Vaporizing Cannabis

While herbal vaporizers are often used to vaporize aromatherapy oils and flowers, they are increasingly used to vaporize cannabis (marihuana/weed). There are several reasons for this, which we’ll discuss below.

Medicinal Use

Cannabis is widely used (and prescribed) for pain relief, amongst other applications. Many physicians recommend a vaporizer to administer medicinal cannabis, because it eliminates the harm to the lungs that occurs when cannabis is smoked. Another reason is that cannabis is easier to dose with help of a vaporizer compared to smoking or oral ingestion.

How to Vaporize Cannabis?

Virtually all commercially available herbal vaporizers can be used to vaporize cannabis. However, it is important to note that some vaporizers require the herb to be (finely) ground before it can be vaporized. This can be achieved with help of a herb grinder.

In addition, the structure and moisture content play an important role in the quality of the vapor that is produced. Most vaporizers will vaporize any type of herb, both dry or fresh, but with some types of vaporizers it helps to grind your herb into fine particles. The instruction manual of your vaporizer should contain information on this.

Also, it is wise not to pack the herb too tight, as it could block the airstream and cause your cannabis to become too hot or even cause combustion.

Because vaporizing is so much more efficient than smoking, the herb can be used until the bud has turned brownish in color. Some people prefer to use this leftover material (frequently referred to as ‘ABV’ – Already Been Vaped) to prepare cannabis-butter, because it still contains a small amount of psychoactive substances.

Vaporizing Concentrates

When it comes to vaporizing concentrates (think budder, BHO, hash, Ice-o-lator), a (pen) vaporizer is a good choice. It is even more effective than smoking it through a bong or dabbing. Just be aware that vaporizing a single hit of potent concentrate will be much more potent (and also smoother on the throat) than smoking it!

Many vaporizer pens are designed for use with concentrates only, but before use make sure it can be used with your favorite concentrate. Many pen vapes are compatible with ‘full melt hash’ concentrates only, meaning you won’t be able to use it with traditional (pressed) hash. Their efficiency is unparalelled however, as compared to herbs, only a small contact area needs to be heated, thus saving on battery time and device size. Because of their small size, vape pens also make the perfect travel companion.

Already own a plug-in vaporizer but you want to vaporize concentrates? Many manufacturers of popular tabletop vaporizers (Volcano, Arizer) offer seperate adapters or special ‘liquid pads’ to handle concentrates.


Another reason why vaporizers are gaining popularity amongst cannabis users can be attributed to the stealthy aspect of a vaporizer. Vapor does not smell like burnt cannabis does, and with many handheld vaporizers fitting in the palm of your hand (such as the MFLB) they can be used in a variety of public areas, where it would otherwise be impossible to medicate.

In most cases, the smell of the cannabis stash is more likely to be noticed by others than the vapor itself. The density of the vapor also plays an important role in the odor it gives off. Smaller hits will give off less smell and don’t linger around for too long, whereas a big cloud of vapor is more likely to be noticed.

Cannabis Vaporization Temperature and Effect

The optimal vaporization temperature for cannabis varies between 365°F and 450 °F (185–210 °C). Preferred temperature settings can vary from person to person, as different temperatures can affect the medicinal properties. Note that not all vaporizers can be temperature controlled and that some (inexpensive) units don’t always accurately display the current vaporization temperature.

In general, lower vaporization temperatures (under 374°F/190°C) give a more psychoactive high, whereas higher temperatures (428°F/230°C) allow for a more sedative body high (or rather, a stoned/couch lock effect).

Of course, both the quality and variety of cannabis that is used also have a great impact on the effects from vaporizing it.