Vape Pens: The Highs and Lows of Vaporizing Weed

Since being named Oxford Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” in 2014, “vape” has become synonymous with not only e-juice but marijuana concentrates as well. Vaporizers are no longer being used solely by those hooked on nicotine and trying to quit smoking analog cigarettes, they are becoming a popular way to consume marijuana and even flavored e-juices with no drug content.

However, basic e-cigarettes and vape pens are kind of like gas and electric cars. They’re similar, but they are far from the same. Keep on reading to discover the nuances of marijuana vaporizers and how they could benefit you.


What's a Marijuana Vaporizer?

The shortest version of this answer is that a vaporizer heats up dry cannabis or concentrated cannabis products until they emit a vapor, which is then inhaled. The product is heated in one of two ways: via convection (heating the air around the herb until the cannabinoids are released) or conduction (applying direct heat without burning the dried flowers or the concentrate).

Not all vaporizers are meant for on-the-go use. A desktop vaporizer can be carried from place to place but is primarily meant to sit in one spot and depends on an electrical outlet for power. These types of vaporizers use a “whip” or a length of plastic tubing, which smoke is inhaled from or they can be used to fill a bag with vapor, and the vapor in the bag is then inhaled.

Portable marijuana vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes. They are generally modified to warm either dry herbs or concentrate waxes, though some manufacturers do make 3-in-1 devices that can handle dry herb, concentrate oils, and waxes with just a switch of the chamber or the cartridge.

How Do They Work?

A vaporizer is comprised of three primary components: a battery, an atomizer – also known as a tank or a chamber, and a mouthpiece. A button is depressed, which activates the battery to begin heating the heating element, which heats the herbs, the concentrate, or the oil, which then produces a vapor that is then inhaled through the mouthpiece.

How is Vaping Different from Smoking?

The first difference is that smoking involves combustion – setting something on fire and then drawing the smoke into your lungs. Vaporization doesn’t produce carcinogen-containing smoke, but rather a much less harsh vapor. Even better, it can actually get you more high than smoke – and on less product.

Does it Smell?

The vapor emitted from a vaporizer is very nearly odorless – however, the oils and the dry herbs inside the vaporizer can have an odor. This makes a vaporizer much more discreet than your typical forms of combustion, which contain a very telltale odor no matter how many toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer sheets you exhale through.


What Kind of Vape Pens are There?

As noted previously, most vape pens are not much larger than a writing pen, hence their name. Most require frequent charging, although there are some disposable models out there. For dry herb vaporizers, the herbs generally must be ground to a very fine consistency for the best results.

Some vaporizers are made to handle wax and oils. These may be called concentrate pens. Some people buy oil or wax cartridges and screw these into their vaporizer mods and lower the temperature to vaporize concentrates without having to buy a second battery.

What are the Health Concerns?

With vaping being relatively new, there have been no true long-term studies into the healthiness of vaporizing versus smoking. However, it is known that carbonization does contain carcinogens, which have been linked to cancer. There is also evidence to suggest that vaporizing cannabis versus smoking it may lead to fewer instances of bronchial inflammation. For these reasons, many medical marijuana patients, as well as health-conscious recreational smokers, are turning to concentrate pens and portable vaporizers to take their medicine.



Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points