Vaporization and condensation

In issue 35 you wrote about vaporization. THC boils at 390 degrees. One popular device uses ice to cool the vapor. Doesn’t this condense the vapor and therefore reduce the quantity of THC available to inhale? If this is true, wouldn’t I want the vapor as hot as I can comfortably handle it?

Vaporizers work by heating the material to the point that THC boils, but below the combustion temperature of the vegetative matter. The gaseous THC soon mixes with the much cooler air and condenses. Though the air stream you inhale may be warm, it is not 390 degrees. If it were, you would be suffering with severe burns.

Smoking and vaporizing work on the same principle. The heat causes the THC to change into a gaseous state. This gas immediately condenses into tiny droplets that are inhaled with the air stream. Think of the mirror in your bathroom after you get out of the shower. Steam from the shower has cooled and condensed, forming a thin layer that fogs the view. Essentially the same thing happens when vaporizing or smoking a joint. When air is drawn through the joint, the heat from burning evaporates the THC, which is carried along in the smoke stream. The THC has already started to condense before it leaves the joint. Some sticks to the vegetative material and some continues to travel down the joint with the stream of smoke. By the time the smoke reaches your mouth, it has combined with enough air and experienced enough of a heat exchange so that the THC is all condensed into little droplets.

Of course, when vaporizing, the plant material is not combusted, so there is no smoke, only the evaporated THC and the air stream. Since the THC condenses into dew before it is inhaled, cooling the air does not reduce the THC content. Having lots of surface area where the dew can cling is more likely to reduce the efficiency than changing the temperature.

When air is cooled before it is inhaled, it seems to be more “relaxing” to the lungs than hot air. If the population prefers to inhale cold air, it probably is an indication that it is healthier than hot air.

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