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If you've recently decided to purchase a dry herb vaporizer, or are considering of doing so, these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your bud.
Experimenting with your first vaporizer can be disappointing at first. While you may have success right out of the gate, many people are initially underwhelmed when they use a dry herb vape for the first time. That’s not unusual, there’s going to be a learning curve, but IT WILL be absolutely worth it. You spent good money on it, take the time to learn your device.
Some may say that vaporizers don't get them as high as smoking. Keep in mind, there is more to it than just pack your bud and inhale. So It is very possible that that after you take your first puffs, again, you WILL be underwhelmed.
But don't give up just yet. Give your new vaporizer a chance. Once you use it properly and get the hang of it, it simply becomes a second nature, and you will never want to go back to any of the old smoking methods.
Saving note: use this discount code 'howtouseavape' for 20% off your next vaporizer purchase on our 421Store. Check all our vaporizers here. One use per customer, active until Oct 31, 2018.
Related article: How to Choose a Vaporizer: Conduction or convection?
A "cloud" is not necessarily a sign of a good hit.. Since there are so many devices and they all perform differently, this is a general idea of what to expect. Your first pull will not produce a lot of visible vapor (usually), but it will be a tasty one. Vaping is an opportunity to really appreciate the flavor/terpenes of the flower. After the initial draw or two, the following ones will typically produce visible vapor.
Run it EMPTY on a high temperature before you use it the first time: With any vaporizer, the first thing you want to do is to wipe the chamber with rubbing alcohol and a Q-Tip, and then run it on a high temperature if it is an electric vaporizer, or run it through a heat cycle if it is a butane vaporizer. This is done to burn off any residual machining oil from manufacturing. Repeat for three or four cycles. I also recommend cleaning the mouthpiece and any parts that could carry that plastic smell and taste.
Vaping high vs. smoking high: Our second dry herb vaporizer tip; you have to understand that the high you get out of your smoking sessions is different than the high you get out of your vaping sessions, most of Vaporents refer to it as "clean high." Many also report that the effects feel more “stoney” than smoking. Also, vaping may not hit you as fast as smoking and that full effect may take 10-20 mins. I wrote a blog piece about this to let beginners know what they're getting themselves into before buying their first vaporizer. Check it out here: How to Choose a Vaporizer: Vaporizer high or Smoking high?
Use a grinder: Don't Break it up by hand. Grinding your bud is key to get the best out of your vaping session, but not so fine that it can go through the screen.
Vaporizers work by exposing the herb to just the right amount of heat to release the cannabinoids in the plant without burning it. In this case, surface area matters, so the finer your grind is, the better. Keep in mind, convection vaporizers seem to work better with a medium grind.
Keep in mind, different grinds and packing work for every vaporizer. Some vaporizers need finer bud than others to work properly, others busted by hand bud may work better. For instance, really fine grind and tight pack extracts most efficiently in the Pax. While with a Mighty a medium-fine grind works best, and various amounts of packing works fine (because of the convection and good engineering).
With that said, sometimes it's trial and error till you get the best and most efficient results for your vaporizer.
Packing your vaporizer: To achieve effective heat distribution and best vapor production:
If you were using a conduction vaporizer, pack the chamber tightly and full. You do not need room for air in between your grinds to vaporize them (as if you were using a convection vaporizer). Pack it tightly.
If your vaporizer was a convection vaporizer, don't over pack the chamber; dry herb vaporizers experts recommend filling the chamber no more than halfway. Always start small and add on, and try to arrange your bud in the chamber loosely, airy and evenly.
Stir the cooked herb every couple of pulls, especially if you over packed it. Don't stir too much as it may crumble into finer pieces, which may go through the vaporizer filter into your lungs, it'll be like sucking fine AVB dust. This tip is device-specific on occasions, for instance; you don't really need to stir the bowl when you're using the Arizer Solo 2.
Have extra batteries: If you could, and if the batteries are replaceable, buy spare batteries, just in case you were on the go and you run out of juice. When this happens to me, I feel my evening is over and I need to go back home, because simply my vaporizer is dead. (Sick of charging batteries? Consider a desktop vape, they won't be portable though). Make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and choose the right battery specifications that is recommended by the manufacturer, also the right charger.
Related article: Portable vs Desktop Vaporizers for weed, Which One You Should Get?
Find your middle: Number of bowls or sessions vary from a person to another, based on her or his tolerance level (nevertheless, many people find vaping a tiny amount of weed can be more than enough, amounts as little as 0.05g to 0.1g). I personally vape daily and I'm usually stoned off of one vaping session. I vape at 6 or 7 p.m. and one session is enough to get me high until I go to bed, around 11 pm. But again, every stoners' tolerance level is different than another. So you just need to find your balance.
The ideal temperature: Understand the ideal temperature for your session and the type of high you seek, here is a step by step guide, or this illustration tells it all:
Dosing capsules: One of my favorite vaporizer tricks that I didn't know for a long time, is the dosing capsules. If you can get them, like The Mighty dosing capsules. They will help to keep your vaporizer clean, and very easy for on-the-go sessions.
Don't turn on and off between hits, turn it off only when you're done. Most vaporizers' vape sessions vape are designed to stay at temperature, they use more power to heat up than remain at a stable temperature. Usually a bowl can last 5-15 minute depending on what type of vaporizer you have. AND, when you're done, don't forget to switch it off!
Use a bong/bubbler: In other word, vapebonging. This is another vaporizer trick. Most dry herb vaporizers either include or have available bong adapters, WPA (water pipe adapter), so no need to give up your favorite bong/water pipe. Use warm or hot water for a smoother hit. Using cool water or ice in an ice catcher will cool the hit but make for a harsher throat hit, much more likely to make you cough. Whereas warm water will help keep the hit moist and gentle!
Maintain/clean frequently: If you have no interest in saving your reclaim, you can clean it every 6-8 uses with some ISO and/or pipe cleaners. It will keep the vapor production right. It's easy 5-10 min process, there's no reason to not be doing it at least once a week.
Related article: The Best Way To Clean Your Dry Herb Vaporizer Pen
Here are couple of signs that your bowl is done, you may want to consider them all:
Smell/taste: it starts tasting/smelling like burnt popcorn
Color: Open your bowl and look. Usually your AVB should get dark brown-ish. Keep in mind, ABV will look different from a session to another, mainly because of the different temperature people tend to set their vaporizers on, so for a newbie, it's not always the best indicator. However, and in time, and as you start knowing your vaporizers and your favorite temperature setting, you'll start noticing those subtle details, and differentiate between colors.
Finally, when it stops producing vapor
Turn on the vaporizer, set your temperature. Once it gets to required temperature, leave it for few seconds for the herb to cook
Completely exhale the air out of your lungs, then take a VERY slow but deep pull till you start feeling the irritation in your throat (don't suck on it too hard). Don't bring it into your mouth, you will be using your lung sucking power to create a vacuum (do not ever breathe/cough vapor out your nose. Very unpleasant).
Once you feel the irritation in your throat, it's time to continue inhaling fresh air instead
Cough if you need to, don't choke yourself. Also, make sure to have some cold water next to you to cool down your throat just in case you start coughing.
Hold the vape...... 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi...
While this all may seem like a bit of effort, I assure you it’s worth it. Not only will your lungs appreciate the lack of combustion, but the smell will be practically nonexistent compared to smoking. Financially you’re in for a treat too. Vaping flower, you will literally use half as much as you did burning, and still get where you want to be. Not to mention the left over material (AVB) you’ll have, which can easily be used to make butter for edibles. I’m still amazed at how much I get out of my flower now.
That's all our vaporizer tips and trips for now folks. I will add more as I discover more. Stay toasty my friends...
Ayad Maher is a Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur, Blogger & Activist. eCommerce Specialist and Owner of a 420 Life Style Website; Monroe Blvd, an online smoke shop; 421Store, and an online CBD store; GoodyCBD.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.