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Recent developments in vaporizer technology have made consuming dry herb and concentrates more accessible than ever before. They allow for extracts to be used without the hassle of whipping out a blow torch and dab rig, and portable hand-held vapes are perfect for the on the go cannabis consumer.
Because the aerosol created from vaporizers doesn’t contain all of the contaminants that smoke does, vaping is generally thought to be the somewhat healthier option between the two. However, not all vapes are created equal – some are much safer than others
With so many different manufacturers putting out so many unique types of vaporizers, it can be difficult as a consumer to find a brand that you trust – especially since most companies value profit more than the health and well-being of their customers. Luckily, there are still a few good apples out there, like DAVINCI, who go to painstaking lengths to prioritize their clientele’s respiratory safety.
We’ve put together this guide to help you feel safe and confident when selecting a new vape!
What is Off-Gassing?
In the context of vaping, the term off-gassing means refers to a release of vapor from unwanted materials that can produce toxins or harmful chemicals. Off-gassing can happen for a few different reasons.
When you first get your vape, it can be a good idea to do what’s called an initial burnoff. This process involves heating up your vaporizer without anything in the material chamber to burn away, or off-gas, any residual oils or factory residue that may still be present.
It’s also smart to do a burnoff cycle after each cleaning, as any leftover cleaning solution is definitely something you don’t want to inhale. Here DAVINCI shows how to perform a burnoff cycle with their newest innovation – the IQ2.
Off-gassing during a burnoff cycle is normal and to be expected. What’s more nefarious is when your vape is off-gassing during regular use because of sub-par materials. When manufacturers cheap out on material around the heating element or air path, toxins can be released along with your herb vapor, negating any of the potential benefits of vaping, and possibly causing even more damage than smoking. DaVinci’s air path is made of zirconia and glass, sealed, and tested in a vacuum to ensure no off-gassed materials touch the vapor.
Heating Element: Aluminum vs Ceramic vs Glass
All vaporizers have a heating element, sometimes referred to as the bowl or oven. This is the part cradles your herb or concentrates before heating it up and turning it into vapor. These elements are usually made from either aluminum or ceramic and are sometimes lined with glass.
Aluminum heating elements offer extremely precise temperature controls. However, they are also considered to be one of the least safe oven materials. When cheap, low-grade aluminum comes into contact with an acidic material, for example, the leftover resin from dry herb or concentrates, it can leach off and off-gas when heated. This is particularly dangerous considering studies linking aluminum to Alzheimer’s and other health risks.
Ceramics are incredibly heat resistant, which means that ceramic ovens are excellent at retaining heat. It also means that ceramic ovens have a much higher boiling point than aluminum materials, which drastically lessens the chance of leaching and off-gassing. When it comes to safety, full-ceramic is considered a much better option than aluminum.
The safest heating elements available utilize glass. Glass is the most inert material that is used in vapes and is completely non-hazardous. Generally, the heating element isn’t entirely made of glass but is instead made from ceramic or aluminum then lined with glass for an extra layer of protection. Glass linings are for more than just safety – they preserve your cannabis flavors better than any other material, making for naturally flavorful hits.
DAVINCI’s vaporizers are made with a glass-lined ceramic oven, making them one of the safest options available on the market.
Air Path: Plastic vs Metal vs Ceramic
The heating element isn’t the only part of the vaporizer where low-quality materials can create potential health hazards. In every vape, there is what’s called an air path. It’s the pathway that air takes before heating up and being delivered into your lungs. If this path is made from inadequate materials, it is susceptible to leaking potentially toxic micro-particles.
Like with the heating element, there are several different materials that can be used in the construction of a vaporizer air path. Plastics and cheap metals are going to be the most likely to leak these micro-particles. Stainless steel will be safer than plastic and cheaper metals, but it’s important to make sure you maintain regular cleaning habits to prevent the buildup of resin.
Ceramic and glass air paths are far and away the safest option to look for when shopping for a vaporizer. However, be wary of vaporizers that only use glass or ceramics for part of the air path, and use cheap metal for the rest. Look for something like the DAVINCI MIQRO or the DAVINCI IQ2 which feature an all polished zirconia ceramic airpath.
In order to mitigate the potential health risks of vaping, it’s critical to make sure you’re using only the highest-quality vaporizers available. Avoid brandless vapes like the ones you might find at a convenient store or skeezy head shop as these are the most likely to skimp on materials. So long as you do your research before purchasing, you should be fine.
High-quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, and expensive doesn’t necessarily mean high-quality. Don’t assume that just because a particular brand comes with a larger price tag that it is automatically safer. The DAVINCI MIQRO and the DAVINCI IQ2 are proven to be two of the safest dry-herb vaporizers on the market today, and they won’t cost you more than $100 or $300.