Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right Marijuana Vaporizers

Vaping has gained in popularity as a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis such as with a joint, pipe or bong. Marijuana vaporizers are seen as a healthier alternative because they do not combust cannabis in the same way that smoking does. Ideally, these vaporizers only reach the temperature of about 338 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows the cannabinoids to be vaporized without actually burning the leaves or cannabis extract being used.

Not burning the plant reduces the number of potentially toxic elements that may be inhaled, specifically eliminating the negative residues that are associated with smoking cannabis. A University of California at San Fransisco study found that, “a smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins.” The study, which was conducted with 18 participants, found that patients received the same effects from smoking and vaporizing, but marijuana vaporizers produced little to no carbon monoxide.

Vaping Decreases Respiratory Symptoms

A 2010 study from the University of New York in Albany found that marijuana and tobacco smokers had a decrease in respiratory symptoms when switching from smoking to vaporizing. Participants achieved a 24 to 83% decrease in negative respiratory symptoms, though some did express that it took them longer to feel the effects of vaporized cannabis compared to smoked cannabis. Ironically, vaporizing greatly decreases the risk of respiratory problems and other conditions like bronchitis.

Little to No Smell

Marijuana vaporizers do not produce a strong smell like smoking cannabis does, which makes it better option for people have to take doses of cannabis away from home. Celebrities have shown support for vaporizers as opposed to smoking cannabis. Whoopi Goldberg has publicly expressed her love of her vaporizer, even writing a column in The Cannabist titled “My Vape Pen and I, a Love Story”. She touts the ease of vaporizing opposed to smoking because of its portability, discreetness, and ease of administration.

Different Heating Mechanisms of Marijuana Vaporizers

Marijuana vaporizers also heat the cannabis products differently. There are two main kinds of heating that is used in vaporizers: conduction and convection. Most of the vape pens on the market use conduction heating, where the herb or oil comes into direct contact with the heat source. Though this is effective, it can sometimes lead to the burning of herbs.

In convection heating, which is the most efficient way to vaporize, heated air is circulated around the herb or oil. There are some portable vaporizers on the market that use this method, however, they do tend to be on the higher-end of the market.

What Vaporizer is Best for You?

There are many different vaporizers on the market, which means there are ones that are able to fit everyones budget and goals. It is important to decide if you want to use concentrates or whole flower cannabis before looking into what vaporizer to buy because they are specialized for the type of cannabis that you enjoy. Vaporizers are a great alternative to smoking cannabis and provide people with a discrete, quick acting administration method without any adverse effects.

There are four main types of vaporizers on the market: flower pens, wax or oil based pens, table top vaporizers, and disposable vape pens.

Flower Pens

Flower pens are vaporizers that are used to vaporize bud cannabis. They come in different shapes and sizes but they are always portable. They include what is known as a dry chamber for ground cannabis to be put into and they are either battery powered or rechargeable. Flower vape pens allow for people to consume whole flower cannabis, without the need to roll it into a joint or experience the adverse effects of smoking.

Wax or Oil Cartridge Vape Pen

Wax or Oil pens tend to range greatly in price, though they can be fairly inexpensive. They use concentrated oil or wax and they are often very slim and portable. They are powered by batteries or are rechargeable. Wax or oil pens are good for discretion because they are very slim and they can be easily refilled on the go. Oil cartridges are often interchangeable with other vape pen models. To use an oil cartridge you purchase the cartridge and screw it into a vape pen base. Wax pens require the consumer to load the wax into the pen. Not all wax pens accept cartridges and vice versa. These types of vape pens are among the most popular due to convenience, price and lack of smell.

Table Top Vaporizers

Table top vaporizers are stationary and are plugged into a power source during use. They provide larger amounts of vapor which is usually held within a bag with an attached mouthpiece. This method allows patients to slowly inhale the vapor over time or share it with other people. Table top vaporizers also allow for the user to change the temperature depending on the type of cannabis they are using. The medicinal patient that needs highly concentrated and clean vaping will often opt for the tabletop version.

Disposable Vape Pen

Disposable vape pens are beginning to pop up everywhere. Much like disposable e-cigarettes, disposable vape pens are pre-filled with a certain amount of cannabis oil and they are not made to be refilled after all of the oil has been vaporized. The downside to disposable vape pens is that you often are not able to see how much medicine is left in the pen.

Do you have questions about about cannabis? Ask a question on HelloMD’s new Answers. A doctor or member of our community will answer.

If you are new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s 100% online, private and efficient.


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