Dry herbs, aka the buds that you vape and smoke all start out as a seed or a clone from a strong mother plant. The plant can grow both domestic and wild in either water or soil. Eventually, the plant grows large and then starts to bud. At a certain point, those buds are chopped down, trimmed and left to grow in the dark. Eventually, they are packaged and sold to consumers everywhere.
As the plants grow, the familiar buds will form and, in time, they’ll be harvested. Advanced growers will look to the trichomes (the little hairs on the bud) for the chop signal. Once the trichomes turn a milky white color, the plants are cut and hung out to dry. The drying process is known as the curing process and it may be the most important part of growing. Read this thorough article about how to dry and cure cannabis. During this process, the dry herbs are hung in a dry and dark room that sits around 65°-70°F. With good airflow, the buds are cured in about 7-8 days and ready for the final cut down and trimming. As the buds make their way through the trimming process, they are properly stored in jars or other distribution vessels.
The next place for the dry herbs will be a dispensary shelf or even your vaporizer pen. Dry herbs can be refined into other products such as wax, oil, and edibles. In their natural form you can choose to either vape or smoke them, but one way or another, they are grown for consumption.
Before packing, make sure to break up the dry herbs either with your fingers or a herb grinder—this will create more surface area and expose everything to an even-heat that will give you an even-burn. Fill the heating chamber part of your vaporizer with the dry herbs. Gently pack in the ground up dry herbs and do not over-pack the chamber—this may cause damage to certain chambers. Not all vaporizers are created equally, even when it comes to the heating chamber. Some are larger than others, but more importantly, not all chambers are heated in the same way. Some heat the dry herbs by direct contact with a coil and some will bake them like an oven.
With either type of dry herb vaporizer, once your heating chamber is packed, you’re ready to go. Just power up the vape and adjust the heat setting to what you like best. If you’re a first time user, start at a lower heat because you can always raise it if you need. Some vaporizers will heat up super fast and some can take much longer. Vapes typically have a light-indicator to tell you when your temperature has been reached. But even if below your desired temperature, at a certain point, the dry herbs begin to vaporize so you can always test the readiness by taking a gradual, smooth pull through the vape mouthpiece.
It is difficult to say how long a single pack will last. It will depend on the temperature set, the dry herbs used and how they were ground up. To get the most out of your dry herbs, as you are vaping, increase the temperature until you get to the highest setting. At this point, the dry herbs start to taste like burnt popcorn, turn brown, and you have gotten just about all you can with your vaporizer. But, that does not mean you got all you could from the dry herbs. If you don’t mind smoking, and especially if you are on a budget, you can take these browned dry herbs and smoke them to get every last bit of goodness.