Thermal Extraction 101
Here at Ritual we aren't shy about our belief that thermal extraction (or dry herb vaporization) is the best way to consume legal flower. Thermal extraction refers to the process of passing heated air over ground herbal material in order to vaporize the active components without combusting the plant material. Through the elimination of combustion, thermal extraction is a healthier and more efficient form of consumption. This efficiency is due to the fact that combustion can destroy >50% of active compounds due to excessive temperatures. The residual odor from thermal extraction also pales in comparison to combustion making it a much more socially acceptable form of consumption.
Efficient extraction is the result of balancing multiple factors simultaneously. Each device is unique in their ability to control these factors. The primary variables impacting vaporization quality are;
- Size & Consistency of Herb Grind
- Density of Packed Herb
- Airflow Speed
Temperature refers both to the temperature of the "oven" surrounding your herbal material as well as the air passing through your herb. This is typically set and controlled directly from each device, but is also a factor of airflow speed as discussed below.
The size and consistency of your herbal grind determines how well the air can penetrate each bowl for maximum extraction. While grind size is typically a factor of personal preference, generally each bowl should feature consistent material to ensure that everything cooks at the same rate. At Ritual we prefer a small to medium grind for most devices.
While each device is unique, as a general statement herbal material should not be packed tightly which can restrict airflow and lead to over- and under-cooked areas. If the bowl of a device is attached to a tube (ex. DynaVap, Super Surfer) we recommend loading via the straw method. See our blog post for additional information on this method. Otherwise, we use a scoop to lightly pile our herbal material ensuring we don't tamp down too hard.
Finally, faster airflow cools more rapidly and also reduces the time that warm air is around the herbal material. Slower airflow ensures even heating of herbal material, but with some devices can cause combustion if airflow is too slow and temperature is too high. We recommend a smooth, even draw with all of our devices.