There is a lot of talk and concern regarding vaping these days but very few discussions point out the various types of vaporizers and their distinctive differences. I am sure you have read an article or two about the vaping epidemic on the news. The most common vaporizer are the e-cigarettes that you can find at practically every gas station across the country. Pretty convenient I would say. So lets start breaking it down......
What is vaping?
Well according to Health Canada they state that "vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol produced by a vaping product, such as an electronic cigarette." Health Canada states that vaping is safer than smoking as it does produce smoke or involve burning. Vaping products contain a fraction of the chemicals found in smoke. Switching from smoking to vaping will reduce your exposure to many toxic and cancer causing chemicals.
What is in the vapor?
It all depends on the ingredients put into the vaporizer. It could be in the form of a cartridge that contains flavoring and nicotine all the way to the whole plant matter (cannabis or tobbaco). The ingredients have shown to be the sole culprit to the vaping epidemic we are currently facing. It has been found that the aerosol being inhaled from these devices contains several types of toxic chemicals which is causing detrimental respiratory and heart related diseases in users. A valid reason to be seriously concerned especially due to the ease of use and accessibility of the devices. Not to mention the appeal it has among our youth. It is however important to understand the spectrum of ingredients and which ones are safer than others.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the infamous Vape Pen. To get a little more granular, vape pens use liquid, oil or plant material that is heated to a temperature that releases an aerosolized mixture of water vapor and active ingredients [e.g. nicotine in e-cigs and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidol for cannabis], which is then inhaled. This method of administration avoids combustion of the substance and the inhaling of smoke, which contains carbon monoxide and other by-products of combustion.
The most commonly seen and used vape pens are the e-cigs that contain nicotine and flavorings. Does JUUL ring a bell? If not, they are the biggest player in the e-cig industry owning almost 75% of the e-cig vape market and I can point out an obvious reason for that. Let’s start by discussing the sheer size and ease of use of their devices. The device itself is smaller than the average pinky size and gives off practically no odor when exhaled. Even the slight odor produced dissipates before anyone in close range notices. The convenience and stealthy properties can cause higher frequency of use. According to a BBC article published in 2019, the number of people vaping has grown from about 7 million to 41 million in just 8 years and the market continues to grow rapidly. Hence the importance of addressing the problems now and placing firm restrictions to keep it out of our kid’s hands.
What are cannabis concentrates and distillate pens?
The other common vape pens is with cannabis distillates and cannabis concentrates. The distillates/concentrates can be used by a multitude of different vaporizer pens most of which use a ceramic or quartz heating element of vaporize the distillate/concentrate. Some of the bigger names include KandyPen or Dr. Dabber. There are safer forms of distillates/concentrates that are approved by Health Canada and have no additives though it is a processed form of the whole flower. However, there are many unregulated products circulating within the marketplace with no oversight and accountability for the contaminants or ingredients within the products. Be mindful when you are purchasing these types of products to ensure optimal safety. Some of these products that are termed together with the e-cigs mentioned above can be much less destructive for your health and well-being but it always important to be cautious with devices you don’t understand that contain ingredients you are not familiar with. Do your research.
What are Dry Herb Vaporizers?
Finally, we have reached our discussion of Dry Herb Vaporizers like the Pax 3, Mighty, Crafty+, Solo 2, etc. Did any of those ring a bell? These are some of the names of the most popular dry herb vaporizers in the market. What do they do you ask? Well, dry herb vaporizers use convection/conduction technology to allow hot air to pass through the dry herb which then activates the compounds for inhalation in the form of vapor. The vapor being inhaled comes from the whole plant matter cannabis which has been approved by Health Canada for both recreational and medical use. Though there is limited research on the by-products that may be in the vapor I think it is safe to say this is different than our e-cig/vape pen friends and much more regulated for the safety of consumption. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the Dry Herb Vaporizers. Most of these devices can also be used with concentrates but their real key purpose is to give you control over your session. They do this by providing precision temperature control settings. As some of you may know this is important as different cannabinoids are being activated at different temperatures. For example, at higher temperatures you will be getting more THC whereas lower temperatures can bring out more CBD. More to come on that in our next blog post on this. The vapor being created from the dry herb vaporizers should be safer than both smoke and ingestion of cannabis (eating edibles). There have been studies that had concluded using vaporizers has the potential to prevent some of the adverse respiratory health consequences associated with smoking and may serve as an effective harm reduction method. Vaporization of cannabis is a safe and effective mode of delivery of THC.
The point of this article is to further educate our audience about the vaping epidemic and to give the ability to distinguish the difference between the different vaporizers that exist. We conclude that though there are evident problems arising from the current vaping consumption around the world it's not as black and white as it seems and there are safe options for vaping cannabis. Specifically dry herb vaporizers have shown to be the safest option of vaping and method to consume cannabis. We hope this article was insightful for our readers especially those of you who are not familiar with the vape world.