Vaping cannabis has gained popularity in recent years due to its portability and ease of use, as well as the reduced smell versus traditional combustion via a pipe, bong or joint. It remains one of the best selling methods of consumption in dispensaries and is also safer for your lungs, according to the National Institute of Health.
Whether your goal is discretion or personal health, vaping offers many options for many types of cannabis. It is important to note that different types of cannabis vaping have different levels of potency, effects, and safety profiles, and it’s important to understand how to properly use and maintain your vape to avoid any negative health consequences.
What are the Different Types of Cannabis Vaping?
1. Disposable Vape Pens
These are pre-filled cannabis oil cartridges attached to a disposable battery. Once the oil runs out, the entire device is discarded. While incredibly convenient, these vape pens have received backlash due to their wasteful nature. Additionally, sometimes the battery can die before the oil runs out, leaving you no way to recharge it and, therefore, wasted product.
2. Cartridge-Based Vape Pens
These are reusable vape pens that have a reusable battery and a replaceable cartridge filled with cannabis oil. These are typically referred to as “510” batteries and come in two variations: cotton wicked or wickless ceramic. Often dispensaries will offer a free or low-cost battery with the purchase of a cartridge, however your best bet for a good vaping experience is spending a bit more for a battery with higher quality components, adjustable temperature settings, and better aesthetics.
The downside to cannabis oil cartridges is the clogging issue that can happen if the oil gets overheated (for example: being left in a hot car or in direct sunlight) or as the cartridge gets old and the oil thickens with age.
Vapor strength with both disposable vape pens and cartridge-based vape pens is virtually identical.
3. Pod-Based Vapes
Similar to cartridge-based vape pens, pod-based vapes have a battery and a replaceable pod that can be filled with cannabis oil. While pod vapes aren’t considered superior to vape pens, there are a few major advantages including better airflow and less clogging. In addition, they are not limited to a single design, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Pod batteries are often proprietary and designed for long-term use, and some pod manufacturers even go so far as to offer a warranty on the battery. The downside to pod-based vapes is that there are far fewer pod options from cannabis brands, as 510 cartridges remain the go-to for portable vapes, although more and more pod options are becoming available.
4. Desktop Vaporizers
These are larger vaporizers that are meant to be used at home and are powered by electricity or rechargeable batteries. They are typically more powerful and produce thicker vapor than portable vapes. Some recognizable desktop vape brands are the tried-and-true Volcano, as well as the newer Puffco. The major difference between the two is that while the Volcano can handle dry cannabis flower as well as concentrates, Puffco is specifically designed exclusively for concentrates like shatter, rosin, live resin, or BHO.
Going back even further than the Volcano is the grandfather of all vapes: the old school box-style dry herb vaporizer. These and Volcano-style vaporizers heat the flower to a temperature that vaporizes the cannabinoids and terpenes, allowing them to be inhaled without burning the plant material. The taste is more full-bodied due to the lack of combustion, and some describe the flavor akin to “fresh plant” due to the preservation of terpenes.
5. Portable Dry Herb Vaporizers
Much like their larger counterpart, the desktop vape, portable dry herb vapes work by heating the cannabis flower to a temperature that vaporizes the active compounds without burning the plant material. More discreet, convenient, and of course, smaller, these on-the-go vapes can handle ground up cannabis flower, and in some cases, compressed cannabis flower pucks.
6. Portable Vertical Vaporizers
Most widely known by the brand name, Nectar Collector, these dab straws or “honey straws” are portable devices used for consuming cannabis concentrates. It is designed to offer a convenient, compact, and direct way to vaporize and inhale concentrates. Simply heat the tip (some higher-end iterations have self-heating capabilities), touch it to the small dish holding your concentrate, and inhale through the mouthpiece.
What Types of Cannabis Can I Smoke in a Vape?
Different vapes have different capabilities, and the best one for you depends largely upon what purpose it serves and the type of cannabis you want to consume in it. Is portability combined with live resin a need, not a want, because you’re going on vacation with your girlfriend and her parents and you want to get as high as possible without smelling like a half-smoked roach?
A cartridge and 510 battery is your top choice. Looking for a hard-hitting toke from concentrates to get you and your coworkers as high as possible after work? The Puffco is your new best friend. Need a gentler, tastier smoke that is easy on the lungs? The dry herb vape–both desktop and portable–check all of those boxes.
Here is a list of all the different types of cannabis you can smoke in a vape:
Whether you like rosin, live resin, hash, crumble, shatter, diamonds, budder, sauce, or any other cannabis extracts, there’s a vape for that. From the humble Nectar Collector to the top-of-the-line Puffco, there are several options for any budget.
Ground cannabis flower finds its home with both the portable and desktop versions of the dry herb vape. While the handheld iteration yields a great on-the-go option, it’s the big daddies like the Volcano and the old-school vape box with the hose that’s going to pack the biggest punch.
BHO, distillate, live resin, liquid diamonds, full-spectrum, and terpene-infused are some of the most popular types of cannabis oil that producers load into vape cartridges. These oils are specially designed to be heated in a cartridge by a vape battery. The best choice for you depends upon desired effects, your budget, and taste.
It can feel overwhelming with so many combinations of vapes and cannabis to choose from. If you’re having trouble navigating options yourself, ask a budtender at your local dispensary to help you figure out the best choices for your personal needs. They will be happy to help!