Vaporizers are still a relatively unheard of technology that has grown in popularity in recent years. Because of this, there’s lots of conflicting information floating around about exactly what vaporizers do, which are the best vaporizers, and the various benefits of vaporizing itself. Back away from Google! Read our definitive crash course in vaporization for everything you need to know about vaporizers and what they do.
9 Reasons Why Vapour is Better than Smoke
First things first, why should you consider spending your money on an expensive machine when you’ve gotten this far just combusting your herbs like a regular person?
Like any good investment, it pays to be convinced of the benefits before parting with your hard-earned cash. It’s not being cheap; it’s being smart, and investing in a good vaporizing unit is certainly a smart decision. If you’re in need of a little convincing, here are nine reasons why vapour is better than smoke.
1. Your lungs will thank you
This is the game-changer. Vaporizers make for a much cleaner method of inhalation. Some clinical studies have shown vapour to include less than 5% of the harmful byproducts that can arise from combustion. This can greatly reduce any health risks and potential irritation to your throat and bronchial tract.
Who has two thumbs and likes breathing? You do!
This is because the largest risk to your health comes from the act of combustion itself. Any time you combust a material, carbon monoxide is released along with a cocktail of toxic byproducts and known carcinogens. Since vaporization doesn’t use a flame or combust your material, it is a much cleaner and safer way to enjoy your favourite herbal blends.
2. It’s tasty
A good vaporizer really allows you to taste your herbs. Vapour is light, aromatic and smooth, with no harsh texture or bitter taste. Inhaling some truly great vapour is like night and day when compared to combustion. This light and pillowy cloud is infused with nothing but the pure, unadulterated flavour of your chosen blend. Consider your vaporizer the Master Chef of herbal inhalation.
Some actual, real life Master Chefs even use Volcano vaporizers to gently infuse their dishes. Crabmeat aromatised with Thyme? Yes, please!
Think of your herbs sitting in your vaporizer as if they were in a hot oven, gently roasting away. As they get warm and toasty, they release their fragrant aromas and distinctive flavours into the vapour for you to enjoy. A good quality vaporizer will heat your herbs so gently and evenly that it’s able to impart subtle and distinct flavour without any bitter, harsh or unpleasant taste. These flavours are most noticeable at lower temperatures (around 180-190°C) which produce thin and aromatic vapour. When using truly fresh, good quality herb in the right temperature range, a good vaporizer will produce some of the tastiest vapour you’ve ever experienced.
3. It’s virtually odourless
It may be tasty but vapour certainly isn’t smelly. The smell produced by traditional combustion methods is strong and distinctive, but more importantly, it’s a smell that lingers and permeates everything, nestling itself into the fabric of your clothes, hanging on your breath and even your skin.
Vapour is virtually odourless and won’t linger on your breath, skin or clothing. You may notice some odour from the vapour when exhaling, but because vapour is more or less a misty, air-like substance, it dissipates very quickly along with its smell. The big plus is that you can use your vaporizer indoors or in situations. where smoking is not acceptable. Stealth mode: activated.
4. It saves you money
Did you know that combustion destroys up to 50% of the active ingredients in your herbs? Studies have shown vaporizers to be a more efficient use of herb, using half the product to achieve the same results. Because a vaporizer treats your herbs with kindness and roasts rather than combusts them, it’s able to extract a larger percentage of active ingredients.
This means you’ll feel the desired effects from a smaller amount of herb, and what you’d usually use in one session you can now stretch over two. A vaporizer will pay for itself in no time at all; what you spend on the unit you will save on herbs!
5. You can re-use your vaped herbs
You can save your ABV (already been vaped) herbs for re-use at a higher temperature or to make a tasty meal.
Just because your herbs have already been vaporized, it doesn’t mean they’re totally spent. You can still save your ABV for cooking! Use it to season stews, spice up a curry or add an unexpected savoury twist to cookies and other baked goods. Even though you may have vaporized your herbs, there are still molecules present that require higher temperatures to boil off. If you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, you can re-vaporize your ABV herbs at the maximum recommended temperature (230°C) to use up what’s left.
Note: results are dependent on the quality/type of herb and how hot you previously vaporized them. We can’t guarantee
6. It’s convenient
If you own a portable vaporizer, you can “pack and go” to take as little or as much as you need if you’d like to vape on the go or at a friend’s house. The efficiency of vaporizing means you’ll carry less on your person and nobody will be annoyed by the smell or consistency of your vapour. The other plus – you won’t have to leave the conversation when you want to vaporize! Sit back with your friends, relax and enjoy some herbs without missing out on the fun. You can even do it indoors.
Some portable vaporizers like the DaVinci have extra herb chambers for stashing an extra bowl, while others like the Magic Flight Launch Box fit in the palm of your hand and are perfect no-fuss pocket vapes. Vaporizing can be so convenient that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
7. Vaping can be a social activity
Passing around a bag or a whip with your friends is much easier and less distracting than packing/rolling herbs the traditional way. You won’t have to worry about your friends using up all your herbs either, as you won’t need nearly as much to satisfy everyone.
A bag vaporizer like the Volcano is the perfect social machine, allowing you to fill and detach a bag of delicious vapour and pass it around while everyone reclines comfortably wherever they are. It’s all about convenience and having fun, and a vaporizer is the perfect way for you and your friends to enjoy your herbs in safety and style.
There’s a whole range of different options that you can choose from when searching for a vaporizer: tabletop, hand-held, portable, hands-free, whip or bag, not to mention colour and style to name a few. Whatever your preferences and lifestyle, there is a vaporizer to suit your needs perfectly. You can own one, two or the entire range for a versatile and convenient vaporizing experience.
9. You’re in control
Vaporizers allow you to control the temperature that your herbs are heated to. This in turn can control what active ingredients are released and which side effects or byproducts you’d like to avoid.
When you use your vaporizer, the temperature you set it at is completely up to you. You may not know it, but you can completely change your experience just by altering the temperature control on your machine, and even learn how to adjust your settings to compliment different types and strains of herb!
How, you ask? Well, that requires a little more explaining, starting with how exactly your vaporizer works.
How do vaporizers work?
To put it simply, vaporizers use a central heating element capable of reaching a range of temperatures to heat plant material just enough to release their desired active properties. When you combust your herbs, you’re exposing them to extremely high temperatures, sometimes reaching over 800°C. The reality is that the active ingredients inside your herbs begin to get released at temperatures as low as 140°C, so combustion is not at all necessary to reap their benefits and feel the desired effects. Vaporizers work by gently heating your herbs to these optimal boiling points (the temperature at which active ingredients are released from the plant) and can actually be utilised to release only specific active properties and effects by regulating the temperature that herbs reach inside the chamber.
Vaporizers do this using a mixture of conduction and convection to heat your herbs and collect their active properties as a smooth vapour.
|Uses hot air, sometimes powered by a fan, to heat herbs
|Herbs are in direct contact with a hot surface
Most vaporizers on the market today use the convection method, as it’s widely preferred as the gentlest way to heat your herbs with far lower risk of burning them. Other vaporizers may use a mixture of the two.
While this information is good to know, there is a lot of conjecture and nit-picking that goes on among the community as to which category certain vaporizers fall under. At the end of the day, the convection vs. conduction argument is neither here nor there, as a quality vaporizing unit with a well thought-out design should operate with minimal user issues regardless of its heating method. Forced air convection units may be recommended for novice users for their incredibly simple operation, but the user skill required to operate a direct inhalation or more conduction-based unit is not so great that a novice can’t successfully master it with practice.
When it comes down to it, choosing a vaporizer should come down to the quality of the design and your personal lifestyle requirements.
How Much Herb Will I Need?
When filling your herb chamber, cramming in as much product as possible can actually deteriorate the quality of your hits, as the herb will be too tightly compacted and won’t heat evenly or may even start to burn. Air needs to be able to pass through your herbs in order to collect the active properties they release. Filling the chamber with less herb will provide more surface area and more room to breathe, hence your herbs will heat more evenly and produce a better quality hit. When filling your chamber, it’s best to sprinkle in small pinches of herbs until the chamber is full rather than stuffing in as much as possible and packing it down. Give your herbs some personal space!
We also recommend grinding your herbs as finely as possible to make them easier to vaporize and reduce the amount needed even further.
Vapour Quality – Why Temperature Matters
One benefit of vaporization is the ability to produce temperature-controlled effects. The theory is that, if a plant or herb is lorded as having specific positive effects, such as pain relief or sedation, then it is possible to study the boiling point of those specific chemical compounds and vaporize the plant at the best temperature to release them and reap their benefits. In theory, this would allow you to completely control what you feel when you inhale herbal blends from your vaporizer.
This is specifically important for medicinal applications, but the temperature that you run your vaporizer at is important for several other reasons as well:
- It can have an impact on the taste of your herbs
- It will control the texture, density and visibility of your vapour
- You may feel too little or too much of an effect if the temperature isn’t adjusted for your preferences
- You will enjoy vaporizing more at a temperature that’s right for you
- Running your vaporizer too high can risk burning your herbs
Finding the optimum temperature for your desired results can be a learning curve with some trial and error, but is worth knowing if you want to be able to tailor your experience to suit your specific needs and preferences.
The Simple Version:
There is no “best” temperature for vaporizing your herbs. This purely depends on personal preference and experience.
The general consensus is that a temperature within the range of 180-220°C is optimal for satisfying most recreational vapers, as within this temperature range is where the majority of active ingredients boil off from herbal blends. At the lower end of the spectrum, users will experience a thin but aromatic and tasty vapour that may be wispy or invisible, but still produce noticeable effects. Higher temperatures will produce thicker vapour clouds with lots of active ingredients but a harsher texture and noticeably less flavour.
The More Complicated Version:
Compared to the blunt force trauma that is combustion, where you inhale all the byproducts of your plant material along with a petri dish of other nasty things, vaporization allows you to selectively tailor your experience to release only certain properties from your herbs.
The compounds present in Damiana that are responsible for its supposed anti-depressant and aphrodisiac effects boil off between 150-170°C, so setting your vaporizer within this range would be optimal for delivering the most potent dose of these active properties.
Different byproducts are released at different boiling points and can produce a variety of different positive and negative effects. Learning how to manipulate the temperature of your vaporizer is beneficial for medicinal purposes, or for keeping unwanted side effects at bay. Research into the boiling-off points of different active ingredients present in different herbal blends has led to the theory that you can, in fact, use a vaporizer to completely control the effects that you feel from your herbs.
Researching the compounds present in your chosen herbal blends will allow you to tinker with your vaporizer’s heat settings in order to reap the most potent and helpful effects from your herbs for a completely personalised experience.
How do I Know When My Herbs are Done?
The easiest way to tell when your herbs are finished is to look at them. Fully vaporized herbs will be dark or even very dark brown in colour and will smell and taste kind of “toasty.” Lots of vapers report a “burnt popcorn” smell when their herbs need to be replaced.
Another way to tell when your herbs are spent is to pay attention to the vapour. You may notice that at the start of your vaporizing session, only a small amount of vapour is produced as your herbs heats up. Then, once they’ve reached the correct temperature, they’ll start to produce a noticeably thicker and more potent vapour. When you notice that the vapour quality has diminished again or is starting to feel harsh, this is an indicator that you’ve extracted most of the active ingredients.
Quick tip: if your herbs are black, you’ve gone too far!
I’m Convinced! Where do I start?
With so many options, buying your first vaporizer can be a daunting experience. The biggest thing to consider is your lifestyle and individual needs. Are you someone who prefers to smoke at home or socially with friends? Do you have time to charge a portable vaporizer or prefer a Butane or flame-operated device? A good-quality tabletop vaporizer like the Extreme Q or the Volcano is great for at-home use, while portables like the Solo, Ascent and the Magic Flight Launch Box are easy to use on-the-go.