Vaping 101: A Guide to Concentrates


These days, you don’t have to be stuck smoking the miniscule amounts of backyard reggie you pilfer from your older brother; since states began legalizing medicinal and recreational cannabis, the industry has exploded with opportunity, giving you more options to get high than you could ever imagine.

Perhaps the best way to partake in the good kush is vaping — but vaping is daunting for many entrenched joint rollers and bong rippers. The truth is that once you understand the fundamentals of using weed concentrates in vape form, you will never look back. Here’s a simple guide to vaping for doobie newbies, which you can use to sample weed concentrates on your own.

What Are Concentrates?

Concentrates are exactly what they seem: concentrations of active ingredients found in marijuana. For the most part, people utilize THC concentrates, CBD concentrates or a hybrid mixture. THC and CBD are cannabinoids that cause different physical and psychological reactions, but generally, they are what produce weed’s iconic high. You can find concentrates in a number of forms, but the most common include:

  • Oils. CBD or THC oil is perhaps the best option for concentrate newbies, who can claim complete control over the dosage and administration of the drug. Oils are often vaped, but you can also take them sublingually, in capsule form or mixed into foods.
  • Wax. The cheapest and weakest of concentrates, wax is another excellent option for beginner concentrate vapers. However, you do need the right tools to handle wax comfortably.
  • Budder. Another low-potency option, budder is a bit more flavorful, which could be advantageous if you are accustomed to smoking or ingesting cannabis.
  • Shatter. Aside from oils, shatter is the strongest concentrate on the market, and it is also the easiest to manipulate. There is a variety of shatter called crumble, which is a bit less expensive and less potent.

It is likely that you have heard of concentrates before, even if you don’t recognize the term. The more common word for concentrates within the longstanding weed community is “dabs,” which have been around in some form since the 1970s. Historically, dabs were low-tech, DIY ways to enjoy incredibly intense highs; you could cook your own rudimentary dabs at home with tools like a hair straightener and parchment paper. Some budding chemists also produced more refined concentrates, like shatter and hash oil, but doing so can be exceedingly dangerous and is generally inadvisable.

Dabs soared in popularity during the early weed culture of the 1970s, but as other drugs emerged in the ‘80s and ‘90s, dabs fell out of favor. Now that marijuana is back in a big way, people are just beginning to rediscover concentrates, leading to a plethora of options from a bevy of sellers online and in brick-and-mortar stores. As more people learn about using concentrates, more people are loving it — and here’s why.


What Are the Benefits?

Because all the power of THC and CBD are distilled into a smaller package, the biggest and best benefit of concentrates is that you get a stronger, purer hit from your vape than you would by smoking bud from a joint, a pipe or a bong. Concentrates have none of the fluff that clogs your lungs or interrupts your high; you can take a single toke and start to feel the effects in seconds. Meanwhile, concentrates tend to reduce the taste and smell typically associated with weed consumption. By opting for concentrates, you can avoid the intense marijuana taste and keep your high discrete.

On the other hand, because concentrates promise a higher dose of THC and CBD, you need to be careful with how you consume. There is a long-held belief that you cannot overdose on marijuana, but these new, high-impact concentrates are proving that assumption false; one vaper was found dead after vaping so much concentrated THC oil that her respiratory system relaxed and failed. While we certainly encourage experimentation with concentrates, we advise everyone — even the most seasoned stoner — to take it slow and start small. Only after understanding the full effects of a low dose of oil or shatter should one partake in more.

You might be fine smoking bad bud, but considering how expansive weed culture has become in the past few years, you owe it to yourself to try something new. Vaping concentrates is rewarding for several reasons, and the sooner you try it, the sooner you’ll find the right reason for you.


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