Which Vaping Method is Best: CBD, Concentrate, or Flower?

man using vape pen

Marijuana and the subculture surrounding it have come along way since the birth of cannabis activism in the late 20th century. Diluted stigmas have been dissolved, widespread legalization has infiltrated numerous states across the U.S., and methods of ingestion have expanded to include soft drinks, candies, dessert pastries, vaporizers, and of course—traditional flower.

Considering the many developments that we have seen arise throughout cannabis culture, one that has become widely accepted is that of vaping. We have all seen torrents of youthful degenerates puffing on their hard drives with countless flavors that would put Willy Wonka to shame. Yet, when it comes to vaping your favorite strains, the options may prove to be more valuable than that of exotic flavors.

Why Vape?

Photo Credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Aside from the high itself, there are many reasons why vaping is a better method of ingestion than smoking regular flower. Some of these are:

Healthier Herb

It goes without saying: vaping most certainly is the healthier route to go when smoking marijuana. No matter which product you are vaping, the low heat and steady decarboxylation releases essential oils, terpenes, and cannabinoids without producing harsh plumes of smoke. This means that you are ingesting more of what you want without all of the excess burned plant matter, which typically means more tar. On the other side of the coin, there have been some allegations stating that poorly made vaporizers contain harmful glue and heavy metals that can be stripped and inhaled during the vaping process. While the design of vaporizers has drastically improved since the early days, it is always a fail-safe to be educated on what you are putting in your body and purchasing from a manufacturer that you trust. 

Discreet Vape

The best thing about vaporizers—if not the best—is their discretion. Since there is no excessive plant matter being burned, there isn’t much of a smell produced. Because of this, one can enjoy the fruits of their dispensary purchases from the comforts of their home, work (though it isn’t recommended), or even whilst going for a stroll out in public.   

Easier to Administer Vaporizers

Even though vaporizers come with their fair share of maintenance hiccups, the amount of effort that goes into getting high is much less than that of traditional methods. After a couple of hours on the charger, all it takes is a working opposable thumb to hold down the respective button and inhale the tasty vapor for some glorious terpene-laden flavors and a head full of high. 

Vapes with Better Flavor

In regards to the previous point, flavor is a staple of vaping that immediately makes it stand out against smoking regular flower. Because the material isn’t being burned to a bloody crisp, there is a much softer and pronounced flavor that will tingle your taste buds rather than a hearty lungful of skunky smoke that will leave you tasting nothing for the next short while. 

Increased Vaping Potency

While this point certainly varies depending on the material being vaped, it most often provides users with a more potent experience that requires smoking much less than one would need to conventionally. Granted, if one doesn’t clean their vape or one is at the end of their supply, then the taste and potency gradually degrade along with the substance itself. However, this doesn’t mean that it is any better or worse than that of smoking out of a pipe or bong, but that it is simply a different medium that presents the same obstacles. 

Cannabis Vaping Materials: Which One is Best for You?

Now that we have examined the nature of vaping, let’s venture into some of the popular materials that can be used with vaporizers and what you can expect from each one.

CBD

For those of you who aren’t aware, cannabidiol (more commonly known as CBD) is the second most popular and prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana apart from THC. CBD is the compound responsible for all of the healing properties of cannabis, and it has recently become more popular as an isolated concentrate for those who want the healing effects without the high.

In the case of vaping, you can expect all of the perks that come with vaping, but without the overbearing high. When vaping CBD, you can expect to feel a somewhat altered, mellow state of mind that may reveal itself as calming or slightly energetic.

You will also notice than any aches and pains that are ailing you may fall away into the “high” that comes from smoking CBD, but you will feel quite clear and not as foggy as you might after smoking THC-laden herb or oil.

Concentrates: Oil and Wax

It’s all the buzz nowadays, and it has occasional smokers like myself full of precaution and slight terror. Vaping concentrates is essentially the exact opposite of vaping CBD oil. Concentrates such as oil, wax, or shatter are riddled with high THC levels, meaning that if you take one-too-many puffs you may find yourself having a less than pleasant experience if you aren’t a seasoned veteran.

The best part of vaping concentrates is that you can achieve an altered headspace without an overt fragrance, concern of ‘getting caught,’ or ingesting too big of a dose at once. With vaping concentrates, you can ingest your doses mindfully without pushing yourself ‘over the edge.’

You can also step outside of your family dinner if things get a little too hairy and calm yourself down with a toke before going back inside without everyone and their mother (or yours in this example) knowing that you are lightly toasted.

Flower Vaping

Flower is the most traditional material used by recreational users. While that isn’t to say that recreational users don’t prefer or use oils and concentrates more in today’s age, flower is most certainly the best way for those looking to get a bit of a head change. 

When it comes to vaping flower, it isn’t much different than that of concentrates in terms of the effects. You may have to ingest more flower than you would with concentrates, but the end result is more often than not the same.

One of the main differences between vaping  flowers vs. oils and concentrates is the cleanup afterwards. While both mediums require cleaning of the vape afterwards, it is simply cleaning up a different substance than the other. When cleaning out a dry herb vaporizer, you are cleaning out the chamber where the flower is turned into vapor. With a vape that uses concentrate, you will find yourself using some fine-tipped tools or an exacto knife to clean up the sticky-icky mess left by the wax.

One of the main differences between vaping flowers vs. oils and concentrates is the cleanup afterwards. While both mediums require cleaning of the vape afterwards, it is simply cleaning up a different substance than the other. When cleaning out a dry herb vaporizer, you are cleaning out the chamber where the flower is turned into vapor. With a vape that uses concentrate, you will find yourself using some fine-tipped tools or an exacto knife to clean up the sticky-icky mess left by the wax.

Preference is the Name of the Game

What it all comes down to is that no one method to vaping cannabis is better than the other. They all simply yield different results. Considering this, it is important to ask yourself, “What experience do I prefer in this moment?” Obviously, the answer to this question may vary depending on circumstance in the present moment, but asking yourself this question before you decide which substance you want to vape will make all the difference.


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