Dry Herb Vaporizer Health Risks and Benefits: What You Need to Know

Dry herb vaporizer health risks
By Halla Mannering Published April 9th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Dry herb vaping is typically perceived as a healthier alternative to smoking. While the consumption method has its benefits, there are also some dry herb vaporizer health risks consumers may not be aware of. And with about 12% of respondents in a study reporting that vaping was their preferred method of consumption, it’s important to understand the risks that it can present.1

It’s important to note that the information in this article isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns about the health risks of using cannabis, you should speak with your doctor about whether or not it could be the right choice for you.

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What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?

If you’ve never taken some time to research various cannabis consumption methods, you may not be familiar with dry herb vaporizers.

This cannabis consumption method is a small device that allows for hot air to pass over milled cannabis. The result of this is an aerosol that can be inhaled. When it comes to dry herb vaporizers, there are both handheld and tabletop options.2 Which one is right for you depends on your preferences and how you want to use your vaporizer.

One of the most important things to note is that different types of vapes are available. Dry herb vaporizers are not the same as “regular” vape pens. Many vape pens require a cannabis concentrate, whereas dry herb vaporizers require flower. Some vapes use dry flower, while others use an oil or a concentrated form of cannabis; some vaporizers have accessories to use both using the same device. Understanding the different vaporizer options is important, as they all have different benefits and risks.

Many people find dry herb vaporizers very convenient and deliver the results they’re looking for. If cannabis is legal in your area, consider stopping by a dispensary and asking if they have any products that they can recommend.

Are Dry Herb Vaporizers Safe?

Are dry herb vaporizers safe?

If you’re considering using this method of consumption, you may be wondering about the potential side effects of dry herb vaping. Let’s dive into some of the adverse effects that could potentially occur if you choose a dry herb vaping device.

Interestingly, research has found that vaping cannabis may be a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis the traditional way. In fact, it can potentially reduce exposure to toxins and also reduce the chances of chronic respiratory symptoms.3 

With that being said, there hasn’t been enough research to be able to make a claim about whether or not dry herb vaporizers are entirely safe. There are a variety of factors that may influence how safe it is to use a dry vaporizer, including the device that you purchase and the quality of cannabis that you use.

Vaping cannabis could irritate the lungs. If you have an already existing lung condition, it's possible that using a dry herb vape could make that condition worse. If you have lung concerns, you should speak with your doctor to understand the potential risks and dangers that could come from vaping.

One of the benefits of using dry herb vaporizers is that you have greater control over your experience, with a wide range of strains you can choose from at your local dispensary (or from your home grow).

When you buy vape carts, it isn't always clear what strain your getting or what effects you can expect. This isn’t generally a concern when using a dry herb vaporizer unless you are purchasing illicit cannabis.

Dry Herb Vaporizer Health Benefits: How Does It Stack Up to Smoking and Vaping?

All smokable products are different. Some are faster acting while others deliver higher levels of THC. Different strains, inhalation methods, and even vaporizer temperature and voltage settings can change a consumer's experience. When you’re picking out a new device, it’s important that you understand its background, as well as how to use it properly. 

User research has found that there’s a significant difference between handheld and tabletop dry herb vaporizers. If you’re seeking specific benefits and want the most effective options possible, you should most likely consider the pros and cons of purchasing a tabletop or handheld device. Handheld vaporizers are great for on-the-go vaping and quick sessions, while tabletop vaporizers can take time to set up and may be pricey in comparison.

One of the best parts about choosing a dry herb vaporizer is that no combustion or flames are involved. When it comes to cigarettes and certain other cannabis-inhalable options, you are inhaling toxins and chemicals that are harmful to your body. 

For many consumers, dry herb vaporizers offer a better option than other types of vaporizers like vape carts. But just as with all products that are inhaled, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and how they can be reduced.

Tips for Mitigating Dry Herb Vaporizer Health Risks

Mitigating dry herb vaporizer health risks

What you can do to reduce the potential risks associated with dry herb vaporizers?

First, choose a cannabis product that’s high quality and comes from a reputable dispensary. Check for a certificate of analysis (COA) to ensure that the product you’re consuming has been properly tested and is as safe as possible.

Next, consider how often you’re using cannabis. Many consumers need higher or more frequent doses. But if you're a beginner or have a low tolerance, strong doses are more likely to lead to adverse side effects, like increased anxiety. 

It’s important to exercise caution and do your own research when deciding whether to use a dry herb vaporizer. More studies are needed to understand the potential health effects of vaping flower. Until more research is done, use your best judgment and speak with a medical professional if you have health concerns.

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  1. Aston ER, Scott B, Farris SG. A qualitative analysis of cannabis vaporization among medical users. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2019;27(4):301-308. doi:10.1037/pha0000279 ↩︎
  2. Meehan-Atrash J, Rahman I. Cannabis Vaping: Existing and Emerging Modalities, Chemistry, and Pulmonary Toxicology. Chem Res Toxicol. 2021;34(10):2169-2179. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00290 ↩︎
  3. Chaiton M, Kundu A, Rueda S, Di Ciano P. Are vaporizers a lower-risk alternative to smoking cannabis?. Can J Public Health. 2022;113(2):293-296. doi:10.17269/s41997-021-00565-w ↩︎

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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