Dry Herb Vaping 101

So you’ve heard that vaping your cannabis is better for you? The marijuana accessories revolution has landed, and dry herb vaping technology is at the center. When we smoke, we are combusting plant material that creates carbon compounds that you’re breathing in. Think of the brown substance that collects on our glass pieces after several uses. An intricate glass piece with a variety of air and water chambers may filter some of that out for a smoother smoke. Still, you’re probably only getting a fraction of the cannabinoids, the psychoactive ingredients that create the euphoric experience you’re seeking. When you light the flower on fire to inhale it, you are inherently destroying a portion of it.

Vaporizing your material retains the integrity and intent of your carefully selected strain by applying direct heat to the material that steams the cannabinoids into a vapor. This method is a more efficient delivery, while also removing some of the harmful effects and irritation of smoke inhalation. Vaporizing flower is also the way to get the most flavorful experience, because you aren’t damaging the delicate terpenes of your favorite fragrant strain.

When you vape cannabis for the first time, be careful of over-estimating the clean vapor. You’ll draw on the vaporizer and perhaps you’ll feel like you’re not getting anything at all. It’s that smooth! But by the time you’ve got enough to trigger a cough, it will be quite hot and could burn your throat.

Use a grinder for the flower that you put in a vaporizer. Unlike combustion, which burns right through the plant, you’ll want more surface area of the material to be exposed to release the the vaporized cannabinoids. Depending on the size of the oven on your device, you may start to smell a popcorn-like scent.Open your device and give the material a stir, then re-heat. Once you are done, you’ll be left with used waste to dispose of. I’ve even heard that some people will put their used vapor material in their pipes or bongs and smoke it after. I strongly recommend against this! The smell, taste, and harsh smoke is offensive, and you’ve likely already spent the THC.

Similar to cell phones, there are a variety of features to choose from in a vaporizer.

Handheld vs. desktop

Desktop devices offer a great experience for those who like to stay home to enjoy cannabis. These plug directly into the wall, so there’s no charging to worry about. They also have a large capacity. The “whip-style” comes with a tube to draw out the vapor directly as you breath in. A “balloon” or “forced air style” has a fan inside, such as the classic Volcano, will blow the vapor into a whip or a balloon to draw from, so that you don’t have to pull so hard with your lungs and mouth. You can also purchase attachments that connect the whip to a water pipe for additional filtering and cooling.

Handheld portable devices have a lot more flexibility. This is a quickly expanding category of devices as regulations expand to allow enjoyment of cannabis in more places. These pieces are small enough to fit in a pocket or a small bag, great for a day at the beach, a festival, or wherever your day takes you. Take note of battery life, charging options, and heat up time.

Both portable and desktop are now being offered with accessories that allow them to work with both flower and concentrates.

Temperature control

 Most desktops have a way to control the temperature of the heating element. More sophisticated portable devices have this feature as well. Temperature varies with preference and taste. For example, perhaps you prefer to start lower and enjoy the flavor, then add more heat to draw out more vapor. A few devices, such as the PAX 3 and the Firefly, even have a smartphone app that allows you to store temperature settings.

Ceramic, Glass, Steel

The material that the components are made can have an effect on taste. Steel pieces may affect the delicate flavors of your flower vapor. Additionally, there are concerns about adverse effects from breathing in some elements in the heated steel. Glass or ceramic air paths are recommended.


 Heat is created through conduction (applying direct heart) or convection (blowing hot air through). Convection is ideal in order to spread the heat through the oven evenly instead of from the outside in.

Take some time to visit your local head shop to take a look at their variety of vaporizers. If you’re going for portable, you’ll want to hold it in your hand and feel the comfort and weight of it before you decide to buy. Look at how many pieces come apart so you can see if it will be easy to clean. Be sure to explain whether you are looking for something to use only with flower, or if you want additional accessories for concentrates.

Dry herb vaporizers are available for a very wide variety of budgets. The most affordable handheld devices like a G Pro or a K-Vape, or a desktop such as an Easy Vape Digital start between $50- $100. When you start adding some of the features described above, you can expect to pay increasingly more. VapeXhale offers a desktop base with a variety of attachments available to customize your experience to your liking, from $320-$500. A mid-range handheld with adjustable temperature control, such as Vapir’s Prima, will set you back $100-$250. Higher-end handhelds like Firefly 2 or PAX 3 run upwards of $275-$325+.

Whichever device suits you, you’ll be sure to start having a smoother, richer inhalation experience as you delve into the world of vaping.

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