Constant Change in the Cannabis Industry
If there has been one constant in the marijuana industry over the past few years, it is the concept of constant change. Legalization and the relaxation of various cannabis laws has finally permitted the flourishing of a dynamic market of cannabis adjacent technology. One of the most interesting aspects of this market is the huge segment of the market made up of portable vaporizers and the seemingly endless stream of vaporizer accessories.
Vaporizers have become such a ubiquitous aspect of the cannabis industry that one could be forgiven for forgetting that they are a relatively new innovation. Vaporizers hit the cannabis market in 2007 with the introduction of Storz and Bickel’s tabletop unit, known as the Volcano. The technology took off slowly, but we’ve finally hit a point where it is entirely possible that the future of cannabis is combustion free. This is a massive change for the industry, but it’s a change that’s already underway.
Vaporizers and concentrates are beginning to overtake traditional flower. Already, it is common to meet cannabis consumers who do not smoke at all. Some of these people vape flower, many of them vape concentrates, some exclusively. The vaporizer has clearly altered many dynamics of cannabis use and culture, and it continues to change the culture every day. This article covers the main points, but it by no means comprehensive. Check out some of our other articles for additional discussion of cannabis culture.
Why Vape Pens Changed What People Buy
Did you discover marijuana, pre-vape or post vape? Your answer determines a lot of things about how you relate to cannabis. Prior to the advent of the vaporizer, cannabis consumers paid only a modest amount of attention to the taste of their cannabis. It was common practice to assume that the way the herb smelled would be roughly the way it would taste. Even with the very best waterpipe money could buy, a lot of flavor was lost to the damage of combustion.
Things could not be more different in today’s industry. Flavor is maintained when flower is vaporized, so even the most casual smoker is very aware of the flavor profile of their flower. More so, it has become common for the average cannabis consumer to be familiar with the flavor profiles that they prefer to purchase. Terpenoids and flavonoids are unimportant when your method of consumption is simply putting flame to flower. With the advent of vaporizer technology came a rush for information and a passion for flavor.
The advent of vaporizer technology also dramatically increased the popularity of concentrates. The concept of dabbing extracted concentrates from dab rigs came onto the cannabis scene at roughly the same time that vaporizer technology was gaining popularity. They were a niche product which was exceptionally expensive and not very popular. Handheld vaporizer technology and a revolution in the capacity of vaporizer batteries completely changed the market within five years.
With the advent of handheld, pocket sized vaporizers with extended battery life, the concentrate revolution was free to commandeer the cannabis market. The launch of vaporizers with the size and battery life of modern units like the created an environment in which anyone could explore the new and exciting world of concentrates. The demand for these concentrates sparked an arms race, and companies rushed into the market to compete in terms of purity, potency, and quality. The general quality of concentrates quickly improved, and the general level of knowledge within the cannabis consuming community increased dramatically.
This looks to be a permanent shift. Many ardent cannabis consumers have never consumed flower and have no intention of doing so. The high-spending mega-consumers have developed Youtube and Instagram followings which have popularized increasingly pure forms of wax and concentrates. Popular culture now popularized images of marijuana which often contain no flower at all. Many would say that the vaporizer revolution was the very catalyst that popularized concentrates in the first place.
How Vape Pens Changed Where People Use Cannabis
Prior to the advent of vaporizers, covering the smell of cannabis was an art and science that occupied the thoughts of even a moderate cannabis consumer. Many built contraptions of toilet paper and paper towels, hoping to cover smells. Still others busied themselves seeking the spray to cover the smell. Great cannabis debates were held over the merits of Ozium when compared to Febreeze. It is safe to say that these concerns no longer dominate the industry.
Vaporizers have brought cannabis users out of the parks and alleys near their favorite haunts and into the open space. Small, discreet weed vaporizers allow cannabis users to consume their favorite strain anywhere that tobacco smoking and vaping are considered acceptable. This has translated to a complete shift in the culture of cannabis users. Rather than gathering in a home before an event, many vapers choose to enjoy their cannabis on the go with their group of friends.
Some take this even further. It is not uncommon to meet cannabis users who admit to vaping their herb in previously unthinkable places. People bring their vapes into airplane restrooms on lengthy flights when they need to medicate to go to sleep. Some (rather rude) cannabis users have even been known to power up their vape in the middle of movie theatre. Right or wrong, it is certain that the lack of odor and relative ease
Vape pens are changing the way some cannabis consumers choose to travel. While we would never encourage vapers to transport cannabis or related oils through airports, we do find that vaporizers themselves are a boon to travelers. Vapes like the Saber are indistinguishable make it easy for cannabis users to take the fun with them by ensuring that their unit never garnered the attention of security personnel. This is another trend which seems to be a permanent seachange. Vaporizers are spreading cannabis to areas it has never been before, and this seems unlikely to change.
Author Bio: Greg Lepkoff is the co-founder of NY Vape Shop. He has over 10 years experience in manufacturing and has been featured on Vice. Greg currently contributes vape and dabbing related articles to The Fresh Toast, Weed Blog, Cannabis.net, and Ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. Ask him anything about vapes and he’ll have an answer.