Vaporization FAQ

(Under construction, big time)

What is vaporization?

When speaking about tobacco or herbs, vaporization refers to the heating of plant material for the purpose of releasing desired compounds without combustion…

What is vapor?

–Remove/merge this
From Wikipedia:

Vapor or vapour is the gas phase component of another state of matter (e.g. liquid or solid) which does not completely fill its container. It is distinguished from the pure gas phase by the presence of the same substance in another state of matter. Hence when a liquid has completely evaporated, it is said that the system has been completely transformed to the gas phase.

The terms vapor and gas are frequently but incorrectly used interchangeably. A vapor refers to a gas phase in a state of equilibrium with identical matter in a liquid or solid state below its boiling point.

A familiar example is the visible vapor coming from a steaming cup of tea, water condenses into visible droplets after evaporating from the hot tea. Humidity is caused by water vapor in the air, fog and mist are also examples of vapor in nature.

When vaporizing herbal medicine the vapor is a collection of…

What is the proper temperature to vaporize herbal medicine?

–Merge into How do you properly vaporize herbal medicine?
–Probably should change this page to “vaporization faq”, “what is vaporization” etc.

The temperature can differ depending on factors such as the type/state/amount of the plant matter and the vaporization method used. It is typically around 100 – 200° C (212° – 392° F), with higher temperatures leading to combustion.

For marijuana users, the Merck Manual lists the vaporization point of THC 200 °C (392 °F) in a vacuum The vaporization point at normal atmospheric pressure appears to be unknown, but is thought to be in the range 250-400º. source

The ideal temperature for your vaporizer can be found through practice and experimentation by setting the temperature to low, allowing it time to heat up, and slowly turning it up until vapors are achieved.

You can slowly increase the temperature as the plant cooks, pulling different vapors throughout the vaporization temperature range. The different vapors can have different effects, with lighter vapors typically more flavorful and smooth than the heavier vapors that occur as the plant matter turns increasingly brown.

How does herbal vapor compare to herbal smoke?


Plant matter vapor is visible under the right lighting, it looks and behaves similarly to a very light smoke or mist It is possible to blow “vapor rings”. Visually, it can be compared to seeing your breath on a cool night, with the exhaled vapor dissipating much more quickly than smoke.


The taste is much lighter and more fragrant than smoke. Imagine the flavor of your herbal medicine when smoked but remove the harshness and sour taste caused by combustion. Different herbs have distinctly unique flavors and undertones, not unlike fine wines. The same terminology works well here. Some of the notes/flavors I’ve perceived are earthy, fruity, peppery, spicy, creamy, vanilla, mint, pine, citrus, cinnamon, chocolate and berry.

The method of vaporization used can affect the flavor, with the best vaporizers adding no taste to the vapor.

Residue and Smell

Clean herbal vapor from a high quality vaporizer does not stain your teeth or ceilings as there is no soot (carbon) (nicotine with tobacco?) and it will not leave a lingering odor in your clothes or hair. There is a gentle aroma to the exhaled vapor which disappears quickly as it dissipates into the air, typically within 10 seconds to a couple minutes depending on the amount/type.

The heated plant material gives off a sweet aroma when lightly cooked and tends to smell increasingly like popcorn after further heating and at higher temperatures.

Effect and Efficiency

As with all things of this nature the experience is highly personal. Perceived effects can vary wildly between people, even with the same herb and dosage. Effects are similar to smoking the same substance.

With cannabis: Typically more cerebral, energetic than with combustion. More THC and less CBD, CBN. Body not fighting off carcinogens. Less of a “burn out”.

The active ingredients in most herbal medicines are released at temperatures well below combustion. In fact, burning the plant material actually destroys much of the “good stuff”.

Burning plant material is actually a very crude form of vaporization. The burning material provides heat to release compounds in adjacent material but compounds in the burning material itself are mostly wasted.

In addition to wastage, combustion produces hundreds of unhealthy byproducts in the form of smoke. Vaporization is more efficient…


Vaporizing at the low end of the temperature range provides the smoothest vapors with the least contaminants.

Adjusting (slowing) airflow rather than turning up the temperature can be a good idea.

Some studies used convection vaporizers or vaporized at an unrealistically high temperature setting.

More vapor FAQs coming soon

  • How does vaporizing work with organic plant matter?
  • Phyto-inhalation
  • What else can you vaporize?
  • How do you properly vaporize herbal medicine?
    • Which method is better– convection or conduction?
    • What is the proper temperature to vaporize herbal medicine?
    • Whip or collection bag/balloon?
    • Using ice chambers / vapor bongs as a cooler / filter / moisturizer
    • How do you get the most efficient vapor hits
    • What is the preferred vapor tasting technique
  • What compounds are released when vaporizing plant matter?
  • How safe is vapor compared to smoke?
  • How long can vapor be stored in the balloon?
    • Condenses
    • Oxidation
  • Is vaporizing legal?
    • list of legal medicinal smoking herbs that can be vaporized
      • Salvia divinorum (temperature?)
    • Other than herbs and tobacco, what else can be vaporized?
    • Denver legalizes private marijuana use
    • Coffeeshops in Holland
  • What can you do with plant matter that has already been vaporized?

Interesting Vaporization Links