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Is Vaping Cannabis Safer Than Smoking?

The topic of whether vaping is safer than smoking cannabis has more questions than answers. Depending on whom you ask, the answers will vary widely. Experienced users tend to prefer smoking cannabis in deep breaths compared to vaping. But is this the healthier way of consuming cannabis?

More people prefer vaping to smoking.

It’s all in the numbers. Researchers tend to think that vaping is safer than smoking. Although there is scant information regarding this topic in research, studies show that smoking has been on a declining trend in the last five years. WebMD states that the massive adoption of vaporizers has led to the rapid decline in adult smoking over the last two decades.

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of heating cannabis without combustion. Since there is no burning, the heat is designed to produce the ingredients (e.g. THC and CBD) needed and present them to the user in the form of a mist (vapor) through the use of a vaporizer.

Smoking entails actual combustion of cannabis to activate the ingredients. This is the most common method of consuming cannabis.

Is vaping safer than smoking?

A typical cannabis user looks to consume the active ingredients that are present in the plant. How one gets them into their body is what defines their safety levels. According to this study, vaping is becoming increasingly more popular than smoking cannabis as people think it is safer.

Novice users prefer to vape because they have not become accustomed to taking deep breaths required when smoking. When vaping, one is able to control their intake through short, steady puffs.

Smokers argue that no matter how one prefers their sesh, the effect is the same and avoiding toxins such as tar, ammonia and carcinogens is tough either way. Researchers tend to disagree with this argument. Most vaporizers are designed to allow for inhalation without releasing toxins. Smoking causes respiratory issues and could be problematic to people seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes. The smoke can also be irritating to the lungs. Despite this, combusting marijuana is still the most common method of consuming cannabis.

Medical marijuana patients who seek rapid relief find that vaporizers are more effective and more efficient. By bringing out the active ingredients of cannabis without any combustion or smoke, vaporizers allow the user to get the kind of high they want fast, and in a cleaner and healthier way. Healthier in the sense that when vaping, the toxins from the plant are not transferred into the body, as opposed to what happens when one is smoking cannabis.

Does smoking cannabis really cause respiratory problems?

Research on this issue is inconclusive. There is no definitive proof to show that smoking cannabis causes respiratory problems or diseases like lung cancer. However, smoking cannabis has been linked to irritations on the mouth, throat and lungs. For novices, this could be an extremely uncomfortable experience. This irritation is caused by the burning of tar and other by-products at high temperature and then inhaling the same directly into your body.

Benefits of vaping

Most people who were engaged in this study to identify the benefits of vaping stated that one of the major benefits is its ‘discreetness’. Vaping does not have a tell-tale smoke smell and tastes better, thanks to the great flavors released by the vaporizer. Cannabis strains get their flavors from molecules called terpenes. These flavors manifest themselves according to the amount of heat the plant is subjected to.

When looking at the effect of the same amount of cannabis vaped versus smoked, vaping had a higher effect. Vaping also produced a better form of high than smoking cannabis. This is probably due to the fact that vaporizers do not introduce as many toxins into the body compared to smoking.

Medical patients who may have respiratory problems find much relief in vaping compared to smoking marijuana.

Vaping is also more efficient. According to Martha Montemayor, who addressed the issue during the 2017 Cannabis Health Summit, when one combusts cannabis, they immediately waste about 50 percent of the cannabinoids that are responsible for helping the body maintain health and stability. 

Vaporizers do not waste cannabinoids because they do not combust.

Does temperature matter in a vaporizer?

Temperature matters a great deal in a vaporizer. If you heat too much, there is a possibility of combusting the plant and this is not the ideal way of consuming cannabis. If the temperature is too low, then the active ingredients might not be completely activated.

What, then, is the best temperature for vaporizers? According to this study, vapers should heat cannabis up to 365°F (185°C). Beyond this level (say above 229°C), combustion is more likely to occur. The average vaporization temperature range is 330 to 370°F (165-187°C).

Disadvantages of vaping

Documented disadvantages of vaping include the inconvenience of setting up the device for use and cleaning it after use. In some instances, portable vaporizers are perceived to be expensive to some people, particularly those who do not vape regularly.

Buying a vaporizer? Here’s what you should look for

Buying a vaporizer could save you money and time in the long run. Finding a good one is the trick. The market is flooded with many shoddy products. If you are seeking to buy one, you should look out for one that satisfies the following points:

Easy to use gadget – You are not buying a rocket, so you will want a gadget that is easy to use, with simple instructions so that you can start vaping like a pro in no time.

Easy maintenance – Look for a vaporizer that has a cleaning kit included and one that is easy to maintain.

Long lasting – Vaporizers that offer 5-8 cycles of continuous usage are the best because you will stop worrying about constant recharges.

Portability – Look for something that is lightweight and easy to carry around.

Customizable temperatures – Temperature is a crucial element in a vaporizer. Find one that is adjustable to get the best out of your vaping sesh.

Fast heating time – You do not want to wait for 5 minutes or longer for your vaporizer to heat up. Look for something that guarantees fast heating to get you vaping almost instantly.

Join a community – You probably don’t know but you might be living close to a community of vapers. Reach out, engage and learn more. The best way to do so is through a vape shop. You can search vape shops near you and link up with others.

Warranty guarantee – Vaporizers might seem expensive to a casual consumer but in the long run, they actually save you money. However, always look for ones with a warranty to avoid cheap knockoffs that won’t last.

Final Thoughts

Vaping is definitely safer than smoking from both recreational and medical angles. The development in technology, coupled with the increased acceptability of marijuana around the globe will see more people turn to vaping as opposed to smoking.

Smoking in the traditional sense is still popular but it is quickly being phased out. It’s time to bring some cheesiness into the industry by embracing technology. Let us know what your thoughts on this topic are and what you prefer most; vaping or smoking.

Banner Image: Andrew Burton / GettyImages


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