For many people, smoking dry herbs via rolled up cigarette or glass pipe is the best and most effective way of enjoying their flower of choice. And who can blame them? It is the way most everyone was introduced to enjoying dry herbs. But regardless of how you enjoy your favorite dry herbs, it is almost certain that you have heard about vaping. Vaporizers and the act of vaporizing is the next step in the evolution of indulging in all of your favorite dry herbs.
Vaporizing dry herbs has become an increasingly popular trend due to the benefits that come from heating up the herb through convection rather than combustion, though some vape pens do exist with the combustion technique. In addition to being considered a healthier alternative, vaping herbs opposed to burning them is also stealthier (it leaves vapor, far less noticeable than smoke) and technically leaves you with dry herb that has been broken down and browned (not ashes), and can still be used for making things like edibles, topicals and tinctures.
So, if you are looking for a new way to enjoy your favorite flowers, but do not want to swap out your dry herb for sticky concentrates or oils, look no further than dry herb vaporizer pens. Instructions on how to use dry herb vapes will vary depending on which vaporizer you decide to pick up, so please refer to the instruction manual for your particular model on exact operating instructions. But, for the most part, there are some general dry herb vaporizer operating guidelines to use across the board and we break some of that out below.
A proper vape session starts here. The first thing you will want to do is grind the herb as fine as possible. Most dry herb vaporizers do not work well with small, dense nugs in their heating chambers as it will impact the vaporization process and impact the taste of the vapors. If you stick chunks of herb versus finely ground herbs into the heating chamber, the exterior of the chunks will heat and vaporize before the interior.
Using an herb grinder is important as it breaks everything up into finely ground parts, allowing you to vape everything evenly. This is because well ground herbs will have more surface area exposed to the heat at once, therefore allowing it all to heat and vaporize together. Remember, vape pens that use convection do not combust or burn the herb, but rather they heat it up like an oven, and then vapors form offering great flavor and benefits from your herbs.
Consistency is key when packing dry herbs into a vape pen. Do not over pack it, as this could prevent the herb from heating up evenly. Most pens come with a packing tool or a scoop that will make it easier to pack the ground herbs into the chamber—if not, a neat trick is to use a small silicone container (usually used for wax) to store dry herbs after they have been ground up. Then, when loading the heating chamber, pinch the silicone container to form a spout and easily pour the dry herbs into the heating chamber.
One of the major advantages to vaping dry herbs is the ability to control the temperature. When smoking herbs, combustion occurs at a temperature of over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which can lead to some of the strongest effects from the herb, though at the expense of all the flavors inside the herb—not to mention the damage that can be done to the lungs and throat.
There is no single best temperature to vape dry herb, though when it comes to vaping, it is important to know that some herbal properties burns at about 374 degrees Fahrenheit, so naturally, this is the sweet spot that many people have their vaporizers set to.
When vaping is done right, the pen will produce a thin looking Vapor and a noticeable difference in flavor versus when smoking. You will also notice that instead of the usual burnt black herbs and ashes that remain after smoking, vaping leaves the herbs looking more toasted and brownish. Most vaporizers have the option to set the temperature to a low, medium, or high setting. It is usually better to start off at the lowest temperature and work your way up depending on preference.
Lower temperatures tend to produce the best flavor, while gradually building up the vapors. The lower temperatures deliver a cooler, less harsh sensation on the throat versus higher temps. Medium settings increase the thickness and warmth of the vapor but still are not harsh. A middle of the range temperature setting is a great way to experiment between the balance of flavor and vapor production. Higher temperatures certainly offer faster vapor production, but they run the risk of a harsh hit, partially defeating the whole purpose dry herb vaping. Finding the best temperature for you is ultimately about preference, so just make sure to experiment with the various settings and in time you will find what is exactly right for you.
Dry herb vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes, and because of this, many vapes may require a small learning curve. If you know what is happening on the inside, then using a vaporizer for herb is even easier to understand and get good at. Vaporizers are mostly made up of a few main parts – the mouthpiece, the heating chamber which is where the ground-up dry herbs go, and the battery which powers the entire unit.
Dry Herb Convection vapes heat the herb via hot air inside of a small heating chamber. You can often set the temperature to any temperature of your choice. Convection vapes are the healthier alternative to smoking dry herbs, and they bake the herbs just like an oven would, producing vapor and not smoke.
On the other hand, there are some dry herb vaporizers that use coils to heat the herbs, creating combustion. These combustion vapes use the hot coil like a lighter is used, burning the herbs essentially like smoking. Combustion vapes make smoking easy and convenient on the go, however remember that when combustion takes place, you get smoke, NOT vapors – for vapors go with a convection vape.
The difference between the two main methods of vaping can get confusing. But it is important to remember that combustion is not the vaping everyone is talking about, while convection is – it is where the notion of “vape” comes from. The coils inside a combustion pen may as well be a lighter with an open flame, which burns the herb rather than vaporizing it.
Convection is what happens when hot air is used (versus the flame) to heat up the herbs to whatever the temperature setting is set to. Pens that use convection usually have some sort of layer like a ceramic heating chamber that separates the herb from the direct touch of the heat source. Convection pens produce a better taste since the herb is not being burned, and it is considered a healthier alternative as less carcinogens are produced then when herbs are burned.
There are vape pens out there which can vaporize wax concentrates, vape oils, and dry herbs. The exact usage instruction will depend on the exact vaporizer you have. But usually if the vape has the ability to vape oils and waxes or herbs, they come with separate chambers or attachments that accommodate the various products. For example, the Firefly 2 vaporizer is a dry herb vaporizer that has an attachment that heats up concentrates.
Vape pens do not need much cleaning. And it is important to remember that these are electronics, so stay away from water. Just make sure to scrape and clear out already-vaped herbs after a vaping session. This can be done with a small brush or the packing tool. You can also heat the vape for a moment or two while the chamber is empty to burn away any excess residue.
What will need a deep cleaning though can be the filter screen and mouthpiece. The vape filter screen stops herb particles from entering your mouth with the vapors, so over time, the screen naturally builds up and blocks the vapor pathway. Depending on the vaporizer, there may be more parts involved that need cleaning—be sure to reference to the instruction manual to be aware of all parts that need cleaning.
Given how dry herb vaporizers heat, packing the vape with dense nugs broken up with the fingers will work to an extent, but it is less than efficient. The good flavored vapors will be disrupted as the exterior of the nug will be vaped, and maybe burned, while the interior has barely felt the heat. Finely ground herbs on the other hand offer the best experience.
If it is not well known by now, temperature impacts vapor production and smoothness. The lower the temperature of the pen, the more soothing and flavorful the vapor will come out. But also remember that at the lower heat levels, the vapor production will be slower and lighter.
Vapor is different than smoke, so never expect thick clouds of smoke, at least from a convection vape. But if your vapor remains unsatisfactory, turn the temp setting up. If you are still not enjoying the vapors produced, then give them more time to build up or clean the vape screen and vapor pathway. If the highest, heaviest vapors still are not satisfactory, then dry herb vapes may not be for you – this is not uncommon with those who are typically heavy smokers, and if that is the case, maybe just go for a vape that uses combustion as a heating source.
Pay attention here, even the largest dry herb vape batteries can go quick, so bringing the tiny charger cable is never a bad idea. Many vaporizers can easily last a day no problem, although it highly depends on usage. Do not get discouraged if your vape pen does not last all day, that is just the nature of vaping. Heating a chamber to such high temperatures takes up a lot of energy, much more energy than what is used when heating oil and wax pens. Remember, dry herb vaporizers are essentially a portable, handheld convection oven with a mouthpiece.
Popularity of vaping has clearly exploded. Pens that vaporize dry herbs can be found in most if not all local head shops, vape shops and even some gas stations. You can also find them online at places like nyvapeshop.com where USA shipping is always free.