Four Types of Vapes: Live Resin vs. Distillate vs. CO2 vs. Disposable
Enjoying cannabis comes with a lot of decisions. You might first ask yourself, “how am I going to consume this stuff?” You can smoke joints, dab, bake pot brownies – all of the different methods of consumption will provide a different experience. In this post, we’re going to focus on vaping. Once you decide that you’re going to start vaping, you have even more decisions to make.
Why Vape Weed?
If you’re new to the world of vaping, you might be wondering why you should vape in the first place. Most concentrates can be vaped, but they can also be smoked, dabbed, or eaten as edibles. Why would you put your concentrate in a vape cartridge?
When you vape, you inhale vapor, not smoke. As much as we love smoking weed, we all know that it’s not good for the lungs. Vaping is a more healthy alternative.
A lot of vapes don’t even have a stinky smell. You can easily hide your vape or whip it out as you’re walking down the street without spreading any serious odours.
You Have a Lot of Choices.
As you’ll see throughout the post, you have the option of vaping a lot of different concentrates. Refillable cartridges allow you to swap out different concentrates and really experiment with your cannabis consumption.
Convinced? We thought so. Now let’s talk about what you can put in your vape and the different types of vape pens on the market.
Four Types of Vape Cartridges
There are two types of ways to buy cartridges: you can buy them pre-filled or you can buy an empty one and fill it with the concentrate (or even the bud) of your choice. Not all cartridges are compatible with flower, so be sure to ask your budtender about what type of cartridge you’re buying.
Cartridges that are pre-filled with concentrates often come with more labels and information than beginners can wrap their heads around. More and more, manufacturers are providing users information about how the concentrate was made and what type of extraction process was involved. While some people disregard this information, it can actually be useful when you are looking for a specific high.
Get to know the four main types of vapes so you can make a more informed decision when you are shopping: live resin, distillate, CO2, and disposable. All of these vapes have advantages or disadvantages and may provide a different experience while vaping.
Let’s start with live resin vapes.
About Live Resin Vapes
What makes each strain different and unique? Terpenes. Terpenes are chemical compounds that give cannabis their scent and effects. Depending on a plant’s terpene profile, it may smell like citrus or pine, offering a more relaxing or invigorating high. (We have a whole post on them, if you’re interested.)
Preserving terpenes preserves the uniqueness of the plant, but this is not easy to do. When you cut the cannabis plant, you eliminate a hefty chunk of terpenes. Decarboxylation eliminates terpenes even further.
Luckily, cannabis experts have found a way to preserve a lot of a strain’s terpene profile – and the end result is live resin.
What Is Live Resin?
To preserve the terpenes, the cannabis is frozen to super low temperatures immediately after it’s cut. The plant is kept frozen during the extraction process, giving consumers higher levels of concentrated cannabinoids. Live resin looks like a wax, but the freezing process makes it a completely unique and powerful concentrate.
Live Resin Vape Cartridges
If you want to vape live resin, you have a few options. You can buy live resin on its own and pop it into an empty cartridge. You can also buy individual cartridges that contain different types of live resin.
Why do people choose to vape live resin? The terpenes that are preserved in the live resin provide a more intense flavour to your vapor. You can taste the difference. Many cartridge manufacturers add synthetic terpenes to their cartridges to enhance flavour and effect, but when you have a product with such a high level of terpenes already, you don’t need the synthetic stuff. Users get a more natural-tasting vapor that will still provide a nice, steady high.
Live resin cartridges are also a convenient choice. When you buy live resin on its own, you have a few options. You can dab live resin, you can smoke live resin, or you can pop it in a vape cartridge. Some cannabis connoisseurs also use live resin to make edibles – the possibilities are endless.
Because the process of making live resin is more delicate and requires more technology than other extraction processes, it can be a bit on the pricier side. Many live resin fans argue, however, that preserving the terpenes and the flavour of the plant is worth the extra bucks.
About Distillate Vapes
There are many forms of cannabis concentrates. Some offer more flavour, like live resin. Others just offer a high that hits you like a bus. That’s what distillate concentrates are known for. While live resin has been around for a long time, distillates are a relatively new form of concentrates.
Distillates, or “the clear,” are a super potent concentrate. Distillation isolates single cannabinoids and chemical compounds through various methods of heating and cooling organic material. In this case, THC is extracted and isolated. When you see distillate products advertised as containing 70-90% THC, you can believe it. (We offer a distillate that boasts 88.48% THC. That’s a lot of THC.)
Distillate Vape Cartridges
Like live resin, distillates are extremely versatile. You can dab them, put them in edibles, or squeeze them into an empty vape cartridge. Individual distillate vape cartridges are also available for purchase.
The main advantage of distillate vapor is that you can hit the pen way less and still get a soaring high. THC content is so high because manufacturers focus solely on extracting THC from the plant.
THC is not the only chemical compound present in cannabis, but a lot of these other elements don’t make it to the distillate. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how much you enjoy the aromas and flavours of your favourite strain. The taste can be bland, but without a strong aroma you can enjoy your vape discreetly. Many medical marijuana patients prefer distillate cartridges for on-the-go medication.
One thing to note, however: the distillation process cannot remove pesticides from organic plant material. This is not a big deal if you are buying products from a manufacturer or grower that you trust. But if you want an organic concentrate, you’ll need to get it from an organic plant.
About CO2 Vapes
CO2 extraction is another process that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Many believe it is the “best of both worlds” that combines the power to preserve terpenes (like live resin extraction) with the ability to powerfully isolate those compounds for a more intense high (like distillates.)
We all know what CO2 is; we release it every time we breathe. Most of us think of CO2 in a gaseous form, but it can be transformed into a liquid using very, very low temperatures. While CO2 is still a liquid, it contains gaseous properties. This is the substance that is used to extract chemical compounds from cannabis.
Extractors pass CO2 through the cannabis and brings out the “good stuff.” That good stuff is what you want to smoke: terpenes, trichomes, THC, etc. Once the CO2 passes through the extractor with the plant material, the two substances are separated in a different machine. The CO2 is removed from the concentrated material. That CO2 can be recycled and used to extract more concentrates from cannabis!
Some manufacturers also use dry ice, the solid version of CO2, during the extraction process.
Why Choose CO2 Vape Cartridges
CO2 is a natural chemical compound that can be recycled over and over through many different types of cannabis. These two facts alone are a big reason why CO2 concentrates have gained popularity over recent decades. CO2 is clean and the concentrates it produces are clean as well.
CO2 is also a very accessible chemical compound. In fact, you can make your own CO2 concentrates at home. You’ll need a fancy home extractor to do it, and this costs quite a bit of cash, but if you’re really into concentrates, it might be worth it.
Manufacturers are able to really experiment with CO2. It’s easier to extract specific chemical compounds without destroying others. Users can still get the great taste of their favourite strain due to the preservation and collection of terpenes. Concentrates may come in forms that resemble oil, shatter, bud – the versatility of this extraction process can’t be beat.
If you’re interested in trying concentrates that have been extracted using CO2, you might have to do more searching. There are a handful of manufacturers that specialize in this type of concentrate, but it’s still gaining popularity throughout Canada. Like live resin and distillate concentrates, you can buy the concentrate on its own, but it’s more likely to be found in pre-filled vape cartridges.
About Disposable Vapes
This takes us to the last type of vape pen. The other three types of concentrates can be found in individual cartridges or in a form that can be used to smoke, dab, or make edibles. Users can purchase empty or refillable cartridges that allow them to vape again and again, switching out the contents of the cartridge when they want to try something new.
But vaping is an investment for many cannabis fans. First, you have to buy the vape pen. This comes with a whole kit, including the vape’s battery. Then, you have to buy pre-filled cartridges or a refillable cartridge and the concentrate that goes inside. If you’re still new to vaping, this can seem like too much of an investment. What if you don’t like vaping? Or what if your employer or roommates don’t appreciate your vaping, leaving you with little time to get high?
This is what makes disposable vapes so great. You don’t have to invest in all of the machinery to get a great high from a vape pen. Disposable vapes are a great first “taste” of vaping.
How to Choose a Disposable Vape Pen
What makes a disposable vape pen great is a bit different than the benefits that we’ve been talking about as related to live resin, distillate, or CO2 cartridges. We’re not talking about THC levels or the preservation of terpenes. Disposable vape pens are a great, practical choice for trying out vapes.
All you have to do is open up the package and you’re ready to vape. Most disposable pens don’t even have buttons – you literally just have to open up the package, pick up your vape, and inhale. You’ll get between 100-200 hits of your vape pen before the battery runs out and you’re ready to toss it.
If you’re still not sure whether you want to start vaping live resin, distillate, or CO2, get a disposable pen that contains these concentrates. You can compare without investing and make a more informed decision when you are ready to buy a larger amount of concentrate. Disposable pens also come in different strains.
Here’s the downside. We know that plastic straws are evil and that no-waste lifestyles are becoming more and more popular. Disposable vape pens are just that – disposable. Once the battery runs out, you can’t recharge it and keep it. You just have to throw it out, and that turns a lot of people off. If you can’t commit and continue to buy a disposable vape pen every week or every month, you might also be spending more money in the long run than if you just bought a pen that has a rechargeable battery.
There are lots of choices available to vapers young and old. Enjoy experimenting with different types of concentrates and different ways to consume cannabis. As always, we recommend that you take it easy. You won’t need more than a few hits of a vape pen to feel the effects of your concentrate. Start with small doses and give yourself some time to let the cannabis work its magic.