Vaping has become a popular method of consuming cannabis compared to smoking and can deliver several benefits for cannabis users. With the wide range of vaping options available, however, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to understand how to vape cannabis and the best way to get started.

What is a Vaporizer for Cannabis?

Vaporizers are devices used to heat cannabis flower or concentrates to a temperature that turns the active cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor. Most vaporizers are designed to heat cannabis buds just below the point of combustion, typically between 356° to 374° F (180° to 190° Celsius).

Vaporizers typically contain a chamber to put the herb or concentrate, a heating element with a dial to control the temperature, and a mouthpiece or attachment to inhale the vapor. Some vapes use a balloon type of attachment to catch the vapor that you can then inhale, like sucking helium out of a balloon.


The three main types of vaporizers include:

  • Tabletop
  • Portable
  • Vape pen

Benefits of Vaping Pot vs. Smoking

Many people enjoy vaping cannabis for a variety of reasons, which include:

  • Convenience – vapes can be convenient for many users, if you have a tabletop vape set up, you can leave it there and just add your herb when you want to. A portable vape is convenient for on-the-go vaping.
  • Discreteness – when you inhale the vapor and exhale, it dissipates quickly in the air without the lingering odor caused by smoking.
  • Safety – vaping is arguably safer than smoking and generates fewer chemicals. Any time you put fire to herb, you create combustion and, along with it, carcinogens.
  • Potency – vaping cannabis can be more potent than smoking as the right temperature will activate and preserve more cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Beginners should take it slow and start with small doses to avoid adverse effects like anxiety and paranoia.
  • Similar effects –  vaping kicks in pretty quickly, just like smoking, and the high will last a similar amount of time, from 40 minutes up to a couple of hours.

How to Vape Dry Herb

Whether vaping with a tabletop or portable vaporizer, there are a few items you will need:

  • Dry weed – choose some quality herb that is not too dry or too sticky
  • Grinder – most vaporizers work better when you grind the herb to a nice consistency that allows for good packing.
  • Accessories – most vaporizers should come with some accessories like a stir tool. You’ll want to pack your weed in the chamber but still allow for airflow (imagine a joint that is rolled just right vs. one that is wound too tight and won’t hit). You’ll also want some cotton swabs and high-strength isopropyl alcohol for cleaning in between uses.

How to Use a Tabletop Vaporizer

Always make sure your vaporizer is turned off and is not hot before packing your weed, or you can burn your fingers and lose precious vapor. When talking about vaping cannabis, we are usually talking about heating fresh, dry weed in a chamber or using an oil pen, although a dab rig can also be considered a vaporizer as it is essentially used to vaporize concentrates, typically on an electric nail.

Simply pack your weed flat but not too tight, get your heating element ready, and be ready to inhale the vapor as soon as you put heat to it. Most tabletop vaporizers sort of resemble a bong but have a chamber where the heating element will form a seal with the weed chamber, allowing you to inhale all the vapor as soon as it’s created. Some tabletop pieces that take the vapor to a balloon are also convenient and can be a fun way to vape your favorite weed.

How to Use a Portable Vaporizer

The concept of using a portable vaporizer is essentially the same, although these devices are small and discreet and, as the name suggests, portable. They can be used to vape fresh herb and concentrates, and quality portable Vapes come with temperature controls.

How to Use a Vape Pen

Vape pens are very compact and convenient to use and typically feature a cartridge filled with cannabis or hash oil. Vape pens can be rechargeable and allow for the user to continually swap out new cartridges, or they can be a one-use disposable pen that can be thrown away when the oil is gone.

Always read the manual for your vaporizer and be sure to follow directions carefully to vape at the right temperature so that you experience full effects and practice vaping safely.

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