Michael Kushbury is a vaporizer enthusiast and online cannabis reviewer. He is also a legal medical patient who used to smoke 8–10 joints a day. In 2012, he purchased his first vaporizer in an attempt to get rid of his cough, the smell, and increase the amount of energy he had each day. Vaporizing fulfilled all of his requirements and exceeded them in many ways. He became inspired by his new mode of consumption and created a new platform to share his experiences with other medical patients in hopes of educating them about cannabis as medicine and vaporization. Today we asked Michael to talk about vaporizers and their advantages for medical marijuana patients
What is a Vaporizer?
A vaporizer (also called a vape) is a device that heats up your cannabis to the point where its medicinal components are released and available to be inhaled but before the point of burning or combustion. This eliminates up to 96% of the carcinogens associated with smoking.
The number one reason to choose vaporization over smoking is health. When you eliminate 96% of the carcinogens you are also eliminating 96% of the negative health attributes. Vaporizing is also more discreet and economical. This translates benefits like:
- Less coughing and less irritation on the throat and airways
- Less smell: vapour carries much less odor and does not linger like the smell from a joint or a pipe
- More efficient use of cannabis:
- Smoking your material will destroy up to 50% of the active THC components in your cannabis. That’s medicine that will never make its way into you. When you vaporize, the heat source is much gentler and much less THC is wasted between draws.
- Vaporization will activate your cannabis the same way decarboxylation does. The material you are left with after your session is perfect for adding to food and baked goods.
- Convenience and cleanliness: you no longer have to search for lighters, worry about ash or look for a place to butt out. When you’re done taking your draws you turn off the device and drop it in your pocket or bag.
Does Vaporizing Feel the Same as Smoking?
Most people find a slight difference between smoking and vaporizing initially. When you smoke cannabis, you are taking in and hitting your system with huge amounts of carcinogens as well as cutting off a large amount of oxygen. That smoke is filled with a hot ash that lines your airways and gets absorbed by the lining of your lungs, leading to an initial headrush feeling. And guess what? There’s not a lot of medicine in ash. Smokers mistakenly credit that “rushiness” to the cannabis when actually it’s from your body screaming for air. I found that after committing fully to vaporization (i.e. not sneaking any joints or bong hits) it took about a week for my body adjust to the point where I no longer missed the rush.
Types of Vaporizers
When most people think of vaporizers the first thing that comes to mind are e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are NOT vaporizers. E-cigs use a liquid-based system where nicotine is suspended in a carrier typically called “e-juice”. A cannabis vaporizer is composed of an oven or a “chamber” where you put your ground material (think of this like the bowl of a pipe or a joint). The oven is heated to a temperature below combustion and the essential compounds are released and inhaled.
Vaporizers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are portable battery-powered vaporizers that are great on the go like the Déjà vu, Pax and Arizer Air, and there are more robust at-home units that plug directly into the wall such as the Volcano or the VapeXhale. There are also some interesting analogue devices that are heated with a flame or a torch out there like the DynaVap.
Choosing a Vaporizer
Once you decide if you want a portable or an at-home unit you then can decide what method of vaporization you’re looking for: conduction or convection.
Conduction vaporizes your material through direct contact with the chamber. The chamber heats up and whatever is touching it gets cooked. Pretty simple. Convection uses hot air passing through the material to handle the extraction. Convection typically has better flavour than conduction, but is often more expensive.
Regardless of what vaporizer you choose, you will want to make sure it is made with quality parts. Parts made from inert materials are best; a plastic body is fine, but you’re going to want glass mouthpieces, ceramic chambers and to make sure any parts coming into contact with heat are surgical grade or higher. Avoid vapes made with brittle plastics near the chamber, and exposed coils or heating elements.
For those dealing with any motor control issues, I recommend going with vaporizers with fewer parts and a simple design. The Arizer Solo is a near perfect entry-level vaporizer that works for most people. There are a few different configurations, but it can be had for around $150. For table top or at home units I would recommend either the Volcano or the Vapir Rise as they are both easy to operate and put together. The Volcano retails for just over $600 and the Rise can be had for around $200.
If budget is a primary concern then the Atmos Jump and the Pulsar APX are fantastic options. These vapes are small but very mighty! The Jump is super simple with just one button and one temperature whereas the APX gives you several temperature options. Both of these vaporizers retail for under $90.
If a Cadillacs are more your speed, the Mighty from Storz & Bickle is the vape for you. This is a top of the line portable convection vape that will set you back $400.
If you are a cannabis user, you should consider investing in a vaporizer. The health benefits alone should be reason enough but when you add in the efficiency, discretion and overall experience, it’s a-no brainer.
For more information about vaporizers and to access a library of over 100 video strain reviews please visit kushbury.com.
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