Vaping Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates
Do you have a well-stocked local dispensary that offers many different forms of cannabis? That’s a good thing. People use cannabis for a variety of reasons, and the many options for consuming cannabis make it possible for people to find convenient ways to get the effects they want with a minimum of fuss.
If you’re about to buy your first vaporizer, though, you’ve got to find an answer to the question of how dry herbs vs. concentrates compare. Although many vaporizers can handle both materials, only a few handle both equally well — and they’re expensive.
Are you looking for an affordable vaporizer — one that does one thing, does it well and doesn’t cost a lot? You’ve come to the right place. We’re going to help you choose between dry herbs vs. concentrates for vaping.
Getting Started: What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
A cannabis concentrate is an extract created by combining marijuana with a solvent such as butane or alcohol. There are also some laboratories that use carbon dioxide as a solvent. The solvent extracts the active compounds from the buds and is then allowed to evaporate. The resulting cannabis concentrate — free of the solvent — is a thick, sticky oil that is extremely rich in THC. While dry cannabis flowers typically contain around 10-25 percent THC, cannabis concentrates may contain 50-80 percent THC — and sometimes even more.
People use a variety of terms such as shatter, wax, dabs, honeycomb, crumble and oil to describe cannabis concentrates. The terms describe the appearance of those concentrates and how they’re processed after extraction. The terms do not have anything to do with the contents, purity or potency of the extracts.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Effects
Whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned veteran, your first time vaping a cannabis concentrate is likely to be quite an experience because the potency of an extract is much higher than that of dry herbs.
When you vape or smoke dry herbs, it’s fairly easy to determine the right dose for your needs because the effects take a while to build. When you reach your desired state, you can simply stop. When you vape concentrates, on the other hand, the effects build quickly because the concentration of THC is much higher. If you consume too much, you might realise you’ve gone too far while the effects are still building. You’ll become agitated and unhappy, and you won’t have a good experience.
When you try THC concentrates for the first time, remember that you can add — but you can’t take away. Take things slowly until you determine the right dose for your needs.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Taste
For many weed aficionados, the flavour is one of the best aspects of vaping dry herbs. Many cannabis growers go to great lengths to breed plants that express the different flavour characteristics possible with cannabis — and without harsh smoke getting in the way, vaping lets you taste all of those flavour compounds.
Volatile organic compounds called terpenes give cannabis its distinctive variety of flavour — and since they’re volatile, terpenes are typically lost during the extraction process. As a result, you’ll generally taste little or nothing when vaping cannabis concentrates. There are some exceptions, though; a few cannabis oil manufacturers add terpenes to give their products herb-like flavours. You can also flavour cannabis oil by mixing it with e-liquid, but doing so results in a less potent product.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Smell
Terpenes aren’t just responsible for giving cannabis its taste; terpenes also have scents. Even those who don’t use cannabis can often recognise its odour — something that might not be desirable if you’re trying to use weed discreetly. When you vape dry herbs, it’ll produce a clearly identifiable cannabis smell. Although the smell may not be as strong as the smell from smoking, it’ll linger in the air for a while. Cannabis extracts, on the other hand, have almost no scent. The slight odour that cannabis oil does produce dissipates very quickly indoors if you crack a window.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Price and Availability
Cannabis concentrates have become increasingly common in dispensaries. At your local dispensary, you’ll likely find plain cannabis oil along with wax, shatter and more. You can even find e-cigarette cartridges pre-loaded with THC oil and a carrier liquid such as vegetable glycerine. In general, cannabis concentrates do cost more than dry herbs. Not only are concentrates more potent, but they’re the product of additional work beyond that of simply growing weed and drying the buds. That being said, the potency of cannabis oil means that you’ll use less than you would if you were vaping dry herbs. Effectively, the cost of dry herbs vs. concentrates is about the same.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Convenience
If you want to medicate on demand, there is absolutely nothing more convenient than an oil vaporizer. A full oil cartridge is always ready to go and can last days with moderate usage. There’s no need to grind your herbs and no need to pack an oven. There’s also no need to preheat an oil vaporizer — just press the button and inhale. People who use cannabis for pain relief often experience great results with THC concentrates because they can vape on demand whenever the need arises.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Portability
Although many dry herb vaporizers are very small, they aren’t as small as the smallest oil vaporizers. An oil vaporizer can be about as small as a ballpoint pen. You can carry one everywhere, and it’ll always be available when you need it. Oil vaporizers are extremely discreet. If someone does happen to see you using one, he’ll assume it’s an e-cigarette because many oil vaporizers actually use e-cigarette components. As portable as dry herb vaporizers have become, you can’t take one out of your pocket, press a button, get medicated instantly and put the vaporizer away again. Nothing can beat an oil vaporizer for portability.
Dry Herbs vs. Concentrates: Maintenance
Whether you use a dry herb vaporizer or an oil vaporizer, you’ll need to do a little maintenance from time to time. All vaporizers require periodic cleaning. You’ll find, though, that dry herb vaporizers tend to require a little more maintenance because you’ve got to do something with your herbs after you vape them.
When you use a cannabis concentrate, someone else has already extracted and disposed of the buds. An oil vaporizer consumes almost all of the THC concentrate with very little residue. If you use pre-filled THC cartridges, there’s nothing to clean at all — simply discard the cartridges when they’re empty.
While the need to do something with your used buds may seem like an inconvenient aspect of using a dry herb vaporizer, there is actually an additional bonus. Vaping doesn’t extract all of the compounds from cannabis. Already-been-vaped weed — ABV weed for short — still has compounds that you can extract with just a little effort. Using your ABV weed actually allows you to get high from the same herbs twice — something that you can’t do with cannabis oil. We’ve collected 13 great ABV weed uses elsewhere on this site.
Want to learn more about vaping? Read our ultimate dry herb vaporizer guide.