Are Dry Herb Vapes Safer Than Smoke Over Water?

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Florida, Uncategorized, Vaping

Are Dry Herb Vapes Safer Than Smoke Over Water?

The conventional method of consuming cannabis has always been inhalation. Either by consuming a pre-roll or by packing a pipe and inhaling “smoke over water” using an ice or water bong. For decades, aside from using dab rigs for cannabis concentrates, this was the only option.

Glass pipes are breakable, but metal and plastic pipes can add an unpleasant flavor. Glass pipes also have the potential to collect harmful toxins, pathogens, and other microbes that can cause health problems.

The new dry herb vapes have been slow to catch on because they are more expensive than glassware. However, there are many advantages to using dry herb vapes, and they may be a healthier alternative for patients who prefer smoking marijuana.

Understanding Dry Herb Vapes: A Safer Alternative?

In the United States, we have faith that the products we purchase have been safety inspected. But, the truth is that certain chemicals may be deemed safe in small quantities but not identified as a safety risk for repeated or long-term use. There are few clinical studies to rely on to evaluate potential harms.

As we learn more about different intake routes, we know that smokable cannabis is the least healthy way to use medical marijuana. However, because it is fast-acting and easy to use, it remains a preference for many patients.

Here are a few things you should know about dry herb vaporizers compared to incinerated methods and traditional cannabis vape oil products.

Comparing Inhalation Methods: Vaping vs. Combustion

Suppose you are thinking about trying a dry herb vaporizer. In that case, it is important to know the potential benefits, particularly if you find traditional methods of smoking marijuana inconvenient or hard on your lungs.

Each model has a reservoir or chamber where you can place your ground-up cannabis flower. Most dry herb vapes are turned on by pressing the power button five times. Most new dry herb vapes shut off automatically after two minutes.

In a bong, you incinerate the cannabis flower directly by applying a torch or lighter. By drawing the smoke or inhaling, that incinerated vapor is pulled over the water in the reservoir (for cooling) and into the mouth. The smoke can taste harsh because of the direct incineration and also the taste of butane if a gas lighter is used.

When using a bong, you simply light the herb in the bowl and you try to inhale everything at once. A vaporizer, on the other hand, does not burn the herbs: it heats the weed (either directly or by heating the air passing through it) without actually burning or combusting it. It simply heats the flower rather than burning it.

Many new dry herb vapes come equipped with a wax cup. That is a small piece you can insert into the vaporizing chamber to smoke concentrates. You can put a portion of your wax, resin, hash oil, budder, or badder in the chamber to incinerate and inhale. Compared to traditional dab rigs, this method may help reduce wasted concentrate, as it does not escape the reservoir.

Exploring Health Benefits: Reduced Toxins in Dry Herb Vaping

Traditions aside, using a water pipe can be a health hazard if you smoke cannabis on a regular basis. The intricate designs of water pipes make them very hard to clean and sanitize. And because of this, many people who use them do not clean them often enough.

Smoking from a dirty water pipe can lead to a health risk, inhaling mold, fungi, and pathogens like E. coli, and microbes and mycotoxins that can cause lung diseases. The reason why these microbes thrive in a traditional bong or glass pipe is the moisture trapped inside. At room temperature, the bong water is the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms that can make you really sick.

Do you remember the old car lighters that were provided in vehicles about twenty years ago? You pushed the lighter handle in, and a coil was heated. Then you could touch your cigarette to the red coil, and it was lit. Pretty convenient, right?

Dry herb vaporizers work in a very similar way. There is no water or moisture left in the chamber of the dry herb vaporizer, and that means it needs to be cleaned less often and helps reduce health risks from inhaled pathogens common to water pipes.

Health Risks from Carrier Oils

Vaping cannabis oil is very popular for many of the same reasons as vaporizing dry herbs. The device is small, lightweight, portable, and convenient to use. But dry herb vaporizers do not use liquids; therefore, you are not vaping harmful ingredients often found in cannabis carrier oils.

Vitamin E acetate is commonly used in both cannabis and nicotine vape oils. In one study, “Vitamin E Acetate as a Plausible Cause of Acute Vaping-related Illness,” marked a turning point when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to investigate lung illnesses related to all vaping products. That included CBD vapes, e-cigarette smoking devices, and cannabis oil for vaping.

Why You Should Never Use Vape That Contains Vitamin E Acetate

What the CDC discovered is that vitamin E acetate was linked to lung injury. You may have heard of cases of “popcorn lung,” which promoted changes in carrier oils as the public became aware of the potential respiratory symptoms and risks associated with vaping. Patients with lung injury had high concentrations of vitamin E acetate in lung fluids.

Other concerns based on studies about the chemical safety of carrier oils revealed that there are many other types of health-harming additives in vape oil. Some tests found that vape carrier oils contained:

  • Diacetyl and other flavorings which are linked to lung disease.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Heavy metals (nickel, lead, and tin).
  • Ultrafine particles which can be deposited deep inside the lungs and may be carcinogenic.

Vitamin E acetate is used to dilute and sometimes to thicken oils for vaping. Another chemical found in carrier oils is propylene glycol. However, many medical cannabis product manufacturers quickly removed propylene glycol from vape oils after reports of acute lung tissue illnesses and injuries related to the compound.

Propylene glycol remains a legal substance that can be used in vapor oils, however, despite growing research about health risks. There are currently no long-term studies to evaluate the safety of any vape oil product.

The Advantages of Using a Dry Herb Vaporizer

Vaping dry herbs is a new thing. Many people are familiar with vaping cannabis oil, but when you prefer flower, cannabis vaporizers may be a better way to use smokable medical marijuana. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to level up your intake method with a dry herb vaporizer.


Temperature Control and Improved Safety

Cannabinoids found inside whole flower or buds, combined with terpenes, may provide medicinal benefits for patients who suffer from muscle spasms, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or inflammation-related symptoms. So, you want to make sure you are getting the maximum amount when you choose smokable cannabis.

Temperature control is impossible when you use conventional glassware to smoke cannabis. Some higher-end vape pens may have smoke volume and heat settings. However, dry herb vaporizers typically provide more settings that can help you adjust the temperature to optimize the quality of the smoke you inhale. And lower temperatures may help preserve cannabis and terpene content.

Better Flavor and Aroma

If you look at a traditional waterpipe, the smoke must travel over the water, through the main chamber, and then the mouthpiece. When cannabis is incinerated, you lose a percentage volume of terpenes and flavonoids. The longer it takes to orally inhale the smoke, the more terpenes, flavonoids, and even THC you lose.

Allowing cannabis smoke to pass over water helps to cool the vapor so that it is more comfortable to inhale. But dry herb vaporizers have a short path from incineration to inhalation, which means, in most cases, you are getting a more robust flavor and scent.

Terpenes may also provide aromatherapeutic benefits. The scent of Limonene is sweet and citrus, which can help reduce anxiety and promote feelings of alertness and focus. Whereas the scent of myrcene (also found in mango, basil, thyme, ylang-ylang, and hops) may promote relaxation and drowsiness.

Many people who have used glass pipes for smoking marijuana find that dry herb vaporizers provide a better experience and more terpene content. The custom incineration settings may also help preserve terpenes and flavanoids at lower temperatures.

Can Moderate Dose and Smoke Volume By Customizing Settings

Some patients find that using water pipes causes them to cough a lot. The heat and dryness of cannabis smoke are not usually the irritant that causes an instant cough. You can do a shallow inhale on a conventional glass pipe, but it is hard to control the inhale volume.

The customized settings on the dry herb vaporizer can help reduce coughing and the associated feeling of aching lungs when you have taken in too much smoke.

Dry Herb Vapes Are More Discreet and Portable

Before dry herb vaporizers were invented, people who preferred to consume cannabis flower had two choices: smoke only at home or pack a discreet small bag. You would have to carry your cannabis in a smell-proof container and a small glass pipe, such as a chillum.

If you have a dry herb vaporizer, you simply pack the chamber with ground, dried herbs and go. However, you should know that vaporizing dry herbs creates the same cannabis scent that is easily detectable. To avoid legal problems, you should not use your dry herb vaporizer in public.

Know Your Local Laws About Using Cannabis

As more cannabis tech devices make smoking outside the home easier, it is important to remember that local laws may prohibit public smoking. In most jurisdictions and states where only medical cannabis is legalized, chances are there is an outright ban on smoking in public places.

In both Florida and Massachusetts, for example, it is illegal to smoke or consume any cannabis products in public. You can, however, smoke cannabis on private property with the consent of the homeowner or property manager.

What Are Cannabis Lounges?

If you plan to travel to recreational states and smoking cannabis, there are some places where you will find cannabis lounges. That gives you another option to smoke marijuana outside of a private residence, and it can be a nice social experience.

A cannabis lounge is usually built like a cafe, with an indoor and outdoor patio area. The business is licensed by the state to permit consumption of smoked cannabis by people aged twenty-one years or older.

You can find cannabis “speakeasy” and lounges in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts (pilot program in place)
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Nevada

In July 2022, lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a bill that legalized cannabis consumption lounges. Currently, there is a pilot program in place while the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reviews additional regulations and licensing requirements.

The Summit Lounge in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a private membership club (you pay $10 per visit to access the lounge), and it is the first and only lounge in operation in the state at the time of writing. Patrons are permitted to consume any type of cannabis that has been purchased from a licensed dispensary.

If you plan to visit a cannabis lounge and experience a social smoke session, using a dry herb vaporizer is more convenient than a traditional glass pipe. And since dry herb vaporizers are more efficient, they can also help you save money.

About MedWell Health & Wellness Centers

Create a relationship with a cannabis healthcare provider you can trust. At MedWell Health & Wellness Centers, our practitioners are friendly and supportive of your journey to try medical cannabis to help with symptom management.

Schedule an appointment today, and let our medical advisors help you apply for your medical card. Remember, if you do not qualify for a medical card, you will receive a 100% moneyback refund. Get expert medical guidance to add cannabis to your treatment plan safely.

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