Community Health

The difference between vape pens and dab pens



With medical marijuana now legalised in over half of US states, medical marijuana sales represent a large national market, estimated to reach $6.8 billion in 2020. With a market this size, the sale of cannabis accessories like the genius pipe is steadily on the rise. Vaping and dabbing are variations on the traditional method of enjoying marijuana, through a rolled marijuana flower cigarette, but what’s not so clear is the real difference between two trending utensils, a vape pen, and a dab pen. In general terms, vape pens are for vaping, and dab pens are for dabbing. But what is vaping? What is dabbing? Let’s find out-


The mechanics

Both vape pens and dab pens have a similar structure.


  • A tank with a mouthpiece
  • An atomizer
  • A sensor
  • A battery


The substance is introduced into the atomizer to be heated to a high enough temperature to produce a vapor, which is then inhaled.


The main difference between a vape pen and a dab pen is that vape pens usually come with disposable oil cannabis canisters or CBD oil canisters that sit inside the vape pen and are then heated and vaped. Typically, dab pens use crystallized forms of THC (wax) that are heated and then inhaled.


To dab or vape

The choice to dab or vape depends on the experience you seek. Vaping has no discernible odor connected with it, so it is more discreet than smoking the marijuana herb. You also have the added convenience of portability in that you can vape on the go. With vape pens, you can vaporize THC, CBD, and hash oils, so you have more versatility in that regard. In choosing which vape pen or dab pen to get, just like with other things, you get what you pay for.


A good-quality vape pen will cost, on average, $100, but the price can range significantly in either direction. Inexpensive disposable preloaded vape pens are available in various concentrates, and you can get them for $20 a pop. Designed for one-time use, they are easy to use and dispose of, making it an excellent choice for the occasional user who doesn’t want to invest much money.


Dab pens are more suited to the heavy recreational user or the medical marijuana user because they are very adjustable and provide a customized vape experience. By changing the size of the dab selected or the temperature at which it is heated, you can adjust your dabbing experience to create either an intense high or a mellow high. Higher-end dab pens can cost $500 or more and are a substantial investment for the heavy user. Variations in materials like plates and coils further serve to customise the dabbing experience for the discerning user. Dab pens using ceramic plates are on the higher end of the rating scale and are generally sturdier than cheaper plates and distribute heat better than their cheaper counterparts.


Coil type and temperature setting variations provide even more of a customisable dabbing experience. A lower setting will naturally provide less heat and a mellow high. Prolonged high-temperature settings will induce a more intense experience. Customisation is crucial, and if you plan on making a lot of use of your dab pen, then the added expense at the outset is warranted.


Both vaping and dabbing are discreet ways to enjoy cannabis, but vaping and dabbing do have their differences. The choice to dab or vape depends on the user’s objectives. A cheap disposable vape pen thrown in your gym bag can give you a quick high on the go without being detected, and the variations in oils and concentrates are almost endless. But if you find yourself always reaching for your pen, then you might consider it more cost-effective to invest more resources and customise your experience.


Variances in potency

Some may opt to dab rather than vape due to the higher strength that dabbing provides. It is striking to note that while you can undoubtedly dab CBD and THC concentrates, with a dab pen, you can attain a dose of up to 90% of concentrated THC, which is extremely potent considering that flower marijuana only contains 10-20% THC.


Moving parts

With single-use disposable vape pens, in general, you don’t need to be concerned with moving parts because everything is there in the pen itself: canister, coil, or wick and battery. You can buy a single-use pen or a pen with a refillable cartridge. But with dab pens, which are becoming increasingly popular, you can again customize and choose your moving parts to suit your needs. There is a large variety of good dab pens to choose from, and your local dispensary can guide you on the best brand or pen to suit your individual needs. Keep in mind that any dab pen worth its price will come with a warranty, so factor in warranty coverage when making your selection.

Here to stay

With medical marijuana sales currently skyrocketing, there is now a niche vaping and dabbing community who are either occasional users or connoisseurs whose needs are begging to be met. Whatever the need, there is currently or soon will be a product designed to meet that need. With the current landscape, and even forecasting into future years, more and more brands are entering the marketplace to serve those needs in the handy vape or dab pen. Medical marijuana dab pens or disposable vape pens are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende