What is Vaporizing?
Heating cannabis without burning it releases THC and other active ingredients into the air. This vapor gets you just as high a smoking a joint, but a vaporizer virtually eliminates the smoke toxins found using joints, pipes or bongs.
Vaporizing marijuana avoids the smoke and harsh heat of pipes, joints and bongs, while delivering the same amount of THC and other active cannabinoids. Here's proof.
How is a Vaporizer Healthier than Smoking?
Vaporizers heat cannabis to temperatures below the point of burning. Instead of releasing toxic smoke, vaporizers deliver pure, clean THC vapor that's just as potent.
Four Benefits of Vaporizing
- Healthier and cleaner than smoking
- Works fast and is easy to control the dose, unlike eating edibles like pot brownies
- Efficient; generally you use 10–30% less herb than smoking pipes, joints or bongs
- Hardly any smell, only a faint herb odor that allows you to be discreet
Step-by-Step How Vaporizing Works
Turn your vaporizer on to warm-up the heating element. Patience is a virtue, so wait until it's hot and ready.
Grind the herb to a fine-ish consistency. Most vapes work better with fine grinds, so take a few extra seconds to find a nice consistency.
Load vaporizer with herb; here we're testing Da Buddha vaporizer and using the wand to inhale or "suck up" the ground weed.
Inhale slowly using steady breaths to draw the warm vapor into your mouth and lungs. Don't be distracted, find focus and be attentive.
Research Data on Vaporizing Cannabis
Vapor analysis found 36–61% THC, an efficiency that compares to marijuana cigarettes. Vapor consisted overwhelmingly of cannabinoids, with trace amounts of three other compounds. Combusted smoke contained 111 other compounds. Results indicate that vaporization can deliver therapeutic doses of cannabinoids with a drastic reduction in smoke compounds.Link: Cannabis Vaporizer Combines Efficient Delivery of THC with Effective Suppression of Pyrolytic Compounds
Willie Nelson Vapes
“I’ve changed my habits a little bit. I’ve smoked so much and I got congestion from it, wheezing in the night and coughing. So I switched over to a vaporizer. You don’t get any smoke, and you don’t get any heat. And for a singer, or someone’s lungs, it’s much, much healthier. There’s pot in the vaporizer, but when you puff it in, you’re getting vapors, but not heat and not smoke. I think it’s even stronger, too.”
Is Weed Bad for You?
Marijuana itself isn't harmful; it's the smoke that gets you. Burning cannabis releases over 111 known air-born toxins and compounds. Studies have found that pot smokers face higher risk of bronchitis and respiratory infections, but this risk comes from smoke byproducts and not cannabinoids themselves.
Should You Eat or Vaporize Marijuana?
Eating marijuana makes it hard to control the dose, eating too much is a very easy mistake! Effects of eating don't kick in for 45min to an hour after eating pot brownies or such a treat. Even the most popular San Francisco medical marijuana edibles vary in strength and dose size per batch. Its kind of a gamble.
But vaporizing weed makes it easy to control your dose as you feel the effects within seconds. Inhale as much as you want and stop when you're feeling good.
Vaped Herb: Before and After
1. Indica Marijuana Nugget Ready for Grinding:
Notice the color, lush green and fresh looking, not too wet or dry; this will grind nicely.
2. Freshly Ground Weed, Ready to Vape:
After a medium-fine grind we are ready to vaporize. Many vapes perform better with finer grinds. A few extra taps and grinds helps.
3. Herb After 5 Hits in the Vaporizer:
The weed looks light brown after 6 hits in a plug-in vaporizer on medium temperature. Notice some faint green? You're more than half way done.
4. After 12 Hits it's Already Been Vaped (ABV):
Mostly done. Note the brown monotone color, earthy and depleted looking. It's also dry and crispy to the touch. Nothing really left to vape.
5. Fully Cached After 20+ Hits:
Turning up the heat we draw the few final hits, the weed is tasting dark. There's a faint odor of brown herb — it's fully toasted, and so are you.
Finding the Right Type of Vaporizer
Choosing between the different types of marijuana vaporizers involves trade-offs in size, price, design and ease of use. The main things to consider when comparing vaporizers are:
- Is the vaporizer high-quality and made-to-last?
- Is it easy to set up and use?
- Does it vaporize cannabis efficiently?
- Is stealth a factor?
- Solo or sharing with many friends?
Let us help guide you to the right choice for you with our detailed and well-researched marijuana vaporizer reviews.
Plug-in or Portable?
Standard Plug-in vaporizers are electric units that typically sit at home on a table or desk. They use whip tubes to deliver vapor from a heat source to your mouth. Because the heat source is so powerful they are capable of delivering very strong and consistent hits of vapor. Most plug-in units are warmed-up and ready to use in 3+ minutes.
Forced-air vaporizers are also plug-in electric, but use bags to hold vapor and fans to inflate the bag. Bags allow the vapor time to cool, so these units are best for people with lung and breathing problems. Bags are also very good for sharing with friends.
Plug-in vaporizers compared.
Portable vaporizers can be carried in your pocket for discreet, any-time medication. Most portables run on rechargeable batteries, but a few use refillable butane gas. Most portables are warmed-up and ready to use after 1–2 minutes, but a few have super fast warm-up times under 10 seconds.
Portable vaporizers compared.
Detailed Vaporizer Reviews
- 5 sec
- → Magic-Flight Launch Box✓ Highly Recommended A beautifully simple, tiny wooden box; fastest warm-up; super efficient; most discreet portable; uses rechargeable AA battery; lifetime warranty … Read full review
- 2 min
- → Volcano Classic✓ Highly Recommended Precise control of temperature for maximum efficiency; engineered and made in Germany; easy to use; large vapor bag is great for medicating with friends; a long-term value … Read full review
- 2 min
- → Volcano DigitWe favor the Volcano Classic over the Digit as there are fewer things that can go wrong with a simple knob, plus it saves a few bucks … Read full review
- 2 min
- → Da Buddha✓ Highly Recommended Durable and designed for regular use; stays cool; nice temperature knob adjustments; quick warm-up; very affordable … Read full review
- 30 sec
- → Pax✓ Highly Recommended Powerful hits from this small package; slick and stealthy; Apple-like in design and quality; long battery life; large herb capacity; three adjustable temperatures; 10-year warranty … Read full review
- 2-10 min
- → Arizer ExtremeVersatile: use either vapor tube or balloon bag; strong vapor hits; remote control; optional battery makes it portable; an affordable Volcano alternative … Read full review
- 90 sec
- → Arizer SoloMedium-sized portable that delivers steady and thick clouds; 7 temperatures offer nice range; not super stealthy and glass tube adds a few inches, but still a great vaporizer; good battery life … Read full review
- 3 min
- → ioliteSlim and easy-to-use; good air flow when inhaling; sturdy design; nice temperature setting keeps herb from burning … Read full review
- 1 min
- → WisprLooks like a toy radio; fast warm-up time; lightweight; silent operation; interesting design … Read full review
- 1 minute
- → Vapir no2Nice digital temperature display and easy-to-use buttons; fast warm-up; full charged in 2-3 hours, lasts 2 hours of use … Read full review
- 15 min
- → Hot BoxDecent starter vape; reliable over years of use; we’d recommend upgrading to Da Buddha for adjustable temperature in a better designed case … Read full review
- 10 sec
- → ThermovapeDurable; can be boiled clean to remove sticky resin; works with oils and concentrates; slim, modern design; stealthy … Read full review
- 30 sec
- → PUFFiTLooks like asthma inhaler; recharge via USB; 8 temperature settings; one charge = 30 heat cycles or about 80 hits … Read full review
- 30 sec
- → Vapor King✗ Not Recommended These cheapie wooden vaporizers tend to last about 6 months of use and then stop working. Save your money … Read full review
Whip Tubes or Bags?
Whip tubes are made of glass or food-grade plastic (so they're safe to put in your mouth). With a tube, you're drawing hot air into your mouth like using a straw.
Take slow and steady hits and you'll avoid any harsh heat and just feel warm vapor. Be careful not to breathe out through the wand or you might blow herb into the heating element which may burn and cause smoke.
Bags are made of plastic and collect vapor. Typically a fan inside the vaporizer pushes air through the herb chamber/screen compartment, filling the bag with cool vapor.
Bags allow the vapor to cool, making them perfect for people with throat and breathing problems like acid reflux, asthma or bronchitis. Bags are also great for sharing in groups because you can pass it around and take huge hits from it like a bong.
Convection vs Conduction
Convection vaporizers use hot air, herb never directly touches the heat source as hot air passes over the herb to release active ingredients. As you inhale, you can regulate the temperature and strength of the vape hits by controlling how hard and fast you inhale (pull) air.
Conduction vaporizers use a hot surface, herb is heated by direct contact with a hot metal plate (or oven). As the plate gets hot it releases THC cannabinoids from the herb inside but only for the parts actually touching or very near the heat source. Frequent stirring or shaking these types of vapes helps evenly distribute the heat across your herb load. Typically easy to clean and affordable, conduction vaporizers have fewer parts and complexity.
Analogue Knobs vs Digital LCDs and Buttons?
Shopping List: Recommended Vaporizers
Cannabis Strains, Chemicals and Effects
- Short, stocky plant.
- Grows 3–6 feet tall.
- CBD content is higher; good for pain and inflammation.
- Relaxing, de-stressing, calming.
- Tall, thin plant.
- Grows 6–25 feet tall.
- THC content is higher; good for depression and appetite.
- Stimulating, uplifting, energizing.
Over 85 active chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, have been found in marijuana. These are the main three typically listed on medical marijuana labels and dispensary menus:
- Main psychoactive
- Reduce pain
- Stimulate appetite
- Reduce nausea
- Reduce inflammation
- Help anxiety
- Lessen spasms
- THC break-down byproduct
- Determines age of herb
- Higher numbers = drier herb
Get a Great Grind
Grinding your weed exposes more of it to air during vaporization, drawing more active ingredients and conserving your weed at the same time! Here are a few tips for grinding as well as buying a grinder. We loaded three basic marijuana grinders with herb and put them to the test:
A. Cheapie plastic two-piece grinder fails our tests to make a semi-fine mix. This will waste weed in many vaporizers such as the Magic Flight Launch Box.
B. Metal four-piece grinder does a better job for a finer consistency, but still misses our mark. The finer the grind the better the vape session.
C. Metal two-piece grinder does a nice job getting to semi-fine.
Also a coffee grinder works very well, but can pulverize herb to dust, which can be too fine for some vapes. Experiment and do tests with your specific strains.
Shopping List: Grinders
Cleaning Your Vaporizer
Below are some tips for maintaining your vaporizer so it stays working smoothly and efficiently.
Use Isopropyl Alcohol to Clean Resin
Isopropyl Alcohol works very well to clean resin. It dissolves ethyl cellulose, many oils, alkaloids, gums and natural resins. Dip pipe cleaners in alcohol, put it on rags and Q-tips and use to clean off resin. Soak glass pieces and they should clean up nicely.
Clean and Change Screens
Change Whip Tubes
Shopping List: Cleaning Supplies
- Isopropyl Alcohol $
- Smooth Pipe Cleaner $
- Rough Bristle Pipe Cleaner $
- Q-Tips $
- Tiny Brush Set $
- Cleaning Brush $
We hope you enjoyed this detailed exploration of vaporization and how it can help improve your health compared to smoking pot.