Do Dry Herb Vaporizers Get You High?

The million dollar question, for recreational cannabis users considering the switch from smoking to vaping, is whether using a dry herb vaporizer will still get them high? The next question is, if the answer is yes, will it get me as high as smoking does?

The good news is that, on both these counts, the answer is 100% yes! Vaping herb will indeed get you high and yes, just as high as smoking, in fact more so if you know what you are doing!

You’re probably slightly skeptical at this point, doubtful as to how some gadget giving off whispy vapor could ever match a fat hand-rolled spliff? So let’s look a bit closer at how vaporized weed gets you stoned and quash that skepticism once and for all.

Vaporization Vs. Combustion

To fully appreciate how vaping your weed will get you higher than smoking it, you need to understand what happens to the herb during both of these processes.

Cannabis Combustion

The action of burning any material results in a chemical reaction called combustion. This is what occurs when we light a bonfire, turn on a car engine and smoke a joint or spliff.

When we smoke cannabis, the combustion causes the plant to burn to ash. At these extremely high temperatures, several other reactions take place. Most importantly, when it comes to getting high, around 50% of the desired cannabinoids and terpenes are killed off. This includes some of the all important psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the property most responsible for the high feeling.

Another chemical reaction that occurs with combustion is the release of carbon monoxide. A common misconception, amongst weed smokers, is that if you only smoke joints (just weed, no tobacco) rather than spliffs (weed and tobacco mixed), then you are not at risk of breathing in tar or carbon monoxide. However, studies have confirmed that marijuana smoke contains a very similar range of harmful chemicals to tobacco smoke.

Breathing in carbon monoxide, we know, can cause similar effects as feeling stoned, particularly with regards to lethargy, foggy brain and sleepiness. So often, when a smoker is describing how high they feel, it is partly in relation to the harmful chemicals they are inhaling and not only the THC. Another factor to consider is the action of smoking marijuana, whereby the user takes a long draw and holds the breath in, making them feel light headed. Holding carbon monoxide in the airway like this will certainly cause drowsiness. In addition, it is this process that makes the smoker cough, as the toxins irritate the respiratory tract.

Smoking Cannabis

Weed Vaporization

To understand how a dry herb vaporizer deals with herb, it is important to grasp a basic understanding of what vaporization means.


Boiling or Evaporation

Vaporization is the process of converting a liquid into a gas. This occurs through boiling or evaporation. Turning liquid into gas via boiling is where the liquid has reached boiling temperatures and the vapor is contained within bubbles, below the surface. The phase transition of liquid to gas vapor using evaporation is when the temperature is below boiling point and reaches a specific pressure. Evaporation only occurs on the surface.

Which Method do Weed Vaporizers Use?

Weed vaporizers achieve vaporization through evaporation. The herb is placed in a chamber and the idea is to heat it to a temperature below the point of combustion. It is important to point out here that, if the user has a conduction vaporizer and sets it a very high temperature, then combustion will still occur. However the intention and purpose of a vaporizer is to avoid that.

How Does Vaporizing work?

At temperatures below combustion point, the herb is steamed and all the beneficial properties of the plant are extracted. The condensation that builds within the cooking chamber is converted into vapor. This vapor then travels from the device’s airpath, out of the mouthpiece and inhaled directly into the lungs. None of the cannabinoids are lost during the journey, unlike with a spliff where the properties literally go up in smoke!

A much larger percentage of the desired cannabinoids and terpenes remain in the vapor when using a dry herb vaporizer, as opposed to a significantly lower percentage in the smoke from a joint. The concentration of THC within the vapor is therefore greater than that contained within smoke and far more potent.

Does a Vape High Feel Different from a Smoke High?

The high from vaping has been aptly described as a ‘creeping’ high. This is in complete contrast to the sudden impact high, commonly associated with smoking a spliff.

Why Does the High from Smoking Weed Hit Harder?

As discussed earlier, part of the reason smoking hits harder and quicker is the presence of carbon monoxide in the smoke. The immediate physical and cognitive effects of carbon can be mistaken for a THC high, which tends to hit a bit later once the cannabinoids have entered the bloodstream.

Why is the High from Vaporized Weed Cleaner?

Vaporized weed is not contaminated with the toxins associated with smoking and is therefore purer and cleaner. The absence of thick smoke irritating the airway means there is no coughing (unless the vaporizer has been cranked up to maximum temperature of course). Consequently, the hit comes at a much slower pace.

It is common for inexperienced vapers to feel a sense of disappointment at first, as the first few draws from a vape delivers no real buzz. However, a vape connoisseur will certainly warn to tread with caution here, don’t feel tempted to be too greedy. All of a sudden THC creeps up on you and the high is here!

What kind of Buzz Will I Feel When I Vape?

This buzz then continues to creep up on you and depending on the strain, quality and quantity of cannabis used, as well as the temperature the vape is set at, the levels of high will continue for quite some time. This is why less is more with regards to vaping weed, starting slowly is always recommended and then the user can manage exactly what kind of high they desire. Equally, the hardcore stoners can power their way through quickly and achieve optimum stoned status at speed!

The other big difference reported by many vape enthusiasts is the high itself is far cleaner than with smoking. It is a deep, creative and sometimes trippy high, that allows the user to function and communicate. In contrast to smoking, the effects of which are more likely to render the stoner incapable of most activity and is much longer-lasting. The effects of smoking are much heavier and are physically more apparent. Vaporizing weed gets you just as high, if not higher, but the user remains more clear-headed and less foggy.

Cannabis user looking stoned

How Do I Customize My Weed Vaporizer for the Best High?

One of the biggest advantages of vaporizing weed is that the user can customize the entire experience. This means that you can achieve the exact high that you desire. The only thing in a smoker’s control is the quality and quantity of cannabis they pack in. However, a vaper has much more versatility at their fingertips.

Obviously choosing the best strain is essential but once that factor has been decided, the user can go on to optimise their experience to the very highest levels.

Should I Grind My Herb?

Firstly, the basics but important factors all the same. Ensuring the herb is completely dry is essential as excess moisture will certainly hamper the vaporizing process. Secondly, grinding the herb effectively will improve the overall experience. Medium to fine grind is the norm but experiment with the vaporizer to see which works best is advised. Thirdly, do not over or underpack your vaporizer. Again, trial and error is the best method to find what works best in your vaporizer.

Once the basics are taken care of, the user can concentrate on manipulating the temperature settings to achieve the desired effect.

Will the Temperature I Set my Vape At Affect my High?

Cooking the weed at different temperatures will release specific cannabinoids and terpenes which will heighten or soften the high according to the users expectations. Most vapers will start at lower temperatures and build up throughout their session. A decent dry herb vaporizer will provide a pleasurable buzz at lower temperatures. The session can then be extended all the way through to comatosed status at the higher end of the scale temperature wise. It really is all in the vaper’s hands.

Finally, some weed vaporizers also come with water bubbler attachments and so an intense bong high is also achievable. Desktop vaporizers provide further versatility still and provide some of the best highs imaginable.

To Conclude

The mass popularity of weed vaporizers is not simply a phase and it is evident to see why. A device that allows the user to enjoy their weed exactly as they had when smoking, but without most of the health implications and with an improved, purer high.

Vaporizing weed allows the user to gain almost double the benefit of the properties contained within their herb without intoxicating their bodies with tar, carbon monoxide and carcinogens. The presence of THC is undeniably stronger and therefore when it comes to vaping weed Vs. smoking it, the potency of cannabis vapor wins hands down.

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