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Vaping 101: What Is a Vape Pen & How Does It Work?

vape pen

Vaping is one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis and for good reason: it’s convenient and discreet, and your product can last longer. If you’re ready to give vaping a try and want to know where to start, this is the perfect guide for you. In it, we’ll discuss:

  • What is a Marijuana Vape Pen?
  • What Can I Use a Vape Pen For?
  • What Are the Parts of a Vape Pen?
  • How Do Vape Pens Work? 
  • Why Choose a Vape Pen?
  • Vaping 101 FAQs
     

What is a Vape Pen?

A vape pen can be used for a variety of cannabis products—not just cannabis oil. Depending on the type of vape you own - whether it’s a disposable vape pen, reusable vape pen, or a larger vaporizer - you can enjoy different forms of marijuana. Vape pens can be used with:

  • Cartridges: A vape cartridge is a small tank that contains cannabis oil or THC distillate. Depending on how often you consume marijuana, a vape cartridge can last several months. If you prefer to purchase a disposable vape pen, it will contain a vape cartridge inside that is disposed of with the pen when it’s empty.
     
  • Concentrates: If you prefer to smoke concentrates, you’re going to want to purchase a dab pen. Dab pens or dab rigs are the only vaporizers made to melt concentrates like shatter, budder, or resin. 
     
  • Flower: If you like to purchase your own flower, you’ll want to get a dry flower vaporizer. This type of vape pen or vape rig is made specifically to heat the flower into a vapor.

 

What Are the Parts of a Vape Pen?

You might be wondering just how exactly THC vape pens work, and to understand that, you have to know the parts of a vape pen. For most vape pens, there are five important parts:

  • Battery: The battery in a vape pen is typically a rechargeable lithium ion (though if you’re using a disposable vape pen, it may not be rechargeable) battery. If purchasing a rechargeable vape pen, you will usually get a USB charging cord with it to ensure your battery always has power. 

  • Atomizer: The atomizer is the heating element inside the pen. The atomizer is responsible for heating your cannabis and turning it into a vapor. 

  • Power button: Most batteries have a power button. Sometimes, you hold it while you inhale to consume vapor. Other times, you press the button, and the atomizer is automatically activated when you inhale. If you use a disposable vape pen, it’s possible you won’t have a power button and will just need to inhale when you’re ready to enjoy your cannabis. 

  • Cartridge or tank: The cartridge (you may hear it referred to as a vape cartridge or cart) is a little tank of cannabis oil or THC distillate. Some are refillable and others are made to be thrown away when they’re empty. Most tanks can easily be screwed onto the battery when you’re ready to start your session. 

  • Mouthpiece: Some vape pens have detachable mouthpieces and others don’t, but the mouthpiece is simply where you inhale vapor from the pen. 
     

How Do Vape Pens Work? 

The vape pen works by screwing the battery onto the cartridge. When the vape pen is activated—usually by pressing or holding a power button—the atomizer heats the cannabis oil in the tank and you inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. 
 

Why Choose a Marijuana Vape Pen vs Traditional Pipe?

Vaping is unique to cannabis consumption in a variety of ways. Whether it’s the ease of use, portability, or simplified cleanup, there are any number of reasons why cannabis consumers choose a vape pen over other consumption methods.

  • Vaping May Feel Easier to Inhale. Because vaping heats the oil to just below its smoke point, you’re able to experience the cannabinoids and terpenes without the feeling of hot smoke.

  • Vaping Can Taste Better. Because you’re inhaling vapor, it can present a cleaner taste than when cannabis flower is heated and inhaled. In addition, many vapes come in specific flavors and profiles, which can be easier to taste in vaporized form. 

  • You Use Less Flower When Vaping. If you’re using a whole flower vaporizer, the process doesn’t actually burn the flower. In this way, you’re typically able to get more out of your cannabis flower than you might when using a hand pipe or water pipe

  • Vaping Doesn’t Produce a Strong Odor. Most of us have been around people who have just finished smoking flower, and there’s always one reason you can tell—the smell. For cannabis enthusiasts who prefer not to smell like cannabis, vaping is a great option.

As with all cannabis products and tools, knowing what to buy depends on the experience you’re looking for. If you just want to get used to vaping, a draw-activated vape pen is going to be right for you. If you have some marijuana knowledge, a push-button pen can be a great way for you to create the right vaping experience.
 

Answering Vape Pen FAQs

Because of their popularity, we get a lot of questions about vape pens. Here are some of our most common questions and their answers: 

How Much Does a Vape Pen Cost?
The cost of a vape pen depends on the type of pen you’re purchasing. For example, if you’re purchasing just the vape pen battery, it can be as low as $20, but that won’t include the vape cartridge and cannabis product inside. If you’re purchasing a pen with cannabis oil inside, you can find vape pens that start just under $50 and go up from there depending on the strain, its rarity, and the type of pen. 


What’s a Disposable Vape Pen?
A disposable vape pen comes with the oil already inside of it. Once you finish the pen, you throw it away and purchase a new one. 
 

What types of concentrate goes in cannabis vape pens?
If you’re looking to smoke concentrates, check out our guide to dab pens. These vape-like tools are more suited to concentrates.


How Do I Choose a Vape Pen? 
The best thing to do before choosing a vape pen is decide whether you want the pen to work with multiple strains or if you want to be able to throw the pen away after you’re finished consuming the cannabis inside. From there, ask a budtender at your local dispensary, learn more about their selection of vape pens and vaporizers, and purchase the tool you want to try.
 

Learn More about Marijuana Vape Pens

Our cannabis experts are there to help you find the right products for you, so be sure to use their expertise to your advantage. They can walk you through choosing the right vape pen and cannabis for you. You can also check out other ways to consume cannabis, ask questions, and learn more about the industry. 
 


Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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