Learn Not to Burn!

by Stephen

Similar to most, I will assume, my first introduction to cannabis was by way of a passed joint . And for years, that was my main intake method. Sure, I ripped bongs and occasionally ate some, but the large majority of my experience was with a spliff in hand.

Not anymore.

Over the last few years I’ve been vaping and only very occasionally rolling a (hash) joint. Why? For various reasons, so let’s dive in.

There’s something very zen about taking the time to build a joint – choosing the bud, grinding it up, prepping your gear then creating it. But what’s really going on while the cherry burns?

Your basic joint has three ingredients: ground cannabis, rolling paper(s) and a filter. That’s three separate items to set afire and inhale. And while some do forego the filter, leaving just two burnables, wouldn’t it still be better to just use cannabis?

So, with your joint rolled, what’s next?

Well, while the cannabis and paper burn, separately and together they release carcinogens, some of which you will inhale. Although cannabis carcinogens aren’t nearly as plentiful or bad as nicotine ones, why inhale any of them if you don’t have to?

Secondly, the entire reason you enjoy cannabis is because of the properties and cannabinoids found within and on the plant itself.

The most popular one is THC, and in some of the reading I’ve done, smoking doesn’t give you the most bang for your buck in terms of THC efficiency – so you are effectively wasting some of what you purchased the cannabis for! Silly, no?

Lastly, once the burn is complete, there’s nothing left but the filter, if that – so, there’s no secondary usage – it’s a one shot deal. But, if you vape cannabis, well, let’s just see what happens.

A dry herb vaporizer is a rechargeable, battery-operated or plug in device, either hand-held or stationary, into which you would place ground cannabis for heating purposes (unlike a vape pen which releases heated concentrate from a pre-filled cartridge). So, there is no burning, but rather it bakes your cannabis. The major difference is that burning destroys while baking releases – two very different results, but with similar effects.

Most vaporizers have a small oven, usually ceramic or stainless steel, into which you place ground cannabis. So, there’s no paper or filter to deal with, just cannabis – and that should already sound better to you.

Now, what the oven does is heat up the trichomes (those lovely little crystals on the leaf’s surface) just enough so that they pop or explode, releasing as much of their THC (and other compounds) as possible – which you then inhale. Think of vapour as similar to the wisps of steam coming from a boiling kettle, they rise and disappear into the air. Magic!

Joints and bongs burn cannabis, creating smoke, which not only emits a discernable odour which permeates clothing and other materials, but which also lingers in the air (because smoke is heavier than air).

Vaped cannabis does not smell when heated (faintly, but only for a few seconds), vaporizing does not create as many harmful carcinogens, there’s no lingering smoke, AND, once it has changed from whatever lovely shade of green it is, to a light brown, you can then reuse it, a second time. Pretty cool!

Since it’s been pre-heated (decarboxylated) by all your vaping, it’s now active, so you could literally eat it, or better yet, garnish some food with it, (like you would with parsley) to add just a little kick!

By the way, vaping also reduces the amount of cannabis you buy because it lasts longer, so you’d be saving money too. Hello!

So, while I don’t foresee the joint or bong fading into oblivion any time soon, why not at least investigate vaping. Just like the first time you ever smoked a joint, you won’t know what it’s like until you try.