Chemical difference between smoke and vapor?

sheepie

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What exactly are you inhaling in each case?

I'm wondering what the chemical differences are at the molecular level of smoke vs vapor.

For instance, say you smoke DMT through a bong. What you're inhaling is just high temperature DMT in the form of gas, right? I mean, how is that any different from vapor DMT? Aren't they both just DMT in a gaseous state?
 

sekio

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Smoke is a fine particulate consisting of liquid or vapour "suspended" in air, it is also used to refer to crude pyrolysis products as opposed to "purer" vapours obtained at lower temperatures (with less destruction and rearrangement of the compound and therefore less tar). In general, using direct flame is incredibly inefficient to "vapourize" DMT because it produces a wide mix of compounds suspended as a vapour and less pure DMT per volume of smoke as compared to vapourization over indirect heat.

Most pure gases that are colorless are only detectable from their different refractive indices (think what happens to hot air above a barbecue). When you boil a kettle and see steam coming off - that's water that's condensed out already, not gaseous steam.

This explains why e.g. bongs with ice in them work.
 

Pomzazed

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Vapor = Substance in GAS form, dispersing in the air.

Smoke = Particles + Soot + Ashes + Thermal decomposition products + some of the substance in gas phase.
 

23536

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I think a lot of the things we claim to "smoke" are actually boiled. Crack, for instance. The carbon deposits along the walls of the pipe come from the Chore, the propane and the adulterants (not sure what temperature sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate burn at)?
 

skillet

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Vapor = Substance in GAS form, dispersing in the air.
Technically you're right, but I agree with sekio and Nagelfar that when people refer to vapourising a drug, they're talking about generating an aerosol. Think about water, sure you can 'dissolve' some water vapour in air at temperatures below the boiling point, but it's not much. Now how much THC vapour do you think will dissolve in air at room temperature? And like sekio said, if it truly was a gas it would only be visible by the change in refractive index on contact with air.

But I guess dispersion in the air is what generates the aerosol, so by vapourising a relatively large amount of something in a small amount of air, you end up with an aerosol...

2353, yeah a lot of times when people say smoke they mean vapourise. Carbon probably comes from the soot in the lighter flame, I've never smoked with a crack-style pipe, but with a meth pipe if you don't touch the flame to the pipe, you get no soot. Sodium chloride boils at around 1400 degrees C, sodium bicarb turns into sodium carbonate then sodium oxide on heating.
 
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TheLeftIsRight

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Vapor is more healthy because it eliminates combustion carcinogens which are present with any chemical ignition, regardless of whether it's from pot or tobacco or a car fire... Albeit in varying quantities. Vapor is finer, with very sparse molecular content, while smoke is relatively dense.
 

Enix150

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This explains why e.g. bongs with ice in them work.
Wait, I am confused by this...
I think a lot of the things we claim to "smoke" are actually boiled. Crack, for instance. The carbon deposits along the walls of the pipe come from the Chore, the propane and the adulterants (not sure what temperature sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate burn at)?
I think it's safe to call it "smoking" whenever you are applying a direct flame, even if the substance appears to bubble and boil. The reason being that when something boils into a vapor there is usually a protective layer between it and the flame (as in a pot boiling water or a meth pipe vaporizing whatever you please). The protective layer prevents the pyrolysis caused by direct flame. When smoking, the goal may be to boil off most of the substance into vapor, but many of the (hash, cocaine, DMT, etc) molecules themselves are being destroyed and leaving behind a carbon residue behind, not only from the adulterants and butane, but from the actual substance being wasted.
 

negrogesic

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When the words 'bong' and 'DMT' are used in the same sentence, we need not delve into strict definitions that are, by context, less than relevant......
 

23536

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I think it's safe to call it "smoking" whenever you are applying a direct flame, even if the substance appears to bubble and boil. The reason being that when something boils into a vapor there is usually a protective layer between it and the flame (as in a pot boiling water or a meth pipe vaporizing whatever you please). The protective layer prevents the pyrolysis caused by direct flame. When smoking, the goal may be to boil off most of the substance into vapor, but many of the (hash, cocaine, DMT, etc) molecules themselves are being destroyed and leaving behind a carbon residue behind, not only from the adulterants and butane, but from the actual substance being wasted.
This got me thinking if there exists a device for the vaporization of cocaine. I think one of the pyrolysis products (an ecgonine fragment?) is psychoactive as well and alters the crack experience.
 
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