Dry Herb vaporizing is similar to vaping with an e-liquid, but not quite the same! If you’re fairly new to the world of vaping, the chances are that you’ll only have seen dry herb vaporizing used with varieties of hemp, but what many people don’t know is that there are loads of different flowers and leaves you can vaporize with, including traditional tobacco leaf.
Many people use different herbs and leaves for their therapeutic benefits, and they can be used in the same way as many essential oils to relax you or lift you up! For example, Chamomile leaves, dried lavender and lemon balm are great relaxants and can help alleviate stress and nerves to help you feel calmer and healthier, while other plants like cloves, ginseng and green tea can help pick you up, help improve digestion, and reportedly even help reduce headaches!
There are a few very important differences between dry herb vaporizers and regular vaping, as well as differences between dry herb vaping and smoking which make this style of vaping the method of choice for a few different types of user..
What is Dry Herb Vaporizing, and How Does it Work?
Dry herb vaporizers work by very gently heating the herb of your choice in the device tank to a temperature where the moisture and oils in the plant make vapour, but not so hot that it actually combusts (catches fire). The trick is that it is heated to a little below the burning stage, which means there is no risk of combustion and that you don't get any smoke or "burnt" taste like when you smoke cigarettes. This heating process also ensures that none of the beneficial oils or compounds is burned off either, so your dry herb provides you with the greatest possible benefits and most authentic, delicious flavour.
There are a couple of main components in the majority of this type of vaporizer that can dramatically affect the overall experience you will have. The battery is first, as a strong battery for your vaporizer is a must. Dry herb vaporizers typically need to be able to hit higher temperatures to produce the same amount of vapour as conventional e-liquid devices. For this reason, it takes a little longer for most vaporizers to heat up than typical vapes. Generally, you can wait about 60 seconds before inhaling to allow the system time to heat up. The herb chamber is where your leaf of choice will sit and where the heat is circulated through to release the vapour. You might also hear it referred to as the oven of your vaporizer. They can be made of stainless steel, but ceramic is the most popular choice today, as it does not affect your vape's taste at all, heats up faster than stainless steel versions, and over time retains heat more effectively.
Types of Heating - Conduction Vaporizers and Convection Vaporizers
There are two main ways that your vape tank can be heated, with advantages and disadvantages to both. Conduction heating elements are the most popular method for heating dry herb products, as these devices are generally smaller, portable and more affordable than convection heated vaporizers. The conduction heating method applies direct heat to the vape oven, which means that when you pack your herb tightly, the heating coil will come into direct contact with the tank and effectively heat the contents. However, some conduction vapes don’t always heat up evenly, with the part closest to the heating coil being used up first, and the part furthest away not releasing vapour. When using conduction heated models, you’ll probably have to open up the heating chamber during your session to stir and move things around a little.
Is Dry Herb Vaporising Safe?
As dry-herb vaping uses heat-not-burn technology, it is considerably better for your health than smoking, whether it’s using traditional tobacco or any other kind of leaf.
In general, e-liquids are considered to be safer and with fewer health impacts than any other type of vaping, making them the safest option for your health, at an estimated 95% safer than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, vaporizing tobacco (as well as other herbs) is becoming increasingly popular for the incredibly authentic, enjoyable vaping experience you can get, without having to smoke cigarettes. Since e-liquids use synthetic flavourings and synthetic nicotine, no matter how good manufacturers get at emulating the taste and sensation of smoking tobacco (and some are incredibly good!), there will be people who just don’t get on with vaping. Heat-not-burn devices and vaporizers can be a brilliant option for these people, as you get the natural and authentic flavour and sensation of smoking cigarettes, without having to inhale many of the toxins found in cigarette smoke. Some users report vaporizers being more satisfying than vaping with e-liquids, which helps them stay away from cigarettes.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do for your health as a smoker is to give up cigarettes completely, however, we understand that is much easier said than done! Vaping and vaporizing offer users a much safer avenue to get their nicotine hit and help put them on the path to becoming smoke-free in the long run.
How to Dry Herb Vape - Is it Different from Vaping with E-Liquids?
While it’s often the territory of more advanced or hobby vapers, dry herb vaporizing isn’t actually that difficult, as long as you have the right equipment, so it’s much more accessible than you might think. A high-quality vaporizer device will help to evenly heat the herb and give you a smooth taste, warm, thick vapour production and a satisfying vape experience. To start with, you’ll need a good vaporizing device (whether you use a desktop or portable vaporizer and conduction or convection heating is completely up to you), the herb of your choice and a grinder. While this might sound like a bit more than you’d need to simply pick up a pod vape and go, it’s not very difficult to get started, but there are a few things you should be mindful of:
1. Make sure that your herb is fresh, consistent and has a neat grind.
They say a bad workman blames his tools, but when it comes to dry herb vaporizing, this is something you’ll really want to get right for a good experience! No matter what you’re vaping with, whether it’s tobacco or any other kind of plant, the fresher you can get it, the better. Fresher herbs and plants contain more moisture than ones that have been left in a bag or on a shelf for a week or two. This extra moisture helps you get more vapour when you turn your device on and start inhaling, as there is more steam and more oils in the chamber to breathe in. If your herb is too old and too dry, there won’t be enough oils and moisture to actually create vapour when the leaves or flowers are heated, resulting in a dry vape.
Usually, when you buy dry herbs, they come in a form that’s pretty similar to their natural state, which is usually much bigger and chunkier than what you’ll need to put in your vaporizer tank. You can get grinders in plastic or metal (usually aluminium), and they’ll quickly and easily cut your leaf into the right size. By grinding your dry leaf, you get an even surface area and smoother, thicker vapour in the long run. It’s really easy to use a grinder, and once you have the right consistency (this will vary a bit depending on the type of leaf you’re using), simply pop it into the chamber. You want to make sure to fill the chamber, but not to pack it too tightly, as this will restrict air and heat going through the tank, which means less vapour and poor flavour production.
2. Set the temperature of your vape.
The temperature you need to use for your heat not burn vape will depend massively on the type of herb you’re using, though most of them will have temperature settings somewhere between 160 degrees Celsius and 250 degrees Celsius. For example, tobacco can be vaped at quite high temperatures - usually between 200 degrees Celsius and 250 degrees Celsius. However, if you find that your device effectively vaporizes tobacco at 190°C, then that’s perfectly fine! The fun of vaping comes from working out what suits you and then finding ways to make that happen with different e-liquids and herbs. However, you want to be sure you’ve got enough heat to actually penetrate the tank and create vapour, but not too hot that you’ll burn your leaf. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to see if either of these things is happening - too hot and you’ll taste a bitter, burnt flavour, too cool and you won’t get much vapour at all!
3. Priming and using your vaporizer
Wait a minute or so for your vaporizer to heat up before inhaling, and then leave it at temperature for about 30 seconds, to ensure that your vaporizer is fully primed and that the herb is heated effectively. Then, to get things going, take a few short, fast puffs and ensure your device is not too hot or cold, then inhale away! Vaporizing can be a bit of a change for smokers due to the greater size of the mouthpiece and the way the vapour behaves, however, if you’ve tried direct-to-lung vaping before, that experience will be pretty similar.
Many vaporizers are what are known as "session vapes," meaning that at some stage they will cut off, just like a cigarette would do. With vapes, however, you can simply give the oven a little mix and continue to vape until it is done! When you begin to taste a bitter, burnt flavour, and the vapour will become weaker and thinner, you will know you need to change and refill your tank.
4. Make sure to regularly clean your vaporizer
If you leave your vape for too long before cleaning it, the oils and compounds in many dry herbs can stick, harden and create a residue on the inside of the vape tank that becomes difficult to remove. Over time, this can actually start to clog up the inside of your vape and decrease your device’s performance. Fortunately, if you do it regularly, cleaning your vape is pretty easy, and you can use household items like a damp cotton bud or q-tip, as well as a brush and pipe cleaner for great results.
Firstly, get rid of any leftover herb and extra residue with a small brush (you can get vape-specific brushes, but a small, soft paintbrush or old makeup brush will do the job too. Then, use a cotton bud and some rubbing alcohol to clean and sanitise the heating chamber and oven, and to get rid of any residue that you can’t see, leaving your vape squeaky clean! You can also clean the mouthpiece really easily by detaching it from the main device and giving it a quick run through with a pipe cleaner and rubbing alcohol.
Dry Herb Vaping vs. Smoking Cigarettes
When it comes to smoking vs. dry herb vaping, the most important difference to make is that the herb combusts when you're smoking - it is actually heated to the point of burning! This is what causes cigarette smoke, and why you need to get started with a lighter. On the other side, vaporisation heats the herb to just below the point of combustion. This allows moisture, oils, terpenes and other compounds to be released, so that you can inhale them without bringing the smoke and the pollutants that follow it into the lungs. The lack of smoke also makes vaporising vaping a "cleaner" alternative to conventional smoking, since you just inhale the substances you want instead of additional chemicals in the smoke. Since dry herb vapes do not produce smoke, only vapour, this style of vaping also reduces the passive smell, which can be a great benefit, particularly for those who vape with dry leaf tobacco. This means no staining, residual scent or residue!
Compared to the chemically composed flavours of e-liquids, vaporizers often provide a richer, cleaner and more natural taste from your herb of choice. Though in general, genuine tobacco flavours and vape juice flavours have come a long way in recent years, sometimes only the real thing will do the job, and that’s what makes dry herb vaporizing such a great option for many.