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It’s All Smoke and Mirrors: Why We Vaporize

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

We love the classics here at IC Collective. We love that old school vibe, we love roots reggae, 90s hip hop and the Grateful Dead, we love our classic strains (Chem Dog, anyone?), and of course, we love smoking a pre-roll outside on a sunny day… but let’s face it, technology sometimes offers advantages that the more “classic” ways of doing things doesn’t.

Which brings us to the topic at hand: Vaporizers. In the vast arena of smoker’s articles, vaporizers are leading the way into the future of cannabis consumption. Vaporizing cannabis is scientifically demonstrated in numerous studies to be healthier for the smoker than smoking cannabis, and studies have shown that vaporizing cannabis may well be more effective than smoking, giving those who vaporize a significantly higher experience than those smoking. In addition, though doctors and scientists are increasingly coming to the conclusion that cannabis is often a safer alternative to opioids, there is still some health risk in traditional consumption methodologies. Whether it’s cannabis flower, oil or resin, and whether you use it medically or recreationally, the biggest risk of smoking is the smoke itself.

How do vaporizers work? Vaporizers heat cannabis flower, extracts, resins, and/or oils to a temperature just below combustion, allowing people to intake the active chemical compounds from the plant material without breathing in any smoke. Where vaporizing doesn’t leave any carbonized plant material in the lungs, smoking does, causing damage to the lungs, especially in large quantities over time.

Are All Vaporizers Created Equal? Nope. As with all smoker’s articles and cannabis products themselves, each consumer will have their own preferences. In terms of effectiveness and function, there are three main types of heat sources used in vaporizers.

  • Conduction heating works by utilizing direct contact of the plant material with an electrically heated surface, usually made of metal. It’s relatively difficult to precisely regulate the temperature with vaporizers that use conduction because they’re not as well-tuned as some convection or infrared heating, which is evidenced by the fact that most of what’s currently available on the market are convection-heated vaporizers.

  • Convection heating, on the other hand, works by passing precisely heated air over dried plant material, vaporizing the material more evenly and efficiently. This makes convection heating the preferred choice for consumers who want to get the most out of their consumption. With convection heating, the plant product never comes in contact with the heating element; instead air is forced by fan or inhalation over the plant material and through the delivery system. Heating elements for convection vaporizers are typically made out of ceramic, though some are made out of stainless steel or other types of metal. Ceramic heating elements retain heat extremely well and are unaffected by cool air drawn through the system.

  • Radiation or Infrared vaporizers use radiant energy either produced by electricity or a light source to provide heat. The plant material absorbs the radiant energy, increasing in temperature until its components vaporize.

  • Hot Stuff: Let’s Talk Temperature: In addition to the cannabinoids that give cannabis its potency, it also contains aromatic compounds called terpenes that give it its flavor. These compounds are very volatile and sensitive to heat, meaning that excessively high temperatures during combustion can quickly destroy them. On the other hand, vaping tends to help optimize the activation of individual terpenes. Terpenes are complex compounds, each having different boiling points so that they release into vapor at specific temperatures which are significantly lower than normative combustion temperatures.

As an example, beta-caryophyllene, a terpene with a distinctive spicy and peppery aroma, is released at low temperatures around 118°C, but burns away at temperatures much higher than that. Other terpenes, such as linalool, can withstand higher temperatures.

With many vaporizers, unlike most other smoker’s articles, you can adjust the temperature of your device, allowing you to fine-tune the process, get the most flavor, aroma, the most substantive high, and the least physiological harm from intaking cannabis and cannabis products. If you’re already consuming IC Collective flower, extracts, or other cannabis products, you’ll know the wild and potent terpene profiles of our strains. We think vaporizing is one of the best ways to taste the spectrum and depth of flavors that we pride ourselves on!

Stay tuned for IC Collective’s new vaporizer, the Airgraft, coming soon to dispensary shelves near you! We’ve put our lungs to the test, and we’re breathing easy, because this device is one of the best in the business...

Vaporizing Concentrates Waxes, shatters, crumbles, and oils are a concentrated form of cannabinoids and terpenes and are therefore referred to as cannabis concentrates. Due to these products being a concentrated mix, you have the benefit of only needing a very small amount to get the same effect as you would with larger amounts of a less concentrated mix. If you are looking to vape concentrates you will need a vapor pen that is capable of doing so as not all vaporizers have this functionality. In fact, many vaporizer manufacturers now offer special attachments to convert standard ovens to be compatible with concentrates but it often costs extra.

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