The Complete Guide to Cannabis VapingWe cover everything you need to know to get started vaping weed, plus our list of the best cannabis vaping products.
Cannabis vaping has recently exploded in popularity, with increasing numbers of users now opting to vape cannabis instead of smoking it. Touted as a safer, more discreet, and cost-effective way to consume cannabis, medical patients and recreational users alike are embracing cannabis vaping. With so many different products available (including options for CBD and delta-8 THC users), vaping weed can feel confusing or downright intimidating at first. If you’re new to vaping weed, our complete cannabis vaping guide will answer your questions and our cannabis vape pen buyer’s guide will help you find your perfect match.
How Does Cannabis Vaping Work?
Cannabis vape pens work by heating up plant material just enough to create vapor, but not hot enough to catch fire and combust. Once the vapor is inhaled, as with traditional weed smoking, its cannabinoids are readily absorbed into the bloodstream and their effects are quickly felt.
Most mediums of cannabis and hemp can be vaporized, including oil, wax, resin, or even dry herb. Since each of these mediums has an ideal vaporizing temperature range to achieve its full effect, using the correct vape pen for your preferred type of cannabis is crucial.
Types of Cannabis Vape Pens
- Flower Vape Pens – Battery-powered flower vape pens tend to be quite small. Users load dried herb directly into a chamber (some models can also accommodate concentrates), where it is heated up just enough to vaporize. Since these pens work with any variety of cannabis, CBD, or delta-8 THC flower, the strain options for flower vape pens are endless. The only drawback this type of weed vape pen often has is a lack of significant temperature control.
- Dab Vape Pens – Dab vape pens are a terrific way to enjoy cannabis concentrates. These battery-operated pens work by heating a metal coil to a fixed temperature before it’s dabbed directly into the concentrate, melting and heating it into an inhalable vapor.
- Oil Cartridge Pens – Battery-operated oil cartridge pens are a very popular way to vape CBD, cannabis, or delta-8 THC oil. Some oil cartridge pens have replaceable or refillable cartridges while others are completely disposable. While they may not be the most environmentally-friendly option, disposable cannabis vape pens have the benefit of being ready to use immediately without charging first.
- Tabletop Vapes – An alternative to handheld flower or cannabis oil vape pens, tabletop vaporizers are large units that plug directly into an electrical outlet and produce a considerable amount of vapor. Tabletop vapes typically offer an excellent range of temperature controls and are a great choice for medical marijuana patients or for anyone who prefers to get stoned at home.
Types of Cannabis Vape Cartridges
Distillate Vape Cartridges
Currently the most popular type of cannabis vape cartridge on the market, distillate cartridges contain cannabis oil that has undergone a CO2 extraction process, isolating only the desired cannabinoids (such as THC and/or CBD). While this makes for a highly-concentrated cannabinoid experience, terpenes and other full-plant compounds are often lost in the distillation process. However, many distillate cartridge manufacturers have begun altering their extraction processes to preserve more of these beneficial compounds.
Live Resin Cartridges
For a true full-spectrum cannabis experience, live resin cartridges are a terrific option. Live resin is extracted from cannabis buds that are flash frozen immediately after harvest, preserving all of the full-plant compounds. With such well-preserved terpenes, live resin cartridges offer a fully flavorful and aromatic experience. However, if you’re used to distillate vape cartridges, live resin cartridges may feel slightly less potent, simply because every puff contains more than just one or two highly-concentrated cannabinoids.
A somewhat less common and more expensive option, rosin cartridges are made using a solventless extraction process, using only heat and pressure to extract oil from the cannabis plant. Rosin cartridges create an incredibly pure and intensely flavorful cannabis vaping experience.
Benefits of Vaping Cannabis vs. Smoking
Here are some of the top reasons why many users now prefer vaping cannabis over smoking it:
- Fast and Effective – Vaping might actually be the most effective way to enjoy cannabis, with studies showing that even more THC is absorbed via vaping versus smoking dry cannabis flower. Much like smoking weed, vaping cannabis delivers cannabinoids into the bloodstream almost immediately upon inhalation.
- Doesn’t Require Combustion – Since vaping does not involve combustion, users are not stuck inhaling the toxic and carcinogenic byproducts of smoke along with their weed. As an added benefit, vaping cannabis doesn’t expose the people and pets around you to the toxins and strong odors present in secondhand smoke, either.
- Smooth Feel – The sensory experience of vaping cannabis feels smoother than smoking it, and vaping is also less likely to cause fits of coughing. Many users describe the high associated with vaping cannabis as feeling “smoother” and “cleaner” than smoking. The lack of combustion also leaves more terpenes intact, bringing out flavor notes in a way that smoking cannot.
- Discretion and Portability – Cannabis vapes are generally small enough to fit into a pocket or purse, making them easy to store and bring along anywhere you go. Since vaporizing tobacco is also quite popular and no scent is emitted when the vape is not in use, no one has to know that yours contains cannabis. When the pen is in use, the scent of the vapor may indeed be influenced by terpene content, but the strong signature marijuana scent is absent and the vapor dissipates rapidly.
- Better Dose Control – Many weed pens have controls allowing a set amount of cannabis vapor to be released in each puff.
- Cost-Effective – Vaporizing cannabis is a particularly cost-effective way to enjoy it. Every bit of the oil or concentrate gets used up, with no wasted plant matter turned to ash. Additionally, if you elect to vape dried cannabis flower, the dry plant material can even be reused to make edibles when you’re done vaping it.
Cons of Vaping Cannabis
Despite the many benefits of vaping cannabis, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind before you go all in. Vaporizer units of decent quality can be expensive, and many non-disposable vapes also require batteries. Some vape batteries are rechargeable, which can save you some money in the long run, but keeping an eye on your battery levels (or keeping a spare set on hand) is crucial to ensure your vape doesn’t run out of power at an inopportune moment.
For total vaping beginners, the entire process may feel confusing or even intimidating. There is an extra degree of research and potentially some trial and error involved in figuring out the best type of vape for you. Additionally, some cannabis vape oils carry the risk of potential detriment to your health. Cannabis vape oils are often cut with propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol, both of which may convert into carcinogenic compounds at high temperatures. This issue may be worsened if you use cheap vape pens, which often heat the oil to higher temperatures than necessary.
What to Look for in Cannabis Vaping Products
Trustworthy and Legal Source
The most important piece of vape-shopping advice we have to offer is this: only purchase cannabis vape cartridges, oil, wax, or other inhalable material from trusted retailers and dispensaries. Black market vape products often contain synthetic vitamin E oil or other unregulated ingredients that can cause serious lung injury or even death when inhaled. With so many high-quality cannabis, CBD, and delta-8 THC vape pens and cartridges now available through the legal cannabis market, it’s not worth risking your life and health to save a little money on off-market cartridges.
As far as cannabis vape products from reputable retailers go, always opt for those that are made with the highest-grade cannabis or hemp possible, and are third-party lab tested to ensure potency and purity.
Since different cannabis users have different desired effects in mind, it’s always important to consider the potency, strain, flavor, and cannabinoid makeup of the cannabis vape cartridge, concentrate, or flower you use. Personal preference will also dictate which medium of cannabis and which style of cannabis vape pen you will prefer to use.
Cannabis vape pens and cartridges are available at a wide range of price points, making vaping an accessible way to enjoy cannabis on any budget. However, it is true that “you get what you pay for,” and cheaper cannabis vape pens often lack features, such as temperature control or long battery life, that can make a difference in your vaping experience.
You can feel more confident about trying out cannabis and CBD vape pens and cartridges when they are backed by numerous positive reviews from fellow consumers or other trusted resources. To help you start your search, we’ve pulled together our list of favorite cannabis vaping products from brands we like and trust.
Our Favorite Cannabis Vaping Products
THC Vape Pens and Cartridges
PLUGPlay is a California company offering several great cannabis vaping options. PLUG DNA vape oil cartridges come in a variety of classic cannabis strains for daytime, nighttime, or any time, alongside the PLUG Exotics line, a collection of flavor-infused handcrafted blends in tasty flavors like Apple Slushie and Strawberry Champagne. For a perfectly preserved strain profile, opt for PLUGPlay’s Livest live resins or PLUGPacks of dried California-grown cannabis flower. PLUGPlay’s small and sleek signature Play Battery vape pens offer an extra-long battery life and come in a variety of fun colors. PlugPlay THC vape pens, cartridges and flower are lab-tested, solvent and pesticide-free, and available at dispensaries throughout California. Play Battery pens may also be ordered online.
The very first distilled, scientist-formulated cannabis product in the US, The Clear now offers a wide variety of delicious, pure, potent vape oils, free of synthetic ingredients and flavored only with all-natural plant terpenes. The Clear’s multi-award-winning signature Elite line are the most potent THC vapes on today’s market, and are available in multiple distillate quantities, including a discreet all-in-one 350 mg option.The Clear also offers The Classic, an affordable 2:1 THC/CBD vape line, and ENDO, a line of pure, full-spectrum, high-terpene live resin. All The Clear lines are available in various Daytime, Nighttime, or Anytime formulations, and in a wide variety of tasty flavors from lime sorbet and orange cream to classic cannabis flavor profiles like OG and Golden Goat. The Clear vapes are sold at dispensaries throughout California, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Missouri.
Created by true cannabis extraction experts with a passion for crafting unique flavor profiles, Olio offers the cleanest, most potent live resin, live rosin, and hand-filled premium hash oil cartridges on today’s market. One of Olio’s greatest advantages is its dedicated fresh-frozen in-house grow, which places heavy focus on terpene production, preservation, and plant integrity – while allowing Olio to continually explore new ways of enhancing their products and consumer experience. Employing butane and solventless extraction methods and drawing upon a remarkable genetic library, Olio’s inhalables are available in over 60 deliciously crafted strains, with more exciting innovations coming down the line in the future. Olio can be found at select dispensaries throughout Colorado, New Mexico, and Massachusetts.
Heylo’s Cannabis RawX Oil cartridges offer a delicious, terpene-rich vaping experience like no other – with over 45 completely unique, expertly crafted, and creatively named strains to choose from. Heylo’s vape oils are CO2 extracted from sustainably-grown, pesticide-free, premium quality Washington-grown cannabis bud, preserving rare terpenes and minor cannabinoids to create a completely pure cannabis experience. Heylo’s RawX Oil is lab-tested by a neutral third party to ensure potency and purity. Heylo is 100% women-owned, chemist-founded, and operates with a dedication to cannabis education and transparency in all they do. Heylo is based in Seattle, Washington, with products available at dispensaries throughout Washington state.
Cobra Extracts is a Los Angeles-based social equity company with a passion for creating some of the world’s best high-grade, all-natural cannabis products. Using family farm-sourced cannabis, Cobra Extracts’s award-winning ELEVAT8 line of distillate cartridges offers smooth takes on beloved indica, sativa, and hybrid strains, from Skywalker to Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, and Gorilla Glue #4 – while its pure, full-spectrum live resin cartridges deliver one of the richest, most flavorful vaping experiences on the market. Cobra Extracts also produces lines of all-natural, solventless C02 oil vape cartridges and of CBD-dominant oil cartridges, as well as its own variable-setting switchblade-style battery. Cobra Extracts vapes are available at dispensaries throughout California.
Redbud Roots, Michigan’s largest vertically-integrated cannabis cultivator, offers several excellent cannabis vape lines, all made with the cleanest, high-grade cannabis, without the use of harmful inactive ingredients. CultivArt is Redbud’s newest cartridge line, a collection of terpene-rich strains, wrapped in the imaginative artwork of Carla Schierling. RBR’s unflavored Pure THC distillate CCELL cartridges pack an ultra-potent 90%+ THC without the addition of any flavorings or terpenes and, as a result, are virtually odorless. If you prefer vaping tasty flavors, Redbud’s Fruit Stand cartridges also offer high potency (80-85% THC) alongside delicious botanical terpene-derived flavors such as blue raspberry, grape, lemon, pineapple, and strawnana. Redbud Roots vapes can be found at hundreds of dispensaries throughout Michigan.
Willamette Valley Alchemy is a locally-owned, community-focused craft cannabis company creating high-end products from the highest-grade Oregon-grown cannabis. Since 2015, WVA has catered to true cannabis connoisseurs with its clean, additive- and filler-free products. WVA’s signature proprietary Liquid Live Resin contains only one ingredient – pure cannabis extract – and offers a sublimely potent and aromatic vaping experience. LLR’s sister product, Liquid Cured Resin, is made with cured, dry plant material, for richly enjoyable vaping at a lower price point. WVA’s vape cartridges are available in CCell and Pax Pods. Willamette Valley Alchemy is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, with products available at dispensaries throughout the state.
Hemp-Based CBD and Delta-8 THC Vape Pens and Cartridges
Exhale is an industry leader in creating high-grade hemp-based CBD and delta-8 THC products. Exhale’s delta-8 and CBD vape cartridges are made with full-spectrum CO2 extracted cannabinoids from premium Colorado-grown hemp and are free of VG, PG, PEG, or MCT oil. Exhale’s vape cartridges are compatible with any 510 threaded vape battery and come in a wide variety of tasty flavors, from classic cannabis strains like Jack Herer and Sour Diesel to unique creations like Fruity Cereal and Cactus Cooler – all naturally flavored with terpenes. Exhale also offers disposable delta-8 pens in a variety of strains and flavors. Exhale products can be ordered directly from its website.
Sky Wellness and its sister brand, CBDaF!, each offer an impressive line of high-grade CBD wellness products, including CBD vape cartridges and disposable pens for every mood or symptom. Sky Wellness’s signature RELAX, RELIEF, and FOCUS cartridges and pens are each perfectly formulated to deliver potent results and are available in multiple flavors. CBDaF! offers terpene-infused hemp CBD isolates in a variety of fruity and classic weed flavors (THC-free, of course!). CBDaF! also produces CBD vape juice, in spearmint and raspberry cotton candy flavors. All of these CBD vape products are US hemp-derived, affordable, lab-tested, vegan, and free of dangerous cutting agents, GMOs, pesticides, gluten, and THC. Sky Wellness and CBDaF! vaping products can be found in select stores throughout the US.
Created by people with deep love and respect for the cannabis plant, as well as over 15 years of industry experience, Delta Munchies’ delta-8 THC vapes are among the best on the market. These disposable, rechargeable, easy-draw Dart XL vapes come in a variety of tasty indica and sativa strains. Delta Munchies delta-8 vapes are made with pure cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from US-grown hemp and never contain dangerous cutting agents. Quality and potency are guaranteed, with all products undergoing rigorous full-panel DEA-certified lab testing. Delta Munchies is based in Los Angeles, California, and ships its delta-8 products to 39 US states.