(January 16,2020)

Dry herb vaporizers are quickly changing the way people enjoy their favourite ‘dry herbs’ for many new and regular users. Dry Herb vapes in Australia are fast becoming a common household item offering many benefits over smoking.

The modern portable dry herb vapes available in Australia today have drastically improved technology and features over dry herb vaporizers from just a few years ago. As a result they have become smaller, more portable, efficient, affordable and more popular than ever before.

Dry herb vapes are very easy to use, basically all you need to do is grind up some herbs, pack it in the vape, turn it on and when it’s heated up its ready to use.

Dry herb vaporizers come in many different shapes and sizes however most dry herb vapes operate basically the same. Dry herb vapes are inherently very simple to use, however there are some finer points to using a dry herb vaporizer that we thought we would share to help you get the most out of your vaping.  

Before using a new dry herb vaporizer for the first time…

When you first get your new dry herb vaporizer it will be tempting to pack it with dry herb, turn it on and try it out straight away… but before you do there’s a couple of things that we recommend doing first in order to get the most out or your new vape.

Fully Charge the Battery...

The batteries that come with modern herb vaporizers should come partly charged. The recommendation for battery storage is that the batteries should be stored with approximately 70% charge. This is how the batteries will usually come from the manufacturer. 

Although there is some charge in the battery in new herb vaporizers it is recommended to charge the battery for an extended period before its first use. For example, Samsung 18650 / 2600mAh batteries are recommended to be charged for around 6 hours before using them for the first time.

This will help to ensure a long battery life and that the battery is capable of being fully charged in the future.

Pre burn / burning in the chamber…

Burning off, or Pre burning a new dry herb vaporizer is essentially turning it on for a few minutes without any herbs in the chamber in order to “burn off” any residues potentially left from the manufacturing process, or that might have built up during warehousing and transportation. It’s that “new” smell… and taste that we don’t want to inhale and contaminate the first couple of sessions.

To perform a burn off on new dry herb vape, turn it on and set the temperature on a high setting. Leave it on for about 5 minutes then switch it off, repeat the process when it has cooled down, and that’s it… done!

Before you begin...

If you haven’t used a dry herb vaporizer before, it’s worth mentioning that you wont be getting the same kind of huge, thick clouds of vapour that you get from e-cigarettes or vape mods that are used as a substitute for smoking cigarettes. Dry herb vapes produce a much less noticeable vapour that dissipates very quickly, which is one of the advantages of using a dry herb vaporizer as they are very discreet.

With a dry herb vaporizer, it’s more about the flavour, aroma and effect rather than producing a big cloud of vapour.  

Use Fresh, good quality Herb...

Your experience using a dry herb vaporizer will only be as good as the herbs you use. One of the most important steps when using a herbal vaporizer is to properly prep your material.

If the herbs are too moist you wont get the same quality or amount of vapour that you would with properly cured herbs, as water and cannabinoids have different boiling points. You may find that if the herbs are not dry enough they might not vaporize at all.

If you use overly dried material in a dry herb vape, it will work however it won’t produce the same quality of vapour and can lead to a slightly disappointing session. 

Grind the Herb..

Grinding your herb is an important part of the process when using a dry herb vape. When you grind up your herbs it increases the surface area, which allows the heat from the vaporizer to better penetrate the herbs and produce a good quality, thick and tasty vapour.

It also is more efficient to grind the herbs when using a herbal vape as it ensures that no material in the chamber is left untouched, and therefore wasted.

The best way to achieve a perfect consistency of ground herbs is to use a herb grinder. There are many types of these available but they all work basically the same way and are quick and easy to use. What you’re aiming for is a nice even, consistent medium to fine grind.

It’s best to not grind up more herb than you intend on using for that session. Herbs that are ground up will dry out at a more rapid rate and can quickly become overly dry for the best vaping experience.

Packing the chamber...

The way you pack the chamber of when using a dry herb vaporizer will have a huge effect on your overall experience.

Most dry herb vapes will have specific instructions on how much material should be placed in the chamber. As a general rule the chamber should be packed full, but not too tight. Dry herb vapes work best when the heated air can pass through the ground herb evenly and easily.

In addition to getting a better quality and thicker vapour you will also notice a better flavour and potency as you will be extracting more of the active substances in the herbs.

If the chamber is packed too tightly it will reduce the airflow and make it more difficult to inhale, resulting in less vapour. Packing a full, but not too tight chamber will lessen the resistance when inhaling and result in a thicker, better quality vapour.

Setting the temperature…

The ability to adjust the temperature on a herb vape is probably one of the best things about them. Using a dry herb vaporizer at different temperatures will produce different blends of taste and effect and it is important to get it right.

Everyone’s favourite dry herb can be vaporized effectively at between around 180C-220C. There have been studies that recommend 210C as the most effective temperature for the best blend of flavour, vapour quality and effect and I personally agree. I prefer a temp of between 200C-210C although different strains will vaporize best at slightly different temperatures so it’s best to experiment at different settings.

A good tip is to start at a slightly lower temperature and slowly increase it until you find the “sweet spot” of your own personal preference, and what works best for the particular strain you are using.

The variable balance of taste and effect that is possible with a dry herb vaporizer is something that is not possible when smoking herbs. It is a whole topic for discussion in itself, but as a general guide lower temperatures will bring out the flavour more and the effect will leave users more clear-headed and functional (Ideal for those who like to “wake & bake”).

Higher temperature settings will produce a thicker cloud of vapour, however the flavour will deteriorate as you increase the temperature. Higher temperatures will generally tend to leave you with a stronger euphoric sensation, and you’re more likely to not leave the couch!

Be careful not to turn up the temperature too high as this may cause the herbs to combust (burn) which is exactly what using a dry herb vaporizer is trying to avoid.

Different herb vapes have different types of control over the temperature settings. Some have between 3-5 pre-set temperatures to choose from while others have a digital display and the temperature on these can usually be adjusted very precisely in one degree increments. Both types of temperature selection methods on dry herb vaporizers work effectively as the pre-set temperatures are set at temps that are most effective at vaporizing dry herbs.

Inhaling / technique...

If it’s your first time using a dry herb vaporizer you might find it takes a little while to get used to. If you’re used to taking huge rips on a bong and ending up coughing out a lung full of smoke, it’s very different to that (which can only be a good thing!). 

You will notice the greatly improved taste first, then how smooth it is compared to all the various smoking methods.

When using a dry herb vaporizer its usually best to take more gentle, slow, short drags. Most dry vapes work best if you ‘sip’ instead of ‘rip’ them.

When dry herb vaporizers first became popular there was a trend of taking big, long and deep drags when using them.  The reason it’s best to take slower, smaller drags is that drawing too hard and regularly from a dry herb vaporizer introduces cool air into the chamber which will ultimately reduce the temperature and affect the quality of the vapour.

A good recommendation is to inhale for about 5-10 seconds, depending on how comfortable that feels for each individual. Every vape has a different draw resistance (the amount of resistance felt while inhaling through the mouthpiece) so your inhalation rate will depend on the particular dry herb vape you’re using.

Depending on the size of the chamber and how tightly it’s packed, you can usually get quite a few draws from a single load of the chamber. Some vaporizers might benefit from stirring the contents of the chamber half way through to ensure that it is all used efficiently and to prevent the herbs from charring, as you may experience using some dry vapes, especially if the temp is set too high or the herb is too dry.

When the taste of the vapour starts to change, it means its finished. The herbs will have turned to a brown colour, but won’t be ash. Some have described the taste of vaping a finished chamber as tasting a bit like burnt popcorn.

Another tip when using a dry herb vaporizer is to wait 10-20 seconds after it has reached the selected temperature before you start inhaling, and during a session in between drags. The reason for this is that in most types of dry herb vapes the heat will continue to build up in the oven and can sometimes provide a thicker, more dense vapour. 

Cleaning and maintaining your Dry Herb Vaporizer…

It’s important to keep your dry herb vaporizer clean and maintained. The process of using a herbal vape leaves a small amount of sticky residue inside parts of the vaporizer that build up over time and will detract from a good experience. 

The residue build up can block the mesh, ceramic or stainless steel screens that stop the ground herbal matter from being inhaled through the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece itself can also become blocked if not regularly maintained.

The residue isn’t anything like the thick, smelly, sticky black resin that builds up on a pipe or bong, but it still needs to be cleaned regularly. Imagine that bong resin building up over time in your lungs… You won’t have to worry about that when using a dry herb vaporizer! The small amount of residue left behind during the process of vaporization is a lot easier to clean and less messy than the resin that’s left behind and inhaled when smoking herbs.

Ideally, a dry herb vaporizer should be cleaned after every use, but let’s be honest, no-one is realistically going to do it that regularly! 

Every time you empty the used herbs from the chamber it’s best to use the little brush that probably came with the vape to brush it all out. If some is left in there it may burn during the next session and will affect the taste.

After about every 5-10 sessions it’s recommended to thoroughly clean your dry herb vaporizer. This can be done using Isopropyl alcohol and cotton tips. Dip the cotton tips into the Isopropyl alcohol and wipe all inside the chamber and mouthpiece. Clean the filter screens using the same method. 

It may be easier to clean some components while still slightly warm, as the residue will be easier to wipe off.

Some dry herb vaporizers have some parts that can be removed and soaked or dipped into the Isopropyl alcohol and wiped down afterwards, like mouthpiece filters and screens. Isopropyl alcohol is also available in a spray which can be very convenient, just don't spray it directly into the chamber. Spray it onto the cotton tips and use those to wipe the inside of the chamber.

Cleaning your dry herb vaporizer is easy, doesn't take very long to do and makes a huge difference to your vaping session. If you make it a routine and do it regularly you really will enjoy your dry herb vaporizer much more.

The longer you leave it in between cleaning the more difficult it will be to clean and it will become more of a chore. It may even get to the point of no return if you use your dry herb vaporizer a lot and never really clean it thoroughly.

Final thoughts...

Dry herb vaporizers have many benefits and advantages over other methods such as smoking. Although they may cost a bit more initially, if they are well looked after and regularly maintained a dry herb vaporizer will last for many years and the benefits far outweigh the initial cost.


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