How to Use a Vaporizer
Vaporizers are generally more complex devices than bongs. Setup time is somewhat longer, while different factors have to be taken into consideration.
Generally, the most important principle while using a vaporizer is that different herbs need different level of heating. Therefore, good vaporizers, whether commercial or homemade, should offer wide flexibility in terms of heat adjustment, in order to be able to heat up different types of herbs. This is essential to using a vaporizer correctly: if not enough heat is applied to the heat, it will be not release any active ingredients. If too much is applied, the herbs will be torched and wasted. Moreover, and more importantly, different compounds of cannabis vaporize in different levels of heat.
If you’re ready to give your vaporizer a try, the following steps are required. First, the herbs need to be chopped up. This is a general principle while using cannabis, but is especially important when using vaporizers. To chop up the herbs, you can use a grinder if you possess one, but if not, small scissors would do the job just as well.
The main reason for chopping up the herbs is to create more surface area for the vaporizer to blow air through. The more surface area is exposed to hot air, the more vapor will be created and the effects of using a vaporizer will be maximized.
When chopping or separating the herbs, make sure you reach the right consistency. Do not over-chop them so as to become a powder, but simply make sure the resulting material looks homogeneous in nature and without clumps.
Once the herbs are chopped, it is time to start the heating source. If you’re using a heat gun as part of a homemade vaporizer, start it to the desired temperature and let it warm up for round a minute, before you start using it. Next, the herbs can be loaded, making sure the bag is connected and the valves are open.
If using a vaporizer with a vapor whip, the best way to load the herbs is with vacuum power. On the vapor whip, the small glass at the tip is the mouthpiece, and the larger end is the loading chamber (this part is later attached to the vaporizer itself). Place the loading chamber over a small quantity of ground herbs and suck them into the loading chamber by breathing in the mouthpiece. You do not need to overload, and in fact less (but not too few) is better here, as more herb surface is exposed to the heat.
One of the important things to remember when using a vaporizer with a detachable bag is that vapor, unlike smoke, does not get stale quickly, so there’s no need to hurry. The vapor will remain fresh for around at least 30 minutes, which allows for a laid back session and no hurry with consuming all that is in the bag.
There are few studies of vaporizers which focus on the quality of the vapor extracted itself, and most of the focus is generally applied to the mode of usage of the vaporizer. However, as previously noted, different compounds of cannabis vaporize at different levels of heat. There are at least 60 pharmacologically-active compounds in cannabis. Of which, the aromatic compounds begin to vaporize early, at around 260 Fahrenheit, while the more chemically active compounds, like cannabidiol, vaporize at 400 Fahrenheit, and THC itself at 300 Fahrenheit.
These facts are relevant while using commercial vaporizers. Because many of those are slow in extract and delivery, the vapor inhaled first is mostly aromatic, but not quite chemically active. As the applied temperature rises, the vapor becomes increasingly more psycho-active in nature, but without much aroma, as most of the aromatics have been already released.
This problem has been addressed by some types of vaporizers combining several different effects of blowing air in order to „mix“ the type of vapor extracted, for a homogeneous experience.
Generally, vaporizers can be used differently, especially when considering the level of heat applied to the herbs, by different people for different purposes. For example, people taking medical cannabis as a form of pain killers have reported that using more heat (and thus releasing more active material) has had better results for them. It is advised to play with different heat levels and find the one most suitable for you. With recreational cannabis, using more heat can result in a potentially much stronger high, so pay attention to how much you increase heat, and gauge as needed.
Another important angle of using a vaporizer is drawing correctly. Pay attention here that different vaporizers operate differently. Each person has their own preference for getting the perfect draw. Some believe that taking fast and long inhalations provide maximum benefit, while others say that taking a slower draw provides for a better experience. Generally, here too, usage should be gauged according to experience and preference.
Variations of temperature and draw speed are the two crucial elements when vaporizing. They are not really something that can be taught from one person to another, but are most commonly based on experience created with usage over time. You should be able to figure out what is best for you after the first few uses, but keep an open mind and be ready to experience different levels of high.
Despite that, there are a few rules of thumb while vaporizing:
- Hot element. You should draw quickly at first, when the vaporizer is hot, so as not to expose the herbs to too much heat and burn them. As the vaporizer cools down, the speed of drawing can be decreased.
- Used herbs. Cannabis herbs generally change color after usage. When using the vaporizer with a lower degree of heat, they will generally turn yellow-brown after a while, indicating they are consumed and should be replaced with new ones. If using a high degree of heat, the herbs are likely to be darker in color, almost black. When they have reached this status, it is time to replace them with a new load.