What Happens When you Vape Dry Herbs?

Dry herbs have been a classic and favorite option for smokers for years, and there are tons of different kinds to choose from. Historically, the most practical and effective way to consume dry herbs was through a smoking pipe or bong-type device. Over time, studies have shown that consuming herbs in this way consistently is actually not very safe due to the byproducts created when the herbs undergo combustion at the temperature a standard lighter creates. As this process has been studied more in recent years, it is being repeatedly shown that vaporizing dry herbs provides a more suitable temperature and heating environment that promotes not only a safer smoking experience but a more potent one as well.

Enter dry herb vaporizers. These handy devices are perfect for helping to burn the dry herb at a higher temperature that is perfect for creating less harmful debris as well as burning more of the terpenes and THC that are missed with butane lighters. Dry herbs contain a variety of high-inducing chemicals other than THC that many people don’t know about, and that dry herb vaporizers have figured out.

What Happens When You Vaporize Dry Herbs

Quick Vaporizer Breakdown

Vaporizers are very easy to use, and the steps involved in their function include:

  • The heating chamber starts to heat up from the coils, which heats the air in the chamber.
  • The hot air travels through the chamber and hits the dry herbs, but the herbs do not come in contact with the heating element.
  • The hot air roasts the herb and releases the aromas and vapor.
  • There are convection and conduction setups (direct and non-direct contact with heating element).

How to Heat Dry Herbs in a Vaporizer?

Vaporizers can use low temperature combustion or convection to heat materials. Conduction, by definition refers to the transfer of thermal energy through direct contact with a substance or material." The lower the temperature, the the lower the amount of unhealthy carcinogens in the resulting smoke, which can be very unhealthy to your lungs. A low combustion vaporizer attempts to reduce these effects and provide a cleaner and more taste and potency focused smoking session. These types of units use lower temperatures to transfer the heat by having the material come in direct contact with the heating element. It is a healthier alternative to smoking, but the direct contact combustion still results in some mildly harmful byproducts. Many will argue that low combustion it is not a vaporizer at all and that only convection systems can truly be called vaporizers. The truth is, there are vaporizers that utilize both convection and conduction, and it really just depends on your preferences when it comes to choosing between the two. They both provide great, but different experiences.

Convection vaporizers never allow the material to come in contact with the heating element. These systems employ many methods to insulate the material, regulate temperature control, or elevate the material above the heat element to avoid combustion. Low temperature combustion vaporizers can also be modified using screens and filters to help more effectively burn the herb. It’s a less expensive system, but certainly not nearly as effective or convenient as a convection system. Convection by definition means; "the transfer of thermal energy through a liquid or gas." Convection is when you use air to heat the herb to the right temperature instead of through direct contact. You can get pens like the AtmosRx and Yocan pens to vape through convection by suspending your dry herb above the heating coil (with a brass or metal mesh screen).

Dry Herbs vs Vaped Dry Herbs

The Breakdown of the Herbs

When vaporizing dry herb with convection, the herbs breakdown slowly from the vaping rather than being burnt quickly down to ash. Vaped herbs using this method will turn brown and if you really hit your vape pen hard it will essentially turn to brown dust.  This method helps to capture the full flavor profile as well as provides a stronger and more potent hit. Vaporizing dry herbs is probably the best way to get the most out of your precious collection of dry herbs, and will help you really experience the effects they became known for.

What are Tips for Vaporizing Dry Herbs?

Vaporizing dry herbs is a more clean and efficient way to consume dry herbs. If you are thinking of switching over, we have provided some tips that will help make your first dry herb vaporizer experience perfect!

  1. Make sure to use a grinder to break up the herb for airflow throughout the hit.
  2. Pack it in but don’t pack too tight.
  3. Use rubber extension sleeves if your mouthpiece gets hot from the heating element.
  4. Start at low temperature settings and work your way up to find the most ideal temperature and avoid wasting any product.
  5. Clean or change a screen in the mouthpiece if it becomes difficult to take a pull from vape.
Dry Herb Vape vs Smoking Pipe

What's the Difference Between Vaping and Smoking?

Cancer-causing elements from smoking are caused by the process of combustion. The smoke forms a sticky chemical called tar, and this tar coats delicate parts of the lungs. Over the course of multiple years, the damage created by tar in the lungs can lead to tumor growth. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), most of the cancer-causing substances in smoke are in the tar from the simple combustion process. Tar also causes damage that can lead to lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. Vaporizing dry herbs simply is more healthy for your body, and helps to minimize the chances of your lungs being adversely affected while maximizing the ability for your body to only come in contact with organic and natural substances.

E-cigarettes don’t produce tar, because they don’t burn dry herbs at low temperatures nor do they burn harmful substances such a tobacco. There are known carcinogens in vapor, but they are in tiny concentrations that are unlikely to pose any risk to vapers.

Temperature Control on Dry Herb Vape

What's The Best Temperature for Vaping Dry Herbs

What’s the best temperature for vaping dry herbs? Aside from the recommended guidelines, the answer to this question really comes down to your preferences. Chances are, your vaporizer manual recommends a range between 392° and 380°F (200° - 250°C).

What’s behind that guideline? The better question might be, what temperature is best for you? 

Different chemicals within dry herbs vaporize at different temperatures. You’ll miss the high if the temperature is too low, and you produce unwanted elements when you burn too hot as well as lose out some of the best terpenes. The guideline temperature debates a range based on some assumptions:

  • How moist, dry, or fine your grind is.
  • The sort of hits you enjoy.
  • The type of vaporizer you use.

Research shows that if you are inhaling terpenes at low temperatures, you will experience a milder high. On the other hand, higher temperatures produce more potent THC effects. Temperatures above 455°F (235°C) will burn harshly, showing that the lower temperatures are safer than the higher numbers and also more effective. All of these chemicals have their own unique boiling points, and hence require a more precise heating source that simple butane lighters simply cannot provide. Getting the true experience out of each strain you smoke requires the activation of all of these chemicals, and only dry herb vaporizers can provide this detail and accuracy.

If this sounds confusing, you should know that there is an optimal temperature for each of the major cannabinoids and terpenoids. Without going into that, you must remember that vaporizers bring the marijuana to a “boil” where the cannabinoids evaporate leaving behind the plant debris. This shows that it is important to experiment with your device and your favorite strains to find your personal sweet spot.

What Temperature is Best for You?

What Vape Temperature is Best For You?

This really just depends on your personal tastes and expectations. The general temperature guidelines for vaporizing dry herb fall in the following ranges:

  • 320°F = Mellow feel-good high: You get the deep refreshment and flavor, as well as the relaxation and spicy notes of your strain.
  • 365°F = Intense energetic high: As you start vaping more of the chemicals, your THC high will be noticeably more potent. If your strain has lots of THC, the intensity will balance into a lasting cerebral euphoria.
  • 428°F = Deep body relaxation high: CBD and linalool knock you back, inducing the best qualities of your strain.

When you come right down to it, if you are vaping, you will find your own best temperature. It will be a trial and error “journey.” One smoker likes this strain or that strain. Another smoker prefers THC to CBD high or vice versa. It’s pretty much the same with vaping. If you are new to it, you can talk to friends or check with your budtender.

But, if you invest in a quality vaporizer with a temperature control feature, you should be able to narrow in on the temperature best for the device, the strain, the smoke, and the effect.

This is a different experience than smoking a joint and, perhaps, a more effective experience for those seeking a clean high, have health problems, or are getting off of cigarettes. For starters, the smoke from simple combustion from using joint or bong contains toxic elements like ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, naphthalene, and tar. Vaping improves the experience because it does not produce these same harmful chemicals while also more efficiently burning the cannabinoids and terpenes.

What’s the Bottom Line?

There are a variety of dry herb vaporizers to choose from that can deliver an amazing vaping experience regardless of your skill level. From the pen-style Titan dry herb vapes to the more custom e-clipse vaporizer.

Dry herb vapes usually use two different methods for heating up your flower, and it’s important to note what the best temperature ranges are and what temp range causes combustion.

Lastly, just because you don’t see visible vapor coming from your vaporizer, doesn’t mean it isn’t working. Gain practice with it and you are sure to get much enjoyment out it.

Well, there you have it. These tips are what you can expect out of using a dry herb vaporizer.

Products Related to Blog

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Related Blog Posts

Does Vaping Dry Herbs Smell?

How to use a Dry Herb Vaporizer

What Does Vape Mean?

What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?

What is the Point of a Vape?

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