There is nothing short of a surplus of vaporizers on the market, and while (for the most part) this means they are easy to find, it also comes with a virtue of replicability. So why invest in an expensive setup? Why seek out the top vaporizers?
What Are Vaporizers?
Vaporizers have gained popularity in the US in recent years. Whether this is an answer to mounting health concerns for tobacco use, a proactive reaction to the recent surge in support of cannabis legalization, or just, you know, the future can’t be said with any certainty. What I offer instead is a look at the types of vaporizers available today and why they are preferable to:
- Traditional smoking methods
- Other top vaporizers
And while I can dutifully expound on the types of vaporizers out there — the pros, cons, and some of my personal favorites will all have to wait. For now, I just want to briefly go over what vapor is.
Vapor V. Smoke: A Consumption Odyssey
I’d like to think the most well-understood example of a vapor, or at least the most ubiquitous, would be the experience of humidity. Humidity, in the most general of terms, is water molecules that have been dispersed within the gaseous oxygen atmosphere. In the same way that we can warm water to produce steam to humidify a room — thereby forcing a comingling of air and water in a gaseous dance — heating your cannabis forces the cannabinoids to be called into active duty, leading the charge into the blood stream when you inhale.
A major distinction between top vaporizers and smoke is control of the temperature. Beyond the arbitrary application of a lighter or a butane torch and just looking for that glowing cherry of burning cannabis or orange-red hue of the nail, I don’t have any estimation of temperature except “hot” and “you can hold it now”.
Top vaporizer companies, in an effort to increase awareness about the benefits of vapor, use the variability of burning temperature and its relationship to the effects of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavinoid concentrations within your greens to distinguish themselves from the traditional smoking consumer. And with a growing preponderance of scientific research and analysis, the differences between the two forms of consumption are growing more esteemed; forcing an expansion in types of vaporizers available.
So what are the differences?
Top vaporizers use the principal of boiling point to create an environment where the cannabinoids and the plant’s juicy flavor aren’t combusted, laid to flame. When you use a lighter, there is a complex chemical reorganization occurring: the organic substances (known as hydrocarbons) within the plant material (think terpenoids, cannabinoids, and flavonoids) are having the moisture eliminated by burning, though not completely. The result: smoke, that nice carbon soot that tar (again, created via combustion) can use as a vehicle into the lungs.
The top weed vaporizers out there today differ in how they get the cannabinoids to boiling point — activating them through a process of decarboxylation — and they come in all shapes and sizes. The main advantage is that rather than burning your weed, a vaporizer heats it till the cannabinoids are released from the resin glands if your buds, producing a similar oral/ visual sensation of smoking.
As you may imagine, this leads the assumption that the types of vaporizers out there are less harmful. While there is evidence that top vaporizers put out less harmful carcinogens upon exhaling (limiting secondhand smoking risks), there is also evidence that use of high temperatures when vaporizing oils mixed with polyethylene glycol may create a rather nefarious by-product.
As you may be well aware, the lessened amount of tar, ash, and carcinogens touted by top vaporizers are among the biggest differentiations between the two forms of consuming your greens.
Types of Vaporizers Available
While there exists a growing number of brands, sellers, and consumers, the main principle should remain: activate the cannabinoids without combustion. I went ahead and separated four categories of vaporizers that are the most common.
As the name suggests, this type of vaporizer is going to be less mobile and perfect for relaxing at home. Often, types of vaporizers of this classification come with a balloon bag, which is sealable and leak-proof. I first tried one of these in Vancouver, BC at one of the marijuana cafes. I sat there for two hours talking and puffing from the same balloon!
Oil based vaporizers are among the most common. They utilize a chamber, filled with your favorite cannabis oil and an atomizer (turns the oil into vapor when you inhale). With the rise in popularity of hash extractions, cannabis consumers turn to oil-based pens as companies increasingly produce oil cartridges. The top vaporizers vary widely, coming with cartridges that are disposable, batteries that are rechargeable, and a portability that rivals a joint.
Wax Based Pens
Much like its oil-based brother, these types of vaporizers can aid your consumption of any form of hash wax, are rechargeable, and fit discretely in your pocket or bag. Learn how to make your own wax here.
Dry-herb or Plant-based Pens
For those out there who want to keep blazing the fresh greens, this type of vaporizer allows you to fill a chamber with your bud and roast it till it’s as baked as you — saving you from the unwanted tar and maximizing terpene exposure.
With ever-expanding choices at an array of prices, the process of deciding on what types of vaporizers fit your needs, as well as filtering through the top vaporizers is becoming increasingly arduous. Not to worry, I have compiled my four favorite — one for every variety!
Hookahzz Aromatic Vape
Of the types of vaporizers on the market, I wanted to start with my dry-herb recommendation Dry herb vaporizers are, in my opinion, the best option if you like smoking. Without burning away the cannabinoids and terpenes, top vaporizers of this variety give a fuller flavor than even oil or wax by allowing convection to coalesce the cannabinoids from the whole plant matter and into your lungs.
The Dabsolute vape is discrete, non-clogging and modern. The company prides themselves on the reliability of their products, offering a lifetime manufacture warranty. Talk about confidence. These pens are great for all manners of concentrates: wax, shatter, rosin. You can even drip oil into the chamber. The benefit to using hash as opposed to flowery buds comes from two sources:
- The concentrations of cannabinoids are usually much higher
- A percentage of cannabinoids/ terpenes are destroyed in the extraction process, generally, allowing the smell to be minimized.
Volcano by Storz and Bickel
Everyone loves a classic, even when they carry a price tag of $300+. Aptly named for the cinder cone shape, the Volcano uses convection to activate the cannabinoids in your buds by forcing warmed air across it and into a reservoir (like the balloon bag I mentioned earlier), much like a gaseous stoner lava. While top vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes, companies have, with a degree of variability, replicated the Volcano. Now, included in the compendium of types of vaporizers, substitutes have found a foot hold. So, if the original is out of your price range, don’t fret.
Oil Vape by o2vape
While many of the wax or hash pens available today can vaporize cannabis oils, the types of vaporizers that specifically vaporize oil have been adopted more due to the ability to purchase prefilled cartridges and the ability to refill them. Top vaporizers are often an assembly effort; that is, the battery is separate from the cartridge, and many manufacturers have decided to make the batteries and cartridges one size fits all. But this is exactly why I love the stainless steel oil pen from o2vape: they look so good together, it all by throws out any motivational force to just mix parts and brands (though you can).