How to Vape Cannabis Using Dry Herb & Oil Vaporizers

How to Vape Cannabis Using Dry Herb & Oil Vaporizers

With the second phase of legalization (also called “legalization 2.0”) now upon us, Canadians have access to a plethora of new cannabis products: cannabis oil vape pens, edibles, concentrates and topicals. The excitement among consumers is evident – if you’ve been inside a dispensary recently, you’ve likely overheard someone asking about cannabis oil vapes or edibles.

As exciting as this next chapter of legalization is, many consumers still have questions about these new product formats. In this post, we’ll answer the question “What is vaping?” and discuss the difference between dry herb and cannabis oil vapes.

What is Vaping?

The term “vape” has been around for a while now. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary chose “vape” as their Word of the Year for 2014.

Yet if you ask five different people what vaping is, you might get five different answers. That’s because there are many different kinds of vape devices that are designed for consuming different substances.

The two most common substances used for vaping are nicotine and cannabis extracts.

Vaporizers that contain nicotine are often referred to as e-cigarettes or simply “e-cigs”. Typically, nicotine is dissolved into a solution called “e-juice” before being poured into the tank of an e-cigarette (or, in the case of cartridge vaporizers, filled into a cartridge that attaches to a pen-shaped base).

Cannabis vapes, on the other hand, work a bit differently.

The Difference Between Dry Herb and Cannabis Oil Vapes

Vaping cannabis

To understand cannabis vaping and answer the question “what is vaping?”, it is first necessary to understand the difference between dry herb vs. oil vapes.

Dry herb vapes are nothing new; they’ve existed for years.

There are 2 main kinds of dry herb vapes – portable and desktop.

The desktop variety was the first kind of dry herb cannabis vape to be developed. The first desktop vaporizer to go mainstream was the Volcano, produced by Storz & Bickel and launched in 2000. You might recognize this device for its cone-shaped stainless-steel base and transparent plastic bag attachment used for capturing vapor.

How to Use a Desktop Dry Herb Vape

The Volcano Desktop Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel
The Volcano Desktop Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel

To use a desktop vaporizer, first you’ll need, well, a desktop. After placing the vaporizer on a flat surface and turning it on, you can set it to your desired temperature. While waiting for it to heat up, you can start loading the chamber with milled or ground cannabis. Next, attach the bag component to the base and let it fill up with vapor. Once the bag is completely filled with vapor, you can remove it and inhale the contents.

How to Use a Portable Dry Herb Vape

Portable cannabis dry herb vape
Portable cannabis dry herb vape

Desktop dry herb cannabis vaporizers are great for when you’re at home, but what if you’re on the go?

Enter the portable dry herb cannabis vape.

These smaller, much more discreet vaporizers were designed for portability and convenience. They’re also pretty straightforward to use: just fill the chamber with ground cannabis, turn it on and choose your preferred temperature setting (some vapes have only one setting). Let it heat up for around 2-3 minutes (heating time will vary), then inhale through the mouthpiece.

How to Use a Cannabis Oil Vape

cannabis oil vaporizer vape
The PAX Era premium extract vaporizer with pen-and-pod system

Dry herb vapes work just fine for many folks, but not everyone wants to manually pack a chamber with dried bud every time they want to consume. For an even more discreet and convenient option, the cannabis oil vape was developed.

Cannabis oil vapes, also called vape pens, are typically small enough to fit in a pocket – some even look like elongated USB sticks. For this reason, they’ve become a popular cannabis consumption format among young adults who enjoy having the ability to consume anytime, anywhere.

When comparing dry herb vs. oil vapes, there are several important differences.

The first thing to understand about cannabis oil vapes is that they are a concentrated cannabis product. As opposed to using dried bud, oil vapes use cannabis oil, which can be extracted from bud in various ways. Some of the most common extraction methods are supercritical C02, butane and distillation.

Since dried bud vaporizes at a lower temperature than cannabis oil, cannabis oil vapes use a higher temperature setting than dry herb vapes.

While a dry herb vape must be refilled before each use, and requires frequent cleaning, this is not typically the case for oil vape pens. Cannabis oil vapes usually consist of a cylindrical base designed to accommodate a pre-filled cannabis oil cartridge (or “cart”). Less common are vape pens that the user must manually refill with cannabis oil or other cannabis extracts.

Zenabis has partnered with PAX Labs to develop cartridges for the Pax Era vape pen filled with premium quality, C02-extracted cannabis oil. Subscribe to our newsletter below to find out when this product becomes available.

Which Cannabis Vape is Best for You?

Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of different cannabis vapes available in the Canadian market. Each one has unique features and settings, so choosing the right one depends on what you’re looking for in a vape.

Some questions to ask yourself before choosing a vape include:

  • Will I mostly be consuming at home or on the go?
  • Do I prefer the effects of dried bud or cannabis extracts?
  • Do I prefer the flavour of dried bud or cannabis extracts?
  • How much customization do I require (e.g. temperature settings, heating time)?
  • Do I need to consume discreetly?

Ultimately, the decision whether to buy a dry herb or cannabis oil vape pen comes down to personal preference. Now that you’ve learned about the differences between dry herb and oil vapes, you can be better equipped to make this choice. No matter what vape you choose, make sure to keep it out of reach of children, and remember to ‘start low and go slow’ until you’ve identified your ideal dosage and vape settings.