Did you know that using an herbal grinder can greatly improve your vaporizing experience? Herbal grinders are an accessory that most people have a preconception about. Many people think they are unnecessary, but the truth is that using an herbal grinder to break up your material before vaporizing can make a world of difference. These handy time-savers are good for more than just making life a little easier. In terms of vaporizing, grinding up your material exposes the maximum surface area possible for the hot air to pass through, producing a potent and consistent vapor stream.
Many people don’t think twice about using a grinder and use scissors or their fingers to break up their material. It is a rarely known fact that the oils found on your fingers cause damage to the active ingredients (crystals) found on your aromatherapy herbs thus making them less potent and producing less vapor. Additionally, when your material is not finely ground up and still somewhat chunky, the material has a smaller surface area leaving the inner texture unexposed and unvaporized.
If you’ve been using your fingers or crude tools to break apart your material, it is time to consider a high-quality grinder. For those who still smoke their herb material, grinders work great for rolling cigarettes as well. Finely ground material lets the cigarette burn evenly by allowing consistent air flow. It also makes rolling your own cigarettes much easier by eliminating the chunks that create lumps, ripped papers, and block airflow.
Before grinding, it is best to remove any stems or seeds from your material. Smaller sticks that are shorter than an inch and relatively thin are okay and should not create a “grinder jam.” It is best to cut the material you want to grind into small chunks so that the lid on the grinder can be applied. If the material can fit between the teeth of the grinder that is usually small enough. Large nuggets prevent the lid from closing and make it more difficult when trying to initially twist the grinder. You should not press down to close the lid. More final tips to consider when using a grinder: a) if the material is too hard to cut, it’s too hard to grind; b) only dry material should be used in a grinder. Damp material is very hard to grind and often clings to the teeth, causing a sticky mess.
TYPES OF GRINDERS
There are two main types of grinders available—the standard 2-piece grinder and the multi-piece pollinator grinder. Standard 2-piece grinders are composed of a top and bottom piece, each containing several teeth that break the material down. These two pieces are twisted in opposite directions tearing your material in a uniform mixture. The longer you twist the grinder the finer the mixture will become.
The second type of grinder is often referred to as a pollinator grinder, which usually consists of four pieces. It similarly contains two pieces with teeth, but the bottom-toothed piece is specially designed with small holes allowing the material to fall through onto a fine mesh screen below. These holes take out the guess work when grinding by allowing the material to drop through the holes once it has reached the correct size to ensure the material has the perfect consistency every time. The grinder can then be unscrewed in the middle to expose the ground-up material resting on the mesh screen. The term “pollinator” comes from the two additional pieces; one containing a fine mesh screen and another below the screen which is used as a collection tray. The small collection tray below the screen is used to catch the pollen that falls off your material while grinding. This pollen usually contains high amounts of active ingredients and can be sprinkled on aromatherapy herbs to give them an extra kick. It can also be pressed together using specialized techniques to form other potent consumable goods. When breaking up material without a grinder, these precious crystals are usually lost because they stick to your fingers, tables, scissors, etc.
Aside from the two types of grinders, there are still many different versions of these two models. Most grinders come equipped with a magnetic lid to ensure the pieces don’t come apart easily; this is a worthwhile feature that is often overlooked. Additionally, some grinders try to distinguish their usage by incorporating special features such as a stash container for storage, double screen filters to create two grades of pollen, or clear lids so you can see your material being ground up. However, the most important factor is the material used to construct the grinder. While a standard acrylic or wooden grinder can do the job, many enthusiasts suggest that a more durable and precise aluminum version is worth the coin to anyone who vaporizes or rolls cigarettes regularly. Grinders are fairly inexpensive and can range from $5 for a simple acrylic grinder to $50+ for a top-of-the-line grinder. They also vary in diameter size and commonly range from 1 to 4 inches, but much larger versions are also available.
CLEANING THE GRINDER
After the grinder has been used for a period of time, it will form a residual build up from the sticky pollen which may cause it to work less effectively. Herb material will start adhering to the teeth and side of the grinding chamber making it harder to twist. To clean the grinder, you must first take the unit apart and remove any left over material. Use a glass container and fill it with enough rubbing alcohol to cover the parts. We recommend that you do not use plastic or PVC containers for this. Plastic and PVC have been known to leak toxic chemicals when mixed with rubbing alcohol. Glass is most likely your best option. Soak the parts in the alcohol for 5-10 minutes. You can use a cotton swab to scrub away any stubborn residue spots. If you have a pollinator grinder, you can use a toothbrush to gently scrub the screen clean. A clean screen allows for the pollen to fall into the collection tray more easily.
Check back next month when we will tell you how to turn all those grinder remnants into a potent product you can vaporize. Now it’s time to grind! Happy Vaporizing!
Sources used: www.a1b2c3.com