This article originally appeared on The Green Fund — Australia’s leading source of cannabis information.
In recent years Vape Cartridge sales have continued to soar in popularity throughout the world, while cigarette sales have plummeted. According to Nielsen data, cigarette sales fell 8.8 per cent in the last year. Meanwhile, the sales for Juul, the most popular e-cigarette in America, tripled to $3.4 billion.
At this point it seems clear that smoking is out, and vaping is in.
And it’s not just the nicotine people are afraid of. In fact, it seems the opposite is true. The number of adolescents using e-cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014 — according to a survey by the CDC — causing fears that people who otherwise wouldn’t smoke are now finding their way to e-cigarettes.
One of the central appeals to vaporizers and e-cigarettes is that they don’t heat the plant matter to the point of combustion, thus avoiding the harmful effects of smoking. For this same reason, much of the cannabis industry is putting down the bong and picking up a Vape Cartridge. Of the adolescents who reported using e-cigarettes, one third admitted to using them to vape weed.
As we mentioned in our recent cannabis concentrates post, flower sales such as joints and marijuana itself are losing their lions share of the market. When marijuana was first legalized in Colorado, flower sales dominated 67 percent of the market. Now, four years later, they’ve dropped to 44 percent.
At the same time, vaporizers also made up almost a quarter of all Californian cannabis sales in 2016. In fact, researchers estimate that the market for concentrates will be roughly on par with smokeable flowers by 2022.
At this pace we may well see vaporizers become the primary method of cannabis consumption within the next few years.
Blowing Circles Around The Industry
The cannabis sector is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. job market. And, as we’ve spoken about recently, the fastest growing subset of the marijuana market is cannabis concentrates.
This is being fueled by a new generation of cannabis enthusiasts who are experimenting with new ways to consume the drug — for a variety of different reasons — whether it be to increase potency, minimize toxins, or even just to receive the health benefits without the need to get high.
Experts predict that the cannabis concentrates sector will reach $13 billion by 2026, and in 2018 over half of all cannabis concentrate spending was directed towards vape products. The Californian cannabis delivery company Eaze stated that oil cartridge sales made up nearly a quarter of their 2018 sales, a 400 percent increase from 2015 alone.
So what’s drawing people to the vape life?
Well, there’s a number of reasons.
Firstly, there’s the ease of use. Rolling a joint is an art form, one that both takes practice and also makes a mess. Then there’s smoking a bong, which is relatively simple, yet definitely not something to do when walking down the street. Edibles are discrete — but it can be harder to know what your dose should be — and contraptions such as dabbing rigs are comparatively complicated to operated.
When it comes down to it, vapes are one of the more convenient ways to ingest cannabis.
You then have the health factor, as vapes heat plant matter to the brink of combustion without burning the plant. This reduces the liklihood of respiratory issues and cancer, as well as minimizing the smell you leave behind when compared with smoking.
Another reason that people have turned to vapes is to boost their social image. According to a study conducted by PLOS ONE — which involved the analysis of more than 3 million tweets — social image was the most prevalent reasons people turned to vapes and accounted for 37 percent of vaping-related tweets.
While there are certainly benefits to vaping that draw users in, there’s also an element of keeping up with the Joneses in how trendy vapes have become.
Don’t Smoke Em if You Got Em
Cigarettes kill more than 7 million people each year. This is a fact that’s becoming increasingly harder to avoid. Thanks to the increase in information regarding the health effects of smoking, people are desperately seeking alternatives and finding themselves standing in the Vape Cartridge aisle.
And while vaporizers seem to present less health issues than cigarettes, nicotine remains the primary agent found in e-cigarettes.
At this stage, it’s looking like vapor is indeed less harmful than smoke. However, nicotine is still a highly addictive and toxic substance which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, as wel as maing you more likely to suffer from a heart attack.
This has led many smokers to trial vaporizer cartridges containing CBD oil. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the hundreds of compounds found within the cannabis plant. CBD doesn’t get users high or cause any psychoactive effects.
Instead, it comes with a host of benefits. From helping with epilepsy and anxiety, to minimizing insomnia and anorexia… the list of CBD’s positive effects is increasing daily.
Several small trials have shown promise with individuals vaping CBD instead of nicotine in order to decrease their smoking rates.
One small study performed by the University College London in 2013 involved giving CBD to 12 smokers to vape, while another 12 participants were given a placebo to act as the control group. Those that vaped CBD oil saw a 40 percent reduction in their smoking for the week, while the others experienced no observable changes.
Planet of The Vapes
Of course CBD isn’t the only cannabis extract you can vape. While CBD vapes are the fastest growing type of Vape Cartridges, let’s not forget about our good friend THC. THC vape “juice” boast THC levels up to 90 percent, which is gigantic.
The benefits to vaping with THC cartridges are pretty simple; they’re innocuous, they don’t leave much of a smell, and there’s a hell of a lot of variety.
For our readers who live in a country where cannabis remains illegal, chances are you take whatever cannabis you can get. For those in states or countries where weed is legal however, you’ll face the opposite problem; wading through the array of products to find what suits you best. Though this shouldn’t be too hard, as vape companies clearly advertise THC levels, as well as the flavours that come in each cartridge.
For example, the vape company Dosist has six different types of vaporizer oil cartridges for each mood you might wish to elicit. There’s arouse, passion, bliss, sleep, calm and relief.
Using differing ratio’s of THC, CBD, flavonoids and terpenes, Dosist claims that their Vape Cartridge will “deliver a consistent response, while controlling the sometimes overwhelming psychoactive effects commonly associated with cannabis consumption.”
Voted as one of the top 25 inventions of 2016 by TIME magazine, the Dosist vape pen has incorporated vibration technology which signals when you’ve ingested enough THC (hence the name.) Given the astronomical levels of THC found in the average Vape Cartridge compared to joints, this is a very important feature.
And for those who want the buzz without the breath, THC cartridges come in a host of flavours to suit every user.
Leafly has curated a list of the finest vapes you can get, so be sure to check it out for more info. Though be careful of fakes, as many vaporizers are hitting the markets that are of sub-par quality or contain potentially dangerous amounts of metal.
Up in the Air
As for the future of vaporizers, it’s looking like they’re here to stay, and potentially here to overtake the pre-roll and flower market.
As we mentioned, there’s a level of discretion and ease to vaping that smoking simply doesn’t have. Vaporizer’s can also piggyback on the emergent health and wellness trends, which will undoubtedly popularize them further.
Currently, there are only two factors that might slow the dominance of vaporizers.
Firstly, there actually isn’t a lot of evidence suggesting vapes are healthier than smoking. That’s not to suggest there’s no evidence, but there certainly isn’t an overabunance of it. As the vaping trend continues to take off, there is still the possibility that the technology may eventually lead to negative side effects.
Secondly, there’s the social image aspect. Vaping is currently highly trendy, and as we all know, trends come and go. Whether vaping remains the ingestion method of choice remains up in the air.
Though given that this is all going into the atmosphere, it may be better that it’s vapor rather than smoke after all. At least this way it won’t leave a smell.