What is a vaporizer?

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A layman might identify with the term “vapor” but if you mention the word “vaporizer” people are more likely to throw blank expressions.  This is because people in general do not use the word in day to day life. Though vaporizers are almost as old as the human civilization, their use in daily life is relatively a new phenomenon.  Technically speaking, any device that vaporizes a substance rather than combusting it is called a vaporizer.   By that definition, an open water container in the hot sun is also a vaporizer – it vaporizes the water.

But why the heck are we talking so much about vaporizers?  The reason is simple- these devices are revolutionizing the medicinal and recreational use of herbs and essential oils.  In the process of vaporization only the essential ingredients of a substance are released in the form of vapor and the non-essential parts stay inside the vaporizer as residue.  This makes vaporization the most efficient the safest way to consume herbs, essential oils medicines.

In the medical world vaporizers have been in use for a long time, but for recreational purposes their use started only in the 1970s. The vaporizer revolution stated in 1993 when Eagle Bill Amato designed the famous Shake & Vape vaporizer.  Since then there has been no looking back and today manufacturing and marketing of vaporizers is a multi-million dollar industry.  Every day, thousands of people buy vaporizers and dozens of new products are launched in the US.

The reason for the increasing popularity of vaporizers is that it enables people to consume herbs and oils without any side effects.  In effect, vaporizers have become a healthier alternative to smoking.

Depending on the usage, the vaporizers can broadly be classified in two categories – Herbal Vaporizers and Liquid Vaporizers.  As the names suggest, the herbal type are used to vaporize plants and the liquid type are used for essential oils and other aromatic liquids.  Both the types of vaporizers are available as portable and desk top products.  The portable are smaller is size and come with an in-built battery, the desk top models are bigger and need an external power source.

Now let’s find out what technology is used to vaporize the herbs and oils.  To extract the active ingredients of the plant or herb two types of processes take place – conduction and convection.

Conduction:  This is the method of heating the herb or plant by bringing it in contact with something that is already hot.  In this process the essential elements are released in the form of vapor which the user can inhale.  However, there are certain drawbacks of this process that does not make it an efficient vaporizing technique.  It only vaporizes the essential oils of the material that comes in direct contact with the hot object leaving the rest of the material unused.  If the heat is increased to vaporize the untouched material, it may lead to combustion thereby defeating the whole purpose of vaporizer.

Convection: Convection is a more sophisticated and efficient vaporizing method in which hot air is blown over the matter.  This process, heats up the whole plant matter equally and evenly thereby releasing the essential elements more consistently in the form of vapor.  Additionally, the plant matter is also used more efficiently.  However, vaporizers that use this technique are a bit on the expensive side since it takes an advanced technology to maintain air temperature.

All the vaporizers use either of these two technologies to vaporize your herbs and oils.  You can choose from hundreds of different makes and models available in the market.

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