What Happens When You Vaporize Dry Herbs?

July 02, 2020

dry herb vaporizer with dried marijuana

Vaping dry herb is a great experience – just take a look at the exponentially increasing popularity in the past few years alone as a testament to its enjoyment. Until recently, the only real way to consume dry herbs was to smoke them (and there are plenty to choose from).

Recently, people decided to go out onto a limb and try vaporizing dry herbs. It is not only tastier, more convenient, and extremely discreet but there are also health benefits associated with vapor that one doesn’t get with smoking. Namely, the smell and health risks alone have made vaping a preferred alternative to smoking. Add onto that the fact that it is more convenient and discreet and vaping is a winning combo. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that vaping is safe and inexpensive to begin enjoying. Vape pens, while not necessarily indestructible, are sturdy and can fit in a pocket at the same time. They are easier to clean and do not require a flame either. All told, if someone is curious about vaping they are certainly doing themselves a disservice by not at least trying it to see if they prefer it over smoking dry herbs.

Quick Breakdown – a quick numbered breakdown

  1. A heating chamber will begin to heat up making the air in the chamber warmer
  2. At a certain temperature, the air will begin to heat to the point that it is vaporizing the herb in the chamber
  3. The vapor will then begin to collect and be sucked out of the mouthpiece by the vaper

The Heating Process

The main two processes of the heating process are combustion and convection. Combustion is going to actually produce smoke and is sort of a middle ground between vaping and smoking. Combustion relies on physically heating and burning the herb inside the chamber rather than relying on the air. The smoke it produces is usually milder than other forms of smoking, however, it is still smoke and harsher than all forms of vaping.

Convection is going to do just the opposite – it is going to heat the air and circulate it around the herb until it reaches a temperature where it simply begins to vaporize. Convection vapes, like the E-Clipse Vaporizer, are in this sense, ‘true’ vapes and do not burn dry herb at all. So, if someone is trying to purchase a vape that is going to prevent them from continuing to smoke herb they should choose a convection vape. 

In general, with both kinds of heating process, it is going to be best to make sure that the herb used is well ground. Chunky or clumpy herb is simply going to cause a lot of problems. First of all, without even heating (especially in convection), there will be uneven burning or vaporization and this will result in an unpleasant experience. As the herb begins to burn/vaporize unevenly it will begin to make a greater mess and leave behind more residue. Not to mention that the vaper is going to have to continuously move around the herb and readjust it so that all of it can burn completely.

Do remember that one of the benefits of certain vapes is that there will be temperature control. This allows the vaper to control some of the harshness and heat they feel when they take a big hit from the vape. Unlike other forms of consuming the dry herb, where the smoker is having to simply reduce their intake to reduce the ‘burn’ of the hit, a vape can be hit for longer at a lower, smoother temperature to make the process smoother and more enjoyable. 

The Breakdown of the Dry Herbs

Vaping is a more thorough process of consuming dry herbs. When smoking, dry herb is simply burned to ashes rather quickly. This also leads to a lot of residue and, eventually, resin buildup. Vaping is not quite the same. First of all, vaping makes dry herb brown. The dry herb will continue to brown as the vaping process continues but that might be after a few good hits. This is a much cleaner process and will essentially leave the dry herb having turned to dust (a light, brown dust).

This doesn’t mean that a vape pen doesn’t need to be cleaned, however, on the contrary, vape pens might be more requiring of regular maintenance. This isn’t because they’re messier but rather because they’re more intricate than a normal smoking piece (even combustion vapes like the AGO Vaporizer). The heating chambers rely more on the free flow and circulation of air so make sure to take care to regularly clean the vape pens (perhaps more than would be necessary of a smoking piece).

If properly maintained, this lack of instant burning means that the taste of a vape is lighter, smoother, and in essence better. It also makes the vape pen healthier to the smoking pipe.

5 Key Tips For Vaporizing Dry Herbs

  1. Probably one of the most important things to remember is to grind the herb so that the airflow is good and there are no clogs, clumps, or vaping issues.
  2. Make sure that the chamber is packed properly but avoid packing it too tight. Remember – the most important thing about vaping is going to be airflow
  3. Make sure that the mouthpiece is enough to prevent overheating of a hit. If not, try looking for rubber extenders to allow a little more distance
  4. Before buying extenders, however, make sure that the temperature is not up too high. Start lower and work up towards higher temps to avoid overheating the vape as well as burning herb
  5. Make sure that maintenance is performed regularly. A vape is not going to work if it is clogged or it will be less enjoyable if the airflow is not enough.

Vaping Dry Herbs vs Smoking Dry Herbs

Remember that vaping IS NOT smoking. The two are not comparable. The closest they come is because of the fact that herb is inhaled, otherwise, they couldn’t be further from each other. That being said, vaping is not actually burning the herb. Instead, the herb is heated with extremely hot air to turn it into brown dust while still being enjoyable enough to inhale. More enjoyable than smoking, as a matter of fact. Smoking will actually burn the hydrocarbons inside the herb and is much harsher as a result. To compare smoking and vaping is to compare apples and oranges in terms of taste, health, and overall convenience and discretion.

Best Temperature for Vaping Dry Herbs

Frankly, there is not exactly an exact science to this simply because it depends so much on the person. Basically, the thing that needs to be remembered is that if there is too much heat then the vape is not vaping and will instead burn the herb. Doing that is going to lead to bad flavors (for that hit and future hits), bad health, and can even damage the vape. It is best to start at a lower temperature and instead work up towards the higher temperatures. This will also depend on the type of herb and can vary bud to bud even.

Remember that personal preferences on temperature will also vary because of a ‘feel’. Some folks like a hotter, harsher hit due to the heat and the feel of the ‘burn’. Others vape precisely to avoid that feeling. Depending on what kind of vaper someone turns out to be, it may change the optimal temperature for them to use their vape at. Too low of a temperature is not going to cause any real damage to the vape or the herb. If anything, it will just ‘burn’ time waiting for the herb to heat to a proper temperature and to begin the vaporization process. At the end of the day, remember to start low and work up towards higher levels for the best results regardless of vape pen or type of herb.




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