One of the biggest trends in the cannabis industry in recent years is cannabis concentrates and vape oils. If you’re new to cannabis and want to get your footing in an extremely accessible, enjoyable, and simple-to-use way, vape oils might be a perfect place for you to start out.
Here are the essentials that you need to know.
What are vape oils?
Vape oils — which are sometimes also known as “concentrates” — are, essentially, just concentrated cannabis oils.
There are a few different processes for producing cannabis oils, but they all work by extracting and straining away the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant using a solvent, whether that be CO2, alcohol, or chemicals. Oils have no plant matter in them; instead, the oils are the extracted resin glands from the cannabis plant.
Here at Thinc, we produce 100% pure, CO2-extracted cannabis oils that are refined with organic ethanol — that means no chemicals, waxes, lipids, or impurities make it into the final product. We think that’s pretty awesome, since it means you can consume our products knowing you’re not also ingesting any nasty chemicals or impurities.
If you don’t use CO2 extraction, you can use chemicals like butane and polyglycol to extract cannabis oil from the plant to make a vape oil. Some people even make their own vape oils using alcohol at home, which is pretty cool — though we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting out.
What are the positives of vape oil?
There are a lot of positives! Vape oil brings a lot of benefits to the table that you won’t find in other cannabis products.
For example, because vape oil is a concentrate, it contains THC levels that are much higher than in the cannabis flower — vape oils can be as much as 80% THC, whereas cannabis leaves top out around 20%. This means that you can get a much more potent experience than you would simply smoking or vaporizing the flower.
Many people also enjoy using vape oils in vape pens because it can be a more discreet way to enjoy cannabis (since there is no smoke or smell when you exhale).
Finally, it’s a relatively simple and accessible way to try out cannabis. You don’t need to buy a ton of equipment or be an expert; all you need is a vape pen and the ability to push the button on it to activate it. If you’re brand new, you can even ask your friendly neighborhood budtender at the local dispensary to give you a quick how-to and you’ll be on your way in minutes.
How do you use vape oil?
In general, there are two main ways that consumers enjoy vape oil. They vary quite a bit in terms of what equipment you need, how convenient they are to do, and how their effects impact your body. Here are some basics:
Vape pens. Since cannabis has been legalized in more states, vape pens are increasingly popular. This is because the equipment and use is fairly simple: just buy a vape pen (often sold with a cartridge of cannabis oil already inside), press the button to activate, and enjoy! There is no odor or smoke, which means people can use them discreetly to enjoy cannabis anywhere.
Dabbing. Dabbing is a more complex process that tends to achieve a more intense high for users. To dab, you’ll heat up a metal nail head with a blowtorch and then place vape oil on top, and wait until there is enough vapor for you to inhale. This method isn’t quite as discreet or portable as a vape pen, but the extra work is usually accompanied by a much more intense high — which connoisseurs may enjoy, but a newbie may find overwhelming.
Is vape oil safer to use than smoking the cannabis flower?
Many people choose to use vape pens as an alternative to smoking their cannabis, since vaping is often perceived as safer for your health than smoking. But is it?
Smoking, as we all know, isn’t exactly good for you — combusting any plant material (whether it’s cannabis, tobacco, etc) releases toxic chemicals and irritants, and deposits tar in the lungs of the person smoking it.
With vape pens, you miss out on those irritants and negative health risks by not smoking the cannabis plant directly and vaporizing the oil instead, so it is preferable to vape rather than smoke. And with dabbing, again, you tend to be inhaling vapor rather than smoke.
However, in both cases, a lot depends on the temperature. If the cannabis oil — or the mechanism you’re using to vape or dab — gets overheated or combusts, some nasty chemicals and toxins can be released that you would ingest, and which you would avoid by keeping the oil below a certain safe temperature (scientists say that temperature is around 365 degrees C).
Of course, when you’re enjoying cannabis, you might not have highly sophisticated temperature-monitoring tools on hand to track how hot your product is getting.
So while these smoke-free options may be preferable to simply smoking your cannabis, they are not proven to be 100% free of carcinogens and safe to your health either, since there is room for error.
What can I do to use vape oils in the safest, purest way possible?
What you can do to make the experience as safe as possible is to use the best products possible. This means looking for top quality in every sense:
— seek out the best cannabis (organic and pesticide-free)
— shop for companies with the best processes (choose CO2 extraction over butane or poly)
— pick vaping tools that are made from high quality materials (metal and glass are better than cheap plastic)
The higher quality the cannabis you ingest, the better it is for your body because it will have fewer irritants and toxins in it. Look for plants that have been raised without pesticides or chemicals.
You should also look at the processes by which each oil is produced. At Thinc, we don’t use a single chemical in our vape oil process, so you know what you’re ingesting is totally pure. Other vape oils can be made with polyglycol, butane, and other chemicals, which haven’t been proven to be harmful, but haven’t been proven to be safe either. But in our opinion, you can’t go wrong choosing a product that you know is totally pure.
Finally, use a high quality vape pen device. Choose a device that has a quality heating element that won’t overheat the cannabis or the pen itself (which can release further toxins); you can also seek out vape pens with glass or metal parts to avoid any risks associated with heating up plastic as well.
Go forth and vape!
Vape oils are an amazingly convenient and enjoyable way to ingest cannabis. Why not pick up a vape pen at your local dispensary and give it a whirl? You may find concentrates are a great addition to your normal cannabis routine, or a smooth, fun way in the door for a beginner. You have lots of options, so get out there and enjoy.