Vaporizers & Vaping

How to Use a Vape Pen for Oil

Gabi Antunes

Aug 3, 2019

Cannabis oil simplifies the vaporization process in a way that dry herb simply cannot beat. While there are several oil types for sublingual use and cooking, a specific mix designed for vaporizing is becoming a fast favorite in medical and adult-use markets across the U.S. Available in hundreds of strains, these pre-filled pods are widely celebrated for their high potency and ease of use.

As cannabis oil has become a household name, so too have vape pens designed specifically for its consumption. While simplistic in design – oftentimes, the vape is just a battery powering the heating element inside the cartridge — it’s still important to understand the ins and outs of your vape pen. This guide will explain how to use a vape pen for oil and help you identify the different types of vape pens available on the market today.

What are oil vape pens

Vape pens, named for slim bodies shaped not unlike the common writing instrument, are celebrated for their portability and discretion. There are many varieties of vape pens on the market, but particularly popular are those designed for use with cannabis oil containing THC or hemp-derived CBD oil from industrial hemp plants containing trace amounts-to-no THC. These pens are designed for use with the viscous oil, either through the use of cartridges, concentrate inserts, or pods.

Vape pens work in much the same way as larger portable vaporizers. The battery powers a heating element, which in turn heats the oil to hot enough to vaporize its contents. There are several ways a vape pen can do this depending on its specific design, but the end result is the same: the oil is vaporized for inhalation through the pen’s mouthpiece. It’s a simple process that usually only takes a few seconds, or is even instant, depending on the model.

Advantages of oil vape pens

Whether you use a vape pen with a cartridge or one with an oven, these devices offer a few clear advantages for vaporizing cannabis oil. First, they are easy to learn and use. Most vape pens have a single button on the body of the device, which is used for all its major functions. A series of clicks can power the device on or off, a different series of clicks can alter the temperature setting and pressing and holding the button warms the heating element. Other vape pens feature a buttonless functionality but are equally as easy to use. The PAX Era, which is a pod system vape, instantly produces vapor upon inhalation, for example.

In addition to their simplicity, vape pens are extremely mobile and discreet. Their size and shape means they don’t draw much attention. It can be easy to mistake the device for something else, especially because it’s less obvious than a larger consumption device. It’s also easy to control vapor production with a vape pen, so you control smells and large clouds which can attract attention. Finally, they easily fit in a pocket, bag, or even the palm of your hand.

Some vape pens reduce the messiness of loading concentrates into an oven or chamber. Many vape pens are compatible with pre-filled oil cartridges that simply screw onto a universal battery. Handling concentrates can be difficult, often resulting in a sticky mess as well as wasted material. Pre-filled cartridges eliminate that hassle by completing the loading for you. Simply screw or click your cartridge in and you’re ready to vape.

Different types of vape pens

There are many types of vape pens on the market. To choose the type of device that’s right for you, it’s important to understand your options. When it comes to vape pens, you’ll likely choose a device that falls under one of these categories: disposable vape pens, cartridge vape pens, and pod system vapes.

  • Disposable vape pens: Disposable vape pens are pre-filled for one-time use only. They typically come fully charged and can be used as soon as they are purchased. They are extremely cost-effective and are an excellent option for people who cannot bring their vape pens with them; however, the depleted pens need to be properly recycled or returned to the manufacturer.
  • Cartridge vape pens: Cartridge vape pens remain cost-effective. Most vape cartridges are compatible with a standard 510 thread battery, so most cartridges that aren’t device-specific will work with a common cartridge vape pen. Typically, cartridge vape pens feature a one-button functionality for powering the device on, altering temperature settings, and heating up the device.
  • Some vape pens have chambers or ovens, much like the more advanced portable vaporizers. Many of these vape pens are compatible with dry herb, though some support concentrate materials as well. Oven vape pens tend to be a bit more expensive than cartridge vape pens, but they also offer more versatility.
  • Pod systems: Pod systems, or pod vapes, are similar to cartridge vape pens in that they use a pre-filled pod instead of requiring you to load the device yourself. Pod vapes like the PAX Era make swapping in and out oil a quick, clean, and easy process. Typically, pod vapes are activated simply by drawing on the mouthpiece.


There are also vape pens specific to consuming wax or “dabs,” but those units are designed specifically for those hyper-concentrated materials and are not for use with oil.

What’s the difference between distillate and CO2 cannabis oil cartridges?

If you have already researched oil vape pens at all, you might have come across “distillate” or “CO2” cartridges. These terms refer to the specific type of extraction process that was used to make the oil in your cartridge. The extraction methods used have a significant impact on overall quality and experience, so you should pay close attention to the type of oil you select.

  1. CO2 cartridges: A CO2 cartridge contains oil that was extracted with the use of supercritical carbon dioxide. The CO2 is used to separate the individual compounds found in the cannabis or hemp plant, resulting in the extraction of the oil in your cartridge.
  2. Distillate cartridges: Distillate cartridges contain oils that are highly refined to isolate a single cannabinoid. These oils are almost pure in their content of one compound.

Vape pens are an easier way to vaporize concentrates

Vape pens have gained popularity on their merits as a useful device, granting the potency of a concentrate without the messy learning curve of leading a wax or dab pen. Whether you’re at home or mobile, a vape pen is a trusty companion that makes vaping concentrates quick, easy, and clean. If you’re a fan of vaporizing cannabis oil or you’ve always been curious about the world of concentrates, learning how to use a vape pen for oil will serve you well.