Vaping Concentrates: A How-To

If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely interested in the world of vaping concentrates. Here at, we’ve decided to put together a list of the basic knowledge required to get started. There’s not much to the act of vaping, but what little bit of information there is to disseminate is valuable to all concentrate and dry herb vapers. For the most part, the experience will be different depending on your type of material and the vaporizer you decide to use.

Types of Concentrates

There are many ways to turn herbs into concentrates. As such, there are many different styles of concentrates available. “Wax” and “Shatter” is typically solid and easier to deal with. There are also “oils” that are more translucent and viscous, similar to maple syrup or canola oil. The strategy for the different versions of concentrate doesn’t change much, but the stickier and more goopy your oil is, the more care you have to take when loading and unloading your concentrate.

Here are the basic types of THC concentrates:

Shatter: This type is usually created using BHO (butane hash oil) but it can also be achieved with a CO2 extraction. The solvent strips dry herbs of its THC, cannabinoids and terpenes. Using a vacuum oven, the remaining solvent left over is evaporated by way of pressure and heat. The transparent quality shatter is known for comes from the molecules being left undisturbed during this process.

Wax: Agitating (stirring, whipping or mixing) the BHO oil before or during the vacuum oven, turning it polycrystal, opaque & of different textures. There are a few varieties of wax for this reason.

Live Resin: This process requires gardeners to immediately freeze the stalks after being chopped. This causes the terpenes & THC lost in the traditional drying/curing process to be retained, leaving users with some of the best flavor a concentrate has to offer.

Bubble Hash: Ice & water are used to freeze the trichomes from buds which are then broke off and strained. The remaining water is then pressed out, creating this extract.

CO2 Oil: This variant is created when you compress carbon dioxide at high pressure until it strips the plant matter of the THC, terpenes & CBD. The resulting product does not contain a solvent and is especially popular with 510 thread vape cartridge makers.

Distillates: Distilling your hash oil is a two-part process. The first run is done at a lower temperature that removes the terpenes which will be reintroduced later after the impurities are removed. The second run removes left over solvents, plant matter, lipids, chlorophyll & pesticides. You are left with odorless, clear distillate that can be as high as 99% THC.

Rosin: Another technique that doesn’t require a solvent, this one uses heat and pressure to extract the resin from the flower.

Here are some tips and tricks for handling concentrates:

● You will need a silicone container to keep your wax in. Don’t bother with anything else, you will just ruin your clothing. Trust me. They are available at most every vaporizer retailer or with most of the Yocan line.

● Invest in a dabber. This is a tool that can safely transport your wax to your vaporizer. Some vaporizers even come with one! Just don’t use your hands or anything you don’t want dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

● There is more to think about when using your concentrate vaporizer. You don’t want your material coating the device or your hands. Keep it upright and you can avoid any sticky situations.

● The temperatures in use are going to be much higher than with dry herbs. But, remember the closer you get to the vaporization temperature of your material, the better it’s going to taste. You want tasty vapor.

Introduction to Vapor Pens and Concentrate Vaporizers

If you’ve ever dabbed, you’ve likely had a close call with a butane torch. In general, being the owner of a butane torch is not the most comfortable situation to be in. That’s why, as the popularity of dabs have increased over time, wax/concentrate vaporizers have grown with it.

These little devices are usually quite powerful, as it takes a much higher temperature to vaporize waxes and concentrates. They work in much the same way, however. A wax vape pen will heat up a coil that comes in contact with your material and produces vapor that the user must suck out of the device.

Interestingly, for devices that require the most power and heat, vape pens usually don’t have much in the way of temperature control. That’s because they operate at those high temperatures and because waxes and oils are made in such a way that they vaporize easier. What this means for you is that there is not going to be as much emphasis on LED screens and the like to keep an eye on your material—it is a very streamlined process.

Concentrates can vary widely in their style and makeup, for every different kind of concentrate there is another kind of vaporizer that works best for it.

Different Types of Concentrate Vaporizers

Standard Wax/Concentrate Vaporizers
(This section includes most vape pens, especially the ones found at )

Because the material is different, the operation of a wax vaporizer is slightly different as well. Wax vaporizers use special coil atomizers that wax is placed in direct contact with. These heat up to especially high temperatures and vaporize the wax into extremely high THC vapor. Some of the simpler models of wax vaporizers use a simple ceramic plate that the wax rests on, but the basic concept is the same. Most of the wax vaporizers out there can be divided into three categories:

● Wicked Coils: These vaporizers wrap their coils in cotton or a similar substance to absorb more material and provide smooth and flavorful draws.

● Quartz Coils: Without a cotton covering, these coils are especially powerful and hit hard and fast.

● Flat Ceramic Dish: An older style, a ceramic dish is heated by an outside coil resulting in cooler, especially flavorful hits.

There have been many developments in wax vaporizers recently, especially in terms of the material that the coils are made of. Titanium and Quartz Crystal atomizers can really knock your socks off. There has also been a rush to put as many coils as possible in atomizers, leading to triple coil atomizers that try to mimic the power of a dab rig.

Cannabis Oil Vaporizers

Cannabis oil is another kind of concentrate, similar to wax, that is much more like a liquid. Because the material has been broken down to such a level, the mechanics of vaporizing it are much simpler. Typically, an oil vaporizer will consist of just an atomizer and a battery . Many of the vape pens available at use this simple set-up. Some units are the size of a ballpoint pen. Oil pens can be a very simple and effective way to vape if you have access to the cannabis oil that is required. If you live in a state without dispensaries, this can be a bit of a challenge—but the reward is worth it.

The mechanism for vaping with an oil vape relies on completing the circuit between the battery and the atomizer. The connection between them is referred to as a “510” thread. All this means is that you need to find 510 cartridges that will fit into the threading of your battery. There are other kinds of threads, but 510 is going to be the most common. These days, you can even find “skinny” 510 cartridges that are designed to fit the miniscule oil vaporizers out there. Oil cartridges are all easy to use and only require you to screw in the cartridge to get vaporizing. Some of these devices require you to set a voltage, a.k.a. the power level of the battery. These devices are basically another kind of box mod, which leads us into the next category.

Box Mods

If you’ve seen someone vaping nicotine e-liquid, chances are they are using a box mod. This is a somewhat complicated term that refers to a battery outfitted with voltage controls and that can power a removable atomizer. There can be a bigger learning curve with these types of devices due to the high level of jargon, but it’s really a simple setup. All you need to do is attach the atomizer and fill with the material it is designed for. Turn on the box mod and press the button. Box mods are much more efficient than simple pen oil vapes because you can decide to turn it on with a button press rather than letting it run until you unscrew it.

Box mods can be used with different kinds of materials, not just cannabis oil, which makes this a very versatile option. They are different than normal oil vaporizers, however, because the end product depends entirely on what you want to do with it. You can purchase different accessories and get different results using the same box mod. That’s why they are called “mods”. They are meant to be highly modifiable and versatile.

3-in-1 Vaporizers

A 3-in-1 vaporizer is any vaporizer that can successfully vaporize any of the 3 materials mentioned in this post. There are multiple paths to achieving this, but a box mod is definitely one of the more common examples. However, there are some versatile traditional vaporizers out there that can do all three with ease. The biggest difference between these and normal vaporizers is the ability to go from low to extremely high temperatures at a moment’s notice. There needs to be a tremendous amount of power headroom to achieve this, leading to expensive products, on occasion. Either way, the operation of these will follow much of the same rules as the above options, depending on the material.

Benefits of Vaping Concentrates

Some vapers have come into the world of concentrate vaping looking for an alternative to the dabbing lifestyle or the freedom of dabbing on the go. Truth be told, there are benefits and drawbacks to either method and it is up to you, the user, to decide what is best for you. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding if you want to start vaping concentrates:


● Purer hits with less toxins and damage to your lungs

● It’s a customizable experience, your vaporizer can represent your personality

● Efficient use of materials

● Portable and stealthy


● High start-up cost for some units, however there are plenty of vaporizers out there that won’t break the bank

● Vape pens and concentrate vaporizers are valuable electronics and must be protected

There are many reasons to move to vaping concentrates over dry herbs or dabbing. However, you have to decide if the journey is right for you. Hopefully, this article can be a portal to the world of concentrate vaping and will function as a great resource for the prospective and new vapers. As always, stay safe and enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *