Vaping Safety Facts: Dry Herb vs. Oil Pens and E-liquid Vapes

Dry Herb vs. Oil Pens and E-liquid Vapes

You have most likely heard about outbreaks of lung disease related to vaping. But you might not know all of the information about this issue and might have some questions. For example, you may be wondering just how safe each method of vaping is. To understand that, you must first learn a little bit more about what vaping is.

What Is Vaping?

Vaping involves heating a liquid that then produces a vapor that you inhale in your lungs. In the liquid, there might be THC, nicotine, and/or CBD oil. There are also other additives in it. However, this is not the same as dry herb vaping.

Liquid vaporizers often come with pods that have already been filled. However, that means that the manufacturer has already decided what is in them, what strains of marijuana are in them, decarboxylation, and the chemistry of the extraction. If this is done right, you might not get poor effects. High-quality components should not harm your lungs. 

On the other hand, using a dry herb, you can decide for yourself what you are putting in your body. With a liquid vaporizer, someone else decides for you. If you decide to go with liquid vaping, it’s important to choose a high-quality manufacturer. That way, you will know that the liquids are of good quality.

What Is Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Injury?

The CDC has found close to 2,000 cases of lung illnesses related to vaping, known as vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI). This is in every state except for Alaska and D.C. In these cases, each patient had used e-cigarettes, which include e-hookahs, vapes, vape pens, mods, and other ways of delivering nicotine electronically. 

There is no evidence yet as to what the cause of this issue might be. However, one potential cause may be because of cartridges on the black market that could be tainted. By itself, cannabis oil does not work in cartridges because it is too thick. Many manufacturers add a thinning agent so it can vaporize better.

Depending on the type of thinner used, there usually are few issues with this. But in recent years, consumers have realized that when it is thinner, it is weaker. So, some manufacturers added vitamin E acetate, which thickens it and makes it look purer. 

Another issue is that the ingredients in oils are not always labeled properly. Many additives and flavorings might not be safe. Not every company offers third-party lab reports, which means you may never know about all of the ingredients. Users are often left to trust the producer to be honest about what is in these products. 

This is because many e-liquids do not have detailed information about what is in them. Many of the products do not have any marks showing their quality. Even if the item goes through testing and certification, the claims may not always be valid.

Some products have propylene glycol in them. This chemical is made in a lab, and it is believed to cause irritation to the lungs. Other types of liquids have vegetable glycerin in them. While both are safe for adding to food, according to the FDA, more research is still needed to determine if they are actually safe for users to inhale.

Even though there is no combustion involved with e-liquids, toxic chemicals can still enter your lungs when you heat them. The vaping temperature for e-liquids is hotter than that for dry herbs. One compound that may enter your lungs is formaldehyde. This chemical, which is often used in building materials, can sometimes cause cancer. Acrolein is sometimes added, as well. This might cause heart disease or damage your lungs.

The problem is that this type of cartridge ends up being diluted twice. The first time, it was thinned, and the second time, it was thickened. However, the thickeners can deposit in your lungs, which may be what is causing lung disease in some vapers. It is possible that the cartridges sold on the black market have more thickeners in them than those from high-quality manufacturers.

Safety with Cartridges

Safety with Cartridges 

It is not likely that there is a single cause for all of the illnesses reported by the CDC. Officials are looking into several different possibilities. One test of 18 different black market THC cartridges found a fungicide that became hydrogen cyanide when it was lit. Some cartridges from the black market had vitamin E and pesticides in them. 

The symptoms of people who have been exposed to these chemicals may include chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, stomach pain, and nausea. It is not unusual to cough when you are vaping. If you use an oil cartridge and have these symptoms, it is a good idea to see your health care provider.

Flower or Dry Herb Vaporization

One alternative to a vape pen, which has concentrated oils in it, is dry herbs. When you use a dry herb vaporizer, you are much more in control of what you are vaporizing. It is also harder for you to end up with an herb that has been changed without your input. You will load it the same way that you would a pipe. But instead of igniting the cannabis and inhaling its smoke, you will breathe in the vapors from the heated herbs.

You can think of it as smoking them but without the smoke. The market for dry herbs has been growing for more than 20 years with few health issues. None of the VAPI cases reported by the CDC involved using dry herbs. They were all from users who had vaped with cartridges. 

Benefits of Dry Vaping

A dry vaporizer is a different device than the one you may be used to using. One of the biggest benefits for many people is convenience. Each device is fairly small, which means you can carry it in your pocket easily. It is not difficult to use one, either.

In general, you only need one button to operate the device. That means that you can load the device and press the button to begin enjoying your herb. It may eliminate potentially harmful toxins, as well. The herbs do not combust like with many smoking devices. Instead, the cannabinoids and terpenes are heated until they become a gas. You will then inhale this gas.

Sometimes, smokers find that their throats are irritated. However, with dry herb vaping, you will not be as likely to explore this problem. Many people enjoy the richer flavor that they get than if they were using other types of devices. That might not be important for every user, but if you want to enjoy the flavor of the strain you have chosen, it can be very beneficial.

Effects of Dry Vaping

Effects of Dry Vaping

There are many studies on the subject of vaporing dry herbs. One study indicated that using dry herbs may be a more effective and safer way to take THC. The researchers found that if you want to get therapeutic levels of cannabinoids, vaporization may be a good option. It reduces the number of harmful compounds you may get when you are smoking. If you like cannabis or use it medicinally, you may want to consider using dry herbs.

Another study showed that when you use dry herbs in your vaporizer, you may not experience as many respiratory symptoms, even if you use a lot of cannabis. In fact, the more cannabis that someone used, the bigger of an impact using a vaporizer had. 

Dry Herb and the Entourage Effect

More research showed that there are more cannabinoids in vapor than there are in cannabis smoke. Many users enjoy a wide range of compounds from the marijuana plant. The reason for this is because of something known as the entourage effect.

When you vaporize cannabis, your body will take in many compounds. Each one has different effects. But when other compounds are present, the behavior of one may change. That is the entourage effect.

Consider the way your mood may change depending on who you are with. When you are alone, you behave differently than if you were hanging out with your best friend or with many strangers. Your personality may change depending on who is with you.

Now, consider two of the most common compounds, CBD and THC. In a 2010 study, patients who had pain from cancer received either only THC or equal amounts of CBD and THC. The ones who received the equal mix reported that they did not have as much pain.

However, there is more to your marijuana that only CBD and THC. There are also many other compounds, including CBD, CBN, and CBC. There are also terpenes, which are what give your weed its unique scent. You can also find terpenes in black pepper, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, and other plants. Because of the many substances in the marijuana plant, there is a huge number of combinations.

However, few studies have looked at the way this works in humans. Of course, people who enjoy using cannabis at home have also experimented with different varieties to see how it may affect them. By choosing to vape dry herb, you may be better equipped to see for yourself just how the entourage effect affects you.

Oil vs. Dry Herb: Which One Is Best

Oil vs. Dry Herb: Which One Is Best?

Now that you know a bit more about how dry herb vaping works, you can look at how it compares to using a vaping oil. The devices for each might look very similar when you first look at them. But they differ quite a bit. One of the main differences between the two is the temperature that you need to have the pen at. 

Before you can begin using an oil vape pen, you will need to wait for the oil to begin to heat. On the other hand, when you are using a dry herb, you can begin to smoke almost right away. Another benefit of a dry herb vaporizer is that you do not need to perform as much maintenance on it.

It is fast to clean the remaining dry pieces out of the vaporizer. All you need to clean it is simple tap water. However, it can be harder to clean out the oil because you have to make sure that the chamber does not have any residue left in it. You need more than just tap water to get the residue out. 

Generally, a dry herb vaporizer pen is more flexible than a vape oil pen. With a dry herb device, you can put in nearly any type of cannabis you want. That means you can pick out whatever strains you like and use them for smoking or even for aromatherapy.

On the other hand, using oil pens often limits you with the types of vape cartridges you can use. If you only want to use one type of oil, that may not be an issue. But if you like a bit of variety in your smoking experience, it can be more challenging. 

Closing Thoughts

The CDC has not yet been able to isolate one cause of lung problems from vaping. Instead, they only have the total numbers. However, there is some evidence that many people who were affected by VAPI have used THC cartridges from the black market. 

When it comes to using cannabis, the research shows that dry herb may work slightly better for you than an oil would because it can be safer. However, if you want to use an e-liquid, it is important to get it from a reputable manufacturer. You should ensure that you know just what you are vaporizing. It is a good idea to look for a company that provides lab results from a third-party, so you will have a better idea of what you are getting.


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