Vaporizers are devices that are used to administer cannabis oil by heating up liquid until it turns into a vapor and can be inhaled by the patient. Nebulizers are used to administer the oil in the form of a mist that can be inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are commonly used for the treatment of respiratory issues, and would most likely come to market in the form of an inhaler. At TerraVida Holistic Centers, our dispensaries will carry vape pens for patient use.
Inhalation is one of the fastest absorption methods
Terpenes are able to be utilized for effect and flavor
Easy and quick to use compared to vaporizing on a rig and nail
Dosage is controllable by the size of hit taken
What’s inside the cartridge?
The oil cannabis inside the vaporizer is the most important part, because that is what the patient will be consuming. There will be different options available on the market, and they will be distinguished by the following factors:
What type of oil is it? How was it extracted?
BHO, CO2, Distillate, Live Resin, Rosin, EHO, PHO
Some processors use cutting agents to keep the oil inside the cartridge in a liquid state to be vaporized. Are there cutting agents inside? If so, what?
Cannabis-Derived vs. “Natural” Terpenes
Cannabis-derived terpenes are ones that were extracted from the cannabis plants themselves. These may contain dozens of terpenes in small amounts, which all contribute to the overall smell/taste and effect.
“Natural” terpenes are ones that have been extracted from food, flowers and other naturally occurring species. Although these are still real terpenes, they are cheaper and often less therapeutic than the full composition of terpenes found in the cannabis plant.
MCT (Medium-chain triglycerides)
MCTs are a form of saturated fatty acid that are derived from coconut oil and palm kernel oil
MCTs are bland compared to other fats, so they don’t distract too much from the flavor of the cannabis oil
MCTs are high in fat, making them a common ingredient in tinctures. Cannabinoids bond well to fat, and fat is easily absorbed by the body.
Propylene Glycol (PG), Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
All three of these compounds are cutting agents that are found in e-juice, or vape juice that would be found in a vape shop.
These are the lowest quality cutting agents that are used in the market
PG and PEG cause stomach irritation for many people when vaporized. Products with these cutting agents should be avoided by any patient who has IBD, Crohn’s, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, and anyone else who may have stomach pain or appetite issues.
What is the inside of the cartridge made out of?
Some cartridges are made with metal and glass, while others are made mostly with plastic parts. The components of the vaporizer that heat up are the most important to look at.
There are two popular styles:
With a wick - This is an older style of cartridge hardware. Cartridges with wicks cost less for the processor than wickless cartridges. The cotton wicks can degrade over time. Although this is unlikely to happen because people don’t use cartridges for long periods of time, it is possible.
Without a wick - Cartridges without a wick will likely have a ceramic or quartz heating element, which are both safer materials than a cotton wick because they are less likely to degrade.
How to properly use vape pen cartridges
To prevent returns, it’s important to educate all of our patients about the delicacy of vape pens. They are easy to clog if they are not preheated before use or if they are not stored properly.
Most vape pen cartridges are build on a 510 threaded base. That base screws in to a corresponding 510 threaded battery.
Batteries that don’t have a button are activated by drawing on the mouthpiece of the cartridge.
Batteries that do have a button are activated by pressing the button.
When someone begins to draw on a vape pen cartridge, the oil may be cold and won’t vaporize easily. Depending on the style of cartridge, if the oil is being pulled on but not vaporized, the oil may pass through the channel in the cartridge that only the vapor is supposed to go through. This may cause clogging issues for the patient. There are several ways to avoid this:
If the battery has a pre-heat setting, that should be used before attempting to draw on the cartridge
If the battery does not have a pre-heat setting, the cartridge can be warmed up by holding it in one’s hands for a minute or two.
How to properly store vape pen cartridges
Always stored upright (mouthpiece facing up)
Never stored while attached to a battery
Never charge the battery with the cartridge attached
Never store in the car, or somewhere subject to temperature fluctuation
Cover the mouthpiece to prevent dust from entering
If the cartridge leaks onto the connection point on the battery, the connections can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip
Disposable vape pens
These products do not need to be charged
They typically do not have a button and are only draw-activated
They should be stored with the same precautions as vape pen cartridges