Vaping vs. Smoking: What’s The Difference?

Vaping vs. Smoking: What’s The Difference?vaping vs. smoking cannabis

The use of cannabis vaporizers is on the rise, especially among young adults. Still, there are concerns about whether these products are safe in the long term. In 2019, the FDA warned against vape products citing evidence that they could potentially contain harmful ingredients. 

Despite this, vaporizers are still one of the most popular cannabis consumption methods. In a study involving 364 adults, 53% reported a preference for vaping. Furthermore, among this group, 80% believed that it was healthier than smoking flower from a pipe or bong. 

So, what is the truth? Is one healthier than the other? 

Here’s what science has to say about vaping vs. smoking:

What is vaping?

One of the biggest arguments for vaping being healthier is that it’s smoother on the lungs. This is because vaporizers, unlike smoking, do not burn anything. Instead, they heat substances until they’re hot enough to create an aerosol but not hot enough that they combust. Because of this, the aerosol is cooler, providing a smoother effect on the lungs. 

The Pros of Vaping:

Users boast that this method is convenient and more affordable, among a long list of other things. Some pros include:  

  • Less smell: Compared to flower, vaporizers are much more discreet when it comes to odor. 
  • User-friendly: Vapes are less messy and require fewer steps to use. 
  • Wastes less product: Because of their potency, vapes require less cannabis to achieve the same desired effects.
  • More affordable: While smoking flower and carts both require equipment, cannabis concentrates tend to last much longer than flower.  
  • Easily accessible: While smoking cannabis in public is technically illegal, vaporizers can help you discreetly get in a dose without drawing attention to yourself. 
  • Gets you higher: A recent John Hopkins study showed that vaporizing cannabis “produced significantly greater subjective drug effects, cognitive, psychomotor impairment, and higher blood THC concentrations than the same doses of smoked cannabis.”
  • Cleaner hit: Because the cannabis does not combust, the vapor contains fewer toxins. However, this is only true if the THC product is not contaminated with anything harmful. The CDC warned that illicit cannabis products are likely to contain toxins, so always be sure to buy from a licensed dispensary.  

Cons of vapes:

While vaping may seem like a healthier alternative to smoking, it is not entirely harmless. In early 2019, there was a surge of admitted hospital patients with severe respiratory illness. After investigating, researchers found that 80% of these cases were linked to THC-infused vaping products. From there, the condition was named EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury. According to the CDC, nearly 3,000 cases were reported as of February 2020. 

EVALI is believed to be caused by a vitamin E acetate additive used in some illegal THC products. Scientists also found pesticides, opioids, and heavy metals in them. To avoid poisoned carts, it is always best to go to a fully licensed and state-compliant cannabis dispensary. All products through licensed Nevada dispensaries undergo rigorous laboratory testing to ensure they are free of harmful cutting agents, such as vitamin E acetate. At Green, we are committed to product satisfaction and have a vast menu of clean-certified concentrates. 

What is smoking?

THC has a combustion point of around 356 to 374 degrees Fahrenheit. When you smoke cannabis, the temperature can reach well beyond that, heating to upward of 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Like vaping, smoking can use flower or concentrates. 

Pros of smoking:

  • Full-flavor profile: Smoking flower means you get the full plant experience – no added back terpenes or isolated chemical compounds.
  • Product selection:  Straight flower has the most comprehensive selection among cannabis products. This can be useful if you like to explore a variety of strains or are looking for a particular experience.
  • Bong filters: Some bongs have accessories that further purify, cleanse, and cool the smoke before inhalation. This can create a smoother effect on the lungs, as well as filter out any unwanted particulates. 

Cons of smoking: 

Like vaping, smoking flower with contaminants on them can be potentially harmful. Things like pathogens, spores, and mildew can lower a user’s immune system. Thankfully, most cultivators go through rigorous testing to ensure no mold or other pathogens are in your products. As mentioned, it’s always best to go to an accredited dispensary to guarantee the highest quality of products. 

The bottom line: vaping vs. smoking?

In the end, do what works for you. Like most aspects of cannabis (or life in general), some trial and error is required to figure out what works best for your needs. Fortunately, since the legalization of recreational marijuana, the cannabis industry has been moving towards safer and cleaner processes each year. New methods are being developed so enthusiasts can enjoy the benefits of cannabis, without having to worry about any potential negative health effects.

If neither smoking nor vaping sounds like something you’d enjoy, there’s plenty of other options to enjoy marijuana. Check out our full menu for tinctures, edibles, topicals, and more. 

Have any additional questions? We’re happy to help. Contact us online or visit us in-store to speak with one of our awesome budtenders.