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A vaporizer is any device that uses heat to vaporize cannabis. Vaporizers can be small and portable or large tabletop devices, and can vaporize cannabis oil or flower. Vaporizing cannabis is typically considered to be less harmful than smoking.  

“I prefer vaporizing flower to oil.”

“I bit the bullet and dropped $700 on a new Volcano vaporizer.”

What is a vaporizer?

Vaporizers the term refers to a large, rapidly evolving class of cannabis consumption devices that do not involve burning or smoking. Vaporizers can be as big as a medical-grade desktop Volcano from Storz & Bickel, all the way down to palm-sized, disposable vape pens that combine a small battery, atomizer, and reservoir of cannabis oil.  

Vaporizers are not limited to cannabis’ active ingredient THC. Nicotine was vaped in the first electronic cigarettes in China in the ’90s. By 2010, legal medical cannabis states had adapted e-cigarettes for THC vaping. Legal cannabis states regulate vape ingredients, banning heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful ingredients.

How do vaporizers work?

Vaporizers allow consumers to get the quick onset of cannabis through the process of vaporization. There is less harm because you are not inhaling smoke, which contains carcinogens from burning.

Most commonly, a vaporizer turns THC extract (typically oil) into an aerosol that consumers inhale. Here’s how it works:

  • 1) A rechargeable or single-use battery powers an atomizer
  • 2) When oil from the reservoir—usually a disposable cartridge—hits the atomizer, it aerosolizes, and can be inhaled
  • 3) A consumer inhales the cannabis vapor into the lungs and then bloodstream, and it takes effect in seconds. 

Similarly, a flower vaporizer uses a small heating chamber to gently heat, but not burn, flower. Cannabis’ main active ingredients, cannabinoids and terpenes, need a low level of heat to activate and not burn.