Wondering what the benefits are of vaping versus smoking weed? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll dive into the details to compare the process of vaporizing and smoking marijuana. If you’ve been smoking for a long time and are curious about vaporizers, is it time to make the switch? Read on and find out the best option for you.
Which is Safer?
When comparing smoking vs vaporizing, there are many reasons someone might choose one method over the other. It could be the taste, the flavor, the efficiency, – a lot of reasons. But the common reason for choosing a certain inhalation method is the health concerns associated with each. As we examine each method below, we’ll try to determine which method is ultimately safer for our body and mind.
Effects of Smoking
I think we can all agree that smoking is dangerous. We’ve learned this much from decades of research and studies performed by doctors all around the world. And most of us can probably visualize that image of a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung – a horrific sight indeed. But what exactly does it do to our bodies and how much smoke does it take to cause harm? We’ll try to answer some of those questions.
To fully understand how smoking weed can negatively affect the body, we need to first gain a better understanding of how smoking works. When any material is heated to an extreme temperature, it reaches the point of “combustion”, where it produces dangerous toxins, irritants, and carcinogens (1). With marijuana, the point of combustion is typically around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. These dangerous toxins are then inhaled directly (smoking) or through secondhand smoke (around someone smoking).
Potential Lung Issues
The first and most obvious effect of smoking is the negative impact it has on our lungs, which help carry the oxygen we breathe into our red blood cells. The red blood cells then carry oxygen to more cells found in other parts of the body. Then, as we breathe out, the lungs help release carbon dioxide back into the air (2). But how is this process affected by smoking?
Mucus – Yuck!
When smoke enters the lungs (as you breathe in the combusted material), the various cells that produce mucus grow larger and increase in quantity. This also results in a thicker mucus, which your lungs cannot clean out and thereby clogs your airways. Hence, why we cough. Additionally, the extra mucus can build up over time and cause infection, which, if not treated within a reasonable timeframe, can become very dangerous.
Smoking can also destroy the tissue within your lungs, decreasing the number of air spaces and blood vessels. This results in less oxygen to very important parts of the body. Cilia, which are broom-like hairs that aid in keeping your lungs clean, are also depleted when smoke enters the lungs (2).
Smoke on your Mind?
Yes, it’s true. Smoking has a detrimental effect on your brain and increases your chances of having a stroke by nearly 50%, according to recent studies. The tar that’s created by smoke contains many harmful properties that thicken your bloodstream and lead to blood clots, increased blood pressure, and a rapid heart rate. Your arteries also become thinner and reduce the amount of healthy oxygen it can transfer to other vital organs in your body. Though the jury is still out on the exact relation between marijuana and increased risk of stroke (3), it is research worth keeping an eye on.
Might Affect Oral Hygiene & Skin
Your oral hygiene can be impacted by smoke as it enters your mouth and creates tiny bits of tar within the crevices of your teeth. This eventually leads to discoloration (yellowing teeth) and potential tooth decay. And since the amount of oxygen your body receives is now reduced, your skin can age approx. 10-20 years faster than a non-smoker, including facial wrinkling around your eyes and mouth. Yikes!
Smokers Who Switch to Vaping
Long-time cannabis smokers looking for an alternative with quick effects that edibles don’t always provide should consider vaporizing. Removing combustion from the equation might be a healthier alternative than smoking. The best temperature range for vaporizing weed is relatively low, meaning less lung irritation from carcinogens, which helps cilia production. Now, the potential health factors are one aspect, but how does vaporizing make you feel? What’s the effect like compared to smoking? There are many benefits of vaping vs smoking when it comes to the effects.
Effects of Vaping
Though it is exploding in popularity, vaping is still a relatively new concept. As a result, research is still needed to determine the risks and rewards associated with it. Evolving laws reforming cannabis may ease restrictions (4) and allow for analysis of its properties. However, early first-hand accounts of frequent vaporizer use point to the following benefits.
Might Be Less Harmful
As mentioned, herbal vaporization occurs at a far lower temperature than combustion and, in most cases, uses an open flame as the heat source. Look for a vaporizer with precise temp control so you can set it to a specific degree. Think of it like using an electric heater versus sitting around a campfire. You enjoy all the benefits from the heat while making it easier on your lungs in the process.
Vaping Conserves Your Herb
When you apply flame to a bowl of cannabis, once it has burned up, it’s gone. Vaping requires less material and heats it over time, so you tend to use less, and overall, the herb goes further. Some will argue that the high price of a vaporizer could be better spent on cannabis. Just think about how much you could buy with the $300+ that some vapes cost! But when compared side by side with a vaporizer, consider how much material goes into a joint and then how quickly it burns up. Purchasing an herbal vape is an investment in your health and your wealth.
You Can Really Taste the Flavor
If you’re a cannabis connoisseur, then you likely put a lot of consideration into your herb selection and care about maximizing the taste. Honestly though, who wouldn’t want the best flavor every time they partake? There are some really tasty cannabis strains available these days!
As has been stated throughout this article, there is no combustion when using a vaporizer, meaning the flower never actually burns. Instead, you slowly extract all of the essence and active ingredients. This allows for more control over the experience to dial in the specific “high” that you want to achieve. For those who really want to get the most out of their material, you can start on a lower temperature setting and heat up over a longer period. This provides a wide range of flavor and effects, whereas smoking happens at once.
Vaping is a More Discreet Option
Vaping is a bit different than smoking, which can produce thick smelly clouds that linger in the air. The scent produced by vaporizers tends to be more of an herbal fragrance than a pungent odor. This aspect paired with you not needing an open flame, vaping tends to be a more discreet option and convenient for on-the-go use.
Conclusion on the Benefits of Vaping vs Smoking
There is no hard evidence either way (at this time), but it seems that vaping is a “better” route than smoking for these reasons:
- Removing combustion may reduce the risk of potential lung issues
- Using a vaporizer can conserve your cannabis
- Vaping allows you to really taste the herb
- It is a more discreet option than smoking
At the end of the day, deciding which benefits of vaping vs smoking relate to you is a personal preference. But for those seeking a more health-conscious option, using a vaporizer could be a more appealing option to consume cannabis. Although we can’t say that vaporizing is necessarily “safe”, we can ultimately ascertain that it’s considerably “safer” than smoking.
Ready to make the switch to vaping?