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Differences Between Oil Vapes & Dry Herb Vapes

Here are differences between an herb vaporizer and an e-liquid/oil vaporizer!

With the controversy over the health of vaping as deaths being discovered recently making headlines globally, we need to wonder; is cannabis vaping safe? What caused this outbreak, and is dry herb vaping safe, or is vaping dangerous and we just don’t know it yet? Check out what we have to say about the differences between dry herb and oil vapes here!

Differences of an oil and dry herb vape

Oil/liquid vape

  • Uses an extracted form of cannabis and then diluted and filled into cartridges/pods
  • Occasionally tested positive for heavy metals, Vitamin E Acetate, and pesticides.
  • Very potent and powerful
  • Completely safe if using a reputable source.
  • Often very small, pen shaped
  • Inexpensive ($30-100)

Dry herb vape

  • Uses the raw ground herb to vaporize, no further processing
  • Less potent than an oil/liquid vape
  • Completely safe if using a quality herb vaporizer
  • Size of a phone, power bank, or regular ‘box mod’ e-cigarette.
  • Usually more expensive ($60-$500+!)
Oil Vape vs Dry Herb Vape

What is an oil/liquid vape?

An oil vape/liquid vape is for vaping a concentrated form of cannabis, and has seen many evolutions over the years. While you might think immediately of a traditional e-cigarette which uses e-juice, an oil vaporizer works a bit differently. While in the past, THC and other cannabinoids were diluted with VG & PG (Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol) into a thin, runny oil, modern oil vapes now use a different formula.

An example of an oil/liquid vape is the Kandypens Rubi which uses a removable pod/cartridge to vaporize an oil/liquid.

KandyPens Rubi Apart

Nowadays, modern oil vapes use a concentrated extract of the plant to deliver a powerful dose in a short hit. A pure extract like rosin, live resin, distillate, or BHO (butane hash oil), is diluted slightly with a carrier oil to reduce the viscosity a bit and make it slightly more liquid. 

The potency of a typical oil pen cartridge will range from between 80-99% THC. Other compounds like terpenes, which are the aromatic oils responsible for flavor and taste, are often added for different flavors, smells, and effects.  

This liquid/oil is then filled into a cartridge which is then put onto a small type of battery. Inside the cartridge, a ceramic or steel heating element is typically used to heat up the oil and vaporizer it right away. 

KandyPens Rubi Cartridge

The infamous health risks associated with vaping are related to illegal and grey market cartridges. Dangerous pesticides, heavy metals such as lead, and oils like Vitamin E Acetate may be inside these unregulated cartridges, where the health concerns pop up from and lipid pneumonia is the case which afflicted many people worldwide. The main culprit of the recently health risks was Vitamin E Acetate.

What is a dry herb vaporizer?

Instead of vaping a concentrated form of cannabis, a dry herb vaporizer simply uses the raw flower. Taking a fresh bud, grinding it up, and loading it into the chamber/bowl are the only steps needed to getting a dry herb vaporizer working. 

An example of a popular and portable dry herb vaporizer is the Zeus Arc.

Popular Dry Herb

The herb is then heated up or has hot air pass through it to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. Most vaporization will take place between 160-220°C (320-428°F). Burning of the plant occurs at roughly 240°C (464°F).  Different weed vaping temperatures produces different effects as well! 

Since you’re not burning the plant, you avoid many carcinogens attributed to combustion like Carbon Monoxide and Benzene. By default, the effect on health when vaporizing is much less than with smoking.

Though the health effects from vaping dry herb haven’t been researched much, they are seemingly very benign. Since the flower is never processed into oil and put into a cartridge, many of the dangerous adulterants are avoided as well. Just make sure your flower comes from a high quality source which doesn’t use pesticides!

Some dry herb vaporizers can also be used to vape concentrates, which provide the same power of an oil pen without the ambiguous health concerns. Directly vaping rosin, wax, live resin, or other concentrates is definitely a good way to pack a punch in a single hit. Dedicated wax pen vaporizers are also quite inexpensive and fulfill that purpose very well!

Does this mean that vaping is safe?

In short, vaping dry herb is very safe while illegal and grey market oil cartridges may not be. Dangerous pesticides, heavy metals such as lead, and Vitamin E Acetate may be inside these unregulated cartridges, and that is where the health concerns pop up from. Lipid pneumonia is the case which afflicted many people worldwide, the main culprit of this being Vitamin E Acetate.

This doesn’t mean all oil vape cartridges are dangerous. In fact, the majority is likely safe to use, however it’s important to look out for counterfeits, or ones that are very cheap. Ensure it comes from a dispensary and has passed health tests. It’s not worth risking your health to save $5!

To be realistic however, long-term studies on the health of vaping cannabis haven’t come out just yet, since this is a pretty new technology. With that being said, we can hold complete confidence that the health of vaping cannabis is much safer than smoking it.

If you want to err on the side of caution, then a dry herb vaporizer is safer than using an oil vape, unless the cartridges you use have been filled yourself or from a very reliable and tested source. Admittedly, we are Tools420 are biased to vaping dry herb, but for a good reason; vaping weed is better for your health, saves money, and gives you the pure essence of the plant!



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