What is a Vaporizer?

A vaporizer is a device that uses a temperature controlled heating element to heat liquids until they undergo a phase change to their vapor state. A familiar example of this process is that of boiling water. As water in a hot kettle begins to boil it becomes steam or water vapor. The steam is very similar to the vapor produced by the Grasshopper. To understand how vaporization works for dried herbs we must first understand what we are vaporizing.

The flower or herbs should look and feel dried out when you place them into the Grasshopper. During drying the water is evaporated off, either naturally in the open air or by a heat aided process. With the water removed, our herbs are left with just their plant fiber and oils which do not evaporate readily in the open air. It is the oil that contains the flavor and active ingredients we are most interested in.

To extract this oil you can burn your herbs using the plant fiber and oil to fuel the reaction. This combustion will convert the oil and plant material into a gas “smoke,” which you can inhale. The main problem with smoking is that we know that the reaction between the high heat and plant material causes carcinogens to be created.

How do we get the oil out without burning the plant material? This is vaporization. By using precise temperature control, we can heat the herbs and force the oils into their vapor state without causing the plant material to burn. We are transforming our oil into “steam,” allowing us to enjoy the flavors and effects through inhalation.

Even though vaporizers can eliminate the need for combustion, it is still important to know exactly what you are vaporizing. When you are inhaling any substance, it is important to know the possible effects.

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