Vaporizers: Conduction vs. Convection

Vaporizing is the choice of consumption for a lot of Aurora clients. It’s a fast acting, flavourful, and fairly simple method that’s easier on the lungs compared to smoking cannabis. No wonder it’s the preferred method of consumption by Health Canada!

While researching vaporizers you may have come across a couple of unfamiliar terms, including conduction and convection. Remember high school physics?

Conduction refers to using direct contact with a heat source to bring the cannabis to its ideal vaporization temperature. Using an electronically heated surface (usually a metal plate or a screen) to direct the heat throughout the device’s chamber, the vaporizer converts the cannabinoids and terpenes into vapour. Unlike smoking which directly burns the cannabis, conduction allows for a cleaner, more efficient inhalation.

Vaporizers using conduction include the Da Vinci, Black Mamba, and PAX 3.

Convection refers to using heated air that passes over the cannabis to bring it to its ideal vaporization temperature. In other words: the cannabis product itself never comes into contact with the heating element. Instead, the vaporizer uses hot air to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes, which can then be inhaled in vapour form. The heating elements in most convective vaporizers are made of ceramic or stainless steel.

Vaporizers using convection include the Classic Volcano, Digital Volcano, and Mighty (which has the option of both conductive and convective heating).

According to Allison Wood, Aurora’s Product Development Technical Administrator, the best way to think about the difference between conduction and convection is to apply it to the kitchen. “When a vaporizer uses conductive heating, it’s similar to stir-frying vegetables – heat is being directly applied to the food via an element and a pan”, says Allison. “A convective vaporizer is more similar to baking something in an oven where circulated air heats the food instead,” she explains.

Vaporizers aren’t all made the same. Like any other device, the decision comes down to a number of different factors dependant on your needs and lifestyle. In the end, whichever one you choose will offer a clean, efficient, and discrete method of consumption that’ll make the most of your medical cannabis.  

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