What is a Vape Pen?

What is a Vape Pen?

 A vape pen, also called a vaporizer pen or a vapor pen is a small electronic device that resembles a large pen and that is capable of heating different kinds of plant material, typically tobacco or cannabis, to a temperature that is hot enough to vaporize the active ingredients but not hot enough to cause combustion.

How does a vape pen work?

The way a vape pen works is simple. The pen consists of three main components. A battery, an atomizer and a mouthpiece. The battery supplies power to the atomizer which holds some type of heating element that heats your material to the correct temperature.

The atomizer also contains the chamber where you pack your herb or concentrates. Once the atomizer is screwed onto the battery and packed, you can then screw on the mouthpiece and you're ready to vape. 

What is a vape pen?
Vape pen components

How to "smoke" a vape pen

So, you got your atomizer packed, your battery attached, your mouthpiece screwed on and you’re ready to go. Now, how do you smoke this thing? Well, technically you don’t. If you're doing it right you’re vaporizing your weed, not smoking it. With that said, if you have your heat settings to high then you are in fact smoking your vape pen and not vaping on it. With a little practice, you can tell the difference.

Burnt herb or concentrate has a different flavor than pure vapor and it produces a lot more smoke. So if you are blowing out huge clouds with a slight burnt flavor then you might be too hot. But then again, many people prefer huge clouds.In any case, to smoke your vape pen simply hold down the button and start inhaling. The length of time you inhale will typically range from 5-15 seconds depending on what you are vaporizing, your heat settings and your personal preferences.

Now all you have to do is hold down the power button and start inhaling slowly. Many vape pens have an automatic shutoff function that will shut off the element when it has reached the optimum temperature to prevent burning out the element to quickly. A draw slow draw of 5-15 seconds should do the trick. The length and speed of the draw will depend on the design of your pen and the types of materials you are putting into the pen. Try and error will let you know what works best your you so don't be afraid to experiment. 

Vape Pen Temperature Guide

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Michelle Rodriguez is seen in Chinatown on October 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)

Why have vape pens become so popular

I think vape pens have gained popularity so quickly because they are discreet. 

Everyone has those e-cigarettes these days and I think being able to blend in and feel normal taking your medicine while on the go has a large appeal to most of us.

The fact that there is no combustion means there can be little to no “smoke” or vapor exhaled which means there is almost no smell. Another huge bonus if you are trying to be discreet

Finally, the last reason they have become so popular is, they are just so convenient.

If you travel a lot or need your meds when you are on the go you simply can’t beat the convenience of a vape pen.

Are vape pens dangerous?

Vaping, or vaporizing marijuana is typically viewed as much safer than inhaling burnt plant material but don't take my word for it. Here is what Wikipedia says about the dangers of vaping cannabis. 

 “Studies have shown that vaporizing cannabis exposes the user to lower levels of harmful substances than smoking cannabis.
These findings are important for it is estimated that 10–20 percent of patients with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS have admitted to smoking cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
For patients, a study found that smoking cannabis Sativa reduced daily pain by 34%, a statistically significant amount.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in May 2008, it was stated that vaporizers were a "suitable method for the administration of THC".
A 2007 study by the University of California, San Francisco, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that "there was virtually no exposure to harmful combustion products using the vaporizing device".
A 2006 study performed by researchers at Leiden University found that vaporizers were "safe and effective cannabinoid delivery system(s)". The study stated that the amount of THC delivered by vaporizers were equivalent to the amount delivered by smoking.
Because of those studies and other studies, vaporizers are considered medically sound devices for delivering THC.””  Source Wikipedia

With that being said, They can be dangerous in another way. 

The true dangers of vape pens

While not typical, sometimes the batteries of vape pens and e-cigs have exploded causing harm to people and property. I have never had any problems myself nor do I know anyone who has but I have seen the odd story on the news here and there. I think perhaps avoiding cheap knockoffs can lessen the chances of this happening.

Here is what an article from headvape.com had to say about the topic.​

"Lets get one thing straight, many of the devices involved are cheap products manufactured in China. According to the reports, it seems like most e-cig explosions occur when the device is being charged.

There are a lot of inferior products out there and some of the charging circuitry may be faulty, causing the battery to store more electricity than it can hold.The E-cigarette reaches the charging limit, continues to charge, overheats and shoots parts everywhere."
Warning Cheap Vape Pens May Explode

Quote from headvape.com

The bottom line is, don't go for the cheapest thing you can find. Research your brand and read reviews. Knowing what you're buying is your first line of defense. For more tips on avoiding explosive vapes there is a good guide here:

Understanding the 3 main components of a vape pen

In this section, we will dive deeper into each component of a vape pen and explore its major functions . You will discover what makes each part important and how selecting the right combination of parts can help you to create the perfect vape pen for your personal preferences. 

The Battery

Vape pen batteries can come in all shapes and sizes but they are typically long and slender cylinders more robust units sometimes have a much larger square batteriesThe batteries are important because they control the heat. To activate most vape pen batteries you click the power button quickly 5 times to activate the pen and another 5 times to lock it.

Once activated pressing the power button and holding it down will send power to the atomizer which will begin to vaporize your goodies.Most good vapor pens have variable voltage batteries which means you can adjust the heat settings. Usually by tapping the power button 3 times (depending on what pen) you can adjust heat for High, Medium,or Low.Some of the top of the line pens have digital temperature control with a wide variety of heat settings.

Why are temperature variations important? Well, that is a huge topic and I plan to write a post on it soon but the short version is this. Lower temperatures produce more flavor and hardly no vapor. Higher temperatures produce less flavor but way more vapor. Also different Cannaboids are activated better at different temperatures which means patients can target specific CBD activation.

Vape Pen Batteries
Vape Pen Atomizers

The Atomizer

The atomizer is the middle piece of the pen that holds the heating element that will vaporize your materials. It is also where you place the materials you wish to vaporize.

The size and shape of the atomizer will be determined by what type of material you want to vaporize. Dry herb, wax, and oil all work best in different types of atomizers. So don’t try to put dry herb in an atomizer made for oil, it just won’t work

.Atomizers are replaceable and the cost to replace them varies depending on which pen you buy. How long your atomizer will last depends on many factors. What type of atomizer it is, what you are putting in it, how you're putting in it, how you clean it, etc. So make sure you follow the guidelines for your specific pen or you can ruin one pretty quick.

Most pens come with a spare but my suggestion is to order backups before you use that last one.The atomizer will have tiny holes in it somewhere to allow airflow into the mouth piece so you can inhale it. The placement of these holes varies and can affect the performance and the draw resistance.

The Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece is, of course, the part you put your mouth onto inhale. These come in many shapes and sizes. I prefer a wider mouth piece but this is a matter of preference. The size and shape of the mouthpiece help determine the draw resistance or how hard or easy it is to pull air through the pen. Some higher end pens have variable draw settings to help you get the feel just right.

Some mouthpieces have glass domes attached to them or a glass view port of some kind. In my opinion, this doesn’t improve the performance in any way it just allows you to see the vapor as it is being produced and some people like that. If you are going for discreet then I would avoid the glass dome.

Mouthpiece add-ons are also becoming more popular. Some popular pens have glass attachments that replace the mouthpiece. These glass pieces can be filled with water to turn your normal vape pen into a water vape. Giving you, even more, filtration and awesomeness.

Dr Dabber Ghost with Glass Dome & Water Pipe Mouthpiece attachment

Well, if you read this far you are no longer a vape pen newbie. So congratulations, you now know more than many of the people using one on a daily basis. I hope you found this information useful and if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.If you want more information on Vape pens then have a look at the links bellow.

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What is a Vape Pen? How do they work? Are they dangerous? All the details inside.
New to all the "vaping" lingo? Well, this newbie-friendly guide will teach you everything you need to go from vape pen newbie to vaping expert in just a few short minutes.
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