As more states legalize recreational marijuana, modern consumption methods are generating a lot more interest, including cannabis vaping. Vaporizing weed can be done by using a dry herb vaporizer, but most people who are talking about vaping marijuana are referring to carts or weed pens that are filled with THC concentrate.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what THC vaporization entails, as well as how to use a weed vape pen, the different types of carts for pens that are available, and the benefits and potential drawbacks.
What Is Cannabis Vaping?
Cannabis vaping refers to using an electronic carts pen for THC concentrates, either that attaches to a separate cartridge or that is made in a disposable, self-contained device. Like weed flower, marijuana vapes come in all strains and types, offering something for just about everyone.
The big attraction of using a THC vape, of course, is that you don’t have to worry about how loud (AKA stinky) your weed is because there’s no real odor in the vape smoke. Weed vaping is discreet in all its forms and many weed pen designs make them look like tobacco vapes, which only increases their desirability.
As mentioned, there are typically two options with a THC pen:
- Cartridges that attach to separate batteries, which are sold in various forms and styles.
- Disposable vapes that have a built-in battery.
Many disposable vapes are even rechargeable, ensuring that you get every last drop out of your THC oil pen. If you choose to buy separate batteries, you’ll just have to make sure that they’re charged when you’re ready to take a few tokes.
A lot of people want to know how to use a weed pen without considering that there are several different types and options on the market. Fortunately, they all work in pretty much the same way. The biggest difference is whether you’ll have to buy a separate battery or go the disposable route.
Another option that you’ll find in the selection of weed pens and batteries is the option for auto-draw versus push-button operation. Auto-draw means that you can just take a pull from the pen, and it will activate. The push-button pens require you to press the button and then the vape will activate and allow you to take a hit. This isn’t a case of one being better than the other. They’re just different options that you should be aware of if you’re new to the world of vaping weed.
Now let’s talk more about how these pens work, and then we’ll dive into how to vape marijuana with all the different types of devices that are out there today.
How Do Weed Pens Work?
The concept of weed pens is fairly simple. They use a small battery to heat a coil, which then vaporizes the concentrated marijuana that’s inside the pen. As the pen is heated and the vapor is created, you take a pull (a hit, a puff, etc.). These devices use a very low heat setting, but some are adjustable.
If you have a vape that doesn’t have a button or a lot of options, you’ll just open it up, take a few pulls, and enjoy. Your hitting the pen activates the battery and begins heating the coil. If the pen has a button, you’ll need to use that to heat the coil as you take a pull.
Although some models vary, the typical operation settings for THC vape pens with buttons include:
- Press five times: turn the pen on or off.
- Press three times: change the heat setting (low, medium, high).
- Press two times: preheat the pen.
- Press one time (and hold): allows you to take a pull.
When charging your cannabis vapes, make sure that you remove the cartridge if it is separate, and turn the device off for best results. You’ll also want to use only the low voltage charging cords provided. Now, let’s dive into enjoying a smoke session with your weed vape pens.
How to Use a Weed Pen?
Learning how to vape marijuana, whether it is THC or CBD, is pretty much the same regardless of what’s inside the carts. We covered the basic functions of these pens above, but the step-by-step process will help you learn how to hit a weed pen. If you’re new to the world of weed vaporization, this step-by-step guide will help.
Step One: Select Your Weed Carts Pen
As mentioned, there are several types of carts out there to choose from today. In addition to strains and brands, you’ll also have to choose the style of cart or weed pen that you like. You’ll choose from:
- 510 batteries, also known as sticks, which have threading so you can screw the cartridge into place.
- Drop-in batteries, also sometimes given brand-specific names, which use magnets to connect the pod or cart to the pen itself.
- Disposable vapes that are a single-piece unit designed to be used and then thrown away.
There are several specialty brands and systems on the market today, but you can also find plenty of universal batteries and weed pens.
Step Two: Get Ready to Smoke
If you’re just using your pen for the first time and it has a button, you’ll want to press that button five times to turn it on. Attach your cartridge to the pen, and you’re ready to go.
You can also preheat your weed pen by pressing the button two times. This helps break up clogs from the concentrate sitting and makes your first hits much smoother.
Choose your heat setting. Most pens work fine on low, but some users prefer to set it on medium or high for a better hit. You may have to play with this a little when you’re first getting started.
Step Three: Smoking Your Vape Pen
Start by taking a very small pull from the pen and see how it feels. Exhale the vapor smoke and wait a few minutes to see what happens. Then take another small hit and do the same. You should always start at the lowest heat setting to ensure that you don’t get burnt hits or take too much.
Seasoned smokers may be fine to sit down and smoke their pen on high, but that can take some working up to for new smokers. Once you’ve found a heat setting that is comfortable for you, leave it there. Keep in mind, though, that the higher your pen’s heat, the faster it will drain.
Tips for Success:
Don’t press the button until you’re ready to inhale your THC concentrate. Otherwise, this could burn up the oil and burn your lips.
Familiarize yourself with your weed pen before you sit down to smoke so that you can spend less time figuring things out and more time enjoying your new smoking experience.
If your pen doesn’t have a button, you can inhale a few times to get the auto-draw feature working and warmed up. However, they’re designed to activate and heat up immediately, so that might not be necessary.
Step Four: Troubleshooting a Smoking Session
It’s fairly simple to vape weed, but when it doesn’t work, the electronics can make it confusing. Fortunately, it’s fairly simple to figure out what’s going on by using the process of elimination. Here’s what you should know.
- If your pen isn’t on and hitting when you press the button, try doing the five-time press to turn the vape device on.
- If your pen has a button, you have to press it while you are taking a hit.
- If you get a blinking light on your pen, it could mean that the cartridge isn’t connected properly. Try to take it off, wipe the connections clean, and try again.
- Some cartridges are not compatible with all pens, despite having the same type of connection. Make sure that you’re buying the right carts for your weed pen.
- If your pen isn’t firing at all, you may have a defective coil or dead battery. Try the cart on another battery and see if that solves the problem.
- Once the cartridge is empty, it’s gone and needs to be replaced. Often, you’ll experience a slightly burnt ceramic taste that lets you know the cart is done.
- Charge your vape pens. Most use a micro USB or USB-C and can be connected to computers, low-voltage charging blocks, and even some car chargers. If your pen is blinking red or not working at all, it could just be dead and need to be charged.
What Are the Benefits and Potential Risks of Cannabis Vaping?
We’ve covered a few of the perks that come from vaping marijuana already, but there are several reasons people choose vaping over smoking. People have been converting to vaping in droves because of all the different benefits that come with it. Of course, the caveat is the ongoing research to determine if there are any potential risks associated with vaporizing pot.
Although research is limited, the research we do have shows preliminary positive results when comparing vaping to smoking. There is a concern that there may be lung damage related to inhaling vaporized concentrates, but that’s still probably far less damaging than inhaling smoke, carcinogens, and other toxins.
The Benefits of Weed Vaporization
- Vaping can reduce carcinogen inhalation. Carcinogens are cancer-causing toxins that are often found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as the combustion of weed flower. Weed vaping eliminates those and reduces carbon monoxide levels compared to smoking.
- Vaporizing THC has no smell. Like tobacco vapes, some weed pens may smell like whatever strain they are, but it’s faint and usually pleasant, or at least not offensive. This makes it a popular choice for discreet smoking, as well as for those who don’t like the smell of smoking weed.
- Vapes taste better. Combustion often kills the terps and flavor in flower. Vaporizing weed is done at a low temperature to preserve terps and offer enjoyable flavors.
- Cannabis vaporization makes dosing easier. If you’re someone who wants a more controlled smoking experience, vaping is the way to go. You can take a few pulls, take a break, and then go back for more. Or you can take one or two pulls before you have to deal with a stressful situation so that you’re calm without being totally baked.
- Get higher with less weed. When you vaporize weed, you’re getting a much more concentrated product. That means one or two good pulls can get you just as buzzed as smoking a bowl or a joint. You’ll save money, smoke less, and spare your lungs.
The Potential Drawbacks of Weed Vaporizing
As mentioned, we don’t know nearly as much about the negative effects of vaporizing cannabis products, including both CBD and THC. Studies suggest there may be concerns for lung health, specifically with the additive vitamin E acetate, but many high-quality vape brands don’t use this substance any longer.
It can also be frustrating if you’re trying to enjoy a smoke session and your weed vape pen needs charged, but that’s a minor issue. Plus, you can buy multiple batteries to avoid that, or just keep them charged when not in use.