Vaporizing Cannabis a Personal Journey. Part 1
I never really liked smoking Cannabis. For all the talk of flavors, it mostly smelled good, but often tasted like an old trashcan smells…ugh! I smoked for the effects. I’m incorporating our experiences into this guide to vaporizing Cannabis flower. By sharing our experience with vaporizers, we hope to spare you the expense of searching for an effective vaporizer without all the hype so called critics provide.
When my lady and I decided it would benefit us medically to use Cannabis after many years of abstaining.
smoking it was ok. Then I started reading about vaporizing your weed. I decided to give it a try.
The hunt for a vaporizer that would suit our needs. We decided it had to be a portable. It also had to be affordable, meaning less than $200.
So to begin we got an inexpensive unit. I read reviews and found the cheapest one that would actually vaporize the canna without combusting it.
That was the Hebe Titan II, which I bought new on ebay for $32.99 shipped. Considering the price, it wasn’t badly made and…..it worked! And that first taste of vapor from my Cannabis was a game changer! There really was FLAVORS! And though mild, the flavors are not subtle! An example, my Blue Dragon tastes like blueberry bubblegum! Its just amazing!
And of course, it is healthier than smoking, and much less harsh on your throat and lungs. You can dial in the temperature that will give you the cannabinoids you need as some vaporize at low temperatures and some at different levels higher. And you can vaporize many other herbs also, there is information on them at places like Medicaljane.com.
Portability was a prime consideration. Easy to stash in pocket or purse. Many fit that requirement. The next was that it vaporized, not burned the material. Not many under $50 that are true vaporizers. Later I’ll list vapes by price and give there pros and cons.
Our first worked. It tasted good and it would get you medicated. Vapor production was light to moderate, common with low price vapes. The biggest drawback to most of these low end vapes is hot vapor. almost all of the low end vapes have the oven directly below the mouth piece, giving a very short vapor path with little or no cooling. To fully vaporize THC, the temp needs to be 365F or higher. All that heat can’t be good for your mouth! Its the biggest reason I disliked the Pax and Pax2, the vapor was so hot, it literally burnt my lip!
So we decided it was time to get something a little better. I started poking around on ebay, and at one time, there were loads of slightly used vapes from people doing just what I was doing, searching for the perfect vape! So our next purchase was a Pinnacle. It was a step up from the Titan II. Vapor was a bit stronger, and for also having a short vapor path, was cooler, less harsh. Battery life was just ok with either vape. The Pinnacle was the earliest that I know of, vaporizer to use cannisters for dry herb and one for wax/oil. It was and is still a nice feature that a few vapes use.
Lets talk about vaporizer design. There are two methods of heating the herbs to proper temperature. Conduction and convection. There’s a whole big debate about which is better. Its all bullshit…lol! If it doesn’t burn the material, its good. It doesn’t matter, vapor, quality wise, whether the oven is stainless steel or ceramic. NO, nothing” out-gasses” or “:flakes off” the metal. One property of stainless steel is it can withstand very high temperatures. You can’t cut it with a conventional cutting torch, its not even easy to scratch true stainless steel. Stainless works well as a conduction oven as it heats evenly and holds its heat reasonably well.
The downside of its use as an oven is its slow to heat up and takes more power to maintain its temperature than ceramic ovens.
Ceramic ovens are the current wave of tech in vaporizers. The work well for both conduction or convection, or even both at the same time! They heat evenly and quickly. My current vape is up to temperature in 20 – 25 seconds. Thats fast! Ceramics take less energy to maintain the desired temperatures. Ceramic is harder to keep clean than stainless steel. Many vaporizers take 1 to 1.5 minutes to heat up. For me that’s not really a factor in purchasing, I’m not likely to get bored in 60 seconds and wander off or something…lol!
Some current portable vaporizers will vaporize oils/waxes as well as dry herb. Very few do it well, mainly because most don’t get hot enough fpr good vapor production. If you want a dual purpose vaporizer, look for those that have max temperatures of more than 430F. IMO a separate vaporizer designed for waxes and oils may be a better choice for most.
Portability. Now here’s an area thats really a matter of personal opinion. I see how some of you wear your pants, a quarter in your pocket would be uncomfortable… Some new vaporizers are very small, easy to hide in your hand while in use. The down side is, easier to lose,the smaller they get, the lower the vapor production, and lastly, draw is much more restricted. Personally, I don’t like vapes you have to “sip” to get vapor from, I find them highly annoying. Some people prefer that type.
Now, for my take on taste. I’m willing to bet in a blind taste test, all these so called vape critics would be shown to be the phonies they are! A well built vape, as most sold at $99 and above are, if it makes vapor clouds it tastes good! There is nothing in the vapor path that can affect the taste. Even those that use plastic mouth pieces, like the Crafty. Medical grade plastics are about as inert as the ceramics used in the oven. They don’t out-gas anything. The one concern people have that I feel is legit is an air pathway that does not flow over the electronics. Most vaporizers now have that issue covered in vapes in the $99 and above classes. Under that, you want find more information.
The air pathway after the oven varies. Some mouthpieces are directly over the oven. These tend to produce hotter vapor and are best used below 390F. Some are now coming with a bubbler mouth piece, a great cure for the hot vapor issue! I’m going to test one soon. Some vaporizers have the oven on the bottom of the vaporizer. These give a longer path that can cool the vapor a bit. I feel this is also an advantage of a glass air path, the glass absorbs some of the heat also, cooling the vapor. This is a major feature in my favorite vaporizer, which I’ll discuss later.
Battery life is another thing to consider, and also, is the battery user replaceable? So far, not many are, but I think makers are all going to move in that direction. The one thing all better vaporizers have are good batteries. Just remember, the smaller the vaporizer, the smaller the battery. Average batter time is 45 minutes, enough for 3-5 sessions. Some can go as much as 2 hours, some 20 minutes.
Settings and indicators. Portable vaporizers settings vary from a single push and hold button, to fully customizable sessions, with mutli-step temperature changes! Some give only little colored leds to indicate temperature setting, some have digital displays. I have and use both types. All are fairly easy to use. If your color blind, try to get a vaporizer with a digital display, it just makes life easier.
Next post, mini reviews of several vaporizers!