What is a Vaporizer?
October 10th, 2013
Categories : Blog
A vaporizer is any device that can be used to heat a variety of dried herbs, such as cannabis or nicotine-free tobacco, to a point where its essence can be expelled as a thin, scented vapor. This insures that the herbs will not generate smoke; there is no burning, charring, or ignition of the substances. While the vapor produced by a vaporizer may closely appear to be smoke, it does not contain any of the noxious particulates common with smoking herbal concoctions.
How Vaporizing Differs from Smoking
Smoking relies on combustion to release herbal ingredients. One of the major hazards in combustion is the release of hazardous, carcinogenic substances like ash, benzene, carbon monoxide, naphthalene, and toluene. Roughly a third to one half of all the ingredients of an herbal substance is lost upon combustion; meaning that smoking herbs not only risks the user's health, but that the herb also loses most of its vital ingredients in the process.
Conversely, vaporizing gently heats herbal materials via a heating element. This means that the herbal essence is released as a thin, non-caustic, and 95% undiluted vapor at a temperature of around 439 degrees Fahrenheit (226 degrees Celsius), with half potency from around the range of 356 to 392 degrees (150-180 degrees Celsius). Said vapor can then be filtered or cooled down through various methods prior to inhalation.
Vaporizers are offered in a variety of models, sizes, and costs; ranging from large electric-powered home devices to discreet pocket versions. Most home models also offer a variety of additions like valves or balloons. Portable models utilize rechargeable batteries, along with gaseous substances such as butane or nitrous oxide.
The Three Designs of Vaporizers
Glass: Glass models are the cheapest style of vaporizer, offering an easy way to reach the desired temperature, but at the cost of temperature accuracy.
Electrical: These heat up via an element atop a glass bulb, which fills with vapor to be inhaled via a small tube.
Digital: The newest variety of vaporizer utilizes a chip to exactly monitor the temperature and herbal volume.
Stored Vapor: This particular methods stores its created vapor in a glass dome or balloon-like bag. As balloons can expand, they can contain more vapor than a static glass vessel. The one drawback to bag-based storage is that it requires more time to reach the proper extraction point for the vaporized herb.
Direct Lung: This particular method directs either hot air or cool water, along the herbal reservoir, toward the user's lungs. This provides a larger hit due to the lack of a reservoir, as well as a cleaner taste. Some units even include a fan to assist in the act of aeration.
It should be noted that despite the greatly reduced hazard, and risk, of agitating the respiratory system, vaporizers cannot completely negate the potential for irritation. A large intake of "dry" vaporized cannabis, usually resulting from a novice user's first few uses, will often trigger a fit of intense coughing.
A Quartet of Reasons to Vaporize
A Safe and Clean Medium. When compared to the smoke and residue of their combusted contemporaries, the level of irritants and health-endangering substances generated by vaporized plant materials is either nonexistent, or greatly reduced, depending on the particular component.
Less Yields More. While the combustion of an herb via smoke expends its "payload" all in one go, a vaporizer can triple, or even quadruple, the lifetime of the same herb by allowing the user to portion out its usage.
Flavor. Herbal vapor generated by non-combustive means provides the user with a cleaner, purer, and more enjoyable taste while also negating many of the caustic fumes and toxins generated by their smoked counterparts.
Efficiency. In addition to vaporizers serving as a less hazardous method of enjoying the user's herb of choice, herbal solutions designed with vaporizers in mind can be offered in a higher level of concentration and greater aromatic density that what would be provided for combustion methods.
As an addendum, regarding alternative uses for vaporizers, some professional chefs have utilized vaporizers to modify the flavor applications of certain herbs or spices. Generally this is utilized by chefs that seek to incorporate certain substances that may become ruined by the excess heat of regular cooking methods. This "culinary vaporization" has been cited in such arrangements as storing herbal vapor within bags to be used as place-mats. When the plate containing the meal is placed on the bag, the pressure causes the bag to burst and deliver its aromatic payload. Because smell is such a large portion of taste, the vaporized herbs provide an additional layer of flavor to the customer.