Although vaping dry herb with the right vaporizer, using the right techniques, is less harmful than smoking…
It does come with a few side effects.
Today you’re going to learn what side effects you can experience when using a dry herb vaporizer.
Irritation of Airways
Although dry herb vaporizers cause much less irritation than smoking a joint, you can still experience some irritation.
This holds especially true for vaporizers that produce harsh vapor.
Harsh vapor usually is caused by either:
- a very short vapor path, or,
- vaping with too high of a temperature.
Both these causes are related.
A vaporizer with a very short airpath usually leads to hot vapor.
The longer the vapor path, the more time the vapor has to cool down.
With a short vapor path, the moment the heating element creates the vapor, you’re basically inhaling it.
Hot vapor can be harsh and more irritating for your airways.
The other cause of harsh vapor is using too high of a temperature setting.
Cannabis can be vaped in the following temperature range: 320°F(160°C) – 446°F(230°C).
If you go higher than 446°F(230°C), you risk combusting your herb. If you go lower than 320°F(160°C), you don’t vaporize a significant amount of cannabinoids.
The closer you get to 446°F(230°C) the harsher the vapor will be. And the higher the chance you’ll irritate your airways. If you want to avoid harsh vapor, it’s best to keep the temperature below 392°F(200°C).
If you do want to vape at higher temperature settings, it’s important that you use a bubbler. A bubbler is very effective at cooling down vapor.
Learn more about cannabis vaping temperatures.
Exposure to Toxins
Yes, dry herb vaping is less harmful than smoking. But dry herb vaping still exposes you to toxins.
Various studies estimate that cannabis vapor is 80-90% less harmful than cannabis smoke (1).
But it’s not completely harmless.
Here again, the higher your vaping temperature the higher the number of toxins you expose yourself to.
When you vape above 392°F(200°C), you risk inhaling significantly more benzene than below this temperature (1). Less than you would expose yourself to smoking, but still something to consider.
Benzene is a carcinogenic compound (2). So to minimize your benzene exposure, you should vape under 392°F(200°C).
But benzene is just one of the possible toxins you can inhale while using a dry herb vaporizer.
Cannabis vapor still contains some irritants and toxins that can be found in cannabis smoke.
It’s unclear to what extent long-term exposure to these toxins increases health risks. But if you want to stay on the safe side, vape below 392°F(200°C).
The only exception is you vape because of other cannabinoids than THC.
Studies found cannabinoids like CBD and CBG get released in much higher concentrations between 392°F(200°C) and 446°F(230°C) (3).
But toxins while dry herb vaping can come from other places as well.
Contaminants In Cannabis: Microbes, Heavy metals and Pesticides
Cannabis plants can be contaminated.
The most common cannabis contaminants are:
- microbes like mold and bacteria,
- heavy metals like lead, and,
Using a dry herb vaporizer will not save you from ingesting these contaminants if your cannabis is contaminated.
It’s important that you get your cannabis from trusted sources.
It’s even better if you can grow your own. Then you’re always assured that you have clean product.
Using Vaporizers with Dangerous Designs
If you use an unsafe vaporizer you risk damaging your health.
What’s an unsafe vaporizer?
A vaporizer with lead soldering around the heating element.
Read op on vaporizer safety before making any purchase.
Vaping with the right vaporizer, using the right techniques is less harmful than smoking cannabis.
But you can still experience side effects like:
- irritation of your airways, and,
- exposure to toxins.
A dry herb vaporizer will not save you from side effects caused by contaminated cannabis.
- Gieringer, D., St. Laurent, J., & Goodrich, S. (2004). Cannabis Vaporizer Combines Efficient Delivery of THC with Effective Suppression of Pyrolytic Compounds. Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, 4(1), 7–27. https://doi.org/10.1300/j175v04n01_02
- Smith, M. T. (2010). Advances in Understanding Benzene Health Effects and Susceptibility. Annual Review of Public Health, 31(1), 133–148. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103646
- Pomahacova, B., Van der Kooy, F., & Verpoorte, R. (2009). Cannabis smoke condensate III: The cannabinoid content of vaporisedCannabis sativa. Inhalation Toxicology, 21(13), 1108–1112. https://doi.org/10.3109/08958370902748559