From the mouthpiece and cartridge to the atomizer and battery, cannabis vape pens are simple-to-use yet intricate pieces of technology.

A cannabis vape pen is a handheld device used to consume marijuana. Consisting of a battery attached to a cartridge filled with cannabis concentrate, vape pens vaporize cannabis rather than burn it. This results in vapor, instead of smoke, inhaled by the consumer to achieve the desired experience.

Cannabis consumption has come a long way over the last decade. And today, the world of high technology intersects with cannabis in ways that past consumers could hardly imagine.

Enter: the cannabis vape pen.

What is a Cannabis Vape Pen?

A cannabis vape pen is a sleek, simple, battery-powered device utilized to vaporize and consume dry herb or cannabis concentrates. Vape pens create vapor instead of smoke, making them preferable for many consumers. Prized by cannabis connoisseurs, these handheld devices are convenient, uncomplicated, and trendy.

The History of the Vape Pen

Even though vaping has recently become popular in the public sphere, it has a storied and time-honored history. More than 2,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians used hot stones to vaporize and inhale herbal oils. Then in the 16th century, the shisha (also known as the hookah) was created. 

A hookah is an apparatus used for heating up, vaporizing, and inhaling herbs, including cannabis. Shortly after its inception, the hookah spread through the Indian subcontinent and, over time, became beloved throughout the world.

Hundreds of years later, in 2003, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who was attempting to drop his cigarette addiction, began to vaporize nicotine liquid through ultrasonic vibration. Thus, the technology that paved the way for vape pens was created.

Today, cannabis lovers utilize a similar design to Lik’s for cannabis consumption. But instead of ultrasonic vibration, weed vape pens employ heat—and instead of nicotine, they deliver sweet, soothing cannabis concentrate.

Several Cannabis Vape Pens with Caps

Advantages of Vape Pens

There are several advantages of vape pens, especially for newer consumers and those looking for an alternative to smoking flower. 

Vape pens are compact compared to other cannabis smoking devices, making them discreet and easy to carry. In addition, marijuana vapor doesn’t have a powerful, fragrant smell like burning flower, which can be a plus. And as for messiness—there is virtually no mess when vaping, unlike with the ash and remnants left behind from flower.

What are the parts of a Cannabis Vape Pen?


As the name suggests, this is the piece designed for your mouth—it’s the part of the vape pen from which you inhale. Sometimes referred to as “drip tips,” mouthpieces are typically made of plastic, glass, or silicone and vary in shape, size, and color. 

Tank or cartridge

The next part of the cannabis vape pen is the “cartridge” or “tank,” which is the part that contains the cannabis oil or extract. Usually, the terms “cartridge” and “tank” are used interchangeably; however, pre-filled containers are sometimes referred to as cartridges, while containers you have to fill yourself are sometimes called tanks.

If you have a cannabis oil tank that requires filling, you will most likely see a line that indicates when it’s full. Overfilling the tank can cause your vape pen to malfunction, and spilling your oil can be a massive bummer, so be as meticulous as possible when filling your tank. 

Refillable tanks offer more control and are excellent for people who have preferred extracts and oils. On the other hand, pre-filled vape cartridges can save time and effort and help you avoid spilling any precious THC oil. 

What is inside the cartridge?

The cartridges are where the sweet stuff is stored, and they can be filled with any type of cannabis oil, including THC or CBD oil: it’s up to you! Choosing a pre-filled cartridge comes down to your own personal needs and wants. 


The atomizer brings the heat, and because cannabinoids such as THC require heat for activation, the atomizer is possibly the most magical component of the vape pen. Every atomizer contains a heating element attached to a coil responsible for vaporizing the liquid. Some popular types of coils are cotton, ceramic, and quartz. 

Cotton is the quintessential wick for atomizers because it’s less expensive than other wick materials, it’s easy to use, and it doesn’t have a prevalent taste, meaning you enjoy more of the terpy, delicious tang of your weed vapor without any mystery flavors confusing your palate. One downside of cotton wick atomizers is that they burn more readily, especially when using high voltages, resulting in a bit of an off-putting flavor. However, this shouldn’t be an issue when operating with the correct voltage and oil.

Ceramic coils, unlike their cotton counterparts, work well at high voltages. They are becoming sought-after for their neutral flavor and ability to retain heat. Ceramic is also favored by consumers looking for a smooth vape experience. 

Increasingly in demand, quartz coil atomizers are ergonomic—from loading to vaping to cleaning—and they boast an unadulterated flavor. Quartz doesn’t retain heat as long as some other atomizer coil materials, but it does allow for big, full clouds. 

Power button and Sensor

Your vape pen may or may not have a power button that you have to push to turn on and activate your device. If it doesn’t have a power button, it’s most likely a vape pen that you merely have to assemble and inhale to activate. These are often referred to as “draw only” vape pens, and they have a sensor that switches the device on whenever you breathe through the mouthpiece. 

If your vape pen does have a power button, you might have to click the button up to five times to start it up, and some pens require you to hold the button while you inhale through the mouthpiece to produce vapor. 

It’s also possible that the power button on your vape pen controls the temperature settings of the device; though more practical, beginner models might not have this functionality. When you’re done with your vaping session, power down your device by pressing the power button up to five times again.


The battery supplies life for your device. Cannabis vape pens require a strong battery so that the heating element can reach the temperature necessary for activating the cannabinoids and physically vaporizing the oil. Your vape pen might even have a function with which you can change the voltage supplied by your battery, making it easier to control your oil temperature. 

Lithium-ion batteries are common for vape pens, and they can be recharged via a USB port. To supply the best power for your vape pen, make sure your battery is fully charged and ready to go.

What is the Difference Between a Vape Pen and a Cartridge?

A cartridge (sometimes called a cart, dab cart, oil cart, or tank) is integral to the vape pen. The cart is the component of the vape pen that actually holds the cannabis concentrate or oil. The vape pen market is loaded with pre-filled cartridges, but consumers might also choose refillable tanks to fill with their own oil.

What are the Different Types of Cannabis Vape Pens?

As you begin to explore the vaping world, you may become overwhelmed by the various terms that describe different categories of vape pens and the material they use. Below, we’ll clarify the differences between three types of vape pens, categorized by the form of cannabis you prefer. 

Just a note: many use the phrase “vape pen” to specifically refer to a refined marijuana oil vape pen, but the term can apply to any of the devices listed below.

Oil Vape Pens: These are your typical cartridge vape pens that employ a refillable or pre-filled cartridge. Chances are if you simply search for a “vape pen,” this is what you will be presented with, and most disposable vape pens similarly fall under this category. Weed oil (sometimes called “juice”) for vape pens is quite viscous and liquidy, and it’s less sticky and potent than other types of cannabis extracts. But don’t let the smooth, sultry calm of the oil fool you—these vape pens bring just as much gratification as their more dominant peers.

How Do You Use a Cannabis Vape Pen?

Vape pens deliver a delightful experience to consumers, and more than that, they provide the experience effortlessly. In fact, many cannasseurs have altogether switched from bowls, blunts, and bongs to ultramodern, state-of-the-art vape pens due to their comfortability and simplicity. 

Depending on the type of vape pen you have, there are only a few simple steps in the marijuana-pen process:

Push-button vape pens 

  1. Ensure that the elements (such as the mouthpiece, cartridge, and battery mentioned above) are correctly assembled.
  2. Press the power button. With many push-button vape pens, you will have to press the power button five times to get it started up. Usually, vape pens will have lights that flash or remain solidly lit to indicate when they’re powered up.
  3. Once the vape pen is powered on, push and hold the button for a couple of seconds to bring it to heat. 
  4. Inhale the intended amount of vape through the mouthpiece while holding the button down.
  5. Press the button again to turn the vape pen off. Again, it might require up to five clicks to power down.

Draw-activated vape pens

  1. Attach the cartridge to the battery to turn it on. Once the elements are connected, your pen is already powering up. 
  2. Inhale through the mouthpiece to activate the pen and produce your desired amount of vapor. 
  3. Simply stop drawing through the mouthpiece to deactivate. 
  4. Disassemble the draw-activated pen for storage.

Disposable vape pens

  1. Remove the pen from its package. 
  2. If there is no power button, you can skip directly to step three. For disposable vape pens with a power button, press the button to activate the device. You might need to push it several times until the LED lights up. 
  3. Inhale your desired amount of vapor through the mouthpiece. 
  4. Exhale the vapor.

Just a note: your disposable pen might be empty if the vapor tastes burnt or charred or if it becomes thin, flavorless, and utterly bland after you’ve vaped from it extensively. If no vapor comes through the mouthpiece, even if the device is otherwise working correctly, that’s also a sign that your cartridge is probably kicked.

No matter which type of vape pen you choose, remember to start low and slow with vaping THC, especially if you are accustomed to vaping non-THC products such as nicotine or CBD. It’s a great idea to start with one or two puffs and then wait 15 minutes or so to see how you feel before going in for more.

How to Choose the Right Vape Pen for You

As vape pens gain traction in the world of weed, they become more functional and sleek by the day. However, searching for the perfect vape pen can seem daunting with so many new designs and technological advances. Depending on the type of product you prefer, there are many candidates to choose from. It all comes down to your personal preferences.

Here are some considerations when it comes to choosing the right vape pen:


1. Functionality 

Many pens have functions such as temperature and battery voltage settings. If you are a seasoned cannabis consumer or looking for more control over your experience, then a more involved device might be the right choice. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, an uncomplicated pen might be the best option. When shopping for your pen, look for one that suits your experience level and functional needs.


2. Pen type 

As stated above, there are several different vape pens to choose from. Determining which type of materials you want to vape, such as flower, oil, or wax, is a great way to start shopping for a pen. Do you like the terpiness and flavor of dry herb? Do you think cannabis oil is the one for you? Are you a huge fan of wax’s potency and punch? Some newer pens are capable of vaporizing dry and liquid materials, but you will have to stick to one for the most part. Figuring out which form you like your bud in is a great way to narrow down the search for your perfect pen.


3. Design and aesthetic

When picking out your vape pen, design is a crucial consideration. Keep in mind the kinds of coils and wicks discussed above, as the atomizer is a vital aspect of the choice. You can also visualize what material you want the body of your device to be made out of. Some standard options are stainless steel, high-quality plastic, or carbon fiber, and many stylish pens even have glass components. Color and size are also something to think about. Go for the vibe that suits you best!


4. Budget

Figuring out the best price range will help narrow down your vape pen options. Entry-level, beginner and intermediate consumers will be able to find relatively inexpensive vape pens that perfectly meet their list of desires. If you are looking for something with more bells and whistles, the price will be higher, but there are quality vape pens on the market at all price points. Investing in your ideal vape pen is worth it!


5. Personal taste

So you’ve found a vape pen that meets your budgetary and functional demands. Great! Now it just comes down to how it makes you feel. If it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, if it makes you smile and brings a euphoric cloud of relaxation, it might be love! It might mean that you have found the one—your vape pen.