man vaping in front of a field

What is a vape pen and how does it work?

Vape pens are devices which have seen a huge growth in popularity in recent years.

Suddenly, they seem to be everywhere. Yet not everybody knows what they need to know about them…

If you’ve been wondering “how does my vape pen work?”, this article is for you.

How does a vape pen work?

A vape pen provides the heat needed to activate the “active” ingredients in cannabis. These are ingredients like THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of smoking the plant.

The heat your vape pen supplies vaporizes these compounds into airborne droplets of vapor which can then be inhaled.

The first modern vape pen was invented by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik. He actually used a much more advanced ultrasonic vibration method to vaporize the liquid.

However, the standard modern version uses heat. To generate this, your vape pen needs a couple of components:

  • The battery – this provides the power to produce the heat.
  • The atomizer – sometimes called a heating chamber, cartomizer or clearomizer, this is where the heat is applied to the cannabis concentrate you place inside.
  • Mouthpiece – this is the part where you place your mouth to inhale.


There may be some other bits of hardware and software attached, but these are the essential elements. With only one critical exception – the cannabis concentrate you put inside…

Knowing your cannabis vape oil

For most people, this is what they really want to know about what a vape pen is and how it works.

Knowing all about the type of cannabis vape oil you load into your vaporizer is key to getting the effects you are looking for.

You can also fill your vape with cannabis concentrates like budder or wax, but this is much messier – and you can take some of the potency away from your concentrate if you handle it too roughly – than the handy disposable cartridges you can easily buy.

These pre-filled cartridges are where most people start as they make the change from smoking to vaping much easier.

When it comes to CBD or THC oil vape cartridges, there are a few types you might want to consider trying:

1) High potency products

What is a vape pen and how does it work?

If you take cannabis because of an acute condition, sometimes you need pain relief which acts faster than normal.

One of the major advantages of THC vape cartridges is that when you buy them, the percentage of THC they contain is clearly marked on the side.

Some of the purest products can be 90% or even 99% pure.

An example of these from the K.I.N.D. Concentrates range would be the Sweet Karts. These are 90%+ purity and come in a number of fruity flavors for good measure.

2) Flavorful cartridges

If you want a more natural or herbal taste to your vaping experience, go for products which contain higher quantities of terpenes.

Terpenes are a type of chemical compound found in cannabis and a wide variety of other plants. They are responsible for the distinctive aroma of certain plants. For example:

  • Limonene – gives lemons and oranges their citrus smell.
  • Alpha pinene – is the fresh scent of fallen pine needles.
  • Linalool – is the terpene responsible for the soothing aroma of lavender.


As well as the plants they are famous for, all of the terpenes listed above (as well as many others) can be found in greater or lesser quantities in different strains of cannabis – and the oil cartridges derived from them which you buy for your vape.

Be on the lookout for cannabis-derived terpenes like those above, in particular. Not only do these tend to mean a higher quality product (as it can be cheaper for manufacturers to add terpenes from other plants later down the line) they also create something called the entourage effect.

K.I.N.D. Nectar is an excellent example of this kind of THC vape oil.

colorful smoke

3) Live resin

Live resin is a little different to other types of cannabis concentrates as it is un-decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is the process by which the active compounds in cannabis become active and usually involves the application of heat.

Unfortunately, this heat – provided by smoking, for example – also destroys a great deal of the vulnerable terpenes and other compounds in the cannabis plant.

With Live Resin, you get a much more natural flavor.

K.I.N.D. Live Resin, for example, comes in strain-specific flavors and contains a minimum of 70%+ THC – as well as none of cutting agents you might find in lower quality concentrates.

Why would I use a vape pen instead of smoking?

Vape pens are an alternative to traditional smoking methods. Many people cite the benefits of vaping vs. smoking as being:

  • No smoke and no fire – the cannabis inside a vape pen is vaporized rather than smoked. This is broadly agreed to be better for your health.
  • Greater efficiency – cannabis concentrates tend to be much stronger than the raw plant material (70-80%+ THC is standard). This means you need to inhale less to produce a similar effect. This can also be better for acute sufferers.
  • No added chemicals – smoking roll-up joints usually involves paper and tobacco smoke as well as cannabis. Vapes don’t.
  • Reduced odour – while many people don’t mind or actively enjoy the smell of cannabis, many users don’t – or may wish to take cannabis in public. With vaping’s much reduced odour, they can do so much more discreetly. In fact…
  • More discretion – there’s no need to roll, a reduced aroma and no smoke, meaning vaping is much easier to do in public without disturbing anyone else.


For most people, vaping’s recent explosion of fame is good news. It certainly provides a great alternative to those who either can’t or don’t want to smoke cannabis but still want to gain any medical benefits of doing so.

Now that you know a little more about what vape pens are and how they work, you’re better equipped to make the decision for yourself.

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