If you're a cannabis smoker concerned with any negative long-term effects on your health, you should give the idea of vaping your dried herb or concentrate some serious consideration. Vaping, or vaporizing, is a consumption technology that was developed out of the desire to administer inhaled cannabinoids while suppressing the irritating and toxic respiratory hazards found in smoke.

A vaporizer does this for you by heating cannabis to temperatures just warm enough to release bioactive cannabinoids in vapors (around 180-190°C), but cooler than its combustion point (near 230°C). This is significant as it is the ignition and destruction of matter that produces smoke, carcinogens, and other noxious byproducts that so many want to avoid. You also avoid exposure to harmful chemicals from the heat source used in combustion methods, like butane in lighters.

Research shows that vaping cannabis gives you the same physical and mental benefits as smoking it, whether you inhale for fun or medicinal purposes. For example, in 2006 researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands found the effects of using a vaporizer to be “comparable to the smoking of cannabis, while avoiding the respiratory disadvantages of smoking.” You will probably find, as many have, that vaping cannabis offers a more comfortable inhale and it typically produces less odor.

You may have heard how cannabis smokers are reporting fewer respiratory symptoms and easier breathing after taking up vaping, and science is starting to show just how much cleaner vapors are than the smoke we're used to. A study conducted by NORML and MAPS in 2004 concluded that vapors from a vaporizer were full of active cannabinoids and little else, while smoke from combusted matter contained more than 100 chemical compounds, many known to be toxic. It also found that only vaporizers reduced solid smoke tars and carbon monoxide levels when compared to bongs and pipes.

If vaping your cannabis sounds like something you're ready to try, there are many stationary and portable vaporizers available in a wide array of styles, depending on your tastes and needs. All are fairly simple to operate and consist of a heating source, heating chamber, and vapor delivery system catered to the consumption of either dry marijuana, concentrates, or both, via proper attachments.