Seeing through the smoke

Christopher Gallagher

When it comes to combustion, vaping keeps you in control

Ar 180229923
Adobe Stock
Ar 180229923
Adobe Stock

G’day, DGO. Last week we took a surface look at vaporizers and how they can be an excellent addition to your weed game, especially for reasons of health and stealth. This week we will dig in deeper and try to understand and appreciate the nuts and bolts of how these smokeless wonders work and why you should strongly consider making an investment that adds one to your depository of cannabis-related implements.

Let’s first take a look at you current arsenal – a bowl or three, a bong kicking around a closet or on a shelf, a couple packs of papers or cones, maybe a few blunt wraps, a chillum you picked up in your travels. These delivery systems all have one thing in common: they operate only with the addition of the element of fire and in using each of them, we subject our lungs to the harmful effects of combustion and the byproducts released via the process of smoking (this would be most pronounced in blunts and joints, less so using a waterpipe or bong). Lighters burn at a way, way, way higher temperature than I imagined. A regular old Bic-type model burns at a couple/few thousand degrees, apparently. I must admit that freaks me out a bit. And, it turns out that intensity of heat is unnecessary and possibly quite wasteful in the context of cannabis use. It turns out that the individual components in the plant can be removed by reaching their boiling points and extracting them in their heated aqueous state for purposes of inhalation. Voila! Chemistry!

The technology of a vape applies heat to the material being used, be it raw flower, hash, rosin, resin, or any type of oil in a much more controlled manner than the touch of a flame: electronically headed vaporizers can be controlled to heat up to a specific single degree on the calefaction scale. Cannabis is chock full of chemical compounds, each with their own distinct effect on the overall experience by the smoker, eater, drinker, or vaper (I’m not sure what to call someone who plugs their medicine ... a “suppositor,” I suppose). The best known of these compounds, cannabanoids, have a wide range of activation temperatures: THC evaporates at 311 degrees Fahrenheit, CBD at 329; the range for all known cannabinoids goes from 248 to 428 Fahrenheit. The other main source of medical compounds contained in cannabis, terpenes, boils over an even wider range.

Having the knowledge and technological wherewithal available allows you the opportunity to customize your cannabis component delivery at least as effectively as the decisions you make on a regular basis concerning the specific strains you consume from the cornucopia available to modern cannabis enthusiasts. You could vape a low-temp GG to get things moving, a medium Charlotte’s Web as you go, and a high temp Hindu Kush to wrap things up – we are living in blessed days.

Take a little time to wander by your local apparatus shop this week or at least jump online and do a little investigation about what options are available out there (it’s a lottttttttt). Enjoy; I will, too.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at chrstphrgallagher@gmail.com.