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Cannabis Ingestion Methods: Vaping

There are more methods of consuming cannabis today than ever before. Between edibles, dabbing, vaping, topicals, and more, it can be easy to feel a little lost. That’s why here at Substance, we’ll be explaining the basics of several methods of cannabis ingestion. Today, we will be covering a relatively new and technologically advanced method: vaporizing, or vaping.

What is it?

What separates smoking from vaporizing is the temperature difference. When you smoke weed, what you’re technically doing is combusting it. Cannabis begins combusting at a temperature of 446 degrees Fahrenheit, while it begins vaporizing at a temperature of 284 degrees. Both of these processes release the cannabinoids and terpenes that give weed its punch.

When we talk about vaping, we aren’t just talking about flower. It is also possible to vaporize concentrates, either through a vape pen with refillable concentrate cartridges, or with a larger vape pen that can vaporize individual concentrates usually used for dabbing, like waxes, oils, and shatters.

Vaping should have a similar onset to smoking. Although it most likely will not hit you instantaneously in the same way that smoking often does, the delay should not be too much longer. The high should last about the same amount of time: one to two hours. Potency, meanwhile, will of course depend on what it is that you’re vaporizing. Vaping concentrates will likely be more potent than flower.

Many people find the high itself quite different. Some describe it as more clear and smooth; others simply feel more stoned. As with any form of cannabis consumption, the effects vary significantly from one individual to another.

How is it different than smoking?

Why vape your weed instead of smoking it? Some people may prefer vaping for its particular high. Others enjoy that it does not produce nearly as strong of a smell as smoking. Still others find that the lower temperature of vaping allows them to taste more of those flavorful terpenes. Some find it to simply be less irritating to their respiratory system, and it is possible that vaping flower may be healthier than smoking it.

It’s always important to keep in mind that everyone’s system and tastes are different. Whatever your preference, we encourage to explore and find what works for you.

Cold and Heated Cannabis Extractions

Medical cannabis is processed for administration in various ways; fresh, dried, and cold/heated extractions (or concentrates). In this session of the Substance Cannabis Class, we will be covering the different forms of cold and heated extractions.

Cold extractions/concentrates result in various products: 

  1. Kief: Powder of the trichomes that have fallen off the plant. May be ingested raw but is usually smoked on top of flower buds or ingested in cooked edibles.
  2. Slurry: Extraction using olive oil or alcohol. Usually ingested raw.
  3. Hash: Extraction using cold water and ice. May be ingested raw, smoked or used in cooking. Variety names reflect differences in the proportion of plant material to trichomes and how the variety reacts to heat.
    • Bubble = initially bubbles when exposed to heat.
    • Full bubble = continues to bubble throughout the heating process.
    • Melt = melts or turns into gooey oil when exposed to heat.
    • Full melt = almost pure trichomes; fully melts when exposed to heat, leaving little or no residue.
  4. Wax: Extraction using a solvent, most commonly butane, propane, CO2 or O2. Removal (“purging”) of the solvent may be through cold or heat evaporation (which changes the compounds available). Waxes are usually burned or vaporized, but may be used in cooking and in topical salves. Variety names usually refer to consistency. Examples:
    • Honeycomb/Crumble = dry, crumbly texture; often has small holes like a honeycomb.
    • Budder = more viscous, consistency like butter.
    • Shatter/Glass = consistency similar to hard candy.
    • Sap = sticky texture similar to honey.
    • Taffy = firmer than sap but not brittle like shatter.

Heated extractions/concentrates convert the cannabinoid acids into their neutral forms and usually removes most of the terpenoids. Various products include: 

  1. Tea: Extraction into hot water and then drunk.
  2. Tincture: Heated cannabis that is extracted in alcohol. Usually administered directly under the tongue (sublingually).
  3. Edible: Extraction into a fat (butteroil) and then used in cooking food.
  4. Oil: Slow heating of cannabis in olive or coconut oil. Usually used in food or topically on skin.
  5. Salve/Cream/Lotion: Low heating of cannabis oil with beeswax. Used topically on skin.