Herbal products can be eaten, rubbed on the skin, absorbed through the mucous membranes, and inhaled. Inhalation is one of the most popular approaches because it allows the active ingredients in the herbs to almost instantaneously hit the bloodstream in high concentrations. In order to inhale an herbal product, it has to be turned into a vapor. Traditional methods of vaporizing herbal products usually involve lighting them on fire, such as in a cigarette, joint, or pipe. However, the combustion products (the smoke) can be harsh on the throat and lungs, and expose the user to potentially harmful chemicals.
The bong, where combustion products are filtered through water, was invented to reduce irritation of the throat and lungs and remove some of the harmful chemicals from the smoke. However, bongs are bulky, awkward, and difficult to transport and use. Thus, the dry herb vaporizer was invented.
What is a dry herb vaporizer?
A dry herb vaporizer is an electric device intended to vaporize the herb without combusting it. The dry herb of choice is placed in a special chamber in the device. The electric power from a battery is used to heat the chamber in a highly controlled fashion, vaporizing the herb without catching it on fire. The user then inhales the vapors.
Types of dry herb vaporizers
All herb vaporizers on the market today use a rechargeable lithium battery to power the device. The main choices come down to the size of the vaporizer and the method of heating the herbs. Most vaporizers are intended for a single user and are small enough to fit into a pocket. Desktop vaporizers have a higher capacity, are larger and less portable, and are intended to be shared among a group of friends.
Two methods of heating the herbs are in use: convection and conduction. In convection, hot air is blown across the herbs to vaporize them. In conduction, coils are used to generate heat, which is usually transferred to the herb through a ceramic or metal surface. Both types work well, but there is a minor risk of herbs actually catching on fire in the conduction type if the herbs are in direct contact with a heating surface that becomes too hot.
Most vaporizers are specialized to use powdered, loose herbs. Some are designed to use a prefilled cartridge. A few multi-use types are available. These vaporizers can vaporize dry powders, waxy concentrates, and oils.
Pros of dry herb vaporizers
Dry herb vaporizers have many advantages over joints, pipes, and bongs:
- They are small and discrete and can be transported and used anywhere
- They do not emit strong odors into the local environment
- They do not expose the user to harsh, irritating, potentially toxic smoke
- They use less material than in a joint to get the same effect
- They have an instantaneous effect, allowing the user to control the dose precisely
- They have a better flavor
- They have no need for a lighter or matches
- They create no risk of accidentally starting a fire
Dry herb vaporizers may also be healthier than smoking a joint or pipe. All of the actual research on the health impact of smoking versus vaping has been conducted on tobacco, and thus it may not apply to other herbal products. However, most of the harm of smoking is caused by combustion products and the smoke itself, which are not produced by dry herb vaporizers.
Cons of dry herb vaporizers
Dry herb vaporizers do have a few cons:
- They cost more to purchase than pipes or rolling papers
- The battery needs to be charged, or they don't work
- Finding a high-quality vaporizer may take some work
- There is a learning curve about how to control the dose
How to use a dry herb vaporizer?
Dry herb vaporizers are quite easy to use. Charge them up before use. Make sure the dry herb is thoroughly ground into a fine powder. Unevenly sized chunks and large pieces will not vaporize evenly. Use a coffee or kitchen herb grinder to turn the product into a powder and then store it in an airtight container before use, preferably a non-plastic container. Plastic containers can cause off-flavors in herbal products. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for loading and heating.
For best results, dry herb vaporizers need to be cleaned regularly to remove residues. Residues build up on the device and cause a foul taste. Residue buildup can also cause the device to malfunction. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning.
Who can use a dry herb vaporizer?
Practically anyone can use a dry herb vaporizer. They don't require any special skills. Individuals with lung and respiratory health conditions should discuss the use of any inhalation device with a healthcare professional.
In summary, a dry herb vaporizer is a device that vaporizes herbal products, allowing the user to inhale the vapor. Since they don't combust the herb, they have three major advantages over pipes, joints, and bongs:
- No exposure to harsh, irritating, potentially toxic smoke
- Less product is required per use
- A faster, more intense effect
Most dry vaporizers are small, portable devices that can be discretely used anywhere, anytime. They use rechargeable batteries to vaporize the herb, so there is no need for a lighter and no risk of causing a fire. If you are interested in learning more about dry herb vaporizers, contact us or check out our educational blogs.
How much does a dry herb vaporizer cost?
Cheap models of dry herb vaporizers can be found for less than $20. However, when it comes to dry herb vaporizers, you get what you pay for. Cheap models tend to fail, malfunction, have a short battery life, and produce unpredictable, unpleasant results. Higher-quality models tend to start around $40.
Are dry herb vaporizers legal?
Yes, dry herb vaporizers are legal. There may be some restrictions on where you can use them in your local area. You should check your local regulations to see if your preferred herb is legal in your local area.
Do dry herb vaporizers affect bystanders?
No. There is no second-hand smoke effect with dry herb vaporizers. There is no discernable odor, either. All of the vapor is inhaled directly by the user and only the user.
Can dry herb vaporizers cause fires?
No. There is no open flame and the exterior of the vaporizer does not become hot. Only the heating chamber deep inside the chamber heats up, and it is under precise control. It automatically heats to the pre-set temperature and then it automatically shuts off.