With the rise of vaping, and persistent concerns that smoking marijuana is unhealthy, more and more cannabis consumers are changing the way they enjoy a puff. But does that mean the joint will one day become extinct? We asked a panel of experts to weigh in on whether or not vaping will ever replace smoking marijuana.
'At the end of the day, the vape pen wins out'
“Nothing will ever replace smoking bud, because there will always be that nostalgia associated with smoking a doob, blunt, spliff, bong, bowl, etc," said Stephen Gold - Co-Founder of The Daily Leaf. "That being said, as far as market share and what the consumer would purchase, I believe at the end of the day the vape pen wins out. Smoking a vape pen is sexier. It’s 1000% more discreet. It has the ability to offer additional flavors and scents, and overall would appeal to a larger crowd. Personally speaking, I will never put down the dutch!”
Steven Gold (left) with Andy Yashar
'Nothing will ever replace the nostalgic feeling' of smoking
“I believe nothing will ever replace the nostalgic feeling you get when rolling a joint or the ceremonial passing around of your favorite glass piece with your friends, but as the world becomes more digital and “on the go,” vaping is a likely substitute due to its discretion and ease of use," said Chrissy Hadar - Founder and VP of Oregrown. "Will people stop smoking flower? No. Will they also vape? Yes.”
'The act of smoking bud is deeply rooted in the culture'
“Vape pens are insanely popular and growing because they are convenient, discreet and (the good ones) present a full terpene profile," Sam Campbell - Director of Marketing for MJ Arsenal - told Civilized. "For a lot of people, the experience just isn’t the same, though. The act of smoking bud is very deeply rooted in the culture of sharing cannabis and will likely always exist.”
'There will always be people that view smoking flower as the "pure" way to consume cannabis'
“Vape pens are eating away at smoking's long cannabis dominance, and that trend is likely to continue," said Mason Walker - CEO of East Fork Cultivars. "The fact is, grinding up an herb and smoking with rolling papers or a pipe is a tedious process that many people have no interest in. There will always be people that view smoking flower as the 'pure' way to consume cannabis, but the convenience of vape pens is difficult to argue.”
'I just don't think raw flower will ever be replaced'
“The world of concentrates is indeed amazing. Due to the growing legal markets, there’s tons of innovation and it seems like there are new methods and improved results every few months," said Goldleaf Founder Charles McElroy. "Although vape pens can only utilize a small portion of the available concentrates on the market, the medical and recreational potential is pretty incredible. A concentrate, if done correctly, has the ability to deliver cannabinoids and terpenes with a ‘laser focus’-- something very attractive to medical users and prescribing doctors. I can see a world where these concentrates can be potent ways to deliver only the chemical cocktail that is right for a certain patient-- with none of the other components that might deliver undesired effects. We’re not quite there, but that is the trend.
"That said, I just don’t think raw flower will ever be replaced. It is portable, inexpensive in comparison, approachable, and offers the same benefits as a craft beer: character (from the plant AND the grower). If science is helping to further the world of concentrates, it is also helping to further the work of botanists when it comes to plant genetics. Rather than making a concentrate that is a perfect chemical match to treat a certain condition, growers are working on the same problems, but doing so via biology and cultivation methods, which are certainly more sustainable. All that to say, the potential for each is inspiring, but I don’t see ‘bud’ ever going to the wayside. In the end, it is an amazing plant that ANYONE can grow with little skill. The economics of that alone will keep it relevant.”
'Vape pens are the quick-and-dirty version of cannabis'
“Vape pens will never replace smoking bud. To me, vape pens are the quick-and-dirty version of cannabis and while they will always have their place, one loses a lot of the cannabis experience with vape pens," said Danny Sloat - Founder of AlpinStash. "I like to use the world of liquor as an analogy for the cannabis world. I liken vape pens and other extracts as distilled liquor and flower as beer and wine. While most people enjoy a wide variety of liquors, beer and wine will always have a strong following.”
'We're still flower-strong'
“I don't believe flower will ever be replaced, the same way tobacco will ever be replaced by e-cigs, so we're still flower-strong," Zane Witzel - CEO of Cannador - told Civilized. "I think the ratio of flower to other products will slightly diminish, but it's just too much fun to do. I'm talking about the whole ritual of it, smelling it, holding it in your hand, rolling it up, loading it, it's something you don't get with a vape pen that, in my opinion, loses its authenticity.”
'I don't think vape pens will ever fully replace flower'
“I don’t think any product will ever fully replace cannabis flower," said cannabis educator and consultant Emma Chasen. "Cannabis flower has the full range of secondary compounds present within its matrix. Therefore, going by the Entourage Effect, cannabis flower is one of the more medicinal products on the market. Yes, there is the issue of smoking producing carcinogens that are undoubtedly bad for you. However, cannabis flower can be vaporized as well which would eliminate many of the harmful byproducts of combustion while preserving the large medicinal potential of the full range of secondary compounds.
"Vape pens are great because they are discreet and offer cannabis consumers options. However, vape pens are filled with oil that does not have the full range of secondary compounds. Furthermore, much of that oil is cut with propylene glycol which can be very harmful when heated and inhaled. Therefore, sourcing of product is again incredibly important to ensure a positive experience. Vape pens are relatively new to the market, so they are the hot new thing everyone wants to try. Plus, they are discreet, easy to use and easy to dose. I think they will remain popular, however I don’t think they will ever fully replace flower.”