If you’re anything like us, you probably had no idea what vaping was until you spotted someone doing it, maybe five or six years ago. “Hey…is she smoking in here?!” Back then it was a niche thing, mainly used by people trying to quit smoking – it was hard to imagine that it would explode into the huge industry and lifestyle it has become today.
The experience of vaping is a little like smoking a cigarette or joint, except that there is nothing burning: heat is produced electronically and applied to the vaping material (more on this further down), creating a vapor which is then inhaled in the same way as cigarette smoke. The sensation that hits the vaper in the throat will be of different strength and flavor depending on what they’re vaping and how much nicotine is in it.
The term ‘e-cig’ is often used to refer to any vaping device, but for serious vapers this refers specifically to the small devices, the shape and size of real cigarettes, produced by tobacco companies and used almost exclusively as a smoking alternative. Vape shops, on the other hand, sell the bigger, chunkier vape pens and vape mods.
Whichever kind or size you buy, a vaporizer is made up of a few basic components: the tube-shaped main console; a battery, charged through USB; the cartridge or chamber which houses the vaping material; the atomizer which heats up the material to create vapor – or a ‘cartomizer’, which is the cartridge and atomizer combined.
It’s possible to vape waxy concentrates and dry herbs (more on those below…), but most vapers use e-liquids, so if you’re vaping something else you’ll need a device which is compatible.
E-liquid is a fluid, also known as e-juice, made up of either vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol, usually one of hundreds of different available flavors, and a varying amount of nicotine, from zero, to the ultra-light 6mg, through to the strong 24mg.
So about those dry herbs…! Cannabis vaping requires a vape device which is compatible with either loose-leaf product or oil. The technology is designed to deliver you those sweet – and therapeutically active – cannabinoids, while avoiding all the same health hazards associated with smoking combusted product, just like any other vaper. You may also find you get a different kind of high from vaping cannabis rather than smoking: some people report feeling less ‘stoned’ and more awake.
Given the speed with which vaping seems to have taken over the world, plus the huge range of vaping products on the market, the vaping world can seem kind of overwhelming: we hope this article has helped you get your head round the basics of what vaping is, why it’s so popular, how to do it, and the potential it offers both medical and recreational cannabis users in particular.