draw. They have a permanently attached mouthpiece on one end, which allows the cannabinoid-rich vapor to flow from the chamber to the user. Some models automatically switch on upon inhalation, while others require you to press a button.

Advantages Of Pen Vaporizers

  • You can use vape pens anytime, anywhere.
  • They are not only compact and portable but also incredibly discreet.
  • You can choose from a wide range of sleek designs. For sure, there is at least one product that will match your style and personal preferences.
  • They have a rapid heat-up time for immediate effects.
  • They often offer precise and effortless dosing, making it ideal for patients.
  • You can use them for micro-dosing.
  • They are much cheaper than both tabletop and portable marijuana vaporizers.
  • They are widely available.

Oil Vaporizers

As the name indicates, oil vaporizers are compatible with the liquid state of concentrates. Many portable and vape pens fall under this category. A few desktop vaporizers, however, are also designed for oils. Whatever the case, make sure to stick only to oil. If you use solid wax, you may damage the chamber of the device.

Note: Some oil vapes can also be used for dry herb or wax. To be sure, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Oil vapes usually feature either a cartomizer or a clearomizer. Both use an atomizer to vaporize the oil. The difference lies in how the substance is delivered to the user.

  • Cartomizer. A combination of the words “cartridge” and “atomizer.” It is a basic type of atomizer found between the battery and the mouthpiece, featuring a single metal wire inside a metal tube. After filling it with the juice, all you have to do is load it into the vape, press a button, and start inhaling. It is easier to operate than a clearomizer, but can leave some residual flavors behind.
  • Clearomizer. A combination of the words “clear” and “atomizer.” It primarily consists of a cylindrical, clear tank with an atomizer inside, the base, and the mouthpiece. Prime the coil with the e-liquid before screwing it into the tank, then filling it with the oil and let it sit for a while, then start vaping. Although slightly more complicated to operate, it is more popular and widely used.

Advantages Of Oil Vaporizers

  • Oils are more potent than dry flowers. They can contain as much as 60-80% THC, whereas herbs only average at 10-25% THC.
  • The potency makes it extremely cost-effective. That is, you’ll only need a few hits to attain the desired effects.
  • They are budget-friendly.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

Oil vapes have many appealing qualities. The substandard products in the black market, though, give them a bad reputation.

Some illicit THC oils, for instance, have vitamin E acetate, which can interfere with normal lung functioning when inhaled. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also associated vitamin E with the recent rise in vaping-related illnesses and deaths in the United States. Some products may also be tainted with hydrogen cyanide. This is why it is important to opt only for trusted brands.

Dry herb vapes, which directly vaporize raw cannabis flowers instead of oils or liquid concentrate, do not pose any of these dangers. Most forced-air models and some portable vapes belong to this category. Some dry herb vapes, though, are versatile and may also be compatible with oil or concentrates. They may use either conduction or convection heating to vaporize the herb.

To use, you do need to grind the plant matter first before loading it into the chamber. You also have to clean the chamber after every session.

Advantages Of Dry Herb Vaporizers

  • They are ideal for novice users who do not want too-intense effects.
  • Dry herb models preserve the unique aroma and flavors of the strain much better than oil vapes.
  • You are guaranteed the purity and safety of the cannabis product. You won’t have to worry about contaminants or toxic substances. If you’re not growing your own weed, though, make sure to get the bud only from reputable sellers.
  • They are easy to clean and maintain.