Vaporizers are some of the most useful items that a smoker can have. If you use tobacco or medical marijuana, it can be remarkably helpful in getting a clean, even extraction that doesn’t involve burning and screwing up your lungs. Vaporizers make enjoying your herb of choice a lot easier and safer, not to mention less bothersome to all those folks around you that always complain about you smelling funny too.
A big question that we get asked a lot is, “How does a vaporizer work?” and we wanted to break everything down for our readers in a way that it makes sense.
What Portable Vaporizers Do
In order to really understand how does a vaporizer work, you should understand what they are meant to do in the first place. Vaporizers are a smokeless system that heats up herbal material like tobacco or medical marijuana, but doesn’t actually cause them to combust. Instead, it causes the essential oils, which contain the active ingredients of the herb, to boil until it actually creates a vapor that can be inhaled for so that you can get the same effect as if you were smoking it, but with a hell of a lot fewer harmful effects. It’s so much healthier for your lungs than smoking.
Two Types of Portable Vaporizers
So there are two ways that vaporizers extract the active ingredients from the material (tobacco, marijuana, etc) and turn them into vapor:
- Conduction. This is where your plant matter is heated up by being in contact with something that is already hot.
- Convection. This is when hot air is blown over your plant matter in order to make it hot.
Conduction was the very first method, and it worked decently, but it suffered from a major design flaw. Wanting to know how does a vaporizer work implies that it is doing it’s primary job, which is transmitting active ingredients of an herbal material without burning it to the smoker. The conduction method was only able to heat the essential oils of a single part of the herbs, leaving the rest untouched. Turning up the heat would cover more area, but then it would overheat the part that was actually in contact with the hot material, occasionally to the point of combustion. Obviously, this eliminates the purpose of vaporizing and wasn’t as effective.
Convection, on the other hand, is much more reliable. Since they use heated air to boil the essential oils on the herbs, you get a much more even vaporization, with even parts of the plant that are buried at the center of the mass getting exposed to heat. However, they also tend to be thermostatically controlled because adjusting air temperature is much harder, so they are generally more expensive as a result.
So to make it easy to understand, conduction is old school and cheaper, whereas convection is new school and you pay a little more for the technology and efficiency.
When you are taking draws (or hits), what happens is that the essential oils are turned into vapor and are usually transported by a tube of some sort to the user. In many cases, this is something that looks like a cigarette or a straw, but it can take on a variety of shapes and styles depending on the vaporizer that you are using. There are as many styles of vaporizers as there are demands for that style and at the end of the day, it’s all going to depend on your preferences and what’s important to you.
There are several different types of portable vaporizers that have different draw techniques. Some are easier than others, while others have a small learning curve, so finding a vaporizer that matches up with how you expect to take hits is going to ultimately determine which portable vaporizer is going to be right for you.
Is Vaping Safe?
A huge question that we also get asked is if vaping is safer than smoking and the short answer is yes.
The truth of the matter is that the way things are made these days, nothing is really “safe”. You basically have to pick the least riskiest option and go with it. We’re not here to be pitch men; we’re here to give it to you straight.
Do you think organic foods are really organic and have no chemicals in them?
Do you believe presidential candidates follow through on what their campaign pitches?
I think you get the drift.
With all the research that we have done and in all honesty, we’ve found a number of scientific studies that support using a vaporizer can noticeably lower the amount of harmful substances that you take in with the active ingredients.
When you smoke, the combustion process releases the chemicals into the smoke you exhale, however when you vape, it only takes the oils on the plant material and leaves behind the rest which is a much healthier alternative.
Let’s take our buddy Willie Nelson for example.
Willie Nelson is an iconic figure in American pop culture and has been known to take a few hits in his spare time.
He made the switch from smoking to vaping a while back and hasn’t looked back since.
This is a great example of what usually happens when smokers consider making the transition to vaping. They will usually mix it up (vaping/smoking) with whatever makes them most comfortable or they will eventually either completely stop smoking and become “vapers”.
The bottom line is smoking isn’t good for you, so anything you can do to transition out of it, whether it’s vaping or stopping entirely, will only be to your benefit and help you in the long run.
Vaporizers are an incredible technology that can give the same effects of smoking without a number of the drawbacks and still make you feel like you aren’t giving anything up. With the right research and a few dollars, you can make an easy transition and you will be much healthier and safer than our little buddy.