The herbal vaporizer – thanks to recent marijuana laws being passed – are quickly becoming a lot more popular and come in many different styles. These easy to use vaping devices have revolutionized on how dry herbs are “smoked”, and I personally think that using an herbal vaporizer just makes the whole experience an easier and cleaner one.
One of the primary benefits with these vaporizers is the efficiency that is obtained by “vaping” instead of burning. Your dry herb will go much farther compared to typical stand-by ways of the past, which ultimately should save you money in the long run.
The herbal vape pen (or portable herb vape) is the smaller, more compact version in the herbal vaporizer lineup. They range in size of 3″ to 8″ long and come in many different shapes and are usually easy to conceal. Unlike its bigger predecessor, the desktop vaporizer, the pen style is built more for travel and being more discreet.
Most good quality herbal pens run between $20 to $120 and are the easiest to use out of all the herbal devices.
So how do they work exactly? The pen is very similar to that of an e-juice vaporizer as the components have closely resembled each other. Most herbal pens will have a built-in battery (charged via USB), a tank or holding area, and a trigger or fire button. The big difference from your typical vape pen is that the atomizer is made up of the coil(s) that surrounds the dry herb (instead of cotton wicks) and heats up with the push of a button – some devices only heat up when you take a drag. “On demand”, or “manual heating” options will typically only come with devices that hold small, personal size amounts of herb.
More advanced portable vaporizers will be turned on and will heat up after a few minutes; this allows for a consistent pull when you actually click the button for each hit. When dealing with maintenance for your herbal vape, the “screen” or flat metal plate in most devices, has to be cleaned regularly to get the most out of each “session”.
Thankfully most herbal vape kits will provide you with a cleaning tool of some type. A “grinder” is highly recommended to have on hand as space within most vapes comes at a premium. The finer the better when trying to obtain the best experience out of each use.
The atomizer will go out over time (the coils simply burn out) but depending on what device you are using, of course, the replacement will vary in price. In most cases, the atomizer replacements for herbal pens run between $20-$35 and typically last for a few months between replacements. With a screen inserted the actual vaping of the dry herbs will be intensified, and this can make the throat-hit less noticeable. Most prefer to actually “feel” the pull, and if the pen lets you do not have to have a screen, this may be something worth experimenting with. This will obviously vary with different devices.
Desktop Vaporizers Just as the name describes, these types of vaporizers are much larger and are used in a more tabletop, or “desktop” setting. The majority of desktop vapes are built to reach temperatures of 200 to 500 degrees (F) in a small time frame and is primarily built for more of group session than a solo or personal session.
These devices are for the highest level of enthusiasts who enjoy dry herb and aromatherapy styles of vaping. Basically, what these devices are designed for is pretty straightforward, a device that's primarily used for vaping dry herbs and oils. The variety of botanicals to vape is always growing but the more popular items consist of:
- Cannabis (no details needed)
- Passiflora or Passion Flower extract (sedation)
- St John's Wort (antidepressant – mood enhancer)
- Damiana Leaf (aphrodisiac)
- Aromatics (mint extract – eucalyptus – chamomile)
Desktop vaporizers typically come in at around $200 to $800 and obviously, the features and options will increase with price. These are not cheap but thankfully most vendors offer a long warranty and most desktops are solidly built and stand us well vs the test of time.
The Blurry Line Between Vapes and Herbal Vapes
Everyone has seen the former smokers vaping away on their electronic cigarettes. They are the new generation of nicotine addicts that you either love or hate. But even if you are not a tobacco smoker, you may be interested to know that vaping is not just for tobacco smokers anymore.
It's true, vaping has less harmful toxins than smoking. Vapers are learning that you don't have to smoke to get your fix, and in the last few years, marijuana smokers are also learning the many benefits of vaporizing their herbs. The advancements of the small yet powerful e-cigs opened the door to vaping greens with precision and portability, making the lines between e-cigs and herbal vapes a blurry line that most cannot even see.
While the average person cannot tell the difference between a normal vape pen and an herbal vape pen, there are many differences inside the two devices when you look closely.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that vaporize a liquid, often called e-liquid. This e-liquid has just a few ingredients that usually include nicotine, flavoring, and a base such as vegetable glycol. Vapers can choose different hardware components to get different results. The main advantage of using e-liquid (besides the lack of tar and smoke) is that it is easy to use and doesn't cost as much as smoking.
There are literally thousands of different styles, sizes, and component combinations available for e-cigs. Their flexibility is the real reason e-cigs are so popular and have been adapted by so many smokers.
Herbal vaporizers are right behind their nicotine counterparts in terms of technology. Both e-cigs and portable herbal vaporizers look similar to each other and both consist of a battery and some type of atomizer to heat their contents up. They are almost identical except for the atomizer styles. This is the blurry line.
The different forms of marijuana
Loose Leaf– the most basic and easiest way to vaporize your Mary-Jane. Simply add your herb to a dry vaporizer after it has “warmed-up” and enjoy.
Wax– Often called “Ear Wax” or “Wax” this is made by extracting THC from marijuana using heat and other processes. It is solid and looks and acts like a wax, hence the name.
Crumble– Simular to wax in the extraction method, crumble is soft and crumbly. Often breaking up if you squeeze it, it resembles some types of hash.
Shatter– brittle sheets of concentrated THC that resemble hard candy. Shatter is broken up into smaller pieces that can be vaporized.
Oil– TCH oil is popular because it is in a liquid form. Its thickness does require a special atomizer to vaporize efficiently.
There is no need to explain to this crowd the benefits of medical marijuana. Smoking marijuana has been the preferred method of delivery for thousands of years. Vaporizing vs smoking is the big question with today's users.
There are many scientific studies on the health benefits of vaporizing vs smoking marijuana. By vaping it, users are able to get the feeling they desire without the negative health effects of the smoke and tar.
The ability to control the temperature precisely is a huge advantage as different buds have different humidity levels. If you have ever tried to smoke herb before it has cured, you know that it takes more fire to burn it. Using a temp adjustable herbal vape, you are able to turn the heat up or down so it doesn't burn, yet you still get the effects.
The vapor emitted from the exhale is almost odorless. I have vaped THC oils in bars, casinos, and friend's homes without anyone noticing a smell.
Back in the day, you had to find a bush or a private area to use marijuana outdoors, and using a Volcano vaporizer in public was out of the question. With e-cig users everywhere it is now easier and more convenient than ever to partake in plain sight without attracting attention. If you use it like an e-cig you will likely not be spotted or even noticed, depending on the herbal vaporizer you use.
You may choose to use a desktop vaporizer instead of the portable ones. These offer the convenience of a constant and reliable AC power supply from the wall. There is no need to charge them, just plug them in and enjoy. Desktop vaporizers are bigger and are usually more expensive than the portable vaporizers.
How to get started
First, decide on the form of marijuana you would like to vaporize. After that, all you need to do is find a quality device that will work best for your needs. Reading herbal vape reviews can be a great resource as herbal vapes are not cheap and you probably only want to buy it once. As a general rule, the bigger herbal vapes last longer between charges but are less pocket-friendly. The opposite is that smaller devices will not last as long and are only good for a few tokes before they run out of power. Choose a device that fits within your usage and lifestyle and you won't be disappointed.
How To Choose The Best Herbal Vaporizer
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Herbal Vaporizers are an excellent choice for both recreational and medicinal uses of essential oils and loose leaf herbs. As the name states, these use dry leaf material and not e-liquids. When properly used, they deliver less tar and carcinogens than traditional smoking techniques.
Herbal vaporizers and essential oil vaporizers come in very different styles ranging from large desktop styles to small portable styles.
These modern vaporizers are an elegant blend of science and aesthetics that, when combined, offer medicinal and aromatherapy benefits beyond the typical combustion delivery method. Many of the vaporizers that are on the market today have the ability to use either dry herbs or essential oils.
Many people use loose leaf herbs or tobacco in them to allow a cleaner delivery of the medicinal characteristics within the leafs, and essential oils are very popular due to their health benefits and aromatic smells.
The two main categories of dry herb and oil vaporizers are Desktop Vaporizers and Portable Vaporizers. Each has it's own characteristics and advantages.
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The amount of power needed to heat the heating element to temp is the biggest design issue with portable herbal vaporizers. Desktop units offer the ability to use AC power for at home use and also provide a more powerful delivery of vapor.
These machines are best for people who want to use their vaporizer at home frequently and without making a mess. Usually, a desktop vaporizer uses either a “whip” (plastic tube), a direct draw mouthpiece, or a balloon to deliver the vapor.
The advantages of using a whip is that you can inhale the vapor at a distance from the machine. Placing your device on the coffee table and sitting on the couch is a prime example. The direct draw is not as common but is used by placing your mouth on, or close too, the device when using.
The balloon method is great for enjoying your vapor at a distance without having to run your vaporizer continually. Many people fill these balloons up and are able to inhale the vapor at their convenience 10-20 minutes after the vapor was created. Both the whip and balloon method also allow the vapor to cool and thus do not irritate the throat or lungs as much as hot vapor.
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Portable Vaporizers, AKA Vape Pens
These smaller devices are manufactured with the “on the go” vaper in mind. These are handheld units that do not require to be plugged in and run on rechargeable batteries.
They often look like electronic cigarettes (some electronic cigarettes can vaporize e-liquid, herbs, and oils. See V2 Pro Series 3) which make them great for discreet vaping.
Portable vaporizers are also more affordable when compared to desktop styles.
Due to the heat required to vaporize loose leaf herbs and/or essential oils, portable units will usually have smaller capacity heating chambers vs the desktop variety. This makes them useful for short sessions for one or two people, but this requires them to be refilled often.
For those looking for a quality herbal vaporizer that is available to take anywhere and that is also discrete, portable herbal vaporizers may be your best choice.