Cannabis Product Types

Cannabis Vaporisers in Australia


Cannabis Vaporisers in Australia

Vaporisers are a common method of administering medicinal cannabis products in Australia. Unlike combustion, where the cannabis plant matter is burnt to create smoke, vaporisers work by gently heating up either dry cannabis flowers or cannabis extracts within their chambers. This creates a smoke-free vapour which users inhale, delivering compounds via the lungs.

Vaporisers can vary in both what they heat up (flower or extracts) and by the method in which they heat up their contents. They are known for their fast onset and short duration of effect compared to other cannabis administration methods, such as ingestion. Medicinal cannabis flower should not be combusted by smoking or using smoking paraphernalia, as this poses a risk to health. This includes the potential to contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What is vaporisation?

Broadly speaking, vaporisation is the process of converting a substance, solid or liquid, into a vapour. This happens when an increase in temperature causes its molecules to gain kinetic energy. When the kinetic energy is high enough, they break free of the bonds keeping them in a solid or liquid state and become gaseous.

Vaporisation in the context of medicinal cannabis is when the contents of a vaporiser, either dry flower or an extract, are gently heated. This heating process raises the temperature of these products to a point where a vapour is created. This process does not create smoke as the temperature remains below the point of combustion.

This converts the phytocompounds within the medical cannabis into vapour, which can be inhaled by the user and absorbed through the lungs. Once they have been inhaled by the lungs, they then interact with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Different vaporisers may use different heating methods to create this effect.

These are conduction, convection and hybrid. Whichever method of heating the vaporiser uses, they are still subject to the regulations of the Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA). Patients should always try to find a TGA-approved vaporiser for medical cannabis products.

Conduction vaporisation

Conduction vaporisation involves transferring heat through a solid. A conduction vaporiser transmits heat directly from the heating element in its chamber. This makes contact with the dry herb inside and heats it to the appropriate level. While conduction vaporisers have the advantage of heating up faster, they also have slightly less effective temperature control than convection vaporisers. This means that the contents of the vaporiser are less likely to be heated evenly, leading to either an inefficient dosing of the active ingredients. Additionally, they can be a bit harder to clean because of the buildup in residue.

Convection vaporisation

Convection vaporisation involves transferring heat through air. A convection vaporiser blows hot air around the chamber of the vaporiser. This makes contact with the cannabis and vaporises it. It functions in a similar way to an air fryer or a fan oven. Convection vaporisers tend to take longer to heat up. However, they are good at heating the cannabis evenly thanks to the continual flow of hot air. This may result in a more efficient extraction of vaporised cannabis compared to conduction heating.

Hybrid vaporisation

Hybrid vaporisation uses a combination of conduction and convection heating. By using both methods, hybrid vaporisers are able to pull the highest amount of cannabinoids and other compounds from the cannabis flower. However, it is worth noting that hybrid vaporisers tend to be more expensive than either conduction or convection vaporisers.

What are the types of cannabis vaporisers?

There are two main types of vaporisers available for medicinal cannabis products. These are dry herb, which heats dried cannabis flower, and extract, which heats extracts in cartridges. Both function in a relatively similar fashion, with some minor differences in the product they vaporise

Dry herb 

A dry herb vaporiser utilises a cannabis flower that has been sufficiently processed for use. It heats it to a temperature below the combustion point. As a result, terpenes and cannabinoids are released from the plant. The temperature itself influences how many terpenes and cannabinoids are released. When using dry herb vaporisers, the strain of the cannabis plant used determines the cannabinoid profile. Only dry herb vaporisers utilise convection, conduction or hybrid heating methods. 


Extract vaporisers utilise oils or resins extracted from the cannabis plant. A range of different extraction methods can be used to create these extracts. Extract vaporisers usually have a cartridge that has been pre-filled by the manufacturer with a given medicinal cannabis extract, which is typically THC or CBD-based. These cartridges are prescribed by healthcare professionals and then attached to batteries which serve to heat the extract. 

In general, extract cartridges are not heated in the same way as dry herb vaporisers. They only use conduction instead of convection or hybrid methods. Each extract cartridge, commonly referred to as a 510 cartridge will have a coil generally located at the bottom. The coil serves as the heating element, vaporising the extract when it comes in contact with it. 

It's also important to note that depending on the type of extract, different vaporisers or vaporiser temperatures should be used. As an example, a 510 vape cartridge may contain distillates, full spectrum or resins. Distillates are less viscous relative to resins, and thus require a lower temperature setting. Healthcare professionals should always provide any advice they can to patients about product administration. Supplementary information is typically available from the product’s manufacturer. 

Vaporisation as an administration method

Vaporisation is one of the most common methods of medicinal cannabis administration. However, its suitability to specific patients is determined by a number of factors at the sole discretion of healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals will generally take the onset of action, duration and ease of use into consideration when determining what administration method is suitable for a patient. Compared to oral administration, vaporisation provides a rapid onset of action, with the medicines effects being felt within minutes. On the other hand, duration of effects tends to be shorter when using vaporisers.

It is important to note that vaporisation may not be suitable for everyone. A healthcare professional will take into consideration health conditions, administration considerations and lifecycle factors when evaluating whether vaporisation is suitable for a specific patient. 

For example, an elderly patient who has limited dexterity will likely not be prescribed dried flower for vaporisation as this may be difficult to ensure consistent and reliable dosing. A healthcare professional will make sure to take all these factors into account when deciding which form of medical cannabis is most suitable .

The actual method of administering a medical cannabis product depends on the type of cannabis vaporiser being used. A patient should always refer to the instructions provided by their prescriber and refer to the device and product manufacturer's instructions when administering medicinal cannabis products via vaporisation. 

How can Kind Medical help?

Healthcare professionals can learn more about the nuance of medicinal cannabis administration methods by accessing the healthcare professionals portal. If you have any questions about our cannabis vaporiser products, contact us today.

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