IN LAST WEEK'S COLUMN, I reviewed a vaporizer that retails for $625. Which raises the question, "Hey, asshole, $625 is my monthly rent for the converted closet in the 18-person, four-bedroom house I live in. Is vaping only for high-rolling newspaper columnists?" It's not! You can vape at any budget.
To recap: Vaping is the act of extracting THC from ground-up cannabis flower using conduction heating (placing the plant matter on a heated flat surface) or convection (passing hot air over the marijuana). Think popcorn: Make it on the stove in a pan, and you have conduction. Use a hot air popper, and you have convection. Unlike smoking, you're not combusting the weed at an incredibly high temperature, which many argue releases harmful byproducts that you don't need to get high.
You can start with the Bohemian stoner's best friend, Craigslist. I've purchased most of my vaporizers from Craigslist, and paid 20 to 40 percent of the retail price for used vapes that weren't even six months old. It's a good place to start if you have Kanye tastes on a Franciscan monk's budget. A search while writing this shows used tabletop units for as low as 50 bucks. (I'm going to remove portable and pen models from this search, as those are a separate matter for a future column.)
Or, if you want to start with something brand new, you'll find models of all types and prices at gotvape.com. For under $100, you can get an Easy Vape Digital. This model has a hose that connects to a small box that looks like a pencil sharpener or a bedside clock radio, and you dial in the desired temperature on the digital display. These box vapes were the forerunners of the plethora of models you see today, and they still do the job just fine. Just upgrade to a silicone hose, as it won't impart flavor to the vapor the way that plastic hoses can.
There's an even cheaper way—it won't be pretty, but you aren't trying to marry it off. Grab two butter knives you're okay with losing. (See where this is going?) You can get flatware for 10 cents at Goodwill; don't use the good silver Grandma left you. Cut off the bottom of a two-liter soda bottle. Grind your herb. Heat up the knives on a stovetop, preferably on a gas burner. You will need a friend to help, also available at Goodwill. When the knives are not quite red hot, remove them and let cool for a count of 10. Have that friend hold the knives as you sprinkle a pinch of herb onto one knife, and put the soda bottle pour spout to your lips. Inhale as your friend places the other knife on top of the marijuana, forming a herb and knife sandwich under the soda bottle. That plume of not-quite-smoke? That's your vapor.