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Mary’s tips: Dry Herb Vaping for Beginners

Are you playing with the thoughts of getting your first dry herb vaporizer? You have come to the right place! The market is extremely saturated and can be overwhelming to pick out your first device, not even mention other things you need to know about. 

You might be asking questions like

How do you pick the best vape for your needs?

What are the different vaporizers?

What kind of dry herbs should you get?

Are vaporizers better than e-cigarettes?

In this article, I will guide you through the process of getting into dry herb vaping, and try to answer these questions as well.

What is a dry herb vaporizer and how does it work?

A dry herb vaporizer is an electronic device, that heats your plant material to the point where the active compounds can be released and inhaled. It does so without burning (combustion) the substance, so you won’t get nasty carcinogens in your lungs. Dry herb vaporizes the main role is to extricate beneficial active ingredients of the herb. 

Why is it good to have a vaporizer?

When you are smoking instead of vaping, by-products of burning can be inhaled with the smoke, which can be potentially harmful to you. Vaporizers operate at a much lower temperature than cigarettes, so you only inhale the desired compounds. 

Burning pretty much destroys the herbs. The herb is turning into ash and smoke, not even mention that the useful chemical compounds that we are longing for, are also wasted this way.  You need carefully controlled heat (which is what an electronic dry herb vaporizer does) to efficiently extract the active ingredients that dry herb is infused with. 

Dry herb Vapes VS E-liquid vapes

They are both called vaporizers, but there is a fundamental difference. 

Dry herb vapes designed to be used with, natural, raw herbs. Some dry herb vapes also work with wax-like substances, which is also the natural extraction of the plant. With their tiny oven, dry herb vapes heat up the substance to the right temperature where terpenes, flavors, and compounds are released. 

E-juice or e-liquid vaporizers work with liquid that is mainly made of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin infused with artificial flavors and concentrated plant cannabinoids or nicotine. (CBD, THC) The disadvantage of these vapes that the liquid they work with can be mixed with all kinds of stuff that you might not even know. It is hard to tell which one is a quality product, that not gonna cause side effects in a long run. 

Obviously, with both categories, we need to keep in mind that vaping is a fairly new trend in this form, and with the potential health benefits there are potential side effects as well, that we can’t really know at this point. So always be responsible and do your research. 

The main kinds of dry herb vaporizers

There are three major categories, that we have to mention when we are talking about dry herb vaporizers

Portable Dry Herb Vaporizers: portable dry herb vapes mostly battery-operated, which allows them to be able to used basically anywhere. You can slip them into your pocket and enjoy a nice puff on the go. The market of these vapes is huge, there are plenty to pick from. This has mostly turned out this way because of the high demand for these types of devices. 

Analog (non-electric) Vaporizers: Analog vapes are also portable most of the time, but it is kinda a hustle to use them. The reason for that is because instead of a battery, they operate with an external heat source, like a torch lighter. Looking at the way it functions, an analog vape is closer to a pipe. However, the heating chamber is closed and shields the content from direct flame or heat. It uses a conduction heating method and there isn’t too much room for temperature control. 

Desktop Vaporizers:

Desktop vapes work on the same principles as portable dry herb vapes, only they are bigger, the allow even more sophisticated temp control. They are also more expensive and they need an electrical outlet. They are great for large vaping sessions. 

convection VS conduction
convection VS conduction

Read Mary’s full guide to dry herb vaping

Essentials you need to start dry herb vaping

When you start planning to get into dry herb vaping, there are few essentials you need to get your hands on. Here is a shortlist of the most important things. 

Herb

Dry herbs that are most commonly used in a dry herb vaporizer are marijuana and hemp. The cannabis plant is used for medicinal and recreational purposes. It contains a high amount of THC or CBD, the two most recognized and studied cannabinoids. CBD is legal on a federal level and it has to be hemp-derived to contain less than 0.3% THC. High THC strains are marijuana strains and legality varies in different states and countries. But in most places the recreational use of marijuana is illegal. CBD is good for relaxation and pain management without altering your mind. THC may medicinal benefits but it is also psychoactive. Besides the cannabis plant, there is plenty of legal herbs that you can vaporize. Just mention a few: ginseng, ginseng, tobacco, eucalyptus, basil, lavender, lemon balm, kava mint, peppermint, thyme, etc. 

Wax

Has become a popular cannabis concentrate, because it is clean, lightweight, easy to use, and super-high potency. It can have many names: Hash oil, shatter, budder, and crumble, depending on the texture of the solidified oil. Wax is extracted from hemp or marijuana using butane as a solvent. 

Grinder

Herb grinder is a small device with “teeth” mostly made of metal, and it is used to break your herb buds down into small pieces. A grinder is a little magic weapon that makes your life so much easier. Vaporizers require small pieces of the plant material, in order to be able to evenly cook the herb and deliver the best experience. Herb grinders also can be used for spices and other substances. The material, the color, and the shape of a grinder vary, but we recommend doing your research to make sure you get good quality. You don’t want the grinder to shred itself and add extra particles to your natural herb. 

Accessories

However accessories are not entirely essential they significantly enhance your vaping experience, or just make your life easier. Like a smell-proof case for your vape, it’s a nice addition. It stores your vaporizer, doesn’t let the smell out, and protects the vape from dirt or dust, especially the mouthpiece. There are portable charging docks or replacement batteries so your vape is always ready to roll. Water bong extensions make the vapor tastier and smoother, and the list could go on. You can personalize your vaporizer with a stylish mouthpiece. 

Cleaning and packing tools

Vaporizers and used with natural plant matter, so they require regular cleaning. Evaporated cannabinoids, oil, and waxes leave a sticky residue in the chamber and the mouthpiece, which can build up over time. You can scrub that away with a tiny brush that usually comes in a package with a vape, including other supplies, like cotton swabs. A packing tool cab also comes in the package that is useful for loading and stirring the content of the chamber. 

How to Choose the right Vaporizer?

Vape buying guide
Vape buying guide

It appears that the more research you do about vaporizers, the more equation comes up. The main one is though: What to consider when buying a vaporizer? 

There are so many options that you can choose from, it can get pretty overwhelming. However, if we break it down, we can see that there are really 4 main aspects that you need to exam closer. 

Price range

Everyone’s budget is different, and portable vaporizers can start as low as $50 and can go all the way up to $300. (The big desktop vapes easily can hit the $500 mark.) Whatever your budget is, you can find quality vapes for sure in that range, but once you have the amount of money you willing to spend you can look further into the other aspects. 

Frequency of usage 

This is fairly easy if you break it down. If you are someone who vapes occasionally, or just on the weekends, you will be pleased with a simpler, more straightforward design. If you use it on a daily basis, maybe it is comfortable for you to look for the more advanced and vapes, with bigger bowls and a more powerful battery. 

Portability 

This kind of comes hand in hand with our previous point. If you are using your vaporizer occasionally and mostly at home, it maybe doesn’t matter to you if the device is not pocket-sized. However, if you are using it several times a day you probably need a stronger batter, while the device itself sleek, easy to carry around, and discrete. 

Vaping by yourself or sharing

Vaping can be a social event. You get together with your friends, talk, and laugh or watch a movie and you enjoy your vaporizer altogether. For these kinds of events, you will need a powerful desktop vaporizer, with a bigger bowl size that will work for an extended period of time. (Longer sessions). Portable devices unfortunately can’t really compete in this situation. 

Note: The quality of materials used to build the vape is important. Underpriced portable dry herb vapes can be built from materials that can’t handle the heat, and dissolve or melt. This can cause serious health issues.

Let’s start you first vaping session

Burn off: This is just for safety reasons but it is good to start your vaporizer fresh out of the box with a burn-off session. Set the vape to the highest temp and do a few cycles with an empty chamber to sterilize the device. After you are done clean the vapor path with a cotton swab, and also clean the mouthpiece with rubbing alcohol. 

Grinding and packing: Grind your herb well but not into dust. Vaporizers work well with evenly grind substances. When the herb is ready, load the chamber, pack it well but not too tight, to allow airflow to path through. 

Turn on the device: When your vape is on you constantly experimenting with temperature. You will notice a difference in taste and the amount of vapor as you are changing the temperature. Find the point when you are satisfied. If your herb tastes too harsh or experiencing coughing, start from a lower temp. 

Be patient and give time to yourself to find the best settings and vape away 🙂

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Mary’s guide: Your new best friends, portable dry herb vaporizers

Every day more and more people want to make a change. Whether you just want to up-level your wellness game, or trying to quit smoking, picking up a vaporizer can be a good option for you. 

But hey guys, I know…. Starting can be intimidating, just like everything in life that is new to us. Well, dry herb vaporizing is not rocket science, but it does require some knowledge. I put this little guide together to help you get started, and to just be able to choose from the many vaporizers on the market.

What is a dry herb vaporizer?

Dry herb vaporizers, loose-leaf, or weed vaporizers are all the same thing. They are electronic devices, that heat up the substance to the point where the active compounds and natural ingredients turn into vapor. We use the cannabis plant or other herbs in their most natural form, without any added chemicals.

How vaporizing is different than smoking?

Vapor requires a way lower temperature than smoking. Vaping devices have the highest temperature around 445°F, while the combusted substance during smoking can reach 1652 °F. When you are combusting there are byproducts produced such as chemical ingredients or carcinogens, that can be extremely harmful. When you vaporize, you won’t get to the burning point, and you are just inhaling vapor instead of smoke. Vapor is infused with natural compounds, that have plenty of health benefits. Also, the vapor is way easier on your lungs, even top athletes vaporize without compromising their performance. If you feel like reading more about how vaporizing affects your health click here.


The different kind of vaporizers

There are 2 main groups that we can talk about. There are dry herb and liquid or concentrate vaporizers.  

From dry herb vapes, we differentiate portable and desktop vaporizers. Desktop vapes are big ones with high efficiency and great performance, but they need to be connected to the main power, so you only can use them at the comfort of your home. 

Portable dry herb vapes can be battery or butane-powered. Vapes without batteries are usually called pipes. They can deliver a great vapor, however, they also can be a bit of a hustle. You need a string torch lighter and you need to hold the end of the pipe into the open fire to get it hot enough to produce vapor, When you are just starting you might don’t want to deal with that. So battery-powered vape can be great on the go. They come in all kinds of sizes and shapes, they are cool, technologically advanced devices. 

Vape pens are simpler devices than dry herb vapes. Usually, they have 1- 3 temperature settings. They can be small and portable since the coil inside, that delivers the heat is tiny and powerful. E-juices or e-liquids have a purpose to deliver a concentrated amount of nicotine, CBD, or THC. Eliquids can come in a lot of different strengths and flavors.

How does a dry herb vaporizer work?

Conduction or Convection heating: Dry herb vapes work with 2 heating methods. Pure convection vaporizers use hot air, that circulates around your herb, gradually and evenly heating it until the cannabinoids evaporate. In a conduction vape the herb directly in contact with the wall of the chamber and releases cannabinoids when it reaches the right temperature. Conduction heating can easily cause combustion and burn your substance if you set the temperature too high. 

Cannabinoids and their vaping temps

Session or on-demand vaporizers: Session vapes usually have a preset session time. During this time the vaporizer reaches the required temperature and keeps that temp until it shots off. You want to take as many draws as you can since the herb won’t stop cooking until the vaporizer shots off. One load of the chamber is enough for one session. During on-demand mode you press a button until the herb reaches the right temp, you take a draw, and the device cools back down. Between draws, it doesn’t cook the herb. That allows you to use one load of chamber throughout an extended period of time. On-demand vapes are designed to heat up or cool down quickly.

Using your vaporizer: You can pack your nicely ground herb in the chamber. Close the vape and turn it on. Start your session at a lower temperature. Marijuana vaporizes the best at 338°F – 410°F (170°C and 210°C). Once the device reaches the right temp, you inhale deeply and slowly. People believe that starting at a lower temp allows you the experience the full flavor of the herb. The best dry herb vapes produce a nice vapor cloud but don’t expect something similar, that you would see from a vape pen. It also hits lighter than cigarette smoke. With one load you usually able to take 5-10 hits before the dry herb is evenly cooked and ready to be replaced.

Herbs to vaporize

How to choose a vaporizer?

When you are trying to buy the best vaporizer for your needs, there are certain things you might want to consider. 

Price range: Dry herb vaporizer price range can be between $60 and $300-$400. You can find budget vapes but keep it in mind, low price sometimes goes hand in hand with low quality. You don’t want low quality, mostly because when a vape heats up, low-grade material, such as plastic can release toxins. You don’t need to go for the most expensive one either. When you first starting it’s good to pick something in the mid-range, and the more you are using it the more you will know about needs. Then later you can still upgrade. Aim for something that is made of quality material and has an okay price.  

How often do you want to use it: You might want to vape only a couple of times a week or occasionally. Or maybe you are replacing cigarettes and you vape several times a day. These are important because different vapes are saved differently, they have different battery life, they weigh different. Obviously, if you use it often on the go you want something lightweight, discreet, easy to use. If you just hit it once in a while at home you can be less specific about the specs mentioned above.

Where do you want to use it: This kinda goes with some things mentioned above. Using it on the go means you need something, quick, easy, and desecrate, that might slips right into your pocket. Using it mostly just home will allow you to compromise with size.

FAQ

Why are dry herb vaporizers so expensive?

Vaporizers are using advanced technology. They need to be built from quality materials that are not going to deflate byproducts during heating. So sometimes you need to pay the price for the quality. You can also save money in the long run, since you need little substance to get the same results, that you would get from smoking.

Do dry herb vaporizers smell?

Vapor doesn’t stick your clothes and hands like cigarette smoke would do. However, if you vaporize the cannabis plant, you can smell the herb from your vaporizer. You can fix that though with a smell proof case. Another tip: If you worry about the after-smell of vape just toss a gum into your mouth and you are good to go. 

Are dry herb vaporizers healthy?

There are several opinions on if it is healthy or not, but the fact is if you don’t combust, you won’t get the nasty chemicals, that you would get from smoking. Dry herb vapor is also infused with active, natural compounds and cannabinoids. Just make sure you get your herb from a reliable source. 

Does It Feel Different Using A Dry Herb Vaporizer Compared To Smoking?

Yes, it does. With smoking, you get a harsher taste, visible smoke, and the burnt scent tends to linger and stick to your fingers, clothes, etc. Vaping on a lower temp, you don’t combust your herb, just releasing cannabinoids, terpenes, natural oils. These are more flavorful and smell way less. Vapor is also not as visible as smoke.

How do you know when you have used all the dry herbs in a bowl? 

The herb is done when it starts to taste like burnt popcorn. You should also be able to see that the fresh, green material turned into a light brown, evenly cooked substance. If it is too dark, with a harsh smell, you have probably overdone it.

What’s the best way to clean a dry herb vaporizer?

Good quality dry herb vaporizers usually have removable pieces. A grade material, like ceramic, and steel can be soaked into rubbing alcohol. Soak the removable parts for 30 minutes to an hour, then remove them and let them completely air-dry. If your vaporizer has non-removable parts use a cotton swab. Dip it into rubbing alcohol then gently rub the pieces until they are clean. Let the alcohol evaporate and you are done. 

I hope I could provide you with some useful information, that will make it easier for you to pick your new portable dry herb vaporizer.