Avoiding Vaporizer Disappointment
Even though vaping marijuana is what I consider the smart choice compared to smoking it, many first-timers get disappointed. As a result, they forever turn their backs to vaping marijuana. Personally, I don’t blame them, everyone wants a great experience.
Here are some reasons that may lead to disappointment:
- Your vaporizer doesn’t match your vaping style.
- You expect exactly the same effects as when you smoke flower.
- You don’t know how to use your vaporizer properly.
The first two issues can easily be avoided by doing proper research and managing your expectations. However, the last issue of not knowing how to use your vaporizer properly may require some willingness, practice and experimentation on your end in order for these things to be resolved.
On cannabis vaporization, there’s a lot of conflicting information. In this post, I’ll go over five simple tips on using a dry herb/flower vaporizer properly. Learning to use a vaporizer properly is easier than you might think, and once you have a few simple tips mastered, you’ll be off and running. All you may need is some practice and experimentation—you’ll be getting those clouds of vapor that you deserve.
Tip 1: Using the Right Temperature when Vaping Marijuana
Different temperatures serve different vaping needs. Generally speaking, the higher you set your temperature dial, the closer you’ll come to a smoke-like experience and the stronger the effects your vapor will be. But here’s the kicker: With 90% of vaporizers, the higher you set your temperature, the more your flavour will deteriorate.
If you’ve ever vaped marijuana, you might be familiar with the “burnt popcorn taste.” This taste becomes more prevalent the higher in temperature you go. Also, your vapor will be harsher at higher temperatures. But what exactly is a high and low temperature?
Here’s a general guideline to temperature for vaping marijuana flower:
Low-level vaping temperatures
320° F (160°C) – 356° F (180° C) effects:
- Light mental medication
- Very weak bodily effects
- Best for flavour
Mid-level vaping temperatures
356° F (180° C) – 392° F (200° C) effects:
- Moderate to strong mental and physical medication
- Mental and bodily effects both equally apparent
- Good for flavour
High-level vaping temperatures
392° F (200° C) – 446° F (230° C) effects:
- Intense mental and physical medication
- Bodily effects will be very strong
- Harsh flavour
So, the next time you’re not feeling the effects of your marijuana, check your temperature and turn that dial up a bit.
Tip 2: How to Grind Your Marijuana
Not every dry herb vaporizer needs the same grind. In fact, some vaporizers don’t need a grind at all. They can just take whole nug of flower. To know how to grind your herb for your particular vaporizer, the first and foremost thing you need to know is whether you have a conduction vaporizer or a convection vaporizer.
If you have a conduction vaporizer:
You really need to grind your herb as fine as you can, and there are multiple reasons why. First, to transfer heat properly in a conduction-heating system, your herb needs to be compact (the heat gets directly transferred between your herb's particles in a conduction-heating system), and compactness can be very easily achieved with a fine grind.
Secondly, since your herb is in direct contact with the heated wands of the heating chamber, you want as many particles as possible in contact with it. The finer your grind, the more particles you’ll expose to the heated wands of the heating chamber. To grind your herb fine to a level like this, you really need a proper herb grinder.
If you have a convection vaporizer:
With most convection vaporizers, a finer grind is perfect. In convection-style heating, your herb gets heated by circulating hot air. As a result, you’ll want to maximize airflow in your herb chamber.
Grinding your flower allows you to increase the surface area of exposure of your herb, so the hot air will heat it more thoroughly. If you’re vaping large amounts, it can be annoying to finger grind a gram of herb. Luckily, there are herb grinders that provide you with a fluffy finger-type of grind, which is perfect for convection vaporizers.
Tip 3: How to Pack Your Vaporizer
Packing your vaporizer properly is essential for producing those clouds of vapor you really want. How you pack the cannabis into your vaporizer is dependent on whether you have a conduction or convection vaporizer.
If you have a conduction vaporizer:
Pack your vaporizer tightly and compactly, but not so much that there’s literally no airflow. The optimal packing level is also different based on the vaporizer you’re using, and ultimately you’ll have to experiment yourself. Take this as a general guideline though.
If you have a convection vaporizer:
Pack your vaporizer loosely as it's extremely important to have proper airflow with convection vaporizers. With convection vaporizers, never fill it more than 80%-90% and never compress your ground cannabis flower.
Note: There are quite a lot of hybrid vaporizers that get advertised as “full” or just “convection” vaporizers, when in fact they’re hybrid vaporizers. If you have a hybrid vaporizer, it’s best to pack your vaporizer somewhere between compact and loose.
My last tip with regards to packing your vaporizer is to put as much herb in your herb chamber, so that the bottom part of the chamber is covered with the marijuana flower. How much differs per vaporizer, but it’s a very simple and effective visual check.
Tip 4: How to Draw (or Puff)
While this is very dependent on the particular vaporizer and inhalation method (direct draw, whip or balloon), there are three general tips when it comes to drawing on your vaporizer:
- Most vaporizers work better if you “sip” them instead of “rip” them. This means that you draw in a controlled way, like you would be sipping tea.
- Draw for at least 10 seconds.
- If you’re new to vaping cannabis, realize that sometimes you won’t even physically feel the vapor that much. You will feel it though.
Tip 5: Keep Your Vaporizer Clean
This might seem like an obvious tip, but even I catch myself being lazy with this and then blame my vaporizer for a foul taste or wispy clouds. Sometimes I open my vaporizer to see that the screens are clogged with herb residue, and this has created a bad experience.
It’s extremely important that you keep your herb chamber, your vapor path and especially the screens in your vapor path clear of marijuana residue. Most vaporizers can easily be cleansed with ISO alcohol or Q-tips dipped in ISO alcohol. Never dip your entire vaporizer in ISO alcohol.
Those are the five simple tips that can lead to the most optimal vaporizer experience. Of course, there are specific tips for every individual vaporizer to really get the most out of it, but whatever vaporizer you have, these tips will guide you in the right direction when learning how to use your new vaporizer.
If you liked this post and want to learn more about vaping marijuana and marijuana vaporizers, check out Herbonaut where we review the latest vaporizers and write extensive user guides.
Guest blogger Haydar Naut is a marijuana enthusiast and vaporizer expert. Born and raised in Amsterdam, he grew up in a cannabis-friendly climate and learned quickly what a great ally this plant can be. He believes vaping cannabis is the easiest, safest and most straightforward alternative to smoking it. He is the Founder of Heronaut, an informative vaporizer site where you can find vaporizer reviews and more.