If the vaping epidemic has you scared off the portable devices, good. As of mid-October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has logged over 1,400 cases of lung injury and 33 deaths, all linked to the e-liquids in cigarette and cannabis vapes. The CDC has also announced most of these lung injuries are because of THC vapes, specifically. Thing is, this only applies to oil vape pens. If you want a healthier way to ingest cannabis for immediate effect (who wouldn’t?), you should convert to dry herb vape pens.
Curious how dry herb vaporizers are different? For one, smoking quality-controlled flowers circumvents all of the issues surrounding oil vape pens, namely because the harmful chemicals in the oils is most likely what’s hurting peoples’ lungs (more on that here), according to Harvard physician and cannabis medicine specialist Jordan Tishler, M.D. (For what it’s worth, edibles and tinctures are also a pretty safe way of getting high, but they’re both harder to dose correctly and take longer to kick in.). The key to a healthier draw is really temperature control, Tishler says.
“There’s a continuum where vaporization happens around 350 degrees, and combustion begins at 400 degrees all the way up to 950 degrees, which is about where burning a joint lands.” The issue with oil vapes is they’re made to be small and portable, which means there isn’t much room for a high-tech, controllable oven.
Flower vapes, on the other hand, are a little bit bigger, so they can house more advanced and nuanced technology. Use that to your advantage: “If you put flower in a vape but set it to 450 degrees, you’re going to get the same carcinogens and overheated terpenes as you would from an oil vape,” Tishler explains. “You want to stay below that point of combustion. Nothing above 390 degrees is good for you.”
Here’s the catch: You need better technology to score the nuanced control that allows vaping flower to be healthier for you. However, that technology comes at a much higher price—especially if you want it to be small and portable. In other words, it’s hard to find affordable, healthier vape pens that’ll run at a safe temperature, deliver both tasty puffs and good clouds, be discreet, and not break after five bowls.
So, we did the legwork—looking into which budget pens hold up and which luxe pens are actually worth the price tag. Here, seven of the best portable dry herb vape pens for every price point and priority.
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