The basics of vaporizing
What is a vaporizer?
A vaporizer is a device which heats up dried herbs to a temperature at which they release their (medically) active components into an aromatic vapour. This vapour doesn't contain any of the toxic elements found in smoke.
Is vaporizing really that much healthier than smoking?
Yes, there is no doubt about that. We believe that with the advent of the vaporizer, smoking will soon be a thing of the past.
Does it matter what type of heating element a vaporizer has?
Some heating elements might be safer or more stable than others. To learn more about the different heating elements, read Types of vaporizers.
What's the difference between conduction and convection?
Conduction refers to heating herbs by direct contact, whereas convection refers to heating them with a flow of hot air.
Can I use a vaporizer for aromatherapy as well?
Not all vaporizers are suited for heating liquids, but there are some which provide extra parts that allow one to vaporize oils and tinctures.
When medicinal plants are vaporized and inhaled, this process is generally referred to as phyto-inhalation rather than aromatherapy. An extensive list of herbs that can be vaporized can be found in this vaporizing temperatures table.
Why are some vaporizers so expensive?
A vaporizer might be expensive because of the materials used (borosilicate glass, metal, heat resistant plastic etc.), the technique employed (type of heating element, analogue or digital temperature control etc.) or both. A good vaporizer doesn't have to be expensive, and an expensive vaporizer isn't necessarily better. But if you're looking for a device that lasts long and can be used comfortably, buying one of the cheapest vaporizers will likely be disappointing.
Is it difficult to use a vaporizer?
Generally not, but this depends on the type of vaporizer. For some models emptying and refilling the herb chamber or cleaning the vaporizer might be a bit bothersome. One must always be careful, as the heating element and the filling chamber can get very (very!) hot.
How do I clean a vaporizer?
Again, this depends on the type of vaporizer. The Volcano, for instance, requires hardly any cleaning, whereas portable glass vaporizers usually require a frequent cleansing with hot water or solvents.
The vapour makes me cough. Is there something I can do to prevent this?
It is likely that you're vaporizing at a temperature too high. Though it can be nice to inhale very concentrated white vapour (because of the strong effect), it is difficult to keep this in the lungs. Lower the temperature and the coughing will likely cease.