One of the many popular ways to enjoy cannabis is by using a vape pen. These are portable devices that let you vaporize marijuana and inhale the smoke.
Understand What Vaping Is First
Before you can learn how to use a vape pen, you should fully understand what vaping or vaporizing cannabis is. When you vape, you heat the material until it reaches its point of vaporization. This is a temperature that is lower than combustion but high enough to convert the vaping material into a vapor that you can inhale.
When you vape cannabis, you get to enjoy its active ingredients without burning the plant material. Many of the toxins and carcinogens released via combustion only occur when the marijuana is burnt.
How Vaporizers Work
All vaporizers will have the same general design. They will use a heating source of some sort that gets applied to the vaping material. This heat then creates the vapor from the vaping material.
Parts of a Vape Pen
In a vape pen, the heat source is typically called the atomizer. Sometimes, it may be called a heating chamber. The heating chamber usually connects to the battery, and this is where you place your vape product.
The battery is the part of the vape pen that powers it. This is typically found in the longest area of the device. The mouthpiece is where you draw the vapor out. It connects to the heating chamber.
Vape pens also come with chargers that you use to charge their batteries. These are commonly micro USBs, although that can vary.
The vape pen may or may not have a button on it as well. Most also have an indicator light so you can tell whether the pens are on or off. It may also have a battery life indicator.
You May Be Able to Adjust the Temperature
Depending on the vape pen that you choose, you may be able to adjust the temperature settings on it. To some extent, this comes down to personal preference. Lower heat settings can reduce potency, but they can improve flavor. By contrast, using higher heat settings can sacrifice taste but give you increased potency. There is also a higher risk of harmful chemicals entering the vapor when you choose a higher temperature.
Not all vape pens will have the ability to adjust the heat setting, but the more expensive ones typically do. In most cases, you will just have three to five heat settings to choose from. Some more expensive vape pens, however, let you even specify the temperature to the degree or a smaller range. If you are new to vaping, most users suggest you start at a lower temperature.
Why Choose a Vape Pen?
Even with so many methods of enjoying cannabis, many people continue to choose using vape pens. They do so for a variety of reasons, including the following.
Does Not Combust the Cannabis
As mentioned, vaporizing cannabis does not heat the material enough for it to reach combustion. Since combustion is responsible for most of the carcinogens and toxins that get released when you consume cannabis, choosing to vaporize it reduces your exposure to these potentially harmful compounds.
They Are Discreet
Many people also appreciate the discreet nature of vape pens, especially when compared to smoking cannabis. Some of this comes from the design of the pens, but it is also due to the process of heating the marijuana.
While smoking marijuana makes smoke, vaporizing produces vapor. This vapor is lighter in color and tends to have a significantly reduced smell compared to cannabis smoke. That can make it more discreet, as the smell is less likely to linger on your clothes or in a room, or at least it will do so to a lesser extent.
They Are Portable
People also love the extreme portability of vape pens. They are small and can easily fit into a bag, pocket, or purse. This portability makes it convenient to easily enjoy vaping cannabis wherever you go, provided that it is allowed there.
They Are Concentrated
Depending on the material you choose to vape, you can enjoy a much higher concentration than you would if you were to smoke cannabis. This is not true if you decide to vape dry herbs, but if you vape concentrates, it will have a much higher concentration of THC. This lets you enjoy the effects of cannabis more efficiently.
Vape Pen Use Depends on the Vaping Material
Although you will follow similar steps to use any vape pen, the process will vary slightly based on the type of vaping material that you use. Keep in mind that not all vape pens can work with all materials. Most pens will be designed for a specific type of vape material, or possibly two types. Some also have interchangeable parts that let you adapt them depending on the form of cannabis you want to vape.
You can vape dry herbs, oils, liquid, and wax. Always make sure the product you use is rated for vaping. This is particularly true with oil as regular cannabis oil is not necessarily safe to vape. Instead, if you want to use vape oil, make sure it is labeled for that particular use.
How to Load Your Vape Pen
You will not be able to use your vape pen until it has your chosen material inside. Every vape pen is slightly different, so it is wise to at least glance at the user manual that came with your vape pen.
The process will also depend on the type of vape material you prefer. Even from there, there are several options. For example, if you want to vape e-liquid, you can buy refillable cartridges that you fill with your e-liquid of choice or purchase pre-filled cartridges. Most pre-filled cartridges will include the atomizer and the cartridge in one unit.
How to Use a Buttonless Vape Pen
The instructions for using a vape pen will also vary based on whether yours has a button or not. With a buttonless or autodraw vape, you can activate the vape by merely drawing on the mouthpiece or taking a puff. Pulling the air will automatically activate the atomizer, which will heat the vaping material. These pens also shut off automatically.
As you can expect, buttonless vape pens are ideal for beginners, since they are incredibly easy to use. Many people also appreciate that they do not have a button, which means it should not accidentally turn on in a bag or pocket.
How to Use a Vape Pen With a Button
If you have a vape pen with a button, the process will be slightly different. You need to press the button on these pens as you inhale for the atomizer to activate. In the case of vape pens with variable heat, you typically push the button in a specific pattern or a set number of times in a row to adjust the heat settings. You will also have a pattern of button presses to turn the vape off or on.
Although every vape pen is different, many have decided to use the same patterns for necessary actions, as this makes it easier for users to try out new pens. This typical pattern would be five clicks to turn the pen on or off, three to switch the heat setting, and holding the button down as you inhale.
Of course, every vape pen is different, and some will not follow those patterns. When in doubt, consult your user manual.
How to Inhale With Your Vape Pen
No matter whether or not the vape pen has a button, you will inhale the same way. Just bring the pen’s mouthpiece to your lips and inhale. The inhaling action is always the same, although you will need to press a button or button sequence if the vape pen has one. After you inhale, exhale the vapor.
When you inhale, at least the first few times you use your vape pen, try to stick to small sips.
Other Things to Know About Using a Vape Pen
There are also some other essential things you should know about how to use a vape pen, including variations between various models.
It May Need to Heat Up
If you are using a vape pen for dry herbs, it may need a few minutes to heat up to the correct temperature fully. If this is the case, your pen’s user manual will let you know.
How Frequently to Reload the Pen
There are also some variations in how frequently you have to reload vape pens. Many vape pens that use e-liquid let you enjoy multiple uses without having to refill. Some pens that are designed to work with dry herbs or wax may need to be refilled after every single use. Some designs work for just a handful of applications.
Once again, this is something that the vape pen’s user manual will tell you.
Disposable Vape Pens Exist
For those who do not want to deal with filling their vape pen or charging the battery, or those who travel between areas where vaping is legal and illegal, disposable vape pens can be a good option. They are typically just a single piece featuring autodraw and no battery that you can remove. They come pre-filled with concentrate, and once you use that up, you toss the entire pen.
If you travel between areas where vaping is legal and illegal without a good place to store a pen when you are in the latter, then disposable pens can be an excellent choice as you can just toss them before leaving the area where vaping is legal.
Supplement the Vape Pen With Accessories
If you want to enhance your vaping experience or the ease of vaping, you can also find a full range of accessories.
If you use pre-filled cartridges, then you likely want a small bag or case to carry them in. These cartridges can be fragile, and you do not want one to break, as that will cause a mess and waste your money.
Those who choose to smoke dabs or vape wax will need something airtight to store those vape materials in. In that case, you will also want a dab tool or dabber to help you scoop up your wax so you can place it into the heating chamber.
Many people also choose to get small silicone wax mats if they smoke wax. These can help prevent you from making a mess as you set up your vape. It is a particularly important consideration if you do not want to have to spend as long cleaning up afterward and use a wax pen that requires you to refill it after each use.
No matter the type of vape pen you have, you may also want to invest in a second battery. This can help you ensure that you always have a charged battery, so you do not have to wait to vape until you can charge.
If you plan on taking your vape pen with you at all, then it would also be wise to get some sort of storage pouch. Many of these are smell-proof and airtight, with a design that protects your pen. You can choose bags and cases that have space for your accessories as well or those that are slim and just hold the pen.
Troubleshooting: My Vape Pen Isn’t Working
Even with all of the above knowledge, you may occasionally run into a situation where it seems as if your vape pen is not working. When this happens, just take a few minutes to check that everything is in working order.
If you have a button pen, confirm that it is on. You should also confirm that your pen is charged and that your cartridge still has vape material inside and is properly connected. If you still have problems, verify that your cartridge is compatible with the pen and that your battery or coil is not defective.