The Rise of the Oil Pen. Why everyone will have one by 2020
As the marijuana market (both medical and recreational) continues it’s exponential across the United States and beyond, users are exploring different delivery methods for enjoying their favorite herbs.
The onus is to maximize the potency of the THC for recreational users, and CBD for medicinal users with minimal wastage. At the same time, many users still prefer discreet devices that allow them to enjoy their cannabis without drawing the attention of any pesky bystanders.
The Oil Pen ticks all these boxes and many more, which explains the wide popularity that these tiny, portable devices enjoy. If you have been wondering whether the hype about the oil vape pen is real, then here’s the lowdown on this sleek smoking apparatus that is touted to be the future of cannabis delivery.
What is an oil pen?
The oil pen or Vape pen is a marijuana delivery system that is styled in a similar fashion to an actual pen, hence its name. It contains a heating mechanism that increases the temperature of cannabis concentrates to a level at which it emits “vapor” but not smoke. In this way, the cannabis doesn’t actually “burn”, but rather gives off vapor containing all the same active compounds we all know and love (namely THC, CBD and Terpenes). Some types of oil pens may also work with cannabis flowers like dry herb vape pens. But most of them are used with oil and hence the name.
While manufacturers may try to woo customers with fancy claims, the oil pen is a very simple device.
Most varieties have just four to five components.
The Tank or the pre-filled cartridge: The tank or the cartomizer or the reservoir holds the cannabis concentrate or dry herb and transfers it to the heating element. In some models, it can be refilled. Others only accept pre-filled cartridges that must be disposed of once empty.
The heating element: The Heating element heats the oil converting it into vapor that does not have a strong odor like combusted cannabis flowers do. Depending on the oil pen model, there can either be a wick that deposits the oil on the element or there can be polyfill that gets soaked in the oil and transfers it to the heating element.
Sensor: In some oil pens, an inbuilt sensor detects when the user inhales and activates the heating element. This eliminates the need to press a button to engage the heating function. Pens with sensor are more convenient. Although a lot of users call it a vanity feature more than anything else. How difficult would it be to press a tiny button every time you wish to take a hit?
Battery: Most oil pens come with rechargeable Li-ion batteries. Although some older models still use disposable batteries. If you are a frequent user, pick one with rechargeable batteries as oil pens can guzzle a fair amount of battery in very little time.
Charger: Modern oil pens can be plugged into your laptop or any USB compatible charging port for a quick recharge. However, there are some single-use models that are meant to be disposed of after use.
The advantages of Oil Pens
What is it about oil pens that make them so popular among both recreational and medical users?
Let’s find out.
Portability & Discretion: Oil pens are tiny and sleek. You can easily tuck it into your pocket or a tote and carry it along on holidays. Some models are designed to mimic e-cigs and there’s no way to distinguish between the two. This allows you to enjoy your toke in privacy.
Minimal odor: Oil pens do not utilize combustion and thus do not emit smoke or a strong marijuana odor that can cling on to your body and your clothes.
Enhanced potency: Studies reveal that oil pens deliver a greater yield of THC and CBD as compared to joints or other delivery methods that use combustion. It is estimated that a vaporizing delivery system like an oil pen can deliver as much as 46% THC as compared to the 25% yield produced by an equal amount of cannabis.
More efficient: Due to the enhanced potency, you only need a wee bit of concentrate to get an intense toke. This makes it more cost efficient for medical users who need to use marijuana every day.
Fewer sides: Because of the lack of combustion, there is no tar or other carcinogens that might otherwise be released when you smoke marijuana from a joint.
The right type of oil to use with your pen
The type of oil that you’d want to use depends on your personal preferences and compatibility with the brand of oil pen that you have.
A well-stocked head store should be able to offer you a wide range of cannabis oils cartridges that can be used with your vape pen. Blends of Sativa and Indica are quite popular. Single strain oils are more expensive but once you take an inkling towards it, chances are you’d never go back to using blends again.
You’d also want to explore refillable cartridges as these allow you to try out different flavors and types every time. Make sure it's legal where you are first.
Cannabis oil can either be extracted using CO2 or using solvents like Butane. Some brands add flavors to make it more appealing to first-time users. Others add chemicals like propylene glycol which helps reduce the viscosity of the oil.
Read the product label or speak to the budtender (if at a dispensary) to know what oil you are buying.
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