Using a vaporizer to inhale cannabis is a healthier alternative to smoking, and a faster option than taking cannabis oil. Vaporized cannabis produces little to no smell, and its effects kick in almost immediately. Although it doesn’t last as long as cannabis oil that has been eaten or swallowed, it can be a good choice for anyone seeking instant effects.
Vaporizers range in size and price, from small, handheld vapes for on-the-go use to large, heavy desktop units.
Vaporizers heat cannabis to a specific temperature — anywhere from around 310° to 430° F — in order to turn it into vapour. This eliminates certain health risks associated with smoking, such as ingesting carcinogens or any hazardous combustion products, like tar and carbon monoxide.
Vaping in Canada
Prescription cannabis oil provided by licensed producers is meant for oral use, and cannot be used in a vaporizer. Unless you make your own cannabis concentrates (a difficult, and potentially dangerous process), the only method to legally vaporize in Canada is to use prescription cannabis flower, also known as bud. This will change when amendments to the Cannabis Act take effect in October of 2019.
Vaporizers can be filled with cannabis oil, wax or flower (the dried herb, also known as bud); however, not all methods are currently legal in Canada.
Choosing a vape
Find a vaporizer that fits your lifestyle and medicinal needs. Things to consider when buying a vaporizer are its price, size and design. Vaporizers can be purchased through your licensed producer or government-authorized cannabis store, among other outlets.
Read the instructions after purchasing your vaporizer so you know where all the parts are and how it works.
In the following section, we will break down vaping into five simple steps.
You will need:
- A vaporizer
- A grinder or grinder card (to break up cannabis)
- A grinder shovel (to scoop ground-up cannabis)
- Cannabis flower (dried bud)
Step 1: Pack it
Break up the cannabis with a grinder or grinder card until it becomes a fine, powder-like consistency. Use a grinder shovel to scoop cannabis into the chamber. The location and size of the chamber will vary depending on the device. You can decide whether to pack it sparingly or almost to the brim, but make sure to leave some room to allow for air flow.
Step 2: Set it
Turn the device on and let it heat up. Some devices allow you to choose the temperature, whereas others are automatically set when the device is turned on. Different terpenes burn off at different temperatures; to experience the full therapeutic effects of these naturally-occurring aromatic oils , it’s recommended to start at a low temperature and gradually increase, if desired.
Step 3: Sip it
It’s time to inhale when the desired temperature is reached. Most automatic devices light up to indicate that they are ready to be used. Breathe in from the mouthpiece, where a small opening allows vapour to stream out. This action is called “sipping” because it mimics how people sip with a straw. If you’re used to smoking, know that this action will feel different than a drag on a cigarette or a haul on a joint.
Check your device’s instructions for how to safely empty the chamber after use; some can be refilled immediately, but most will require a cool-down period before the next session.
Step 4: Clean it
Keep it neat. Since excess debris can clog the device, vaporizers must be cleaned after each use to ensure that they continue to work properly. This includes completely emptying the chamber and ensuring that all pathways, like the mouthpiece, are clear. The instructions should clearly indicate how to do a thorough cleaning, which will likely involve pipe cleaners and rubbing alcohol.
Step 5: Charge it
Store your vaporizer in a safe place and out of the reach of children — preferably where you can charge it. Make sure to charge your device after each use so it’s ready to be used whenever you need it.