Oil vapes. Flower vapes. Distillate. Full spectrum. Pens. Carts. Oy. Vape tech can be baffling, especially if you’re used to a good ol’ bowl + lighter. 

If you’re lost in vape-lingo-land, don’t stress: this form of consumption is still budding. Let’s break it down with some help from our buds at Insa, Health Circle, + South Shore Buds.

Oil Vaporizers

Although both devices are called vapes, oil vaporizers (non-flower) dominate the weed market + are usually what people refer to as just “vapes.” Oil vapes are so popular that they’re the second-fastest growing market in the weed industry. (Number one? Pre-rolls. Proving that some classics never go out of style.)  

Tip from Abbie @ Insa Salem: Store vapes standing up to prevent air bubbles. Charge in USB ports over the wall outlets to have longer battery life.

Oil cartridges are essentially another way to consume cannabis concentrate. This means the THC you’re enjoying is extracted from flower but processed into a compressed form. It also means the amount of THC tends to be higher (pun intended) than in plant form. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have a lower tolerance or are new to weed entirely. Like any new product, keep your eyes on the dosage + follow the Golden Rule: start low + go slow! And if you’re not a fan of getting “high” or just want something calming, CBD in vape form might be your thing. 🙂 

Tip from Daisy @ Health Circle: If you’re looking for something to take on a trip or that’s quick, I recommend disposables: they’re easier, no need to worry about chargers or losing the actual batteries, + everything is all in one. For long-term vape users, I recommend carts (aka cartridges). There’s a difference in the quantity of milligrams, they’re more customizable (like temperatures), + last longer depending on how long you hit the cartridge.

How do oil vapes work + why do I need a battery? 

To enjoy an oil vape, you need a way to heat it. AKA: to create the vapor you inhale. Some oil vapes are all-in-one (extract + battery), so can you trash it once the cartridge is empty. Others involve a separate oil cartridge that you attach to a rechargeable battery. (You may hear these referred to as ‘vape pens’ since they can look similar to, you guessed it, a pen).

Some vapes require you to hold a button to take a hit, while others just inhale. Some even have an adjustable temperature, so you can pinpoint how much heat is best for your body + to enjoy every last drop of THC.

Some brands, such as PAX, Stiizy, Airo, INSA, + Cliq, make pod-like oil cartridges that only work with specific batteries. These offer a more controlled + consistent experience. But these aren’t your only option: there are batteries that fit a variety of cartridges, regardless of their brand. Look for batteries with 510 threading, these are the most common ‘universal’ battery types.

What are full spectrum + distillate vapes?

Great Q: Full spectrum + distillate are two labels you’ll likely see when shopping. Oil vapes labeled ‘distillate’ mean they were created through a high-heating process that stripped away cannabinoids + terpenes. AKA: you’re only left with high levels of *concentrated* THC.

‘Full spectrum’ oil vapes tend to have lower levels of THC because those beneficial cannabinoids + terpenes are left intact through the extraction process.

If you’re a weed purist + usually smoke flower, a full-spectrum cartridge will give you the same terpene-filled experience. But if you wanna dabble with the intense experience of concentrates, stick to distillates for a THC-rich time.

Tip from Brooke @ South Shore Buds: Full spectrum vapes are number one in my eyes: they have all the components of the plant making the effects that much better.

Flower Vaporizers

They don’t get the spotlight as much as their oily relatives. But flower vapes are the preferred method for many seasoned weedies. In fact, some say this is the best way to enjoy the plant in its purist form while remaining smoke + scent-free. Read as: smoke indoors (!!).

How do flower vapes work?

When you smoke flower, you use a flame for combustion, right? That releases the flower’s cannabinoids + terpenes. With a flower vape, coils rapidly heat your bud to high temperatures, producing a vapor that you inhale through a (preferably long) mouthpiece.

Why should you vape flower instead of smoking it? 

Ask anyone who uses a flower vape regularly + they’ll likely give you a long list of reasons why they love it. Here are just a few (of the many benefits) of flower vapes:

  • If you don’t like smoking (maybe your throat + lungs are sensitive), this is a great alternative. Vapor can feel less harsh, + depending on your vape model, you can even control the temperature of your inhale. Bye-bye burnt throats + ouchy coughing fits. 
  • WAY less smelly vs. lighting a bowl, bong, or joint. If you need or want to be discreet, or don’t wanna to go outside, then you should def consider a flower vape. 
  • Leftover vaped material is decarboxylated weed. AKA: the decarbed weed need to make THC-infused edibles (!!). So you’re already halfway through making your own butter, oil + other weedy recipes AND you get to enjoy the same weed twice. Win-win. 
  • Consume the whole flower + take advantage of all its unique terpenes + cannabinoids. You’ll be accessing all of your weed’s power, flavor, + effects. Dope.

Types of flower vapes

Some basics to know are:

  • ‘Tabletop’ or ‘desktop’ vapes are ideal for sharing a puff with friends. They’re larger + harder to transport. But, they plug in, so no charging is necessary. 
  • If you’re vaping on the go, there are vapes small enough to fit in your purse, pouch, or pockets. 
  • If you want to skip a step, look into vapes that work with specific pods, such as Omura. You don’t have to grind or pack the vape ahead of time. 
  • If you like vaping both flower + oil, there are vapes that work with either. That way you’re all set to vape no matter what weed you have on hand. (Pretty handy, huh?)

And ^that^ is just the tip of the vape iceberg 

There are so many factors to consider like how the THC is extracted, the materials used, even crafted flavors + scents… It can feel overwhelming.

Here’s our TLDR:

  1. Decide what you wish to get out of your smoking experience, where you’ll be smoking, + what fits your needs best. Then give it try. 
  2. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t like your first vape – you can always try something else. 
  3. If you’re still unsure, find vapes that work for both oil + flower, so you can get the best of both worlds. 

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