There are many ways to get CBD into your body, but when you want immediate relief, whether we’re talking high-CBD hemp or high-THC cannabis, nothing is faster than smoking or vaping it, right?
Is dry vaping better than smoking?
Inhalation affects you instantly because you’re bypassing your digestive system and liver, and getting the vapor or smoke directly into your bloodstream through the capillaries in your lungs. But if your lungs are precious — and they are, especially when COVID-19 is rampaging around the globe — you might think twice before inhaling the soot, ash and carbon gases that are inevitable when you incinerate the plant.
So let’s take a look at dry vaping, specifically for CBD flower, or the hot ‘new’ cannabinoid on the block, CBG. To be clear, we’re not talking about pen-style vaporizers, which will always contain some liquid formulation that will include a thinning agent, often MCT coconut oil or propylene glycol, a petroleum by product; or the tank-and-coil mods that are sold as an alternative to cigarettes. These produce aerosols, not vapor.
Is dry herb vaping safe?
Pocket-sized powerhouse ideal for personal vaping
- Removable battery
- Adjustable oven pearl
- Zirconium airflow system
- Precision temperature control
Dry vaping allows you to inhale nothing but the boiled steam coming off a heated cannabis or hemp flower. You get the taste and smell of the flower (delightful!) and a ritual smoke-like experience (fun!) in a way that’s less harsh on your throat and lungs. It’s like smoking without the smoke. No adulterants, just the vaporized resins of the plant, with zero processing — farm to lung!
Dry vaping cannabinoid-rich hemp requires, obviously, two things:
- Hemp flower that’s high in CBD, CBG, or some of the other cannabinoids that are coming to market.
- A dry-herb vaporizer. There are some well-made ones that will allow you to get an immediate dose of your hemp flower, in farm-to-lung fashion, without scorching your lungs.
You’ll also want a grinder to process your flower, or you clean it in the underside of a Frisbee with your driver’s license, like the old days.
Once you have some ground-up flower you’re going to pack it loosely into the chamber of your vaporizer, turn it on and heat it up (usually 30 seconds to a minute). Draw on it as you would a pipe, bong or joint. In my experience, a long even pull, a short pause, then a sharp inhale of oxygen will get the vapor into your lungs.
Then you exhale. Don’t expect billowing clouds like the kids are producing with their tank-and-coil mods. Sometimes you won’t see much vapor at all. But you’ll taste it, and with the right flower, you’ll also get an immediate sense of relaxation.
You’ll notice the flavor will change pretty quickly; depending on the vaporizer, you might get five to 10 hits before it begins to taste a little more grassy. At that point, if you’re with friends, you’ll want to empty and refill the chamber with fresh flower.
You can titrate your dose, just as with smoking, and you don’t have to wait an hour for a capsule to digest, or mess around with a CBD oil or tincture.
Dry-vaping high-CBG flower
American Shaman CBG Flower
- 3.5 grams John Snow Hemp Flower
- 20.785% CBG after conversion from CBG acid, 0.166% THC by weight
- Sustainably grown on a small farm
- Lab tested to insure no heavy metals or pesticides
I’ve been dry-vaping John Snow, a high-CBG strain from American Shaman. I find it’s a great alternative to the after-dinner, Netflix-time beer (OK, or two) that was becoming my nightly ritual. It doesn’t get me high, but I do get a noticeable relaxation effect.
Why dry-vape CBG? Scientists have discovered that CBG is a precursor to all the other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, and that it may boost the ability of the CB1 and CB2 receptors to bind with these cannabinoids, in effect making them more bioavailable and potent. (Here’s a terrific white paper on CBG from HempTown USA.)
What else does CBG do? Here’s from a post at Cresco Labs:
“Like THC, CBG reacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. CBG, however, acts as a buffer to the psychoactivity of THC by working to alleviate the paranoia sometimes caused by higher levels of THC.
CBG works to fight inflammation, pain, nausea and works to slow the proliferation of cancer cells. Research has shown it also significantly reduces intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma. Strains high in CBG will be beneficial treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and cancer.”
Other benefits of dry-vaping
When you can control the temperature with a dry-herb vaporizer, you can also control your experience. Here’s what I mean: Different cannabinoids and terpenes have different boiling points, therefore they activate at different temperatures. So when you have the ability to dial in the temperature on your vaporizer, you can activate the effects you want, and not the ones you don’t.
In general, if you want to be functional and productive, and not super-stoned, lower temperatures, 310⁰F to 330⁰F will result in more clear-headed effects. This range will give you access to the terpene pinene, among others. According to cannabis expert Curt Robbins, pinene offers:
“…anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and even dermatological benefits. Pinene has even been found to be a valuable ingredient in topicals for the treatment of acne.
This important terpene has also been shown to improve energy levels and mental focus, making it popular among knowledge workers and hard-driving creative professionals. In addition, pinene works well as a bronchodilator, making this terpene valuable for those suffering asthma and related respiratory conditions.”
Dial the temperature up to 330⁰F to 370⁰F and you’ll start getting more of the euphoric effects, and at 370⁰F to 430⁰F, if you're like me, you’ll be setting yourself up for couch-locked Netflix viewing, if not sleep.
You’ll also note that the activation of various terpenes will give you access to different flavors too, which is part of the fun of dry-vaping. A great way to experiment is by vaping CBD flower, or high-CBG like the John Snow cultivar from American Shaman below. You'll be getting instant relief, without the high of THC. When you're ready to start, the Hydrology9, below, is a great vaporizer.
Cloudious9 Hydrology9 Vaporizer
There’s nothing like the Hydrology9. From the borosilicate glass mouthpiece to the spacecraft-grade aluminum body and food-grade porcelain chamber, it is designed top to bottom in support of an exceptional vaping experience.
The Hydrology9 is the dry vaporizer Elon Musk would bring with him to Mars. The anodized aluminum body is definitely space-age, yet it’s completely functional, durable and practical.
Filtering smoke through water is not new, but we don’t know of anyone else doing this with vapor. You get all the advantages of a bong, without the worry of spilling stinky water. There’s also a mechanism that allows you to stir the herb you’ve placed in the heating chamber.
Lights flash in six colors as the Hydrology9 heats up, which takes less than a minute. Green light go. You can also set it to lava lamp or party mode.
Priced at $169, the Hydrology9 comes with a charging cable and AC adapter and accessories including two brushes and a packing tool.