How Do Vaporizers Work?


Category: Safety and Usage

Vaporizing is quickly becoming one of the most popular means of consuming cannabis, and not simply for therapeutic purposes. While vaping justifiably provides patients a safe and efficient means of medicating, the practice is also being adopted by recreational adult users opting for a healthier means of consuming whole flowers and concentrates.

The concept of vaporizing – essentially heating plant matter and derivatives at the perfect temperature to avoid burning, and thus smoking – is clear. But the mechanics behind these devices are a little more nuanced. How do vaporizers achieve the goal of turning matter to vapor? Why? And what are the benefits?

While vaporizers come in many different shapes and styles, the principle behind these devices is universal. Vaping involves the heating of raw plant matter or concentrates, without the use of combustion. Instead of burning cannabis, vaping gently heats the matter between 285F (140C) and 450F (232C) and limits the release of harmful chemicals.[1]

Of course, the properties of vapor differ from vape to vape. Contingent on the substance (oil, wax, plant matter etc…) being vaped, the vapor can either be emitted in a gaseous form or, when heating liquid particles, vaping can mean inhaling those liquid particles, which are suspended in the air and cooled after evaporation.  

There is a common misconception in the cannabis industry that smoking actually produces greater results than vaping. And while something may be said for the impact of the entourage effect, the opposite is actually true. Vapes convert 46 percent of the obtainable THC into vapor, while the average joint converts roughly 25 percent. Cannabis will combust at roughly 392F (200C), and a joint can reach a temperature higher than 2,000F, burning up much of the viable cannabinoids and terpenes[2]

But why spend money on a vaporizer and go through the trouble of transitioning consumption tactics? The answer is in the consequences associated with traditional smoking techniques like joints, pipes and bongs, which can be harmful on to the lungs and other organs. There is an ever-growing body of evidence that suggests inhaling cannabis vapor is a safer alternative to classic combustion.[3]

So, what are the benefits of vaporizing cannabis? In addition to those already discussed above, vaping is more than simply a healthier alternative to smoking; it’s also an effective alternative. Vaping produces a 90-second onset, allowing patients to consume their medicine in less time than it takes to roll a joint.[4]

Interestingly, the primary reasons for vaping can be traced back to its inception. The idea was originally attributed to a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” patent that was filed in 1963 by Herbert Gilbert. The invention was produced as a safe form of medicating and smoking that wouldn’t burn paper or tobacco. These days, it’s more popular than ever.

With more patients and cannabis consumers turning to vaporizers over joints, pipes, bongs and other antiquated smoking techniques, there are more devices coming to market and a wealth of options, from portable to desktop, for people to try and buy. And because vapes provide both a safe and effective alternative to classic combustion, it stands to reason that practice will grow even more popular as the years pass.


[1] “Everything you ever wanted to know about how vapes work.”
[2] “What is a vaporizer and how do they work?”
[3] “How do weed vaporizers work?”
[4] “The benefits of vaping medical marijuana.”







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