Dry herb vaping can be a daunting prospect for anyone getting started. There are hundreds of different vaporizers to choose from, each with its unique features and offers.
How do you decide which is right for you?
Are these vaporizers in any way better than e-cigarettes?
What kind of dry herb can you use in them?
Most importantly, what type of vaporizer should I get?
This blog article will answer all of the above questions and provide you with the ultimate beginner's guide to dry herb vapes.
What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer, and How does it work?
A Dry Herb Vaporizer is essentially a device that facilitates the controlled heating of dry plant matter(tobacco, hemp, thyme, etc.) or wax or oil/concentrate made from a medicinal plant.
A dry herb vaporizer's primary role is to extract the valuable active ingredients, essential oils, and flavors from the plant matter without burning it.
Why is this important?
When these dry herbs are ignited and burned, all of the compounds, as mentioned earlier, are released in the form of smoke along with a large amount of toxic by-products that can be potentially harmful when inhaled.
Vaporizers allow users to inhale only vapor that contains the desired compounds from a plant instead of smoke which has a detrimental side-effect on the respiratory system.
So, what does a dry herb vaporizer do?
In order for active ingredients to be extracted from the plant matter, a certain amount of heat is needed, but if this heat is carefully controlled (as it happens inside an electronic dry herb vaporizer), the harvesting of these elements is done safely and without the releasing of harmful by-products of combustion.
No combustion means no smoke, which reduces the lungs' adverse effects drastically.
Burning is a violent method of extraction that destroys the herbs, turning them into ash and smoke as well as a large portion of their valuable molecules. Everything literally goes up in smoke.
Some studies have shown that burning causes 75% of these beneficial active ingredients and flavors to be wasted. In other words, with the method of vaporization, you can potentially extract a much more significant portion of these valuable elements.
In conclusion, vaping is the healthier alternative and the more efficient one, especially when we consider the fact that after the process of vaporizing, the dry herbs are still physically at your disposal.
Seasoned vapers know all too well that AVB(already vaped bud) can be used again as edibles.
Dry Herb Vapes or E-liquid Vapes?
Yes, both are called "Vapes," but they are not to be confused since these two types of devices are profoundly different.
E-liquid or e-juice vapes are used for the purpose of vaporizing a liquid that consists mainly of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin mixed with artificial flavorings and nicotine.
As you can probably guess from the list of ingredients, these liquids are a mixture of chemicals concocted to produce large amounts of vapor clouds, mainly mixed with nicotine and artificial flavors, which can potentially make them highly addictive.
The e-liquid vapes are also referred to as e-cigarettes because they are marketed as tools that help quit smoking cigarettes. They offer an alternative method for administering nicotine, yes, but the jury is still out on whether this method is better or healthier.
Dry herb vape
Dry Herb Vapes make no such claim. They are designed to extract organic compounds from the plants themselves in their natural form or from the wax-like substances made from these plants.
To put it into simple terms, dry herb vaporizers are devices with miniature ovens that heat up dried plant matter to an optimal temperature to release flavors and compounds without burning them.
Types of dry herb vaporizers
We can differentiate three major categories when it comes to dry herb vapes.
Portable Dry Herb Vaporizers
This category is represented by battery-operated vapes that are small enough to be used virtually anywhere. The portable dry herb vaping market space is the largest when it comes to variety, and the reason for that is simply that the demand is the biggest for these types of devices.
These are the larger and more expensive counterparts of portable vapes. These devices work on the same basic principles but are more spacious and powerful units that require access to an electrical outlet.
Analog (non-electric) Vaporizers
These gadgets are not electric powered, and hence they require an external heat source, usually a torch lighter.
The analog vape is closer in how it functions to a pipe, with the significant difference being that the contents of the heating chamber are being shielded from direct contact with flames. The most considerable disadvantage of these vapes is the lack of temperature control.
What do you need to start dry herb vaping?
To better understand what substances can be vaporized and what tools and accessories one needs to start vaporizing, let's go over some basic terms.
The most commonly used dry herb for recreational and medicinal purposes is the cannabis plant because of its high concentration of THC and CBD compounds.
THC is mainly sourced from marijuana. It is known as a psychoactive compound associated with the feeling of being "high." Simultaneously, CBD is typically sourced from hemp and non-psychoactive; some studies have shown that it can potentially have many medicinal properties.
Other herbs can be vaped just as well, and here are some examples: tobacco, ginseng, lavender, eucalyptus, basil, lemon balm, kava mint, peppermint, hops, raspberry leaf, thyme, etc.
Wax is a potent marijuana concentrate extracted from the cannabis plant using butane as a solvent. Hash oil, shatter, budder, and crumble are alternative names for wax --- these terms all refer to a specific type of solidified oil with varying viscosity and color.
Wax has become a hugely popular form of cannabis consumption - and for a good reason. It is easy to use, clean and lightweight, while also offering an incredibly potent 'high.'
A herb grinder is a small grinder, often made of metal and with sharp teeth-like blades designed for grinding herbs. Grinders are used to pulverize dried herbs before vaporizing or smoking them.
Herb grinders are becoming increasingly popular accessories for vaporizers and may also be used for spices and other substances.
Herb grinders vary in material, shape, and color. While they differ considerably in appearance, herb grinders all have one purpose--to break down the roughage contained in dried herbs into smaller chunks.
Accessories are usually non-essential extras, but some of them can significantly enhance your experience depending on your usage pattern and preferences. An accessory can be a stylish smell-proof protective case for your vape or a water bong extension to make the vapor taste even smoother; it can be a replacement battery for the road or a wireless power bank, a unique mouthpiece, or a micro-dosing capsule.
Each and every dry herb vaporizer can be accessorized in its own way, and it is only up to you to decide which of these tools are useful to you personally.
Cleaning and Packing Tools
Given the fact that vapes are used with natural plant matter or waxes and oils, they require regular cleaning, especially around the parts where air needs to flow freely through the air paths of the unit.
Since these devices use heat to extract essential compounds, residue will build up with time in certain parts around the herb chamber, which needs to be removed.
The cleaning tools are typically included in the kit with the vapes, and they consist of small brushes, cotton swabs. The kit may also contain replacement parts like screens and gaskets along with small utensils to help with stirring, loading, or emptying the chamber.
How to choose the right vaporizer?
If you are new to the world of dry herb vaping, choosing the right one to buy can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially since there's an enormous assortment of brands to choose from.
To make this task a bit easier for you, we decided to break it down into four main aspects you should consider to narrow the search successfully.
The first thing you should take into account is your budget, specifically the limits of it. When buying a dry herb vape, you will find the prices to range from as low as $50 all the way up to $500. Or course, the highest price tags are on the desktop vaporizers, but even some portable vapes can circle the $300 mark.
As soon as we know how far we can stretch our vaporizer budget, it is a good time to narrow down our usage pattern and preference before we return to the price tags.
Frequency of usage
To better understand which vaporizer is the best fit for you, you should approximate how often you will be vaping. For the occasional or weekend vaper who prefers shorter sessions, a smaller, more straightforward device might suffice. Still, for someone who is vaping on a daily basis, more significant amounts of herbs will most likely be better off with a more advanced machine that features a powerful battery and a bigger bowl.
This aspect also has to do mainly with your personal pattern of usage. The majority of vaporizers that are being sold worldwide are portable ones for the apparent reason that you can take them anywhere. Even most people who vape in the comfort of their own home choose to go with portable vapes because they're more affordable and easy to use; however they're batteries need to be charged, and they are limited in bowl size.
Portable vaporizers can also vary in size by considerable percentages, so when choosing a portable vaporizer, make sure you know if that particular vape is pocket-size or closer to a half-brick.
Vaping solo or sharing
Vaping can also be enjoyed as a social event, and if that is the case, you should consider looking into a desktop vaporizer. When it comes to large amounts of herbs shared by many people for an extended period of time, portable vapes simply cannot compete.
Other things to consider
- The quality of materials used to build the vape
This is an important one. Considering that the higher quality materials are used to build a vaporizer, the greater the quality and purity of vapor you will inhale. Grossly underpriced vapes might contain materials that slowly dissolve or even melt under intense temperature, which can be dangerous to your health.
- The heating technology
When it comes to heating, there are two types of heating systems currently used in dry herb vapes: conduction and convection heating.
Conduction works by heating up the chamber itself; that heat radiates through the chamber's contents, thus facilitating the vaporization.
Convection heating works by moving hot air through the chamber, which cannot cook the herbs when no air is being drawn.
- The warranty that backs up a product
The warranty period says a lot about how much trust a company has in their product, so don't forget to check for that before buying.
Tips and tricks for your first vaping session.
- Perform a burn-off. This means setting the vape to the highest temperature and finishing 3-4 cycles with an empty chamber to sterilize it and get rid of any possible residue or unsavory taste from the packaging. This is just a safety precaution.
- Clean the vapor path: by running the pipe cleaner or cotton swab through the vapor path.
- Clean the mouthpiece: Remove, soak in alcohol, wipe, rinse and dry. If you have any other non-electronic pieces that are removable, you can utilize this same process.
- Replace the bag: If you're using a desktop vaporizer, replace the bag when it gets discolored or sticky from the cannabis resin.
- Grind your herbs to an even texture.
- Load the chamber with ground herb by using the packing tool, scoop, etc. (try to pack it not too loose and not overly tight for the best air movement)
- Turn on the device and start experimenting with the temperature settings from low to high. Notice the difference in vapor quality and flavor as the temperature gets higher. Finding the ideal temperature can take a bit of time, and it might differ depending on the herb's strain.
- If you experience coughing, try to reduce the temperature and inhale smaller amounts at a time. First-time vapers often experience coughing, but with time and practice, it will go away.