When it comes to vaping weed vs. smoking it, there are noticeable differences in the heating process, flavour and feel. To vape, dried flower or oil is packed or poured into a vaporizer. The device heats the cannabis to the point just before it burns, releasing the active ingredients like cannabinoids and terpenes. It produces vapour (rather than smoke), which is then inhaled from the mouthpiece of the vape.


Compared to smoking, vaping marijuana brings out the terpenoid profile — aka the flavour — of the strain being consumed. It’s also is considered less harmful than smoking because the process doesn’t produce as many carcinogens or tar. There are several different types of vaping accessories ranging in sizes, styles, and price points. 


Here’s how the process of vaping cannabis works:


How to vape flower

To vape cannabis flower, grind up the weed and then load the chamber of the vaporizer, which is also known as the oven.


Beginners will want to set the temperature of the vaporizer to a low heat so the vapour isn’t too harsh on your lungs when inhaling for the first time. With more practice, new users will eventually find the right temperature on their device.


Once the vape indicates it’s ready, put your lips to the mouthpiece. Unlike taking a deep drag from a joint or cigarette, you’ll want to take a gentle, slow inhale. Some people describe the action of inhaling from a vape as “sipping.”


The consistency of the vape smoke depends on the temperature setting. For a thicker vapour, turn up the temperature setting. For a thinner vapour, turn it down. Generally, lower temperatures are good for more flavour, while higher temperatures will produce more vapour.


Vaping oil

There are a few things to consider when choosing between vaping flower and vaping oil. First, refillable or disposable oil cartridges can cost between $40 and $60+ each. Depending on the size, they can last between 100 and 200 pulls.


Cannabis oils are much more concentrated than flower, so you won’t have to use as much product. However, there are far fewer types of cannabis oil compared to the thousands of different cannabis flower strains.


Vaping oil is also more discreet than vaping flower, because it doesn’t emit as much of a smell.


Vape accessories

Although vaping weed is considered less hazardous than smoking, it has the potential to be more costly because it requires purchasing a vaporizer. These accessories may be refillable or disposable and are generally made for either flower or oil.


Desktop vaporizers: Like a desktop computer, these devices are larger and must be plugged into an outlet, so they’re typically for home use only. Users can choose the exact temperature, and the devices come with a plastic tube mouthpiece (called a whip) or clear plastic bag with an attached nozzle to inhale the vapour through.


Portable vaporizers and vape pens: These smaller devices range in size from a pen to a walkie-talkie and are handy for discreet on-the-go use. They are usually battery operated or can be charged via USB. Some oil vape pens use replaceable cartridges, while others can be manually re-filled.


Your vaporizer should be cleaned regularly, with disposable parts being replaced as needed. Read the device’s instructions carefully for exactly how to clean it.


Is vaping bad for you?

Vaping cannabis flower is considered less hazardous than smoking since vaping heats cannabis to the point before combustion, producing fewer carcinogens and tars. However, oil is a bit different. Some concentrates contain butane hash oil (BHO), where butane is used to extract the cannabinoids. Although the final product shouldn’t contain any butane, the health impacts of inhaling it are unclear. That’s why there’s a shift towards “solventless” extraction methods that avoid all use of butane or other solvents.


Dylan Dee is the community manager for Lift & Co. Lift & Co passionate about connecting cannabis experts with bud beginners.

Published by Kimberly Smith