In this article we discuss:
- How heat can affect cannabis
- Why burning is bad
- Is vaping better than smoking?
- Which is better: radiation, conduction, or convection?
- Using heat to get the most from the plant
- Guide to why heat matters
How heat affects cannabis
While cannabis and other herbs are natural products, they’ve been cultivated and selectively bred to emphasize or dampen certain characteristics. In cannabis, this is generally to tailor the levels of the cannabinoids, by either increasing or decreasing levels of THC and CBC to better fit the herb to the user's mood or preferences, as well as emphasize certain terpenes.
Terpenes are the subtle compounds which give strains their distinct aromas and tastes. When combining different terpenes with cannabinoids, the effect can be very different as a result of the "entourage effect". This interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids can significantly impact the experience.
Heat affects cannabinoids, terpenes, and how they work together since they are activated (or destroyed) at different temperatures. Thus, both the amount of heat and the type of heat influence the taste and feel of cannabis. In this article, we explore how to use this facet to enhance the cannabis experience.
Don't burn it!
Organic compounds, such as terpenes and cannabinoids, are fragile. This is one of the reasons vaping is far superior to the combustion of traditional smoking. With combustion, the plant matter is burnt, like in any fire, and the compounds are turned into smoke, which is then inhaled.
The problem with combustion is that you are not just inhaling the cannabinoids and terpenes, but the burnt plant material as well. The health impacts can be severe over a prolonged period of time since the smoker is inhaling known carcinogens, tar, and all the other poisons.
More than this, however, combustion means that you are burning the herb, destroying some of the fragile terpene compounds in the process. This will diminish the feeling from the herb, as well as ruin the flavor and aroma.
Why vaping is better than smoking
Unlike traditional smoking, vaping does not burn the herb. Most vaporizers heat the herb to just below combustion temperature, avoiding nearly all of the health issues and problems associated with smoke inhalation.
Vaping is also better because it extracts the desired organic compounds, the cannabinoids and terpenes, at their vaporization temperature, extracting them from the herb without combusting the herb itself.
Radiation, conduction, and convection - which is better?
All vaporizers heat the herb, but they do so in different ways.
- Radiant Heat - Radiant heat vaporizers are rarer than other types. They use heat radiation, the same sort of heat from a toaster, to increase the herbs’ temperature until its components vaporize. The problem with this method is that, as with a toaster, it can cause burning, creating smoke instead of pure vapor. This damages the terpenes within the herb, ruining the unique combination of terpenes and cannabinoids of each strain.
- Conduction - Similar to radiant heat, vaporizers that use conduction can burn the herb or liquid. In this case, heat is transferred like a skillet on a hob, using direct contact between a surface and the product to heat the contents to the desired temperature.
- Convection - Unlike radiation and conduction, convection is unique because it does not burn the plant. Similar to an oven, convection passes hot air around the product, but also through the product itself, promoting an even and all-round balanced vapor. Hence, there is much lower risk of combustion when using this method. This means that the subtle flavors and aromas present in the terpenes - and the combination between them and the cannabinoids - are kept intact. The true essence of the herb can be enjoyed to its fullest.
Convection vaping gets the most out of your herbs
Today’s very best vaporizers use convection. While other heating methods reduce the amount of smoke (and the carcinogens and toxins within), convection is far superior. Without any risk of burning, the result is clean vapor filled with beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
In addition to potential negative health impacts, combustion also impairs the flavor, taste, and combination of terpenes and cannabinoids. In contrast, convection allows users to maximize their flavor and enjoyment.
The Firefly 2+ goes one step further with its Dynamic Convection system. As well as being a truly portable pure convection vape, the user can manually set the exact temperature for vaping of the device. This opens a world of precision to the user as they can set the temperature to match the vaporization point of specific terpenes. They can experience the flavors and aromas as intended, and allow the subtle interaction between the terpenes and other compounds present in the strain.
The Firefly 2+’s Dynamic Convection also heats more efficiently, quickly achieving and maintaining the desired temperature. Unlike other vaporizers that take half a minute or more to warm up, the Firefly 2+ is ready to use in only three seconds. These features combine to easily give the purest and most flavorful vapor.
Why heat matters
Here’s a quick reference for how both the heating style and intensity are important to consider.