It’s fair to say that vaping has pretty much changed how people consume cannabis.
Marijuana vaporisers are now a household item for many frequent users, offering an alternative and unique way to enjoy cannabis both recreationally and medicinally, with none of the health risks typically associated with directly smoking and inhaling marijuana.
Modern vaporisers are available over the counter in many shapes and sizes. However, it must be noted that most dry herb vapes share a number of similarities as far as prepping your “stuff”, loading it up and using it to enjoy tasty vapour is concerned.
Before we get to the best ways of using a vaporiser to consume your cannabis, here are some vaping facts for your general know-how:
- Vaping does not lead to CO2 inhalation, as is the case with smoking marijuana in a cigarette Vaping is far more discreet due to its low smoke signature
- Vaping is a lot more cost efficient
- Vaping provides users with a higher THC and cannabinoid uptake
You may have arrived at this article due to health concerns or simply want to try something new and unique – in any case, we’re going to outright declare that vaping is better than smoking dry herb any given day of the week.
In your quest to get the most pleasure out of your vaping sessions while avoiding unnecessarily wasting your herbs, here’s what you need to do:
Making the Most of Your Marijuana Vaping Sessions
Before anything else, we need to acknowledge the fact that vaping is a lot different than just lighting up a cigarette and taking a puff. There’s a certain learning curve to it which you will surely appreciate by the time you’re done reading this article.
However, without over-thinking or over-analysing, let’s get you familiar with common practices to help you get the best marijuana vaping experience.
Inarguably, the most important step to using a weed vaporiser properly is to prep your material.
You probably know already that completely fresh material will not vaporise very effectively – i.e. undried and uncured marijuana. Moisture in the bud beyond a certain limit means that you will not enjoy the same quality vaping session as with properly cured buds (water and cannabinoids do not have the same boiling point).
So rather than shooting for freshly harvested buds, go for those high quality, well-cured ones, not the overly moist ones or even those that are too old and stale. However, there’s a fine line here – since the vaporising process relies on moisture, your bud needs to be heated to the point where it reaches its boiling point to form a vapour, which can be inhaled like smoke.
We recommend fresh herbs only because they have slightly higher moisture concentrations – but then, we also recommended that moisture can somewhat muddy up the experience. Confused?
Don’t be – the herbs you fire up in your chamber need not be too moist or too dry. Therefore, burn buds that have been cured properly but are also not too dry or old. You’ll definitely need to test the moisture content of your bud.
Go ahead and feel it – is it too moist to the touch and sticky? Is it so dry that it crumbles into a fine powder upon crushing? As we said – find a fine line between the two and you’re all set.
Grind Those Dry Herbs Properly
One of the fundamentals of using a dry vaporiser properly is to grind your herbs the right way. A sharp, quality grinder will ensure that the buds are broken up into fine particles. However, you don’t want those buds to be reduced to a fine powder, but also not grinded in a way that leaves big chunks behind.
Get a high-quality metal grinder, an investment that will serve you well over the years for this purpose. Grinding your herbs properly is very important as it ensures that the heat vaporises every last chunk of the herbs. This leads to even heat distribution for the best vaping experience as none of your merchandise goes to waste.
Grind those buds in a way so that the bigger ones are broken down into soft pillows of herbs – this allows hot air from the vape to pass right through them, helping you draw in all the wonderful trichomes off the plant and through the chamber – ah, now we’re cracking!
On a final note, just make sure that your grinder’s teeth are designed in a way so that the buds can be cut and fluffed into a near-perfect “pillowy” pile of herbs. In addition, grinding more herb than you need for a single chamber is not a good idea as leftovers will dry out a lot faster.
If you’re still unsure so as to what type of grinder would best live up to the task, just go down to your local hardware store and ask for an “electric herb grinder”.
Take Temperature into Account – Very Important!
Each type of cannabis will produce the best vapours best on certain temperatures. Many “weed experts” will tell you that a good starting point is 179°C or that you shouldn’t exceed 221°C. Even though this is subjective, there is some truth to it.
For example, most herbs will vaporise at around 190°C to 210°C, but each vaporiser may vary in actual temperature. We would recommend starting low and then gradually working your way up. But that’s not all.
Different kinds of cannabinoids will vaporise at different temperatures – even minor changes in your bud’s moisture content and the overall texture of your grind can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the weed vaporisation process.
In addition, many users have reported that varying temperatures produce varying effects – for instance, lower temperatures usually result in a clear and balanced high while higher ones can produce stronger feelings of relaxation and euphoria. So, to help you determine the right temperature, here are boiling points for different compounds of cannabis:
CBD – 180°C
CBG – 57°C
THC – 157°C
CBN – 185°C
Caryophyllene – 160°C
Pinene – 155°C
Myrcene – 168°C
Pack Properly but Not Tightly
Attempting to pack too much herb into your atomizer chamber is not a good idea because this makes it extra hard for the vapours to travel through the herbs. The end result? As you take pulls from the vaporiser, there’s going to be a lot of unnecessary draw resistance.
If that weren’t enough, your herbs will also not vaporise evenly. Why waste herbs by constantly having to take them out just to sift them around for even vaporising? So pack it all down properly but there’s no need to stomp it down. Over-packing can also cause the inside of your vape to get damaged.
Another reason over-packing the chamber is a bad idea is that it will prevent smooth vapour flow between the chamber and mouthpiece.
Preheat that Vape
You need to do this before you can take hits. If your device is not pre-heated properly, you’ll get virtually zero vapour from it. Plus, extra time will be needed to heat it up as you unsuccessfully try to take draws.
So give your vaping device enough time to heat up to the desired temperature before you start vaping. Check the vape’s supplied instructions or reviews so you’ll know exactly how much time is required to reach the ideal temperature.
As a general rule of thumb, the temperature needs to be where you wish to have the herb vaporised – simple. The mouthpiece needs to be closed and once you’re ready to take your first hit, load up herbs in the chamber once it has almost completely heated up.
Take Slow and Steady Hits
In all the excitement, you might be tempted to take quick or long hits. These are not only utterly useless but may also lead to undue frustration because you won’t be getting in as much vape as you could with slow and steady draws.
Therefore, always take slow and steady hits. Try to inhale from your diaphragm and again, avoid taking quick hits. Plus, taking long and hard puffs is only going to cause some of the herb to get sucked right up from the chamber, through the mouthpiece and directly into your mouth.
Finally, drawing hard from the vape produces cold air inside the chamber. This adversely affects the internal vape temperature – you’re essentially making the machine work harder and not helping much to improve the vaping experience.
The premise behind vaporising is to not inhale smoke because you value your health. Temperature settings that are too high will cause the herb to burn rather than vaporise – our goal is to establish the opposite. So in order to keep your vaporiser running smoothly and efficiently, you need to avoid combustion at all costs.
We recommend going down the convection route – i.e. choosing a vaping device which incorporates convection heating. This way, your herbs heat up in a chamber that is limited by a certain temperature. The problem with conduction heating is that the marijuana sits directly on the coil – so there’s going to be combustion and eventually, smoke.
Finally, to make the most of your vaping experience, you need to properly maintain it. This means following the instructions outlined in the user’s manual.
Vape maintenance is very easy – the only two pieces that require regular cleaning are the mouthpiece and filter screen.
All you have to do is remove the mouthpiece, then remove the screen and give it a good shake in a bottle of rubbing alcohol (at least 97%) for a few minutes. After the built-up resins and particles are gone, wash it off with some warm water and put it back into the mouthpiece.
A small alcohol-dipped cotton swab can be used to clean the mouthpiece from the inside and out. Rinse with warm water and let it dry completely before re-attaching it to the vaping device.
Clean both the mouthpiece and filter screen in the same session.