Some of the first vaporizers were actually developed for cannabis. They originated with desktop vaporizers and evolved into more portable vape devices. Using a dry herb vape requires a bit of learning, just as rolling a joint does, but this guide will get you started in the right direction. Whether your vaping mission is weed or CBD hemp bud, you’re going to want to follow these same guidelines.
If you already own a regular vape pen, unfortunately you can’t just put weed into it. That’s simply not how vape pens work. The good news is that there are dry herb atomizers and tanks and dry herb vape pens. They generally aren’t as effective as the standalone units, but they are an affordable way to enjoy your herb without a lighter.
In this guide we will be focusing specifically on vaporizers for dry herb but today there are many other alternatives for vaping herbal concentrates like weed pens, wax pens and electric dab rigs that are more convenient, efficient and produce less odor.
How to vape weed: what you’ll need
Here is everything you will need to get started. Whether you’re using a portable or desktop vaporizer, it may require a few additional accessories that will come in handy.
- Dry herb – First you need some good quality dry herb; you can buy high CBD cannabis online if you aren’t in a recreational or medical marijuana state. The bud shouldn’t be too sticky or dry, or it will not vape properly.
- Vaporizer – The most common options are portable or desktop vaporizers. They are standalone units designed specifically for this purpose and are going to be your best option.
- Grinder – They are a necessity for conduction vapes, and ideal for most convection vapes. A grinder is always an excellent tool to have in your arsenal.
- Accessories – Many vaporizers include tools for cleaning your vaporizer, usually a brush and a stir tool. Other essential items include cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and high-strength isopropyl alcohol.
How to use and pack a dry herb vaporizer
Before packing your vaporizer, make sure it is off and not hot or you will lose precious vapor and possibly even burn your fingers. Not to mention it will also be much easier to pack when the oven or chamber is not hot.
- Step 1: Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in
- Step 2: Most vaporizers require a fine to medium grind. Some convection devices may allow you to get away with using full buds but generally grinding is a good idea for vaping weed, especially for conduction vaporizers.
- Step 3: Place your dry herb into your vaporizer’s oven or herb chamber, using a small business card or a weed scooper.
- Step 4: Pack the herb in using a tool or your finger and make the surface relatively flat. Conduction vapes require a firmer pack to maximize surface area, but it shouldn’t be packed in too tight — airflow still needs to be able to pass through (think of a well packed joint vs. one that’s too tight). Convection vapes can be packed looser but work best with an even consistency.
- Step 5: Turn on the device and select your desired temperature.
How to inhale weed from a vape
If you’ve never inhaled from a weed vaporizer, it can take some getting used to. Vapor feels different in your lungs than smoke, and can induce coughing even though it is much cooler than smoke. Eventually you will find the best temperature for your preference.
- Wait about 30 seconds after your vape reaches temperature before taking your first puff (for portables, it’s usually just a minute or so)
- Prime the vaporizer by taking a few gentle puffs
- Drag on the mouthpiece until you fill your lungs with vapor; exhale
- If the draw feels too tight, hit it like you would a roach — with your lips loosely on the mouthpiece
Keep in mind most dry herb vaporizers are session vapes — they cut off at some point, much like a joint, except you can turn it back on for another round. Depending on your heat settings for the first session, there’ll likely be more life left to the bud, which is often called already vaped bud or AVB.
Check your herb at the end of your session and if it’s still got some color to it, mix it up a little bit with your stir tool, then pack it back down a bit, and turn the device on for another round. For vaporizers, you can have additional sessions with your bud as long as it’s not too dark.
How to clean a vaporizer
The best time to clean is right after your session, and it’s actually fun to do while feeling the effects. If you make it part of your ritual, your device will always be ready and clean when you want to get lifted.
- Make sure your vaporizer is off and not too hot
- Remove the mouthpiece from your device
- Use a brush to get rid of any excess debris from the herb chamber
- Dampen a cotton Q-tip with alcohol and scrub the inside of the chamber until it’s clean
- Dampen a pipe cleaner with alcohol and snake it through the inside of the vapor path until it’s clean (hold the device up to the light to see if the walls get clean)
Cleaning your device is important! Residue can build up which causes uneven vaporization. It’s okay if you let it go a few sessions without cleaning, but don’t let it go too long or it will be much harder to clean. A dirty vaporizer doesn’t perform well.
How to sanitize your vape
Before using your vape, it is highly advised that you follow these steps first. Some devices that are fresh off the assembly line can have residual machine oils used during production. It has a funny smell and taste, which can ruin your experience. It’s best to be on the safe side and sanitize a vaporizer before the first use.
- Do a burn-off: This eliminates any residual machine oil by letting it run for 3-4 heating cycles with an empty chamber.
- Clean the vapor path: The path the vapor travels before reaching your mouth by running the pipe cleaner or cotton swab through it.
- Cleaning the mouthpiece: Remove, soak in alcohol, wipe, rinse and dry. If you have any other non-electronic pieces that are removable, you can utilize this same process.
- Replacing the bag: If you’re using a desktop vaporizer, replace the bag when it gets discolored or sticky from cannabis resin.