Vaping has been gaining traction over the last decade. The first research into nicotine vaping started in 1963 with our friends the tobacco industry, and various civilisations have been concocting ways to get high since time immemorial, for health and social benefits. Today, the modern cannabis vaporiser scene is almost byzantine in its complexity.
Grind it up or use bud?
Typical stoners will know that you have to grind, or pull apart with sticky fingers, your bud to roll into a tidy joint. Presented with a vaporiser though, the steps aren’t exactly clear.
Certain vaporisers have a small mesh compartment for your herb. The range of vape quality does present some challenges. The two types of vape in common use are convection and conduction.
Convection vapes work by heating the air around the herb, and conduction vapes will heat the herb itself. Grinding up the herb leaves you with a greater surface area, allowing heat to spread more evenly. This is generally means go with grinding, if you’re also into coffee and grinding beans, you’ll have some familiarity with the coarse/fine divide. We recommend a coarser grind, but this is entirely dependent on the vessel used to hold your bud.
How hot and how high?
Finding the best temperature to vape weed at is easy. Simply put:
- Light toast – 163 to 177 Celcius / 325 to 350 Fahrenheit
- Medium toast – 177 to 204 Celcius / 350 to 400 Fahrenheit
- Heavy toast – 204 to 221 Celcius / 400 to 430 Fahrenheit
THC starts to become active at around 160 Celcius. CBD comes alive at around 210.
These numbers are easy to reckon with, however many vapes do not specify a temperature. They’re more likely to present themselves as low, medium, high, or a scale along the lines of 1-5.
We recommend starting low, and going high. Trial and error will teach you a lot about your specific vape.
Unsurprisingly, the hotter the vape temperature, the hotter the smoke. This is where coughing and dryness start to become a factor in vaping. If you are coughing up a lung whilst vaping, we recommend curling your tongue towards the top of your mouth. Coughing isn’t a sign that you’ve lost your tolerance, its basic biology – your mouth and throat can’t handle the heat.
Curling your tongue gives the smoke an obstacle to move beyond, which means more distance to travel, and therefore more time to cool.
What about hash?
Hash comes and goes, when growing methods were a little more organic and rustic hash was a way to get some solid product (if you can avoid soapbar that is) without getting a load of sticks, stems and seeds.
Vaping hash requires some consideration. There is a good chance if you stick hash into your vape without any protection the solid will melt, clog up the vape and you’ll be left with a useless brick.
Some common ways to smoke hash, as opposed to vaping, are to sandwich it between two layers of bud. In a vape this is not recommended as you’re unlikely to heat through such a morass of matter, thereby wasting your lovely stash.
The best way to vape hash is to acquire some ‘de-gummed hemp fibre’. This is essentially cotton wool, made from hemp. Break down your hash, leave it in a small pile, take some hemp cotton wool, and lay that down as a protective layer. Then layer up the crumbled hash onto the hemp wool and go for it.
De-gummed hemp fibre does not burn, it does not vaporise, it merely acts as a protective layer and medium for your hash.
A note on breaking down hash – whilst it is fine to use a lighter for a bowl or a joint, for a vape you need to get culinary and use a knife and chopping board. Watch those fingers.
De-gummed hemp fibre is the opposite of gummed hemp fibre. Using hemp fibre which hasn’t been de-gummed will put you back where you started, the gum will melt away and wreck the vape.
In terms of temperature there isn’t a maximum when it comes to hash. Bud will get burnt up, hash will handle the hot stuff.
Remember, vaping hash is possible and it is a heavy way to get stoned. But if you lack the necessary accessories, you’re only going to end up with a broken heart and vaporiser. Consider yourself warned.
What about oil?
Vape pens, like the classic Snoop G-Pen, utilise cannabis oil. While this is enjoyable, accessing the stuff can be difficult if you’re in a prohibition-era state or country. CBD has emerged as a panacea from depression to chronic pain and is more widely available as it is not psychoactive. If you’re not looking to get stoned, a vape pen which takes oil cartridges could be the way forward.
Vape pens are quite a closed system that rely on you having access to the concentrates. There isn’t a safe way to vape liquid and viscous concentrates in most regular vaporisers, some might take a de-gummed hemp fibre dipped in the oil, but we wouldn’t recommend this as a blanket approach. Look at your vape and see what looks possible.
What about the smell?
We’ve covered this topic in more detail over here, but essentially, vaping smells far less than smoking a joint or a bowl because there is no combustion. A vape won’t require you to burn excessive amount of materials to achieve the desired outcome, no papers, no tobacco, and not so much wasting of your weed either.