Had enough smoke? Here's the lowdown on vaping as a smoke-free alternative for getting high

With vaping, the cannabis product is heated to a specific temperature that allows it to be vaporized and inhaled, but not to a point where it combusts, or burns.
With vaping, the cannabis product is heated to a specific temperature that allows it to be vaporized and inhaled, but not to a point where it combusts, or burns.

With wildfire smoke choking the region and air quality levels falling into the unhealthy range far too often lately, the thought of smoking to get stoned might not be the most appealing just now.

Which makes now as good a time as any to look into the vape options out on the market. Let's answer a few basic questions about vapes.

What is vaping?

As is the case with smoking, vaping delivers cannabis via the lungs and, as a result, has a similar effects profile. The key difference between the two is the temperature to which the cannabis is heated.

With vaping, the cannabis product is heated to a specific temperature that allows it to be vaporized and inhaled, but not to a point where it combusts, or burns. As a result, no smoke is produced. That makes vaping a discreet way to consume cannabis, and a bit easier on the lungs as well.

Is vaping safe?

An epidemic of vape-related lung injuries led to a wave of hospitalizations around the country in late 2019. Researchers quickly linked the injuries to vitamin E acetate, an ingredient often used to change the viscosity of liquid vape products, especially black market ones. Regulators in Washington subsequently banned the sale of vape products containing vitamin E acetate. As a result, all products sold at licensed dispensaries in Washington are required to be free of the chemical.

Otherwise, vaping is considered to be somewhat safer than smoking, if only because smoking creates more particles that are inhaled. Still, vaping has inherent risks associated with consuming a substance through the lungs.

What are your options?

Vape pens have become incredibly popular and ubiquitous in the cannabis community. They're simple, portable, user-friendly and discreet. With cannabis oil contained in a one-use cartridge, vape pens allow users to consume cannabis without ever needing to touch the actual material.

On the other end of the spectrum are dab rigs, with their complicated glasswork, red-hot metal nails and conspicuous use of a blow torch. Dabbing allows users a bit more flexibility in the product they consume and is a much more involved process than using a pen.

If you're looking for a blast from the past, there are modern versions of the volcano vaporizers that heat plain old cannabis flower, rather than the processed oils and waxes used in pens and dab rigs. ♦