Last updated: June 6th, 2016
Vaporizing, as it applies to medical marijuana, is the process of heating dried cannabis to a temperature just below its combustion point of 392°F. All vaporizers consist of a heating source and a delivery system. The vapor produced by a vaporizer is transferred from the heating chamber to the user through a variety of delivery systems.
Conduction heating works by utilizing direct contact of the herb with an electrically heated surface, often times solid metal or a screen. A common problem with vaporizers like this is burning of the herb due to poor heat distribution. It is very difficult to regulate the temperature with vaporizers that use conduction. Included in this category are e-cigs, vaporizer pens, and a majority of portable vaporizers currently on the market.
Convection heating, on the other hand, works by passing precisely heated air over the dried herb, vaporizing the material more evenly and efficiently. This makes convection heating the preferred choice for many patients looking to get the most out of their vaporization experience. The herb never comes in touch with the heating element; instead air is either forced by a fan, or through inhalation, over the herbs and through the delivery system. Heating elements for convection vaporizers are typically made out of ceramic, though some are made out of stainless steel or other types of metal. Ceramic heating elements retain heat extremely well and are unaffected by cool air drawn through the system. Examples of quality vaporizers using convection heating systems include the VapeXhale EVO, the Arizer Extreme Q, and the Herbalizer.
Radiation vaporizers use radiant energy either produced by electricity or a light source to provide heat. The herb absorbs the radiant energy, increasing in temperature until its components vaporize. These types of vaporizers are more rare, and are on par with convection vapes in term of quality of vapor produced. The Magic Flight Launch Box combines radiation [or infrared heating] with conduction heating by engaging a battery, sending a current across a metal screen transferring heat to your herb packed on top. At the same time, the hot screen emits infrared rays that transfer additional heat across the herb.
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