When it comes to enjoying herb, there’s smoking and there’s vaping. These two practices are the most popular ways of inhaling the benefits of dry herb, botanical concentrates, and eliquids, but they couldn’t be farther apart. Smoking burns material, adding nasty particles to what you breathe in, while the latter extracts the essential compounds from materials without burning them. This is achieved using a vaporizer, a personal device that unlocks key compounds found in herb and other materials without creating smoke. While smoking ignites dry herb, adding harmful particulates to each draw, these units maintain the ideal temperature for activating the essential compounds found in dry herb with minimal combustion. Specifically, they have the ability to heat herb at temperatures just below 392F, the point of combustion. This sweet spot unlocks flavors, aromas, and effects from dry herb without introducing irritants to each hit.
Thanks to its convenient, cost-effective, and efficient nature, vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking. Because little is known about its effects, it remains a subject of controversy. While the CDC and other health organizations do not advocate this practice, a study published by Public Health England claims vaporizers are 95% better than smoking. They have also been found to be 40% cheaper than cigarettes, according to NerdWallet. Some choose to use them simply because they’re more discreet than smoking. You can fit a handheld unit in your pocket, and hide it in your palm as you’re taking a hit, which won’t hang in the air like smoke.
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of dry herb, concentrates and eliquids, but smoking limits these experiences. In contrast, vaporizers come in a variety of types, and every unit offers a different experience with its own unique design, heating style, temperature range, and controls. There are many options out there, from portable, pen-style, and desktop, but the essential purpose of vaping remains the same–to deliver clean-tasting, flavorful vapor that many prefer over smoke.
When people hear the term vaping, chances are they’ll think of the nicotine eliquid that so many use as an alternative to tobacco. But vaporizers are compatible with many other materials, including dry herb, wax, and oil concentrates. Most devices handle only one material, while others are multi-functional. These materials fall into three categories:
For the traditionalists, dry herb dry herbs offer the natural flavors, aromas and potency levels that have been around for centuries. This material is ground down to finer granules before being vaporized. This creates more surface area with which heat can make contact, promoting thorough heating. Herbal vapes generally feature a heating chamber made of conductive material such as ceramic that heats dry herb without burning it. These units usually feature either conduction or convection heating, or a combination of both heating styles. Herbal vaporizers can feature a variety of temperature settings. Precision control allows users to choose specific degrees of temperature from a wide range of settings, while variable voltage units generally feature 3 to 5 preset temperatures.
Some prefer higher potency levels and a wider range of flavors. This is where wax concentrates come in. They are derived from dry herb and generally feature increased potency levels. Wax comes in a variety of types including crumble, concentrate, and oil. Vaping wax generally requires a pen-style unit. This slender device features an atomizer, a heating chamber that usually features a heating element such as a quartz rod wrapped in titanium coils. Wax concentrates can also be consumed using an enail, a high powered device that vaporizes concentrates at extra hot temperatures to create huge, robust clouds. This practice is known as dabbing. Wax can also come in a liquid form, which is vaped using an oil cartridge powered by a battery.
Those switching from smoking to vaping generally turn to eliquid, also known as ejuice, a liquid usually comprised of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, flavoring, and a nicotine solution. Ejuice has become a popular substitute for loose leaf tobacco for a number of reasons. For one thing, this substance comes in a variety of nicotine levels so the user can customize their level of intake. Secondly, users don’t breathe in as many irritants as they do when smoking. Finally, vapor from eliquid does not linger in the air like smoke, making it a more discreet, cleaner way to enjoy nicotine. This material is generally consumed using an eliquid vaporizer, which features a liquid tank or cartridge and a battery with a control button on it.