Those who choose medical marijuana over conventional pharmaceuticals are generally doing so from a health standpoint. A common objection from those opposed to medical marijuana is that it is a smoked substance and therefore contains the same, if not more, harmful chemicals than a tobacco cigarette. In response to those skeptics we would like to bring to you our introduction and buyer’s guide to the dry herb vaporizer, the healthier alternative to smoking.
Dry Herb Vaporizer Vs Smoking
When smoking medical marijuana via a joint, pipe or bong, the organic material is lit by flame and combustion produces the inhaled smoke. This smoke is a direct result of burning the marijuana. The resin in the trichomes are simultaneously vaporized in the process, thus releasing the active ingredients, THC, CBD, and the other cannabinoids.
When vaporizing medical marijuana with a dry herb vaporizer, an indirect heat source heats up the organic material just to the point of vaporization of the cannabinoids, but well below the combustion point of the organic matter. This means only the resin vapor is released in the process and the smoke from the organic matter is avoided. This delivers the desired cannabinoids and avoids the unhealthier byproducts of smoking marijuana.
Table Top Dry Herb Vaporizer
Table top electric vaporizers usually use an external power supply to heat a ceramic element which provides the indirect heat needed for vaporization. Table top dry herb vaporizer usually has the largest capacity thus requiring less refills per medicating session. Table top vaporizers tend to have adjustable temperature settings which provide options for the types of cannabinoids vaporized since they each have their own vaporization points.
The most unique option for table top vaporizers is the forced air bag options. This uses a fan to inflate a food grade balloon or bag with vapor. This contained vapor can now be inhaled at a constant concentration for very precise titration. The vapor will lose it’s concentration over time as the resin vapor condenses onto the bag itself if not inhaled rapidly.
The default operating mode is with a whip or a medical grade tube usually with a glass mouthpiece that patients use to inhale with. The marijuana is usually held in a glass chamber or bowl immediately after the heating element. A table top dry herb vaporizer tends to be the most expensive in vaporizer market. The most traditional table top vaporizer is the manually heated, coal powered, hookah previously described above.
Portable Hand Held Dry Herb Vaporizer
Vaporizer manufacturers have created smaller more portable, hand held devices that effectively vaporize medical marijuana. The traditional dry herb vaporizer is the flame buffered pipe design which is manually heated by a lighter or butane torch. These are less expensive than electric portable vaporizers.
The electric dry herb vaporizer usually has a rechargeable battery powered element. Some portable vapes use a basic wire element such as the Magic Flight Launch Box and some use a ceramic heating element such as the Arizer Solo. The herb chamber capacity is substantially less than a table top vape and will require more frequent refilling if being used throughout the day.
The price point of portable hand held vaporizers are similar if not slightly lower than the table top vapes so convenience and portability at the cost of battery and capacity limitation are the determining factors when deciding what kind of vape is right for you.
A few hand held vapes use forced air to assist in vapor production such as the Puffit X vape. And the last portable vape type worth mentioning is the pen vape category. Generally these are re-purposed e-cigarettes which were designed for liquid or concentrates and have been retrofitted with impractically small herb chambers. When looking at a hand held portable vape be sure that it was designed from the ground up as a dry herb vaporizer.