As interest in cannabis rises, we are always on the hunt for the best way to consume it. Whether you look to cannabis for its reported medical benefits or simply for recreational purposes, vaporization might be perfect for you.
This innovative way to consume cannabis is safer, more convenient, and offers an enjoyable way to get the most out of your dry cannabis flower. However, unlike rolling a joint or hitting a pipe, vaping isn’t correctly understood by everyone and includes a bit of a learning curve until you get the process right.
To help you understand what’s involved and how to go about getting the best experience, check out this Indiva Guide to Vaporizing Dry Flower Cannabis.
What is a dry flower vaporizer?
A vaporizer is a device used to consume cannabis products (dry flower in this case) by heating it to the point where cannabinoids and terpenes are vaporized (turned into a gas) without combusting (burning) the plant material. A vaporizer produces a pure, smooth, flavour filled vapor that contains valuable cannabinoids and terpenes without harmful and irritating smoke. Dry herb vaporizers come in portable or desktop varieties and can be used to vape both dry flower or concentrates.
Portable vaporizers include a chamber to hold your cannabis, a heating element, an on/off switch, a mouthpiece to draw from, and use a battery as a power source. They are small in size and can be taken with you for on-the-go use.
Desktop vaporizers are much larger and will need to be plugged into a wall outlet as they don’t run on batteries. These vaporizers, like the Volcano by Storz 7 Bickle are typically more powerful and precise but are designed for use at home due to their size.
Why vaping might be perfect for you
A vaporizer is a tool used to provide the benefits of smoking cannabis while minimizing many of the drawbacks. Vapes use lower temperatures to heat the cannabis material so that all the valuable cannabinoids and terpenes vaporize instead of burn. This allows you to inhale all the cannabis in the form of vapor and not smoke. Vaporizing avoids combustion of your cannabis material and is far less likely to irritate your lungs and respiratory system.
Many users prefer vaping because unlike ingestible options such as edibles or capsules, vaping delivers cannabinoids to the brain quickly for an almost immediate onset that’s similar to smoking.
Benefits of vaporizing cannabis
A safer and healthier option: Inhaling vapor instead of smoke greatly reduces lung or throat irritation and the harmful effects on your respiratory system.
Convenience: Modern vaporizers are offered in many portable options, so cannabis can be consumed discreetly whenever the need arises.
Discretion: Compared to smoking a joint, pipe or bong – the vapor produced has a much milder smell and dissipates quickly so you can enjoy cannabis without disturbing others.
Cannabis Flavour: Due to the lower temperature used to unlock the cannabinoids and terpenes, vaporizing cannabis brings out all the great flavour of a strain that is often lost through the combustion process involved in smoking.
Dose Control: Vaporizers allow users to control their dose by packing suitable size bowls or taking measured inhalations until the desired effects are achieved.
How to use a dry flower vaporizer?
In theory, using a vaporizer is a simple process, but in reality, these units are often finicky and need to be finessed to produce the hits you expect.
There are certain techniques you need to know about for the best hits, but don’t worry because we’re here to help you figure it out. Also, once you get used to how your vaporizer works, you’ll be medicating properly in no time.
Here’s how to get the most out of your cannabis vaping experience.
What you’ll need:
- Dry flower cannabis
- Dry herb grinder or grinder card
- Packing tool
- Dry herb vaporizer like the PAX 3 or DaVinci IQ
- Cannabis storage container like our Indiva Re:Stash Jar or Maïtri Karuna Jar
- Vape case or protector
- Smell proof storage container like our Indiva Abscent Protector Bag
How to vape dry herb cannabis
Step 1: Start by selecting the cannabis you’re going to use in your vaporizer. You’ll be able to release the cannabinoids and terps in any cannabis, but we recommend choosing properly cured flower that’s of the stickiest, most trichome covered cannabis strains you can find. Trichome rich strains like White Russian are perfect because they’ll give you the most vapor for the biggest, most satisfying hits.
Step 2: Get a good quality herb grinder or grinder card so you can grind your bud into a medium-to-fine consistency that allows heat to contact all the flower. You’ll need to test what works best in your particular vaporizer because some work better if the cannabis is ground either a bit finer or coarser.
You’ll want to grind fairly fine, but you definitely don’t want to grind your flower to dust because too fine a grind will not stay in the bowl properly and could end up in the devices vapor path or in your mouth. Make sure you use a grinder because breaking up your cannabis by hand will not only steal lots of valuable trichomes, it will also compress the plant structure making it more difficult to vaporize.
Step 3: Fill the bowl or heating chamber. Every vaporizer will have a slightly different recommendation for how full to pack the chamber. Generally, filling to the top of the bowl is best, but don’t overfill. For most vapes, somewhere around 0.25 – 0.5 grams should be good.
Remember not to pack your ground flower in there too tightly because the heated air needs to be able to flow through the cannabis to release the cannabinoids and terpenes. The tighter you pack, the harder you’ll have to inhale to get air to circulate, so figure out what ‘draw tension’ you prefer and pack your chamber accordingly.
Step 4: When you’re ready, begin by turning on and heating up the vaporizer. While it’s obvious that you’ll need to power up your device, no two vapes are exactly the same. Read the owners manual to figure out how to turn your device on and if a preheat time is required. For example, some vaporizers need about a minute to heat up to vaping temperature while some, like the new PAX 3 or DaVinci IQ take only about 15-20 seconds.
Some vaporizers also have adjustable heat settings, so experiment with which temperature works best for you. Generally, a temperature range of 360 – 380°F will be best but you should play with the temperature settings to see if you like how the vapor quality changes. Terpenes begin to vaporize around 285°F while combustion happens at a temperature above 450°F.
Step 5: Once your device is activated and heated to temperature, it’s time to vape. Begin inhaling through the mouthpiece, paying attention to inhale slowly and deeply. The longer your inhale, the more heated air can flow through the dry flower, releasing the cannabinoids and terps. When you exhale, you should be able to see the vapor and taste it on your tongue. This ensures the device is working correctly and that you’re unlocking the cannabis inside the chamber. Start with a hit or two and take a break, pacing yourself until you understand how vaporizing effects you.
Step 6: As you continue to inhale from your device you’ll notice the vapor production decreasing with every draw. This is because the vaporization process is removing the essential oils, cannabinoids, and terpenes, turning the dried herb in the chamber from green to brown in the process.
Once you are only getting draws of thin vapor with diminished flavour, the bowl you packed is most likely pooched. If you want more, you’ll have to fill the chamber again with fresh product. The left-over material is usually discarded although some users save it for other uses like making mild edibles.
Step 7: Now that you’ve finished your session, it’s a good idea to take a minute and clean your vaporizer. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, but you should at least empty the flower chamber. If the chamber and vapor path are sticky and clogged, use a q-tip with some isopropyl alcohol and wipe the surfaces clean. Every vaporizer is different so looking up the specific cleaning directions in the owner’s manual is always recommended.
These steps will be largely the same for both portable and desktop vaporizers, but if you’re unsure there are lots of helpful resources available online (YouTube) or directly from the manufacturer.
Buying a dry herb vaporizer
As cannabis vaping becomes more and more popular, the number of products on the market keeps increasing. There is a wide range of products that work in different ways and fall into varying price categories. Some brands are more reliable and will produce better vapor, so knowing what you’re looking for can be a big help. The following considerations should help you select a vaporizer that’s right for you.
Flower vs. Concentrates: Vaporizers have different designs depending on if they are meant to be used for dry flower cannabis or concentrates. Concentrate vapes are often smaller and often cost less but won’t work for vaporizing flower.
Before you make a purchase, check to ensure the device is designed to vaporize the cannabis product you’ll be using. There are units on the market that can vaporize both, but they often don’t work all that great for either. If you want a product that can do both, we recommend sticking to the higher end products, so you don’t end up sacrificing vapor quality.
Conduction Vs. Convection: There are two prominent types of vaporizers; conduction and convection vapes. Conduction vapes heat up the cannabis through direct contact with the heat source and are great for cannabis flower, oils, waxes, shatter and concentrates.
Convection vapes circulate hot air through the material to turn the cannabinoids and terps into vapor. Convection work best for dry flower because they eliminate the need for direct contact with a heat source, reducing the risk of combustion.
Conduction vapes are also more versatile if you plan on vaping more than just dry flower cannabis products. Convection vapes tend to deliver better flavour than conduction types, but in the high quality (high price) bracket of vaporizers the differences are minimal. Choosing between conduction or convection is a user preference as quality products exist in both heating styles.
Features & Price: With vaporizers (especially dry flower vapes) you get what you pay for. Proper vaporization of dried flower is more difficult to achieve properly than with concentrates so these units are often more expensive. Lower priced vaporizers usually come with limited features and are made of lower quality materials (which can affect flavour) but will generally get the job done. Higher priced units will come with things like temperature control, glass or silicate vapor paths and are a great investment for the users who plan on vaping dry flower regularly and want the best experience possible.
Desktop or Portable Vaporizers: There are all sorts of different styles of vaporizers available, so you’ll need to decide how you’ll be using the unit and purchase accordingly. Desktop units generally cost more but also produce a better vapor thanks to superior heating elements and fine-tuning capabilities. If you’re going portable, buy the best vaporizer you can afford for the best vaping experience.
Vaporizing cannabis is a great way to get away from smoking when you want similarly fast-acting effects. This innovative solution delivers a great high with amazing flavour, making it the best way to truly enjoy the terpenes contained in a strain. Perfect for medical patients and recreational users, vaping cannabis is a growing trend with many benefits to discover.