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Dry Herb Vaporizing: A Healthier Alternative to Smoking Cannabis

Destiny O.

by Destiny O.

July 27, 2023 12:00 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 9 Minutes
Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides
Dry Herb Vaporizing: A Healthier Alternative to Smoking Cannabis

In the search for healthier ways to consume cannabis, dry herb vaporizers have gained traction within the cannabis community.

The increasingly popular dry herb vaporizer technology offers a discreet, healthier, and more soothing experience with every puff, introducing an all-new zing in each smoking session. Besides the initial cost of a vaporizer, dry herb vaporizing presents an all-around better alternative to lighting up with long-term savings—whether you’re a newbie or connoisseur.

Compared to smoking, vaporizing dry cannabis flower:

  • Exposes your airways to less irritation and risk
  • Delivers enhanced flavor and fragrance
  • Offers more hits with less weed
  • Activates compounds in the plant (decarboxylation)
  • Gives a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant compounds
  • Puts you in charge of your doses
  • Provides discreet and convenient dosage
  • Creates already-vaped-bud (AVB) for recycling into edibles and more

In addition to these advantages of vaping your buds over smoking, we’ll discuss other things you need to know about using dry herb vaporizers. But first things first…

What Is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?

The dry herb vaporizer is a new technology designed to heat and vaporize the compounds in dried herbs, such as cannabis, without burning the buds. The device heats your flower at a temperature that is sufficient to activate and release the desired compounds but below the point of combustion. This releases vapor which can be inhaled to enjoy your weed’s most valuable properties without the harmful byproducts, conspicuous aroma, inflammation, irritation, and coughing or sputum production associated with smoking.

The device follows a simple process—the cannabis herb is placed on the heating element, turned on, and set to a preferred temperature. After heating to a pre-set degree, the device releases vapor which you inhale through the mouthpiece.

Dry herb vaporizers are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional smoking (joints and blunts), offering a more controlled and potentially healthier way to enjoy the benefits of herbs.

Why It’s a Healthier Alternative to Smoking Cannabis

Vaporizing dry herbs is often considered a better alternative to smoking cannabis for several reasons.

Reduced Health Risks

Vaporizing your herbs can be gentler on the lungs and respiratory system. Vaporizing dry cannabis buds reduces the potential damage smoking does to your lungs and the entire respiratory system. 

Vaporizers work at a temperature that releases the most desired compounds without combustion, significantly reducing exposure to harmful chemicals responsible for several smoke-related respiratory conditions, such as COPD and lung cancer. 

Enhanced Flavor and Aroma

Vaporizers preserve your buds’ natural flavors and aromas, providing a more enjoyable and authentic experience compared to the harsh taste of smoking. Its low heat preserves the terpene uniqueness of different strains, compared to when lighting up your joint. While combustion leaves a burnt flavor on your taste buds, vaporized herbs retain every bit of your favorite strain’s minty, fruity, earthy, and floral notes.

Also, while smoked weed leaves some characteristic odor on smokers’ clothes, belongings, and clothes (which many, particularly non-tokers, deem offensive), using vaporizers releases a more refined, rapidly dissolvable, and far less clingy aroma that projects the strain’s terpene profile. 

Interestingly, different terpenes are vaporized better at different temperatures. This means that in order to maximize your experience, you should start at the lower range and work your way up within the same session. Most of the monoterpenes are found and rapidly lost first (terpinolene, linalool), and the heavier, more complicated ones (e.g., α-terpineol, β-caryophyllene) are better vaporized at higher temperatures.

Efficient Use of Your Flower

Vaporizers are more efficient in extracting active compounds from your cannabis flowers. In a 2018 study, researchers found that vapers absorbed over 40% more THC than smokers.

Smoking overheats and destroys active compounds, reducing overall potency, whereas vaporizers preserve and deliver the most desired cannabinoids and terpenes. Although you may spend more upfront on your dry herb vaporizer, you’ll need less flower to get your desired effect. This way, you can achieve the desired effects with less herb, saving you money in the long run.

As an added bonus, you can save the vaped cannabis flower and throw it into some butter, olive oil, soup, or other recipe to make your own edibles. A 2023 study shows that the flower is already activated and still retains a significant amount of THC, CBD, terpenes, and other compounds when using the temperature ranges of most manufacturers. 

Precise Dosing Control

Vaporizers offer you greater control over your dosage. With adjustable temperature settings, users can customize their experience. You can adjust the settings to release specific compounds based on medical prescription or individual preference.

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For instance, you can set your device at a low temperature for a light, uplifting morning high and increase the heat when you’re ready to couchlock after a long day. Having precise and lower dosing allows cannabis smokers to cut back, reduce tolerance withdrawal, and have more control over their consumption frequency and habits.

Discreet and Convenient

Vaporizers produce a less noticeable odor and vapor that dissipates quickly, making them more discreet than smoking. Most devices are also portable, fanciful, and easy to use, providing convenience for on-the-go doses.  

A few dry herb vaporizers are desktop models, which are sedentary and used in research studies and clinical settings. They are more expensive but may be covered by insurance in Europe, Australia, and Canada, where they are approved medical devices.

Interestingly, you can switch on your device, take quick puffs, switch off, and continue when it’s most convenient. Overall, vaporizing dry herbs offers a potentially healthier, more flavorful, efficient, controllable, and discreet way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis compared to traditional smoking methods.

Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Dry Herb Vaporizer

Using a dry herb vaporizer for cannabis is easy and involves simple steps. After selecting your favorite buds and vaporizer, here’s a general usage guide:

  1. Grind the herb: Start by grinding your dry herb using a grinder. This helps to create a consistent texture, allowing for better vaporization.
  2. Load the herb: Gently fill the heating chamber with the ground herb. Avoid overpacking to ensure proper airflow and even vaporization. Replace the chamber lid or mouthpiece securely. Refer to the user manual for specific instructions on your vaporizer model. Typically, you’ll need to remove the mouthpiece or chamber lid to access the heating chamber.
  3. Power on and set temperature: Turn on the vaporizer and set the desired temperature. Lower temperatures (around 320°F to 375°F or 160°C to 190°C) generally provide more flavor, while higher temperatures (around 375°F to 430°F or 190°C to 220°C) may produce more vapor and stronger effects.
  4. Wait for heating: Give the vaporizer a few moments to heat up and reach the set temperature. This time can vary depending on the vaporizer model and the temperature selected.
  5. Inhale the vapor: Once the vaporizer is heated, place your lips on the mouthpiece and take slow, steady draws. Inhale the vapor into your lungs, as you would with a deep breath. Remember to take smooth and controlled draws to get the best experience.
  6. Monitor and adjust: Monitor the vapor production and flavor. If the vapor becomes harsh or the taste deteriorates, you may need to lower the temperature. If you’re a first-timer, you may need to experiment with different temperatures to find a preferred balance of flavor, vapor production, and effects.
  7. Clean and maintain: Regularly clean your vaporizer per the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure optimal performance and longevity. This typically involves removing any residue from the heating chamber and components.

Remember, these steps are a general guideline, and it’s essential to consult your specific vaporizer’s user manual for accurate instructions and safety guidelines.

Easy Tips for Maintaining Your Dry Herb Vaporizer

Cleaning your vaporizer immediately after use is the best practice. Besides keeping you always prepared for your next toking session, cleaning is more fun while you still feel ‘stoned.’ 

Here’s a quick cleaning guide:

  • Allow the device to cool a bit.
  • Detach the mouthpiece.
  • Use a small soft brush to clear out residuals from the chamber.
  • Use alcohol-soaked cotton to clean the inner chamber.
  • Soak a pipe cleaner in alcohol and pass it through the airpath.

It’s important to repeat this after a few sessions to avoid residue, which can build up to block the airpath and ruin your vaping experience. 

Over time these devices will also need a deep clean of the herb-touching pieces. This involves disassembling the unit according to the instructions, and soaking the pieces in alcohol for at least 30 minutes. Magnesium salts may also be added as a micro-abrasive to help remove those hard-to-reach and miniscule areas.


Smoking vs. vaporizing: Which delivers stronger hits? 

Vapor packs a punch compared to smoke. The extreme heat from smoke destroys active compounds while vaporizers’ subtle heat preserves them. 

Besides, vaping requires less flower (than smoking) to get the job done. Next generation vaporizers are far more efficient and can generate up to a 9:1 cannabinoid:tar ratio, better than pipes and cigarettes.

Which is better? 

Vaporizers have many more benefits than smoking. Fewer health concerns, reduced expenses on weed, simplified usage, more privacy, enhanced flavor and aroma, and a wider range of effects are key reasons dry herb vaporizers are winning hearts within the cannabis community. 

Additionally, there is a lower risk of burn injuries and fires. It also allows people with respiratory conditions to breathe in cannabis easier with less bronchial stress. These are all reasons why vaporizers are all-around better and safer alternatives to smoking.

Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.

Post Your Comments

James Lockwood says:

July 28, 2023 at 10:11 am

How do you have the results of a 2028 study in 2023 ?
Or is this entire article just an opinion?

M. F. Laboo says:

July 28, 2023 at 11:35 am

All the metrics seem to favor dry vaping. There’s only one thing that’s unclear to me. When the topic turns to smoking, decarboxylation always comes up as somehing that’s necessary to turn native delta9 into a bioavailable form. What’s the temperature required to cause that? The “magic” 375F? Because I presume any lower temp would give suboptimal conversion, though it might preserve more flavor and aroma.


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