For nearly the entirety of mankind’s long relationship with cannabis, smoking has been the only method of getting the desired cannabinoids out of the plant, into our lungs, and fast-tracked to our brains. And it’s also extremely effective.
But with the advent of vaping, smoking got a new bedfellow. It was no longer the default means for THC to gain instant access to our bloodstream.
But should smokers be worried? Is it being replaced? Should it be?
Which is healthier, smoking or vaping?
How Does Vaping Weed Differ from Smoking?
When you burn and smoke weed, you receive all the toxins created at combustion (the point of burning) along with tar. Smoking reduces the plant material to ash.
In comparison, when vaping, you’re not burning anything, as the temperature occurs at much lower degrees between 315°F and 428°F. You’re basically heating and turning it into vapour to be transferred into your lungs (just like smoking). Rather than burning, all of the cannabinoids and terpenoids we want are vaporized and then carried into our lungs.
But does that mean smoking weed is really dangerous for our health? Let’s explore that next.
Is Smoking Weed Dangerous For My Health?
There is some evidence that smoking cannabis can have some negative effects on the body, although the science is very new. According to one study, cannabis smoking may offer greater risk than tobacco smoking for causing lung cancer because cannabis smoke was found to contain double the amount of carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
The study reaches this conclusion that because weed smokers hold smoke much longer in their lungs than tobacco smokers, and don’t typical use filters, making it more likely to cause lung cancer.
Although this research has its flaws, as a study at UCLA done by Dr. Donald Tashkin found no increased risk of lung cancer, even in heavy smokers.
Despite public awareness that tobacco second-hand smoke is bad for your health, many people assume that marijuana second-hand smoke is not harmful. One study found that marijuana second-hand smoke can exert similar adverse cardiovascular effects to tobacco second-hand smoke.
However, other studies conclude that although cannabis smoke is known to contain similar harmful and carcinogenic substances to tobacco smoke, ‘relatively little is understood’ regarding the respiratory health effects from cannabis smoking at this point in time.
What about vaping weed instead of smoking it then?
Is Vaping Weed Healthier than Smoking It?
Smoking can do more damage to the respiratory system than vaping because of the combustion that occurs when smoking. While more study is needed, the current scientific agreement is that vaping weed is healthier than smoking it.
This is because vaping doesn’t burn your weed – instead, it uses a process called conduction heating where either the raw plant or plant extract has contact with a heat source without an open flame. It uses a lower temperature and it heats it up enough to create vapor and vaporize THC.
One study found that using vaporizers has the potential to prevent some of the respiratory health consequences associated with smoking and may serve as an effective harm reduction method.
This might be a good reason for even the most occasional cannabis user to consider the switch from smoking to vaping cannabis.
This makes vaping a better option for those needing to medicate with cannabis, and are mindful of protecting their respiratory health as well.
Not to mention vaping is discreet, and has a much better aroma and taste!
Customize Your Experience: Temperature Matters
Vaporizers, as mentioned, only heat up your cannabis at a temperature just below the combustion point, which means the vapor produced is comprised of mostly cannabinoids, mostly carcinogen free.
But there’s another advantage to vaping over smoking. Vaping offers a more customizable vape session. Not only do you get a purer experience when you vaporize your weed, but you also have the option of temperature control with some vaporizers.
You might be not have thought about it much, but temperature does matter when it comes to your vape sessions. Having control over the temperature means you can control over which cannabinoids are released in a given session.
Each compound vaporizes at a certain temperature. So, temperature preference may even change depending on the specific strain or concentrates you’re vaping in that session, and you can’t have that level of control when smoking.
For example, a strain that’s high in CBD needs to be heated to the compound’s boiling point of 356°F to feel its full effects. THC vaporizes at 315℉, so you can set your vape temperature fairly low.
You just can’t do that with smoking weed.
Vaping Is The Clear Winner!
Vaporizing does not carry many of the risks associated with smoke inhalation. In comparison, smoking may irritate your lungs since burning cannabis produces carcinogens and may lead to you inhaling soot and exacerbate lung irritation.
So, now that you know, it’s time to decide if you want to make the switch to vaping!