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Learn | 11.07.2023

Vaping Vs Smoking Weed: Which Is Safer?

Looking to make the switch from smoking to vaping? Here's why it's a good idea.

Vaporizing cannabis has become an increasingly popular consumption method. Cannabis consumers of every status are forgoing joints and bongs for the convenience, benefits, and cutting-edge technology of vaporizers.

Still, the age-old question remains, is vaping weed better than smoking it? By better, we mean is vaping actually healthier than smoking weed, and is the vape high similar to the high from smoking?

In this guide, we’ll discuss why cannabis consumers are starting to choose vaporizers to enjoy their favorite strains. Read on to learn more about why vaping is better than smoking and the benefits vaporizers can bring to your sessions.

What Is Vaping? A Brief History

Photo By Ruslan Alekso

Vaping (or vaporization) is the process of heating cannabis without complete combustion. This means that cannabis is heated to the point where the active cannabinoids and terpenes are released without the actual herb igniting.

The first cannabis vaporizer was conceptualized by “Eagle” Bill Amato in the 1990s. His design was simple; two tubes that fed into a glass globe. Amato’s prototype worked by pushing heated air through a tube filled with cannabis into a glass chamber. Bill was the first person on the planet to inhale cannabinoids without burning cannabis.

In 1996, German Designer Markus Storz brought vaporizers to the masses when he created the Volcano, a desktop vaporizer that has effectively become a standard of quality. Check out our review of this classic device here.

Vaporizers Vs. Vape Pens Vs. Vape Cartridges

Vape Pen

Photo by Maria Badasian via Unsplash

If you have ever stepped foot inside a dispensary, you know that vape pens are an emerging consumption method on the legal cannabis market.

However, it’s important to understand that there are some key differences between vape pens and vaporizers. Vaporizers are designed to allow consumers the ability to adjust temperatures and customize their experience by allowing multiple strains to be used in the same device on different occasions. Many vaporizers even allow consumers the ability to enjoy both dry herbs and concentrates using the same device, like the PAX Plus.

On the other hand, vape pens like disposables and vape cartridges come pre-filled with distillate and cannabis concentrates. While vaporizers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, disposables and vape cartridges with batteries get their name from their uniform design similar to the shape of a pen.

Vape cartridges are filled with oil or distillate and contain set amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes. Disposable vape pens are also pre-filled with the same substances, but the entire device can be thrown out when it’s done. While vape cartridges and disposables do often come in a range of strains, they limit cannabis consumers from receiving the benefits of whole-plant cannabis known as the entourage effect. Furthermore, vape cartridges and disposables can contain cutting agents similar to those used in e-cigarettes such as vegetable glycerin.

The Benefits Of Vaporization: Lower Carcinogens

Cannabis is best used in a Vape

Photo via Unsplash

Smoking can irritate the mouth, lungs and throat. Furthermore, many medical cannabis patients avoid smoke inhalation completely to reduce the risk of consuming potentially harmful compounds.  

While scientists have not proven that consuming cannabis leads to severe respiratory illnesses like cancer, there is increasing concern about inhaling the byproducts of smoking like tar and carcinogens. Using several cannabis samples from NIDA, a scientific study showed that hundreds of compounds are released when cannabis is burned.

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can offer a variety of wellness benefits including reducing inflammation, pain relief, and anxiety. However, the inhalation of smoke can produce undesirable or uncomfortable effects for those prone to respiratory issues.

Traditionally, this has put consumers in a precarious position. Inhaling cannabis delivers the fastest onset of relief, but smoking also subjects consumers to toxins that can create lung problems. However, recent innovations in vaporizers have solved this issue. Studies have shown that vaporizing cannabis resulted in significantly less respiratory effects.

This is because vaporizing heats cannabis to the point where consumers can enjoy the benefits of cannabinoids without the toxins or the high levels of carbon monoxide that smoke produces.

Low Temperatures & Increased Cannabinoid Efficiency

Photo By Oka Bemby

When cannabis is burned, a significant amount of cannabinoids are destroyed in the process. This means when cannabis consumers light a joint, they are effectively watching the amazing strains they have invested in dissipate into the air.

Rather than combusting cannabis completely, vaporization works by using low temperatures to release rich cannabis resins. This ensures that cannabinoids are preserved during consumption and that the maximum amount of THC and CBD are absorbed. The increased cannabinoid efficiency of vaporizers results in stronger effects with less cannabis. This effectively means that in proper dosages, vaporizers can save cannabis consumers money in the long run.

What Is The Best Temperature For Cannabis Vaporizers?

Vaporizer by Planet of the Vape

The vast majority of vaporizers on the market have customizable temperature settings that allow consumers to adjust the quality of their vapor. While vaporizer temperature is largely a choice of personal taste, the temperature can have effects on:

  • Flavor
  • Vapor density
  • Cannabinoid efficiency

So, what is the best temperature? A study on vaporization temperature found that 200°C and 230°C (392°F – 446°F) resulted in the greatest cannabinoid efficiency and the least amount of byproducts being released.

Increased Flavor

One of the greatest things about inhaling cannabis is the intense variety of flavors and aromas that differ from strain to strain. Some strains have the wonderful taste of tropical fruit. Others have aromas that are spicy and earthy. Cannabis strains get their unique aroma and flavor profiles from compounds found in the resin glands of cannabis plants known as terpenes.  

While smoking can actually dull taste buds over time, vaporization allows cannabis consumers to access the full potential of terpenes. A study found that when compared to smoking, vaporizers resulted in better flavor experiences. Terpenes have varying boiling points, so vaporizers allow you to customize your experience and access a diverse set of flavors and scents.

Final Thoughts

There’s a long list of benefits that come with making the switch from smoking to vaping. One of them, and perhaps the most important benefit, is the reduced inhalation of toxins, resin, and tar that can cause lung and throat infections and major irritation.

Another clear benefit is cannabinoid efficiency, meaning cannabinoids will be absorbed better and produce more desirable effects when vaping rather than smoking. Plus, inhaling butane frequently isn’t good for lung health. It also masks the flavor of your herb.

Vaping cannabis has become one of the most preferred consumption methods, especially for connoisseurs looking to experience the intended flavors and aromas of their favorite strain. Next time you’re thinking about switching up your routine, a vaporizer might be your best bet.

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