What is Vaping?
Vaping is a fairly new method to ingest marijuana and other smokeable products, like tobacco.
Vaping cannabis is simple, discreet, and arguably safer than smoking. But, if you’re a vaping newbie, there’s a lot to figure out. Keep reading to learn more about vaping and the process, devices, and methods that are involved.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is when you use the process of vaporization to consume cannabis instead of smoking, eating, or ingesting them in other ways. Vaping is most commonly done through vape pens and vaporizers. Cannabis concentrates can also be flash vaporized through e-nails and dab rigs.
The process of vaping cannabis consists of heating cannabis flower or concentrates to a temperature that converts the active cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor — this is exactly what vaporization devices are engineered to do. Smoking can burn off a lot of the terpenes and minor cannabinoids that are present in flower, but vaping activates more of those compounds.
What is a ‘Dab Pen’?
A term you may commonly hear associated with vaping is ‘dabbing’ or ‘dab pen.’ Unlike regular vape pens that are designed to be compatible with vape cartridges that are filled with distillate or oil, dab pens are used to consume dabs — unspecified dosages of concentrate. Dab pens allow users to not be limited to cartridges and can consume many other forms of concentrate, including shatter, budder, badder, and wax concentrates.
Buying Vapes Safely
Vaping can be a healthier alternative to smoking because the process takes place at relatively low temperatures where the flame from a lighter or match heats the flower until it combusts — combustion is a process that releases harmful tar and carcinogens.
Experts agree that more research is needed into the long-term health impacts of vaping cannabis. But, a few studies are already in existence that back up the claim that vaping is healthier than smoking. For example, a 2007 study observed the self-reported respiratory symptoms of people who used cigarettes and cannabis. The researchers found that while vaping increased the amount of cannabis consumed, it also decreased respiratory symptoms in regular cannabis smokers. The researchers concluded that the temperature of the vaporization was cool enough to avoid the smoke and toxins that are linked to combustion.
But, there is a massive caveat to these potential health benefits. In 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) linked a rapid increase in lung injuries to illicit vape usage. Investigations into vape-related illness continue, but research has found that cutting agents, including vitamin E acetate and other additives, flavorings, and other poor-quality counterfeit products, are the likely culprit to vaping illnesses.
The takeaway from this research for consumers is the importance of buying cannabis products only from brands and retailers that are licensed. You can even take the extra steps to examine a third-party lab’s certificate of analysis (COA) for any product too if you have any concerns.