What is a Vaporizer? How Does it Work?

A vaporizer works by gently heating up the herbs using a heating element, rather then burning it using a flame. When burning herbs, temperatures can reach 1200°+, so you are inhaling a bunch of stuff you don’t need to be inhaling, like the leaves of the plant and a lot of carcinogenic toxins. When vaporizing, you are only releasing the active elements you want. The herbs active chemicals will turn into a thin vapor around 180-200° C (356° – 392° F), which is 95% pure, clean and free of nasty toxic smoke. Its easy to see the health benefits isn’t it? Remember, Vapor Good, Smoke Bad.

What are the types of vaporizers available?

There are a few different types available on the market today. They will all vaporize your herbs, each using a different method. Some work better than others, and of course you will have your personal preference. Without boring you, I will try and break down how each type works. This will provide some help when it comes time to buy a vaporizer.

Vaporizer Heating Methods

Direct/Conductional Heating: The classic glass dome style vaporizer, which works by placing your herbs on a small metal plate which then heats up to a desired temperature. The reason this is called direct heating is because the herbs are placed “directly” on the heating element. This method is not as desirable, since the herb touches the heating element, it can burn and produce a gross “burnt popcorn” like taste. This method is not as efficient too, sometimes not vaporizing the herb completely. Believe it or not, this style of vaporizer has been in use since the 1970′s!

Indirect/Convectional Heating: This is the superior method for vaporizing herbals. Your herb will never directly touch the heating element, instead, direct hot air is passed over it releasing the good stuff. Since it heats evenly, you stand a much greater chance of completely vaporizing your herbs, increasing efficiency and effect!

Vapor Delivery Methods

Stored Vapor: Using this method of delivery, the vaporizer creates the vapor, then stores it in a glass dome or balloon style bag for consumption when ready. I found the glass dome types don’t provide the volume to store a “big hit”. The bag type however is able to accommodate large amounts of vapor, packing a nice punch!

Direct Lung Delivery: When you inhale this this type of vaporizer, the hot air passes through the herb, sending the vapor directly into your lungs. This method allows for much larger hits because you don’t need to store the vapor, limiting the size of the hit. The more you inhale, the more you take in (provided herb is left to vaporize). Another positive is the clean, fresh tasting vapor! Some models have a built in fan to get a higher volume of air moving into your lungs.