How does a vaporizer work?

There are many types of vaporizers on the market but they all work with the same principle, which is to heat your medical marijuana until the active chemicals boil and vaporize.

The chemical makeup of cannabis.

Marijuana or cannabis contains cannabinoids which are a group of terpenophenolic compounds including THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which is what gets users high. In addition there is CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol), the latter is produced as the THC ages and breaks down.

Cannabis with high levels of both THC and CBD will create a strong energetic high where low levels of THC and high levels of CBD will be more of a body, sleepy stone.

  • Cannabis indica has higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC than sativa.
  • THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) is found primarily in strains from African and Asian cannabis. The THCV may increase the speed and intensity of THC effects, but the high may tend to end sooner. Cannabis that has a potent smell before smoking may indicate a high level of THCV.
  • CBC (Cannabichromene) seems not to be psychoactive in its purest form but is thought to interact with THC to enhance the high.
  • CBL (Cannabicyclol) is created when the cannabis breaks down just like CBN. Light will convert CBC to CBL.


When cannabinoids are heated to the right temperature they literally boil and vaporize. The cannabinoids are concentrated in a viscous resin that is produced in glandular structures known as trichomes, these are the tiny, sticky hair like formations you see at the end of buds.

Marijuana vaporizer temperature.

Marijuana or more specifically cannabinoids will usually vaporize between 285 °F (140 °C) and 392 °F (200 °C). However through our own studies using highly accurate K-Type thermometers we noted that vaporization is most effective at around 338 °F (170 °C) with a vaporization temperature over 392 °F (200 °C) simply burning your medical marijuana and creating unwanted smoke. 

Medical marijuana vaporizers can save you from harmful carcinogens entering your lungs & can represent a significant financial saving due to their inherent design efficiencies.

What are the benefits of vaporization?

* No smoke! Is the number one benefit of using a vaporizer. As the medical marijuana vaporizes you will note that a thin mist of vapour is created at this lower 338 °F (170 °C) temperature. Compare that to a typical marijuana joint which burns at temperatures of up to 2,012 °F (1,100 °C) and in the process creates many harmful carcinogens. Smoke is the prime cause of lung cancer and many respiratory disorders.

* Save money – Since vaporization takes place at temperatures below combustion up to twice as many active constituents are delivered to the user than one would get from smoking, according to studies. Cannabinoids are highly combustible, and many of the delicate glandular trichomes may be destroyed when simply smoked.

* No smell. As nothing is actually burning there is very little smell involved with vaporization.

Type 1 – Classic or direct heat dome vaporizers.

There are approximately 40 vaporizers on the market right now but many of them are junk. We only sell models that actually work and are well constructed. ***Be aware of very poorly made copies from China and India.

Vaporizers have been on the market or handmade by individuals since the 1960’s. The classic “dome” design incorporates a heating element much the same as a soldering iron with a small metal bowl situated where the soldering iron tip would normally be. The heat element heats the bowl and the medical marijuana inside it. The whole tip of the heat element and attached bowl is usually covered by a glass dome which captures the vapour. The user then simply inhales the vaporized marijuana via tubing attached to the dome.

These vaporizers are usually cheap options but they do work quite well. Simple yet effective. Problems found in such designs are usually in the materials used in manufacturing such as the glues, plastics, metal of the bowls such as aluminium all of which can affect the taste.

Ceramic heat element vaporizers.

Vaporizers have become better built in the last couple of decades and now most of the top models use ceramic based heat elements. Ceramic is an inert compound which when heated does not give of any unwanted gases. The best ceramic heat elements include alumina ceramic as the method of creating heat. Alumina ceramic has a similar crystal structure to sapphire and ruby after the sintering process.

Type 2 – Manual inhale (direct lung) or indirect heat vaporizers.

These are our favourite vaporizers. The heat element never touches the medical marijuana and the vapour is only produced when you inhale. The user inhales air past an inert ceramic heat element which can reach a surface temperature of up to 1,382 °F (750 °C). The super hot air then continues through the inert Pyrex glass tube to hit your medical marijuana (situated 2 inches further along the tube) at a far reduced temperature in the vaporization range at around 338 °F (170 °C). The medical marijuana vaporizes and the vapour continues through the inert silicon tubing into your lungs.

The beauty of this system is that vaporization only occurs when you inhale. You control the amount of vapour you inhale using your lungs plus (and we think this is the best part) you can easily regulate the degree to which your medical marijuana vaporizers. The harder you inhale the hotter the herb gets which in turns delivers greater volume and denser vapour.

Indirect heating usually offers the most pure results with instant delivery of fresh vapours at the volume that you desire. We find this method far better than fan forced (stored vapour) vaporization units which remove a lot of this human control.

Type 3 – Fan forced or stored vapour.

Such as the Volcano vaporizer with its balloon style attachment.

Balloon style vaporizers work by pumping the vaporized medical marijuana into a special balloon where it can be detached from the vaporizer and inhaled whenever you are ready. Vapour in the bag will always be the same density, this method does not allow you to control how thick or thin the vapour is mixed with air. Some people like these balloon style vaporizers as it makes it easy to pass the vapours around. In most cases the balloon is able to hold more vapor compared to the other styles.

If you’re interested is this type of vaporizer, the Vapormatic Deluxe is also worth a look. It comes with more features than the Volcano and is usually cheaper. Note the Volcano actually uses an aluminium heat element and not a ceramic heat element.

Vaporizer study, further reading….

Vaporization is a technique for avoiding irritating respiratory toxins in marijuana smoke by heating cannabis to a temperature where the psychoactive ingredients evaporate without causing combustion.

Laboratory studies by California NORML and MAPS have found that vaporizers can efficiently deliver cannabinoids while eliminating or drastically reducing other smoke toxins.

Smoke contains toxins that are known to be hazardous to the respiratory system. Among them are the highly carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, a prime suspect in cigarette-related cancers.

Users who are concerned about the respiratory hazards of smoking are strongly advised to use vaporizers.


More Vaporizer Benefits