The Curious Cannabist: Vaping Cannabis

Have you heard about “vaping” cannabis but only have a fuzzy idea of what that would be? Is it better than old fashioned smoking? Does it have anything to do with the green stuff or is it really advanced concentrate consumption that’s way over your head?

In summary: vaping is great.

Let’s wrap your head around it.

Vaping is the inhalation of cannabis concentrate. What is concentrate? According to the dictionary definition of the noun concentration, it is the exclusive attention to one object or aspect. So a cannabis concentrate is no different: it is the distillation of the cannabis plant down to its specific medicinal aspect.

First, take a close look at the green cannabis flower nugget that your favorite dispensary sold you. You’ll see crystals and powdery type stuff stuck to the leaves. Sometimes it leaves a dust behind in your grinder, jars or bags. Some vocabulary words for this “dust” are kief, resin, fairy dust, pollen or dry sift. In nature, this aspect of a plant deters herbivorous animals from eating it with its pungent smell and psychoactive experience.


Close up of a cannabis leaf.

For humans though, that’s the medicine. It’s also known as terpenes and cannabinoids which is where the CBD and THC molecules are found. Those molecules are responsible for the “high” that you feel when consuming cannabis.

The green plant matter is not actually needed for medicinal purposes. The leafy part of cannabis has merely been a vehicle for consuming cannabis medicine for millennia.


Cannabis concentrate.

Nowadays, we’ve gotten more sophisticated with our consumption and lean on technology more and more. Research shows us that in fact, if there were any negative health side effects that came from cannabis consumption, it is from burning the plant itself. So that’s where concentrates or extracts consumption methods come from – the search for a cleaner, healthier consumption style so you can have it both ways. Healthy. Medicine.

Further, concentrates are easier to measure since they are boiled down form of the plant. So if you are controlling your dose for medicinal purposes, extract is more pure and gaugeable.

The concentrate of a cannabis plant can be extracted and consumed in a number of ways.

  1. The green stuff. A hand held or table top herbal vaporizer causes the cannabis flower to be “baked” at a lower temperature, versus the classic combustible burning process. At this lower temperature, the resulting vapor is just the medicinal part.
  2. Wax. If you want to try wax but do not want to go crazy buying an expensive “dab rig”, don’t fret: there are wax pens you can get. They work by using a battery that heats up an element and ceramic bit that turns the wax into a vapor.
  3. Oils. These are easy. You buy them in a cartridge at the dispensary, screw them onto your favorite battery and puff. They have varying mechanisms for heating but it’s the same idea of heating up the liquid into a vapor form for inhalation.



The process of extraction from the flower by burning it at a lower temperature is also known as carboxylation and used in cooking. There are homemade ways to get the distilled medicine in larger batches for your favorite recipes.

If you’re new to cannabis and you want something simple, we suggest you start with the oil pen. It’s easy peasy and also has less of a “weed smell”.

If you’re more familiar with the green stuff and rather try to vape that way, we don’t blame you. We suggest you grind up your herb very finely before you fill your oven to bake.

If you quite simply like the way a bong hits and can’t get into Vaping, we get it. Regardless of your intake preference, know that cannabis is non toxic – just be aware of the aspects of your ritual that you can improve upon. For instance, use a hemp wick to light your bowl instead of a butane lighter, refresh your pipe water often and otherwise keep tabs on your lifestyle by watching your activity and calorie intake.

Don’t give up on vaping so easily, though. It may take some practice and the right kind of vaporizer working at a compatible temperature to impress you. Like any healthy relationship, sometimes it takes a little bit of extra attention to make it work.