Asking for a friend...
August 25, 2014 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Will a vaporizer make it easier to inhale vs. other inhalation methods?

My friend is totally sold on the health benefits and aware that there may be a difference in the effects. He has tried other smoking methods and found them to be...difficult. He thinks he has overly sensitive lungs or maybe it's just taking longer to get used to that he would like (he has never smoked cigarettes or anything else).

Pipes are just terrible and met with massive coughing fits. Joints are better but only for the first few pulls. A bong worked okay but is kind of lot of equipment and is a little too conspicuous, still involves lots of coughing, and according to one study, the least healthy.

He has turned to edibles for health reasons but would still like an option that will take effect quickly, be a little more controllable in terms of dose, and not need a ton of prep work up front (IE: baking some brownies or making a tincture).

In theory, the vapor from a vaporizer (likely an Arizer Extreme Q used in the whip style configuration) will solve all of these problems by using a much lower temperature and not having any actual smoke and the other combustion products that come with all of that. But it seems that no one who uses and talks about vaporizers ever had problems with other inhalation methods like my friend does.

So, is there anyone out there who has switched from joints/bongs/pipes to a vaporizer and noticed that it was much easier to use?
posted by VTX to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Fuck Combustion forums might be a good place to ask this question as well, just to cover all your bases.
posted by sockermom at 8:23 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes - pipes and joints really used to hurt me (not my lungs but my throat would get super raw) so I used to only use bongs. The bigger the bong, the easier on the lungs.

Vaporizers are expensive, but if your friend has a habit, then it's definitely worth it and pays for itself. For one, it's almost impossible to detect (either as the person inhaling, or for anyone else in the room with you - you could use it at a restaurant, except of course it would look weird). Second, you use a lot less product. Third, because it's actually difficult to get all of the thc out of it, you can keep all of your used product in a bag and when you have enough, make edibles with it!

The one you put a link to seems complicated, with bags and all that! I had a friend who had this one and I was really impressed.
posted by microcarpetus at 8:39 AM on August 25, 2014

Best answer: I occasionally dabble, and I cannot handle smoking - even bongs are overly harsh. I have used a vaporizer and they are exactly what your friend wants.
posted by O9scar at 9:29 AM on August 25, 2014

Vaporizers can be harsh, too, due to the dryness and heat. For someone with really sensitive lungs, look at the Aromed. Good vaporizers are expensive, but you do generally get what you pay for in terms of components and build quality. You don't really want to be sucking in air that's been blowing over a metallic heating element that was never designed to be safe for that purpose.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:28 AM on August 25, 2014

Best answer: Dabs and Vaping are going to be the easiest on your throat/lungs for the reasons mentioned in your question. I can barely stand hitting off a pipe. Bongs are a little easier. In my experience (daily smoker), vaping is the way to go - although you can get equally as rough hits if your temp is too high. Dabs are very gentle to take but I am not a fan of the intensity of the hit- YMMV there.

Also, check out cheaper vapes--you don't need to drop several hundred dollars. My partner and I have been using a little Chinese knockoff of the Volcano called the Arizer that we got new on ebay for $100 (2014 models are around $150). Even came with bag attachments. It's been 4 years so far and it still works wonderfully.
posted by stubbehtail at 10:29 AM on August 25, 2014

My friend hardly ever smokes herb anymore, opting for wax and a vaporizer pen. He finds this to be much more cost-effective than either smoking or vaporizing the dried flowers.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:24 AM on August 25, 2014

There are also a couple disposable or near-disposable vape pens available, if you want to test drive. I haven't tried any of the ones on the market, so I can't recommend any personally.

P.S. My username is the pot-talking scapegoat from this book, but this is the first time I've had any answer at all to a question about pot. I am a big phoney, but please don't tell anyone.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:04 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As someone with the occasional respiratory reactivity issues who just moved to Colorado: it makes a big difference, yes. The strain of pot can also make a difference to taste/harshness to a degree - try things labeled "grape" and not "sour," for instance - but switching from smoking to vaping will be the biggest impact for the lung-sensitive. I've felt the least harsh hit from a Magic Flight Launch Box, which allows you to vape dried herb pretty efficiently and is only $120 or so. The MFLB also has a variety of different techniques you can adapt for inhaling, one of which involves "sipping" off the device instead of a long draw, which can also help ease your lungs into it. Vape pens with oil extract cartridges are cheaper, but for whatever reason (extraction method? something to do with the oil? temperature? shorter distance from the pot to my mouth?) they seem to be a little rougher on my easily offended bronchial tubes.

I'm still not much of a pot user, but that's what I've learned in the past 6 months while living somewhere with legal recreational marijuana.
posted by deludingmyself at 4:48 PM on August 25, 2014

Best answer: In terms of harshness, smoking and vaporizing aren't in the same ballpark. They aren't even on the same continent. My friend uses an older model of this Vapir device. The temperature is adjustable, but his preferred setting is 365–375°F. This produces a vapor that is colorless and almost undetectable—if it weren't for the subtle floral flavor and aroma, he would wonder whether the vaporizer was even working. (Until the intoxication kicks in, of course!) It's like breathing air.

The effects of vaporizing are rather different than those of smoking. Less powerful, less prone to edginess and paranoia. Smoking is sometimes energizing, sometimes stoney—vaping is kind of a third path, relatively clear-headed. My friend enjoys both methods of ingestion, but they are different.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:17 PM on August 31, 2014

Response by poster: Update for posterity's sake.

My..uh...friend ordered an Arizer Extreme Q from after confirming with the manufacturer that they are an authorized distributor (which makes it easier to deal with a warranty claim should I need one). That site had an automated tool for doing price matches so it ended up being about $160 shipped. He wanted to use the whip but likes having the option of using the bags and there is a trick where, when using the whip, he can set the fan on the lowest setting so help inhale more evenly. The thing is nearly idiot proof, it's so easy to use.

Vaporizing was EXACTLY the right thing. You guys were right on the money about the harshness. The taste isn't exactly good but it's MUCH less bad (and I suspect that some strains might actually taste good through this thing) and it is otherwise just some funny tasting dry air. It's certainly less hassle than rolling a joint and might even be easier to deal with than a bong and my friend LOVES the fact that, after the initial session, he can heat the thing back up for a couple of extra puffs later on instead of having roll and smoke a whole joint (with motor skills at less than 100%) or trying to figure out how much more brownie to eat (with the associate wait time and the risk of going "full Dowd").

He didn't really notice a difference in the effects other than a lack of couch-lock. Oh, and there is almost no smell.

In short, my friend kind of thinks that most other methods of consuming cannabis are just silly. It's a "why in the name of Zeus's butthole didn't I do this sooner" kind of difference. He was pretty sure that a vaporizer would be better but he didn't realize how much better it would be and the answers in this thread helped push him over the edge and take the plunge.
posted by VTX at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

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