How Does a Cannabis Vaporizer Work?

Among the many cannabis products that are available on the newly legal market, the cannabis vaporizer is gaining popularity. Unlike pipes, joints, and other traditional means of consumption, vaporizers do not combust your cannabis to heat it and release cannabinoids. Rather, they use a variety of methods to heat your cannabis concentrates and flower without burning them. This atomizes cannabinoids into a vapor format that can be inhaled without the carcinogens, tar, and other byproducts of combusted ash.

How Do Cannabis Vaporizers Work? 

Tabletop vaporizers use a hot plate that is heated prior to its contact with cannabis. Once the device has heated, ground cannabis is added to a chamber just above the plate and a fan blows the heat through the ground cannabis. This brings the cannabis to a temperature that releases cannabinoids into the bag as a vapor, which can then be inhaled. 

Concentrate vaporizers often use a “oven” of sorts, known as an “atomizer,” which heats the concentrate, releasing the cannabinoids contained within. 

Cartridge technology is similar to nicotine vapes. These devices absorb, heat, and release cannabinoids from a viscous cannabis oil contained within the chamber. 

How to Choose a Cannabis Vaporizer

When selecting a vaporizer, consider the following questions:

  • Where will I be using the vaporizer? 
  • What kinds of cannabis products will I use?
  • Do I want a lower maintenance, single-use option or am I willing to regularly clean a reusable option?

Tabletop vs. portable cannabis vaporizer

If you aren’t interested in portability and prefer reliable, larger vaporizers, a tabletop option may be your best choice. Tabletop vaporizers are generally preferred for vaporizing flower. 

For portability, ease of use, discretion, and an odorless experience, handheld vaporizers and vape pens are a natural choice. These range from single-loading devices that must be reloaded with flower or concentrates after each use to pre-filled cartridges. Pre-filled cartridges or “carts” come in disposable or reusable varieties, and are typically specific to the vaporizer. 

Flower vs. concentrate vaporizers

If you prefer flower, your vaporizer options will become increasingly limited as portability increases. The best option for flower is a tabletop or high-end handheld device, such as the PAX 3. Cheap flower vaporizers tend to break easily and burn flower. 

If you’re a concentrate consumer or enjoy being able to take only a few puffs and feeling as if you’ve smoked a larger amount, concentrate vaporizers and vape cartridges are going to be the best option for you.

Taking Care of Your Cannabis Vaporizer

The maintenance demands of your vaporizer will vary by device. Disposable vape pens that are designed for single use should be stored upright in a cool, dry place (preferably in a case). Excessive heat and moisture can damage your battery, negatively affecting its ability to hold a charge. 

Most vape pens show a green light when charged, and a red light when the battery is low. Try not to completely deplete your battery or overcharge it, as this can reduce the overall lifespan of your battery. If you follow the charging instructions for your pen but it doesn’t seem to work when you use it (no vapor comes out), either the pen connection to the coil is dirty or the coil is dead. 

You can clean the coil with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab. If you clean it and it still doesn’t work, replace the coil or buy a new battery completely. Clean your pen regularly, especially the mouth piece, which can be soaked in alcohol. And when you’re done with it, you can recycle it. 

If you’re using a reusable vaporizer for concentrates or flower, you’ll need to clean it regularly. Soaking the main, non-electric components in isopropyl alcohol will help reduce resin and keep your vapor tasting fresh. And if you’re using a device that has an additional plastic bag to fill the vapor, you’ll need to replace this every few months for flavor and cleanliness.

Your reusable vaporizer should also be stored in a cool, dry place, where it is not at risk of being knocked to the ground.

Find a Cannabis Vaporizer That Works for You

At Happy Valley, our knowledgeable staff can help walk you through different cannabis vaporizer options, providing recommendations based on their interactions with other consumers. Give yourself some time to get acquainted with its features and the effects of the product. Some vapes will hit harder and produce a more potent vapor. Others may require multiple puffs to feel as desired. A little trial and error will go a long way in perfecting your vaporizing experience. 

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