What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
A dry herb vaporizer, sometimes called a loose leaf vaporizer, is a device that heats up cannabis and releases vapor that you can inhale. This vapor contains the active ingredients of the herb (like THC and/or CBD), and it will taste like the strain you've loaded.
And yes, a dry herb vape will get you high. (If the strain contains THC.)
In fact, the same amount of bud will go much further when vaped in a dry herb vaporizer, compared with a joint or other "combustion" methods. We'll get into why later, but for now, just know that they're more efficient and help you get the most value out of your stash.
They're also easier on the lungs compared with smoking weed, there's a lot less smell, and they're more discreet.
What does dry herb mean?
"Dry herb" means the only type of material you can put inside the vaporizer are ground-up herbs. This includes cannabis flower.
If you haven't heard the term "flower" before, it just means dried and cured buds, the most common and popular form of cannabis due to its versatility. It can be ground-up and then vaped (or smoked).
Dry herb vaporizers aren't limited to just pot. You can also vaporize other dry herbs like peppermint, lavender, and more; there's a huge number of herbal options out there.
What is a concentrate vape?
Some vaporizers are designed for concentrates, rather than dry herbs or flower. Cannabis concentrates are substances made by distilling the active ingredients of flower, and there are many different kinds. Wax, budder, shatter, and rosin are among the more popular concentrates.
Concentrates usually have much higher percentages of THC and terpenes than flower, and pack a big punch. So it's best to start slow and with small amounts if you're new to concentrates.
Some dry herb vaporizers can vaporize both dry herbs and concentrates. For example, the Furna also has swappable concentrate ovens with a ceramic heating element as an option, making it simple to switch from dry herbs to concentrates, or to load up ovens in advance while at home.
Other devices like the Pax have an optional insert for concentrates that goes inside its regular oven. However, reloading and switching can be a hot and messy process, especially if you're on the go.
The Benefits of Using a Dry Herb Vaporizer
Dry herb vaporizers have a lot of advantages compared with old school methods like smoking.
First off, they're easier on the lungs compared with combustion: puffing on a joint releases many carcinogens also found in tobacco smoke. Many people are turned off by the health effects or smell of smoke and are looking for alternative ways to enjoy cannabis.
Vaporizers are also more efficient with herb, getting you more bang for your buck. And as you'll see, they also deplete your supply more slowly.
They produce way less smell than joints, and the odor doesn't linger the way marijuana smoke will. So overall, it's easier to be discreet when using them. The flavor of the strain will also come through more clearly, making your sessions more fun and delicious.
And some folks, especially medical users, find it much easier to be precise with dosages with vaporizers than with smoking. That's the difference between an uncontrolled burning flame and a vaporizer with precise temperature control.
What is the healthiest dry herb vaporizer?
Any vape company claiming to have the "healthiest dry herb vape" should be viewed with extreme skepticism. As long as the vaporizer is heating the herb evenly up to a controlled temperature, the bud won't combust and release the toxins that you get when you smoke.
Some low-end vapes might not have precise temperature control, so avoid those, but quality devices will offer the same experience in terms of health.
Instead, it comes down to you, the user, to choose the right heat settings for your sessions, and to clean the vape regularly. If you're using the maximum temperature of your vape, or if airflow is blocked because your vape is dirty, pockets of herb could burn and release some compounds you might have been trying to avoid.
Are Dry Herb Vaporizers Worth the Price?
Obviously there's a bit more hardware involved with dry herb vaping compared with combustion: smoking a joint is free, if you already have rolling papers and a lighter. Is shelling out for one of these newfangled weed vaporizers worth the price?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Even ignoring all of the other benefits we mentioned above, dry herb vapes pay for themselves by getting you more mileage out of your bud.
Stronger sessions, herbal savings
Vaping will produce more THC and/or CBD effects from the same amount of bud. A 2018 study compared the THC blood concentration levels between people that smoke and vaporize the same amounts of cannabis. It found that vaping results in over 40% more THC being absorbed into the bloodstream.
When you smoke a joint, many of the active ingredients are destroyed before they get a chance to be inhaled. Vaporizers don't burn the herb, so you're able to get far more of the active ingredients when vaping.
Just imagine how much further your herb will go if you needed 40% less of it for the same effects each session.
One last round of fun: ABV weed
The leftover dry herbs from vaping can be saved and used in recipes and other things as "ABV ", or "already been vaped" bud. They'll look a little brownish and toasted at this point. Because the material hasn't been burnt, it'll still have some potency left in it, and the flavor won't be bad.
So you can get an extra round of fun out of your herb, making a dry herb vaporizer that much more efficient. Although it costs quite a bit more than rolling papers and a lighter, the cost savings on herb will quickly add up.
How do Dry Herb Vapes Work?
Vaporizers come in many different shapes and sizes. Each style works a little differently, and the options can be a little overwhelming if you're exploring vapes for the first time.
Don't worry! There are a few terms to get familiar with, but it's all pretty straightforward.
Conduction and convection vapes
Vaporizers use two different methods to heat up herbs: conduction and convection heating.
Conduction heating works by transferring heat through direct contact with a hot surface. The vaporizer bowl usually sits right on top of a heating element, and as the element heats up, so does the chamber. Then vapor is released from the herb once it gets hot enough.
When you inhale, the vapor travels through the vaporizer into the mouthpiece, and then into your lungs.
Convection heating is similar, but a little more roundabout. In a convection vape, the element will heat air, and then the hot air will flow throughout the chamber, warming the herb inside and releasing vapor. And then you pull on the mouthpiece and breathe in that sweet vapor.
Both types can be great!
Conduction-style vaporizers tend to be more portable, easier to use, and have a longer-lasting battery. Convection vapes tend to be bulkier, and can heat the cannabis in the chamber a little more evenly because the chamber isn't touching the element. They also tend to be more expensive.
Desktop vs. portable dry herb vaporizers
Desktop vapes are designed to be used when you're at home. They’re big, and often lack a battery and need to plug into a wall outlet. They tend to use convection heating, and the price for a high-end desktop vape can be steep.
Desktop vaporizers might not be versatile, but they can be awesome as home units. Some models have larger bowls, making it easier to load a lot of herb in for a bigger session, or for sharing with friends.
A portable dry herb vaporizer is more popular with most users: you can bring it wherever you go, but using it at home is always still an option. Just remember to recharge the battery so that it's ready for adventure when you are.
Portable vapes usually use conduction heating, and the price is also usually lower than desktop vapes.
The best portable vaporizers will have accurate temperature control, fast heating times, long-lasting battery life, be made of quality material.
The Furna has all these qualities, and also features swappable oven technology. You can load up multiple ovens in advance at home before leaving the house, then you can swap instantly between a used oven and a fresh one.
It's a huge advantage when it comes to portability and convenience, because cleaning out and reloading a vape chamber can be a huge pain when you're on the go.
How Do You Use a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
Using a vaporizer is a simple process. First, use a grinder to grind your herb. For conduction vapes, you want the herbs to be pretty finely ground. Convection vapes can be a little leafier.
Then load the herbs into the heating chamber or oven. Tamp them down slightly so that it's a bit densely packed, but not super-tight, or you'll block airflow. Make sure not to overfill it. Now close the heating chamber and turn on the vape, then select a temperature.
The best temperature settings for vaporizing
There's no one single best temperature for vaping - it's a matter of personal preference, and you'll discover what you like best after you've had some experience with your vape.
Cannabis begins to vaporize at 320°F(160°C), and starts to deliver more effects at 356°F(180°C).
The more you turn it up, the more active ingredients you'll vaporize. But the flavor will change at higher temperatures, and your overall experience.
The sweet spot for most people is somewhere between 356°F(180°C) and 392°F(200°C), but you can definitely go higher than that.
You can also gradually turn up the temperature during your session. This way, you'll experience the fullest flavor at the beginning, but also release the maximum amount of THC and/or CBD.
Ready to inhale some vapor?
Wait for the vape to heat to the target temperature. The heat up time will vary depending on your vape, some are fast and others are agonizingly slow. Then place your lips on the mouthpiece and inhale the hot air at a slow, steady pace.
Wait a second or two (you don't need to hold vapor in your lungs), and then exhale at the same slow pace. The first hit may be lighter as the herb is still heating up. When you exhale you will probably see some vapor leaving your lips and floating in the air.
At lower temperatures, there may be little-to-no visible vapor, but that doesn't mean it's not working. Higher temperatures tend to produce more visible vapor and bigger clouds.
And that's it! Keep taking hits until you feel like you've had enough, or until the hits become too weak or you start tasting a bad toasted flavor.
Some vaporizers have different instructions so be sure to pay attention to the manual for your specific vape. But in general, the above is a good guide to what to expect when using most of the vaporizers out there.
Which is the Best Dry Herb Vape for Beginners?
Most beginners choose a portable vape as their first choice, simply because they're more versatile and tend to be cheaper.
Some vapes that receive consistently good reviews are Pax, Storz & Bickel's Crafty, Furna, and the Davinci IQ2.
They each have their advantages and disadvantages, but all have excellent temperature control and produce vapor that's excellent. And they're easy to use, for folks who are new to the vaping experience.
What about vape pens?
The average vape pen might be lightweight and inexpensive, but most vape pens deliver inferior vapor quality, and cut corners on materials. This can mean fewer temperature settings, a long heat up time, less efficient use of weed, and low battery life.
They also might not last very long before breaking down, while all the vapes mentioned above are built to last. So be sure to read reviews carefully, with a critical eye, if you're looking into buying a dry herb vaporizer pen.
Also, make that the vape pen isn't an oil vaporizer pen! Oil vape pens are a completely different kind of device, and don't have the same benefits as dry herb vaporizers.
Choosing the best dry herb vape for you
The range of devices out there these days is remarkable, and it's worth doing a bit of research to find the features that appeal to you. It also makes sense to buy a quality device that will last you for the long-term.
An inferior device can deliver disappointing vapor, have low battery life and slow battery recharge times, and might break down at some point.
Essential features include precise temperature control, good battery life (unless you're looking at desktop vaporizers), fast heat up times, fast charge times, durability, and ease of cleaning. For some users, the style can matter just as much as the build quality and other features.
The Furna gets tops marks in all these areas, and especially rises above the competition when it comes to convenience and portability because of its swappable oven system. Learn more about it here.