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How technology & gadgets revolutionized the way we consume cannabis

As the market continues to develop, I’m sure we will see an ever-growing range of vapes to cater to every niche of users.

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Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

Over the past decade, technology has been making its mark on the weed industry. Ever since the early days of legalization and medical marijuana, technology has been making inroads into how we grow, extract, distribute, market, sell and consume cannabis in all its many forms. 

Traditional Cannabis Consumption 

Cannabis has a history going back thousands of years, both recreationally and medically. Traditional methods of cannabis consumption used to be through the combustion of the dry herb, be that as a joint, in a pipe, or a bong of some kind. 

Evidence of these smoking utensils dates back to ancient Asia, and there were even Scythian gold bongs discovered that dated back to around 400 BC. Cannabis concentrates existed in ancient times, with hashish the most common type, which is made by collecting the trichomes surrounding the buds of the cannabis plant together and mashing it into a sort of sticky goo. This was and still is popular in India and Afghanistan. 

Cannabis Concentrates

Technology has turned extraction into a high-tech industry, gone of the days of manually rolling cannabis between your fingers. Instead, today large and very expensive machinery is used in laboratory-like conditions to get the best-refined extracts possible. 

Recent extraction methods use solvents to pull out the cannabinoid compounds of the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD

These substances are extracted using a solvent such as carbon dioxide, propane, or butane. These solvents dissolve the solid into a liquid solution and, in doing so, separate the compounds in the cannabis from the plant material. These are then further processed to remove the solvent and leftover plant materials leaving a concentrated extract. These extracts have names often reflecting their physical properties such as wax, crumble, budder, shatter, terp sauce, and many more. 

Concentrates are much more potent than cannabis. With the growth in the legalization of recreational cannabis, this market which grew 40% last year, is delivering an easy way to medicate and enjoy the benefits, be they medical or recreational. 

These cannabis extracts can be vaped, applied as a tincture, or easily added to food and beverages. By far, the most common method of consumption is to vape them. 

New Ways To Vape

Vaping may not be particularly new; the word has been around since the 1980s. However, outside of e-cigs and a few novel items, the vaping of cannabis concentrates could be fairly intimidating. It would typically involve using a torch to heat a titanium or quartz nail, apply a dab of concentrate to it, and inhale the released vapor through a water pipe.

If it sounds a little intimidating, that’s because it can be. The cumbersome rigs and butane heating torches used in traditional dabbing are offputting for many. However, with a new range of concentrates and a growing clientele looking for easy ways to medicate, the vaping industry has delivered a corpiconia of vapes to meet the needs of consumers. 

Modern-day Vaping

There seems to be no end to vaping companies making cannabis paraphernalia to cater to the growing demand for easy-to-use vapes. These different vapes can be categorized into a few different categories: vape pens, dab pens, enails, and e-rigs.  

Vape Pens

A vape pen is perhaps the simplest sort of vaping device. The cheaper versions are often just a battery, similar to that of an e-cig mod. 

Most are designed for use with disposable 510 vape cartridges, while more elaborate versions will include a reusable tank, often using the same 510 thread fitting. This allows the user to add their own concentrates. 

Many vape pens will have preset temperatures that can be cycled between or like with the e-cig mods. More advanced ones will allow the temperatures to be set directly. They are very portable and relatively cheap, with models starting from under $20. 

No wonder then that they are one of the most common and ways people get introduced to the vaping concentrate experience.

Dab Pens

Sometimes called electronic nectar collectors, dab pens, like vape pens, are relatively small in size, based on a rechargeable battery unit. 

They are usually held and used in one hand like a pen would be. 

The tip heats up and, when brought into contact with the cannabis wax, directly will start to vaporize it. As the extract is vaporized, it is inhaled through the other end of the device. Some of these, like the Seahorse Pro dab pen, can be used with 510 CBD carts as well, while larger units may also include a water chamber for extra filtration. 

E-Rigs

E-rigs, short for electronic dab rigs, are a smaller version of the traditional dab rig. They typically have a battery part that heats a bucket or coil, and a glass percolator with water can be added for smoother hits. 

Puffco was perhaps one of the first to make a name in the e-cig market, but since then, there have been dozens of e-rigs released. 

One of the latest such e-rigs is the Unicorn from Lookah. This takes a slightly new approach to the e-rig design. It includes the heating chamber within the body of the vape device and directly in line with the glass,, makingit more compact and portable and offers a cleaner airflow.  

E-rigs are perfect for those who would be put off by the traditional method of dabbing. Imagine, for example, someone with arthritis; they could find using a torch cumbersome or dangerous; this would be a simple solution to that problem. By removing the torch but retaining the water filtration attract a whole new wave of interest in dabbing.

E-Nails 

Electronic nails or enails are not designed to be used by themselves. Rather they make it easier and more convenient to use dab rigs. They replace the nail or banger part of a dab rig by connecting to the down stem. Some will be powered by a battery, while others may need plugging into an outlet. In addition, they will often have finer control over the temperature than the cheaper vapes such as vape and dab pens. This control allows the perfect temperature to release the full flavor of the terpenes or to create massive rips of vapor clouds.  

Conclusion

If you’ve not tried vaping concentrates, we hope this guide gives you some insights and maybe makes you want to dip a toe into this growing industry. 

As the market continues to develop, I’m sure we will see an ever-growing range of vapes to cater to every niche of users. There’s likely something already out there that’s perfect for you; if not, I’m sure there will be soon. 

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