Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you would have noticed that the cannabis industry has evolved at lightning speed. Gone are the days of the water bottle bong. Enter the age of cannabis vaporizers. Pre-filled cannabis cartridges and self-loading atomizers are the newest trend in cannabis consumption, but are these atomizers as safe and health conscious as they claim to be?
Pre-filled Cannabis Cartridge
Pre-filled cannabis cartridges are all the rage right now. These cartridges are designed atop vaporizer batteries that are 510 threaded. This plug and puff feature eliminates the need to load these cartridges yourself often saving the consumer time. The vapor production is light and dissipates very quickly. Some pre-filled cartridges contain very detailed information about the cannabis inside (THC %, CBD %, Terpene %). Finally, there are a few cartridge companies that ensure the cannabis is tested by reputable testing facilities, ensuring no pesticides are present in the cannabis. Not all companies do this testing but that may change in the near future.
Despite all of the positive attributes, there are some glaring negatives that should be considered when using these cartridges.
The first and most egregious negative is the use of Propylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is a safe food additive that is used to preserve food, maintaining moisture and taste for long periods of time. In cannabis pre-filled cartridges, Propylene Glycol is used to dilute cannabis concentrates into a more viscus liquid. The only problem, when Propylene Glycol is exposed to high temperatures the chemical composition transforms into Formaldehyde and Acetaldehyde, chemicals known to cause cancer and other health related effects like Popcorn Lung.
Another potentially negative attribute of cannabis cartridges are the cartridges themselves. A majority of pre-filled cartridge manufactures source their materials from China. These atomizers can be made of plastic and utilize a silica wick and titanium coils. When heated to high temperatures, the plastic used in the construction of the atomizer can off-gas toxic chemicals. The wick can also produce some negative health effects and distort the taste of the concentrate. The coils used in these plastic atomizers can degrade overtime, producing a metallic taste, distorting the flavor even more. Most, if not all, of these cannabis cartridges use a plastic or metal mouthpiece to deliver the vaporized extract. These mouthpieces, although not harmful to your health, can alter the taste of your cannabis extract as well.
Self-Loading Cannabis Vaporizers
Self-loading cannabis vaporizers offer nearly all the positive attributes as their pre-filled cartridge counterparts. Most self-loading vaporizers use 510 threaded atomizers and are interchangeable. When using high-quality vaporizers, it is recommended that you use the batteries that come in these kits. With these self- loading vaporizers, you will need to load concentrates manually. This can be a positive or negative attribute depending upon how you look at it. On the one hand, having a variety of cannabis extracts to choose from prevents you from getting stuck with a full gram of a single strain. On the other hand, you will need to load these concentrates manually, which takes more time. The vapor production on self-loading vaporizers is second to none. I am the Sales Director for Linx Vapor and I feel that we have the best self-loading vaporizer in this category. We don’t use any plastics or paints in the construction of their vaporizers and deliver amazing flavor. The vapor production on self-loading vaporizers is much the same as with cartridge vaporizers in that light vapor is produced with no lingering smell and light visible vapor. The vapor dissipates instantly and discretion is maintained. When using self-loading vaporizers you will find that the options of which concentrate to use are virtually limitless. You can load these self-loading vaporizers with cheap concentrate when on a budget or opt for some more expensive, lab tested extracts. The use of self-loading vaporizers can remove the risk of Propylene Glycol inhalation. Since the wax concentrate can be loaded in its raw form, there is no need to dilute. The use of Propylene Glycol is a deal breaker for me, I take my health seriously.
With all the positive attributes to self-loading vaporizers, it’s important to note that even these vaporizers have a drawback.
The only drawback for self-loading vaporizers is the price point. Having a reusable atomizer, long lasting battery and temperature variability is the name of the game but this tech comes with a price. These self-loading vaporizers can be pricey so it’s important to do your research. In my opinion, the Linx Hypnos Zero is the best value for the price. While some competitive vaporizers come in around $130, the Linx Hypnos sells for $77. At this price point you get the best in quality and a coil-less ceramic plate atomizer at a price that won’t break the bank.
With these two methods of vaporizing cannabis extracts, it’s easy to see which method is superior. Although self-loading vaporizers may cost a bit more initially, the fact that you can avoid vaporizing Propylene Glycol and use which ever wax extract you prefer makes self-loading vaporizers the superior option.