In this article, we answer the most frequently asked questions about vaping cannabis and concentrates. Get ready for professional insider knowledge and learn how to vape like a pro, so you can have an optimal vaping experience!
What is vaping?
Vaping is the process of heating cannabis extracted oil to convert it into vapor. The vapor is then inhaled for the desired effects from the cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD.
How does vaping work?
Vaping works by heating cannabis or concentrates with the help of electricity instead of fire. A vape battery is used to heat up coils (typically made out of ceramic for cannabis oil) that activate and vaporize the cannabis oil.
There are two popular vaping technologies for weed, conduction and convection. The first vaporizer technology to arrive on the cannabis scene was conduction, which heats the cannabis directly. As vaporizer technology advanced, weed vaporizers drastically improved by using conduction as a heating method. Unlike conduction, convection heats indirectly by forcing hot air through the cannabis. Convection is a more efficient heating method, and it gives a much tastier experience.
When weed is vaporized, the resulting vapor contains cannabinoid compounds like THC and CBD. While these are the most popular cannabinoids, there are many others in the cannabis plant, all with their own benefits. Terpenes are another group of compounds found in weed. Terpenes give cannabis strains and THC concentrates their flavors and smell, as well as add to the effects that can be felt from vaping weed.
When inhaled, these compounds are absorbed by the lung’s alveoli, and then transferred into the bloodstream. In the bloodstream, the compounds from the vapor interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce physical and mental effects. Studies on the endocannabinoid system show its vital role in maintaining health. Activating the endocannabinoid system with the natural cannabinoids found in cannabis boosts the immune system, helps the body and mind heal, and generally increases overall well-being.
The beneficial effects vaping are felt instantly upon inhaling the vapor, which is another reason why cannabis users love using a vaporizer to consume weed and THC concentrates.
How to vape cannabis and THC oil
Vaping weed is easy and simple. Vaporizers are made in either portable or desktop versions. Early on, only desktop vaporizers contained the best heating methods and components, but now portable weed vaporizers are just as effective and efficient but with the added bonus portability.
The experience of inhaling cannabis and concentrates through a vape is different from smoking cannabis. The feeling is less harsh, offering a smoother and more enjoyable inhale. Since the weed or THC concentrate is being vaped instead of burned, vapers get more flavors which enhances the experience.
As with any new cannabis method, advice for new THC vape users is to take it slow when starting out. The sensation and effects of vaping will be different from those of smoking or taking edibles.
When considering all the features of a weed vape--from heating method to temperature ranges to simply how it looks and feels--what’s of foremost priority is to buy a weed vaporizer from a credible company. Poorly made vaporizers negatively impact the vape experience, can waste your weed or THC concentrate, and may even add unhealthy metal particles and other substances to the vapor. The O.pen family of vape pens and cartridges have established a reputation as a reliable portable vaporizer for cannabis/concentrates, while being thoughtfully designed to provide an optimal vaping experience.
How old do you have to be to vape weed?
Each state has their own laws, so it's important to check. The common age, though, is typically between 18-21 to legally vape.
In states with legalized recreational weed, one must be at least 21 years old to purchase or consume cannabis, unless they have a medical marijuana card.
How old do you have to be to buy a vape for weed?
The legal age for buying the devices varies from state to state. The minimum age for buying any vape products is 18.
Additionally, the legal age for purchasing a vape device sometimes differs from the age to actually use the device. However, most penalties are for sellers rather than those who purchase vapes underage.
How old do you have to be to buy weed products?
Recreational cannabis and cannabis products can only be purchased by someone 21 or older. Vape pens made specifically for weed or cannabis (sometimes called “dab pens”) are included in this law, because they are considered cannabis specific devices .
These laws only refer to recreational marijuana, as medicinal marijuana can be purchased and consumed by someone 18 and over with a prescription.
How to use a vape pen for THC
Disposable vape pens are single-use cannabis devices that come preloaded with THC oil and are ready for use right out of the package.
For reusable vape pens, the most standard connection for vaping THC oil is the 510 thread cart.
The 510 thread connection makes it easy to find THC oil cartridges available for sale from dispensaries. Most dispensaries carry a variety of 510 threaded carts that can easily connect to almost any vape battery.
Start slow if vaping THC or THC concentrates for the first time. THC concentrates through a vape may give more intense effects; this isn’t always the case, as everyone reacts differently. A good rule is to start slow to ensure an enjoyable THC vape.
How many people have died from vaping?
According to the CDC, as of February 2020 there were 68 deaths and 2,807 hospitalizations from vaping or e-cigarette lung injuries. These injuries are not categorized between nicotine and cannabis vapes, but a single ingredient, vitamin E acetate, has been identified as the culprit. Vitamin E acetate is a type of oil that some used to thin cannabis oil to fill vape cartridges. While this oil is safe for consuming orally, when it’s vaporized and inhaled vitamin E acetate becomes a toxic and lung damaging substance.
Other dangers of vape carts are counterfeit and blackmarket operations that fill empty cartridges with untested cannabis oil mixed with anything from cooking oil to mineral oil. These vape carts are dangerous and should be avoided. Unsafe levels of pesticides and residue from unsafe solvents are also illegally sold.
All of these dangers of vaping can be easily avoided by the following:
- Only purchase vape carts and concentrates from licensed and reputable dispensaries. Never purchase from street vendors or unknown online stores.
- Only buy THC cartridges and concentrates made by trusted brands that follow all regulations, including product testing. Research to find brands that have a long-standing reputation and are transparent about their products and extraction processes are the most reliable.
- Once you’ve found a trustworthy brand, familiarize yourself enough with their packaging and products so you can detect any counterfeits.
When did vaping start?
The first e-cigarette was made in 1963 as a tobacco-free alternative to cigarettes. Vaping became even more popular around 2003, when the modern e-cigarette was invented. Then, in 2004 the first disposable vape was released, garnering even more popularity. As cannabis became legalized, vaping eventually extended beyond e-cigs to weed and THC vapes.
Vaping, and specifically vaping cannabis, has skyrocketed in popularity within the last decade. In 2012 O.pen released one of the first ever cannabis cartridges after two years of intense research and development. Since then, O.pen has continued to innovate THC concentrates and vape pen technology.
Why is vaping so popular?
One reason vaping has become so popular is its discretion. Vape pens are slim, compact and discreet. With little to no odor cannabis vaping is a great alternative for those who want to avoid the lingering smell of smoke. Additionally, as vaping becomes more common, cannabis vapes can be used in some public places. Because of this, cannabis users can medicate or relax in more places without drawing any unwanted attention.
Vaping with a cannabis vape pen is also easy! No need to pack a kit with weed or THC concentrates, device, rolling papers, matches or lighter, etc. All that’s needed is the vape and the THC oil cartridge.
Another factor in why vaping weed is so popular is the effects. If vaping cannabis for the intoxicating effects, the feeling of a vape “high” is different from that of smoking--the high is cleaner and more distinctive since one is inhaling only cannabinoids and terpenes, and not inhaling smoke. Depending on the strength of the strain and level of heat in the device, effects may differ.
How to start vaping
The best way for a new user to start vaping is by experimenting to find the vape pen and cannabis product that works for them. Online reviews are an excellent resource when researching brands, strains, pens and cartridges. Dispensary employees, or “budtenders,” can give recommendations to help find the perfect vape pen and cartridge.
After finding the right product, start vaping by taking it slow. Gradually increase the frequency as needed. If using a variable voltage vape pen, experiment with different strains vaped on varied temperature settings. Vaping cannabis can be personalized to find the flavor, effects and overall experience one wants.
How to avoid coughing when vaping (how not to cough when vaping)
Many new vape users wonder if they will cough if they try a vape, and if so how not to cough when vaping. Coughing often happens when someone hits a vape pen in the same manner they would use a smoking device. Because cannabis oil is much more concentrated, drawing on a vape pen with the same intensity as a smoking device can lead to a coughing fit because they inhaled too much (especially for inexperienced users).
The best way for someone to avoid coughing when vaping is to start slowly. It’s important for users to remember that the vapors they are inhaling are concentrated and potent. Puff lighter on a vape pen than a smoking device, After time, a tolerance for cannabis oil will build up and it will be easier to inhale larger amounts of vapor.
Another suggestion is to turn down the wattage or voltage of the vape pen. When cannabis oil burns at stronger levels, it is more likely to make someone feel a burn in their throat and induce coughing.
What is inhaled when vaping?
When vaping cannabis oil, plant compounds called cannabinoids (which include THC and CBD), and terpenes (natural essential oils) are inhaled. The vape pen heats up the extracted oil, which then releases the cannabinoids and terpenes from the oil, gently boiling them off the cannabis oil and creating a vapor.
These vaporized cannabinoids and terpenes are the active ingredients inhaled when vaping. The cannabinoid THC is the psychoactive active ingredient that gives the euphoria called a “high” from the cannabis oil. These compounds are absorbed by the lungs, then the cannabis compounds connect to the body and brain to produce the effects. Like smoking cannabis, inhaling cannabis vapors give various effects, depending on the potency of the cannabinoids present and the terpene profile in the vape cartridge.
What does vaping smell like?
Vaping can smell like a range of different flavors and scents. What a vape smells like is determined by the ingredients in the vape cannabis oil, particularly terpenes. Terpenes, and hence the flavors and smells, vary between strains, so different vape strains will have different smells.
Some common vape smells and popular strains:
- Citrus (bright like lemons and oranges)
- Tropicanna Cookies
- Lemon Cake
- Floral (sweet and sometimes fruity)
- Blue Dream
- Herbal (green, fresh, and a little earthy)
- GG #4
- Pine (sharp and green, just like the tree)
- Green Crack
- XJ 13
- Earthy (rich and mineral-like)
- SFV OG
- Master Kush
- Spicy (like pepper or clove)
- Jack Herer
- Pungent (think cheese)
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- SFV OG
- Diesel (sharp and bitter)
- Jack Herer
While vaping does have a smell, it’s far more subtle and disappears quickly compared to cannabis smoke. Vape cartridges with cannabis oil and flavored terpenes can also help disguise any “green'' or distinctively weed smell from a vape.