With the recent legalization in several regions across North America, there are new opportunities for technology to advance the way we consume cannabis. Vaping has become one of the most popular ways to smoke, particularly among younger generations. There are several reasons for that, including the ease of smoking, the low maintenance of vaporizers, the variety of options available to vapers, and the supposed upsides to smoking marijuana vapour as opposed to directly from cannabis flowers. But is vaping here to stay? Is this flashy new smoking method just a trend, or is vaping worth all the hype?
What Makes Vaping Different?
Unlike traditional smoking methods, vaping does not require a direct flame to burn the plant. In fact, vaping does not even require the plant in its natural form at all, though it can be used. Most vapes require cannabis oil, though some are designed for cannabis flowers, as well. Instead of directly burning the plant through a process called combustion, the more complex vaporizing process transforms liquid into vapour. For some, this option may seem less harsh on the lungs than inhaling smoke directly from the flower, making vaping more attractive to many smokers.
An upside to vaping for many young cannabis smokers is the ease and discretion provided by vaping. There is little to no cleanup required and essentially no prep time before smoking. In the modern era, with everything available instantly, this newly popular form of smoking is no exception. Along with the ease, vaping also provides many new options for smokers. There is an array of flavours you can try, and you can even choose what effects you want from your oil. If you want the full feeling of the cannabis, including the high, you’ll want to get THC oil. However, if you’re looking for the calming effects of the plant, CBD oil is right for you.
Difference Between THC and CBD
THC and CBD (tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) are two different phytocannabinoids that come from marijuana plants. There is a certain ratio of THC to CBD in any strain you buy, but some individuals don’t always want both. Scientists working with marijuana have found ways to raise and lower THC and CBD levels in particular strains as well as ways to extract and separate these components. But what are THC and CBD?
Both THC and CBD are components found in cannabis. The psychoactive component, THC, is what gives you a high feeling when you smoke marijuana. However, CBD affects you differently. When used on its own, with no THC, CBD has shown to produce calming effects. Some CBD users have reported a reduction in anxiety, depression, and even seizures. Without THC, though, CBD does not give you the high feeling associated with smoking marijuana. Some who are only using marijuana because of user claims of reduced nervousness and seizures often aren’t looking to feel high, so these technological advances in the cannabis industry have provided options for a potential improvement in the quality of life of so many.
There are 120 phytocannabinoids in marijuana other than CBD and THC — these two are just the most well-researched. All phytocannabinoids work together to create the effects that you feel after smoking cannabis. There is a theory that suggests that ingesting cannabis with all 120 phytocannabinoids, or as many as possible, along with terpenoids, will be more effective than smoking either THC or CBD on their own. Those that believe in this “entourage effect” argue that CBD can reduce the potential negative effects of THC, such as anxiety, hunger, and excessive tiredness. The different components work alongside one another to help encourage homeostasis when cannabis enters the body, rather than leaving you with negative side effects.
However, some cannabis users who are seeking purely therapeutic effects do not wish to feel high. For those users, CBD extracts allow them to try to get the results they want or even need. On the other hand, THC extracts could provide the preferred effects to someone looking for a stronger hit when they smoke.
How Cannabis Oils Are Made
There are a few different ways to make THC and CBD oils for use in vaporizers. Humans have been using these oils for ceremonial and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, but modern technology has definitely made the processes simpler and more efficient. The three most common methods of making cannabis oil today are the ethanol method, CO2 extraction, and the oil method. These different processes create oils that can be used for a variety of purposes.
The oil method is popular for individuals who want to make their own cannabis oil at home. This inexpensive and safe process involves soaking marijuana in oil used for cooking. Olive oil is a popular choice for this method, but you could use whichever oil you like most. However, this is not the same oil you use in vapes. Cannabis oil made with the oil method is best used for making edibles or for topical use.
In the ethanol method, cannabis plants are soaked in high-grade grain alcohol. This removes certain chemical elements from marijuana, but you are left with oil containing high levels of THC, CBD, or a combination of the two. The resulting oil is used often found in vape cartridges or used for commercial purposes.
The third method of cannabis oil creation, CO2 extraction, is much more expensive than the first two options, but it also results in a much purer oil, which many find worth the expense. This is done by using condensed, supercooled carbon dioxide to cool down the cannabis and then extract oil that is free from any chemicals or residue that could be left behind from one of the other methods of producing cannabis oil. This ultra-pure oil is used in oral and smokable forms.
Cannabis oils can be made from any part of a marijuana plant. Even the seeds can be used to create hemp seed oil, which contains no THC or CBD but is full of antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids. This is often used in skin-care products or for aromatherapy massages, but it’s not the oil you want for vaping. Vaping oils are made from different components of the plant with different levels of THC or CBD.
Marijuana oil, or THC oil, has at least 0.3% THC. There are many different forms of THC oil, containing different levels of THC, CBD, other phytocannabinoids, and terpenoids, depending on the intended result of the oil. An oil with more THC will make you feel higher than one with a larger percentage of CBD.
Rick Simpson oil, a variety of THC oil, is made through a process that burns off the food-grade alcohol used to extract the cannabis oil. Because the THC is activated as this happens, it does not require combustion or vaporization. You can simply ingest this oil orally. This is commonly used for making edibles.
The oil you find in most vaporizers is often butane honey oil (BHO), which is created by soaking plant material in butane. The butane can be removed through many complicated processes. Once this is done, you’re left with a strong THC oil. BHO can also be used in dab rigs but is popularly used in vaporizers. The thick, sticky, honey-like product is high in THC and other cannabinoids, making it a great option for those looking for a good high when vaping.
Distillates are another form of THC oil, created by using heat to extract a clean, concentrated liquid. Because of the high heat used to make distillates, terpenoids are burned off. Sometimes, terpenoids are added back to distillates to get the desired effect when smoked.
CBD oil, also known as hemp oil (not to be confused with hemp seed oil) has less than 0.3% THC. These oils are intended to isolate the elements of cannabis that don’t make you feel high but provide other helpful effects. Many people rely on CBD oil for pain management, anxiety relief, and anti-inflammatory properties. There are several different kinds of CBD oil, and each one is unique.
When CBD isolates are made, everything other than CBD is removed. That includes THC, cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. All that is left is a pure form of CBD oil. This can be found in vapes, but it isn’t as popular as other forms of CBD oil. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils are much more desired by most CBD vapers. These oils contain more cannabis components, offering a more complex array of results when smoked or vaped.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil has had all traces of THC removed. This form of CBD oil is sought after by those who are only looking for potential therapeutic results. Full-spectrum CBD oil has not been stripped of cannabinoids, terpenoids, or flavonoids. There are trace amounts of THC present in full-spectrum CBD oil, as well. This version of oil could potentially offer better results than broad-spectrum CBD oil since all of the components are still working together, which is encouraged due to the entourage effect. You don’t need to worry about getting high if you smoke full-spectrum CBD oil since the trace amounts of THC are not enough to create a strong effect. Both full- and broad-spectrum CBD can be found in CBD vapes.
Different Kinds of Vaporizers
Now that you know all about what you can have inside your vape, you can now determine your preferred method of vaping. There are several different kinds of vaporizers on the market for you to choose from. Each one is designed for a particular purpose.
Vape pens are the most commonly used vapes these days. These can either be disposable or reusable and can contain CBD or THC oils. Vape pens heat the cannabis oil with an internal battery, creating the vapour that you inhale.
Disposable vaporizers, available with either THC or CBD, are a super simple option. They are immediately ready to smoke as soon as you get your hands on them. Once you’re done, you can simply dispose of the entire vape. No prep work or cleanup is needed. These are especially useful for on-the-go vapers.
However, if you plan on smoking vapes more regularly, you may want to invest in a reusable vape with a rechargeable battery. You can then purchase a variety of cartridges whenever you need a refill. This also allows you to try a variety of vape oils. You can test out how you feel about vaping CBD versus THC. Both disposable and refillable vapes also come in many delicious flavours to further improve your vaping experience. Try them all out and find one that’s the best fit for you.
You can also purchase vaporizers that can be used to smoke cannabis flowers. These are often bulky and sometimes not easily portable compared to vape pens. They require more maintenance and cleaning time, as well, since you have to clean out the residue from the flower after you’re done smoking. Tabletop vaporizers are also an option you can choose. These are stationary vapes that sit on a flat surface and regulate temperature to produce vapour for inhalation. These are not at all portable but can allow for more control over the temperature.
Vape pens are most commonly used because of the many pros they have over the other options. You’re able to take them anywhere, smoking discreetly while only emitting a slight cannabis smell. You can also recharge them, usually with a simple USB outlet. There is a ton of variety of vaporizer pens, with any combination of THC and CBD available. You can also try out whatever flavour you like. Some are fruity, citrusy, spicy, or sweet, to make your hits even better.
With so many options for people who like to vape, it’s clear that vaping isn’t just a phase that younger generations are experimenting with. The dedication of the scientists and distributors of cannabis will surely lead to more advances in the vaping industry in the future.