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Consuming Cannabis: Dry Herb Vaporizer vs Cartridge Vaporizer

dry herb vaporizer
Written by Joseph Mcqueen

The year is now 2022 and it is estimated that around 19% of the world’s adults smoke. However, it’s believed that this will decrease to 17% by 2030. As more and more people begin to acknowledge the dangers of smoking, the vaporizer has snuck its way in as a viable and popular replacement. Whether people like consuming cannabis or tobacco, the vape has become the healthier option. There are two competing vaporizers that have taken over the industry: the dry herb vaporizer and the cartridge vaporizer. However, these devices are not always cheap, so deciding which one to get can be tough. That leaves one question: which is the right vaporizer to get? 

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The Vaporizer

The vaporizer industry has boomed over the last decade. In fact, in 2016 the vape market was worth 11.5 billion dollars, and is expected to increase to 86.5 billion dollars by 2025. But what are these magical devices that seem to be taking over the world of smoking? 

A vaporizer is an electrical device that heats up substances, turning them into vapor, which can then be inhaled. Some vaporizers heat liquids in cartridges, and others heat dry cannabis in oven-like chambers. E-cigarettes, which are now a highly popular alternative to smoking tobacco, are vaporizers that heat nicotine. But for those that want to avoid smoking joints, there are dry herb vapes as well as cartridge vapes that take cannabis cartridges. 

The Healthier Option 

Whilst vaporizers can look and feel cool – like a magic smoking wand – the real reason for their existence is that they offer a healthier way to consume certain circumstances. When a cigarette or joint is lit, it heats at around 900 degrees/1650 fahrenheit, This is called combustion. Combustion causes dangerous carcinogens and toxins to be released. In addition, when tobacco is burned – which can be in both joints and cigarettes – it also releases cancerous inhalants. PMI states:

“The combustion of tobacco results in the formation of smoke (that contains a range of chemical constituents), heat, and ash. … The high heat associated with combustion leads to the thermal breakdown of the tobacco when it is burned, resulting in the production of many of the toxicants found in cigarette smoke.”

It’s the avoidance of combustion that makes the vaporizer a healthier option. The device heats substances at around 180-220 degrees/ 350-430 fahrenheit, whereas combustion starts at around 250 degrees/480 fahrenheit. Instead of smoke vapor is created, which is inhaled and does not release the same toxins as smoke does. This is why the vaporizer is more healthy than smoking. However, it would be a lie to suggest that vaping is completely healthy and does not cause any damage at all. Vaping over long periods of time will damage your lungs, but it seems to be a better alternative and helpful way to wean yourself off smoking. 

History of the Vaporizer

Going through the entirety of the history of the vaporizer would take a while, so here’s a brief whistle stop tour of some of the major moments that might have led to what we now know as a modern day vape. 

5BC – Ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians supposedly used to heat up hemp seeds on hot rocks and inhale the vapour that was released. This could be considered the first ever vaping experience. 

1020 – Hookah Water Pipe

The hookah water pipe, also known as the shisha pipe, became popular around 1000 years ago in Indian, Turkey and Afghanistan. Shisha pipes use hot coal to heat up tobacco. 

1927 – Butane Ignition Vape

Joseph Robinson invented the first butane ignition vaporizer in 1927. It worked like a blow torch. It didn’t ever reach the market due to its lack of popularity and probably lack of health awareness, but it did pave the way for future ideas away from common smoking. 

1971 – Tobacco Advertising Ban

In 1971 the US stopped the advertisement of cigarettes on television in their Health Cigarette Smoking Act. With the end of cigarette advertisement and as the world began to see the dangers of smoking, a space was slowly being created for the vaporizer. 

1993 – Shake & Vape

In 1993, Eagle Bill Omato – also known as the father of vapor, created the shake & vape. The device used a glass tube with a bowl at the end that you could place cannabis on. The cannabis was heated through the glass, rather than directly from the flame and thus didn’t combust. 

1997 – Indoor Smoking Ban

In 1997 smoking indoors was banned in the US, which made it harder to enjoy smoking in all areas of life. Vaping can be done indoors. 

2016 – California Legalizes Cannabis

In 2016, California became the first state in the US to legalize recreational cannabis. Vaporizers with the ability to heat cannabis – both in liquids and in dry form – became popular. 

The Dry Herb Vaporizer 

The question still remains: which vaporizer is better and how do they differ? Well, let’s start with the dry herb vaporizer, or dry cannabis vape. This electric vaporizer heats up dry weed in its chamber, which then turns into vapor, and can be inhaled through the mouthpiece. 

The Elements 

Here are the elements that make this vaporizer work. 

Rechargeable Battery

Dry herb vapes have rechargeable batteries, which means you can reuse them again and again. The more powerful the battery, the longer you can use it without needing to recharge. 


The chamber is where you place the dry cannabis. You pack the oven up and turn the device on, selecting the temperature you want. The hotter it is, the less flavoursome, but the more potent. The less hot, results in more flavour but less potency. You can also place cannabis concentrates in dry weed vapes, using a concentrate pad. 


The mouthpiece is the final part of the process. This allows you to inhale the vapour that has been created from heating the weed or concentrate. 


Here are the benefits of using a dry cannabis vaporizer.


If you’re someone who enjoys dry cannabis, then using a dry cannabis vaporizer is the easiest option. It also means that you’ll always have an option to use your substances to smoke a joint if you so desire. 


Using a dry herb vaporizer also offers you the opportunity to vape concentrates. Cannabis concentrates – such as wax, budder and shatter – are much higher in potency and enhance the usual effects. 

Cartridge Vaporizer

On the other hand, there’s the cartridge vaporizer. Also known as 510 thread vapes, cartridge vaporizers work by heating up liquid cartridges. The battery heats up a metal coil, which heats the liquid, which consequently turns into vapor and can be inhaled through thee mouthpiece. The substances can vary, and with more countries legalizing recreational cannabis, the variety of cannabinoids on offer are increasing day by day. 

The Elements 

Here are the elements that make this vaporizer work


The battery is, like the dry herb vape, rechargeable. This battery can be attached to all types of cartridges and acts as the heart of the device. 

Cartridge & Mouthpiece

The cartridges usually come with the mouthpiece on the end. This can then be attached to the battery and they are then used together. You can buy cannabis oil and pour this into the cartridges once it’s finished. Some cartridges can be used again and again. The types of liquids that can be used are hugely varied. 


Here are the benefits of using a cartridge vaporizer.

Cartridge Variation

The types of liquids or oils that can be used in cartridges are incredibly varied. The more research is done into the wonders of different cannabinoids, the more cannabis oils are also created. The world is no longer limited to only THC and CBD, there are other types of cannabinoids now; these include: THCV, CBN, and many others. Some are reported to be 30 times more potent than the usual psychoactive THC. 


Using a cartridge vaporizer can also be the cleanest vape to use. This is because you won’t have to clean out old dry cannabis residue from the chamber, instead you can simply wash out the cartridge and re-use. Liquid is always easier to clean than solid bud. 

So, Which is Better? Dry Herb Vaporizer vs Cartridge Vaporizer

It’s difficult to compare the dry herb vaporizer and the cartridge vaporizer because there are so many different models of each. There are bad ones, and there are good ones. The design and power of both types of vapes are essentially the same and, because of this, neither can be considered intrinsically better. The question has to be: which vape better suits your lifestyle? If you’re someone that can easily access cannabis oils or cartridges (like those in legal US states) then perhaps this kind of vaporizer would be better suited to you. However, if you live somewhere that has yet to legalize cannabis, then dry weed is probably easier to purchase and therefore the dry herb vape is more suited to you. Buying cannabis cartridges in the UK, for example, is far rarer and far more expensive than purchasing cannabis bud. 

Either way, whatever you decide to purchase, both vaporizers are a great alternative to smoking.

Hello and welcome! Thanks for stopping by, your #1 web source for cannabis and psychedelics-related news, offering the most interesting stories of today. Join us frequently to stay on-top of the quickly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and remember to check out The THC Weekly Newsletterto ensure you’re never late on getting a story.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.