Dry Herb Vaping vs THC Oil Vaping, a Complete Guide!

May 18, 2023

Like any other consumers, cannabis users constantly seek improved experiences, aiming for more intense and longer-lasting highs with minimal side effects. Vaping offers an array of benefits that cater to these desires and more.

Vaping isn't merely a trendy buzzword; it is an efficient, safer, and discreet method of consuming cannabis. While smoking may have its advantages, vaping provides a superior experience. The vapor produced is gentler on the lungs and leaves behind minimal odor, making it a more pleasant option overall.

Marijuana vaping enhances the cannabis experience in numerous ways, but it also brings forth different options. One ongoing and occasionally heated debate is the comparison between vaping dry herb and vaping THC oil (using cartridges).

In this article, let's strive to find common ground and foster harmony between avid supporters of dry flower and enthusiastic advocates of THC oil vaping.

Vaping Dry flowers

Dry flower represents the closest form of cannabis to the living plant. It consists of dried buds containing all the essential components of the plant; cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.

Dry flower undergoes minimal processing before being used in a vaporizer. Once the buds have undergone a proper curing process, they are ready to be vaporized.

Simply grinding the buds ensures an even burn in the chamber, allowing for an optimal vaping experience.

Related article: Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

Whether you opt for a desktop vaporizer or a portable vaporizer, dry herb vapes often offer a range of useful features. These include precision temperature control, allowing you to experiment with different temperature settings for your herbs. Additionally, dry herb vaporizers typically feature a herb chamber located near the mouthpiece, where you can place your ground herbs. The heating method employed by these vaporizers can be either conduction, convection or hybrid of both, facilitating the release of vapors.

Related article: Conduction vs Convection vs Hybrid Dry Herb Vaporizers

Main upside: Vaping Dry Flowers Doesn’t Involve Combustion 

Vaporizing dry flowers might seem closer to smoking because they involve the dry herb, but they’re worlds apart. While smoking combusts the weed at higher temperatures that degrade the cannabinoids, vaporizing allows you to extract cannabinoids without combustion. You, therefore, get vapor that’s richer in cannabinoids than when you smoke.

Related article: Vaping vs. Smoking pot: Which is better for you?

The temperature it takes to vaporize the cannabinoids from the buds is lower than you would need to combust it; thus, you take in more active compounds.  

Since the dry flower is the most available and doesn’t require much experience to prepare for the chamber, most people enter the vaping world as dry flower vapers. Come to think of it; the dry flower doesn’t require much processing— you just grind the flower and fill the vaporizer. So beginner-friendly!

Still, not all dry flowers give the same high. The quality of your high will depend on the strain; it’s unique cannabinoid percentages, and how it was grown.

Related Read: 7 Ways to Consume Weed Without Smoking It

3 Reasons Why Should Vape Dry Flower over Oil Vaping

Vaporizing dry flower might not be as popular now as it was in the past, but it sure has its highs. More advanced vaping equipment pop up daily, and some deliver on their promise of convenience, elegance, and stealth. Still, some people prefer the good ol’ herb. Here are three reasons why you should vaporize dry flower;

  1. You know what you’re consuming; Vaporizing dry flower keeps you safe from vaping e-liquids you don’t know their components. Counterfeit cartridges are a significant problem that can cause serious health problems, even death if you trip in. With the dry flower, all it takes is to grind the herb. You don’t have to think twice about the chemicals in the cartridge.

  2. The aroma is richer; The dry herb hasn’t gone through any processing that strips the terpenes and flavonoids away. The vapor you take in is rich in both cannabinoids and terpenes, enriching the aroma of your weed. 

  3. Entourage effect: Vaporizing dry weed comes with the advantage of a combined effect. Unlike concentrates that are highly isolated, the dry flower has all the cannabinoids, eliciting a more wholesome high. 

Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!

Vaping Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil are highly processed cannabis plant extracts. The extracts are refined to get a higher concentration of a particular cannabinoid per volume. These might be any of the individual cannabinoids; CBD, THC, CBN, et cetera.

Examples of concentrates include hash, budder, distillates, cannabis oils, tinctures, dabs, and isolates. Distillates are the most popular form of concentrate for vaping, thanks to cartridges that come pre-filled with the oils. Vape pen cartridges come with pre-filled with cannabis oils and have become popular for their convenience, portability, and ease of use. 

The process of making concentrates begins with extraction, where the oils are squeezed out of the plant. The extract is crude; it contains various chemicals from the plant. The only thing taken out is the plant matter.

There are varied ways of obtaining cannabis extracts. It can be done by using heat press machines or solvents like ethanol, propane, or butane. Each of these methods has its pros and cons, but it’s good to know that where solvents are used, the residues remain in the final product.

Main Downside: The Risk of Residual Solvents

Ethanol is the most commonly used solvent in the extraction process. Later, it is evaporated, but it never dissipates completely, leaving residues in your concentrate. Though the residual solvents can be removed through decarboxylation, most users are still wary of the insignificant proportions that remain.  

With concentrates, you’re moving closer to the purest form of individual cannabis compounds. The compound you’re targeting becomes more concentrated as the process continues until you have the compound in its most potent, dominant state. If you need cannabis in its medicinal form, you can benefit from CBD oil, but if you just want to have a high you’ve never had before, vaping THC oil will do you great.

The process of making concentrates aims to potentiate the final product. Every level of refining gives you a product that’s purer than its previous state. If you continue to refine the cannabis oils further, you get isolates. An isolate contains a single cannabinoid in its purest form. An isolate is more concentrated, giving you over 90% percent of the cannabinoid per volume.

Vaping Flower Vs. Vaping Oil; The Dilemma

The best method of vaping will depend on what you’re trying to get. To help you choose the best vaping method, let’s compare these methods using the following metrics;

1. Potency: Whether you’re a dry flower diehard or a concentrate evangelist, you know that potency matters. Everybody wants to take the rich vapor into the lungs. When it comes to potency, concentrates win. Unlike the dry flower that is crude, concentrates go through a series of refinements that isolate the individual compounds and make them more concentrated per volume.

With dry flower vaping, you can only expect between 10-25% of THC concentration. On the other hand, THC oil gives you higher concentration percentages—expect between 50-80% of THC, thus a more intense and longer-lasting high than dry flower vaping.

However, vaping the flower means you’re consuming all the compounds in the buds. When all the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids join forces, they give a different experience. The synergy between the compounds gives a unique high, something most commonly called the entourage effect. Concentrates are more isolated; thus, the entourage effect gets lower with every step in the refining process. The dry flower diehards say the high might not be intense, but it's more wholesome. The good ol’ dry herb still got it.

Related article: How to Use a Dry Herb Vaporizer - Vaporizer Tips and tricks for Beginners

2. Purity: The process of making concentrates is a long-winding refining endeavor that purifies the extract every step further. The process strips unwanted compounds, plant matter, pesticide residues, and other cannabinoids. A CBD concentrate, like CBD oil, is richer in cannabidiols than other compounds. Thus, you know what you’re getting before you consume it.

Vaping dry flower doesn’t allow you the convenience of imbibing different cannabis compounds individually. You get all the compounds in different concentrations. It might also contain remnants of pesticides, among other contaminants, thus less pure. 

3. Stealth: Sometimes we forget that there is still stigma around cannabis use. Stigma aside, cannabis might not be legal in your state, in which case you’ll need to be more discreet about your weed.

Vaporizing dry flowers leave the scent of cannabis; hence it gets harder to conceal your consumption. On the other hand, cannabis oils don’t emit the characteristic weed stank, making it a stealthier choice. The plant matter that usually leaves a strong scent during combustion doesn’t exist in the concentrates, giving you a high without the smell.

4. Impact on Your Health: We all want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis with minimal health risks. Concentrates are more refined; the plant matter that often irritates your throat is left behind, hence a healthier choice.

Though you still take in vapor when you vaporize dry flowers, you might still suffer throat irritation because of the flower's many impurities. And when it makes you cough, it irritates your lungs too. You’ll want to choose a vaping method that’s fairer to your respiratory system.

An important caveat; concentrates are refined and potentiated. From extraction to refining, the extract is exposed to different temperatures, pressures, and chemicals. Besides, the refining process leaves room for contamination. Cases of recalled CBD products aren’t new. Last year, a Florida CBD company had to recall CBD tinctures for having high levels of lead.

You’ve got to watch Vice reports about the world of counterfeit vape cartridges to know how risky it is to use vape cartridges that haven’t been tested. To save yourself, buy from the legal market; most producers have their products tested by third-party agencies, hence more reliable. 

5. Natural Weed Aroma: If you enjoy the natural weed aroma, vaping dry flowers will be your best choice. Since the plant matter isn’t removed, the vapor you get from vaping dry flowers is richer in terpenes and flavonoids, making the aroma more pronounced.

Cannabis concentrates go through extraction and refining, processes that expose the terpenes to harsh chemicals and heat. Being volatile compounds, terpenes will be lost in the process. By the time the concentrate is ready for the market, it has lost the natural weed aroma.

Other manufacturers have figured a way to add the terpenes afterward, but you’ll still prefer the pure, natural weed aroma.

Most users still prefer the herb retained its natural aroma. The fruity, earthy, or floral scents that weed emits enhances your experience, and the concentrates deny you this. Vaporize flower if you would love to savor the terpene profile of the strain you’re vaping.

Related article: Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

Vaping Dry Flower Vs. Vaping Oil; The Verdict

It is hard to choose between vaporizing dry flowers or vaping concentrates. Each depends on your preferences and the kind of high you’re going for.

Cannabis flowers give you the plant’s natural flavors in more pronounced forms. The terpenes and flavonoids are still fresh and uncontaminated (as the case with artificial flavors), giving you the distinct strain aroma.

Dry flowers also give you the benefit of knowing for sure what you’re imbibing. The world of vapes is full of counterfeit cartridges counterfeit cartridges, and sometimes you might not be sure of the chemical compositions in the cartridge.

Related article: How to Choose a Vaporizer: Vaporizer high or Smoking high?

Vaping THC oil gives you a more refined substance. As the refining process continues, the unwanted components are removed, leaving behind a higher percentage of the cannabinoid (THC/CBD) per volume. This makes concentrates more packed in value; more potent, but lack of terpenes and other cannabinoids. 

One last thing, Vaping oil is pretty straightforward and more discreet as you don’t have to deal with the smell. You can vape in a movie theater as long as you keep the smoke too thin to be seen. Nobody will catch a whiff of the distinct strain aroma.

In Conclusion

Vaping gives you a brilliant way to enjoy weed without smoke and fire. The vapor you inhale is kinder to your lungs and your entire respiratory system. Knowing the difference between vaporizing dry flowers and concentrates helps to get a better vaping experience.

Whatever method you choose, ensure you get your stuff from a legally-operating dealer. The black-market cartridges have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Do your research and take responsibility for your choices. Some distillates are so concentrated in THC, as high as 90%--nobody prepares you for such a high. 

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