Dry Herb Vaping: Beginners Guide
What is a Vaporiser?
Vaporisers are often used as an aid and alternative to smoking tobacco. There are two primary categories of vape: those that work with e-liquid/juice, and those that can be used with dry herb, wax and/or oil. E-liquids have taken significant market share in brick & mortar store's tobacco shelves, with a wide range of 'e-liquid' varieties to choose from. E-liquid generally consists of 95% propylene glycol and glycerin, mixed with other ingredients that could include nicotine, CBD or other ingredients. A dry herb vaporiser has been designed for use with herbs; to extract only the desirable compounds and terpenes from plant matter.
Vaporisers heat the liquid/herb producing a vapour that is inhaled, often in place of smoking tobacco. Short term studies indicate vaping is less harmful than the latter, although there is no long term evidence on the risk of regular use of e-liquids.
At Urbanistic we are focused on dry herb vapes. An aromatherapy vaporiser, or 'dry herb vape' consists of an empty oven chamber - usually ceramic - that can be loaded with herbs. Heated air is passed through this chamber at a set temperature that you control. The temperature used will depend on the herb you are vaping, and the desired compounds you wish to extract. The first step is to distinguish between these different vaporisers and which will meet your requirements.
Nearly all premium dry herb vaporisers use the convection process to extract compounds from the herb.
When smoking herb in a spliff, temperates can reach upto 700°C (1292 F). This is a far higher temperature than is actually needed to release the desirable compounds from any herb. Must desirable compounds can be extracted in vaporisers within a temperature range of 157 - 220 °C (314 - 428 F) without combustion (or burning) of the herb taking place. Burning anything creates carcinogens that are not advisable to ingest.
Vaporising is seen as a healthier, purer and more discreet way of enjoying your herbs.
Your First Vape
If you're new to vaping, you will want to consider such things as budget and intended use, for example will you be taking it around with you or keeping it in your home? Head over to our buyer's guide for 5 questions to consider when selecting your first piece for more tips.
If you don't have time to read the full guide, here's the main points to consider:
- Decide on a device just used for dry herbs, or for herb, concentrate & wax
- Do you need to move the device a lot? Vaporisers come in varying sizes and depending on your requirements you may want a portable device that is easy to take on the go with you
Cleaning Your Vape
Many vape sets come with cleaning materials included. Typical cleaning tools vary from wire brushes, pipe wire, steel brush and rubbing alcohol. It's important to regularly clean your vape to ensure longevity and maintaining an optimum taste and vapour experience. By cleaning regularly you will ensure that your vape always performs as well as the first time you took it out of the box.
Some vapes come with their own set of cleaning tools, however sometimes you may need to purchase them separately. Regardless, the right tools for the job are essential for keeping your vape clean. Follow the cleaning instructions for your specific vape for the best results.
The Adjustment Period
If you are used to smoking spliffs, it's worth baring in mind that for some people there will be an adjustment period; vaporising herb is is a different experience to smoking, and can take some getting used to. Patience is key, and with a little time you will be used to - and hopefully enjoying - the new experience. The best way is to take time to explore different methods of using the vaporiser, varying such factors as temperature, draw length and the strength with which you inhale.
It can be useful to remember your reasons for vaping, which are often the harm reduction benefits involved. Here's what Dr. Mark Ware from McGill University had to say:
Cannabis smoking is not equivalent to tobacco smoking in terms of respiratory risk. Despite the presence in cannabis smoke of known carcinogens, toxic gases, and particulates, cannabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that at low doses, cannabis smoking may be protective for both conditions. These findings are inconsistent with the “smoking is bad” position.
Owning a vape is a rewarding experience that can help move away from harmful habits such as smoking tobacco. The learning curve is dependant on the individual, but if you need any help or support - we are here for you!