Vaping vs Smoking Weed: Differences, Benefits, Effects & Safety Tips

Introduction: Vaping vs Smoking

If you’ve come across this article, you’re looking to understand the major differences between vaping vs. smoking. Let me tell you, you’ve come to the right place.

In only the past few years, vaping vs smoking weed has become a rising and debatable topic between new smokers and connoisseurs. More traditional smokers often go with what they know and understand, such as a joint, a bong rip, or a bowl. While many love the ease of vaping because of it being discreet, not having such a loud smell and there seems to be a new vape product released every week.

So what is the real difference between vaping and smoking? Is there one better for you, what are the benefits, the cons, and do you really have to choose one or the other?

It’s time to answer all your questions about how vaping and smoking differ in regards to safety, consumption, health effects, the high and even the quality of the product.

Differences Between Smoking & Vaping Marijuana

Even though there a number of extremely high-THC strains and flower options available on the market in modern times, vaping has been notorious for providing a bigger punch than smoking dry flower.

Does Vaping Weed Get You Higher?

A recent study released by John Hopkins has shown that vaporizing cannabis does in fact provide a more intense high compared to smoking flower of the same dose. In short, this means if you are going to vape a cannabis concentrate you should be aware of the amount you intake, especially if you’re a first time user.

This extensive study was led by scientists at the John Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit in Baltimore. They brought in 17 participants and tested the effects of smoking marijuana versus vaping marijuana. All of the volunteers smoked cannabis before but were instructed to not smoke for the 30 days prior to the start of the test. The participants then consumed marijuana six different times during 8.5-hour sessions.

During the study, each of the subjects were told to smoke and vape different cannabis products containing 5mg, 10mg, or 25mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (better known as THC), but they had no idea how much they were inhaling at any given time in order to prevent any bias while filling out drug impairment questionnaires.

Participants had their heart rates measured, blood drawn and blood pressure rates checked at different times of the day throughout their smoke fest.

The test results proved that inhaling 25mg dose of THC, regardless of the way it was consumed, will in fact get you extremely high. In fact, several people in the study either smoked or “tripped” after consuming this dosage, which is understandable after not smoking for over 30 days.

Both smokers and vapers of this dosage, experienced bloodshot dry eyes, pounding heart rate, paranoia, and an increased appetite. These effects peaked within the first hour of smoking but were shown to last for up to eight hours or longer.

The most profound discovery from this study was that the effects of vaping proved to be much more intense and potent at every dose. According to this research, as published in the JAMA Network Open, “vaporized cannabis produced significantly greater subjective drug effects, cognitive, psychomotor impairment, and higher blood THC concentrations than the same doses of smoked cannabis”.

The results proved that the volunteers who vaped cannabis made twice the amount of mistakes on all of the cognitive tests and they reported that they felt significantly higher with negative effects of being way high and paranoid compared to inhaling cannabis flowers.

Smoking vs Vaping Weed Effects on Lungs

Many of us have experienced first hand, that when you spark up a bowl of green flower, you tend to cough up your lungs and even produce unwanted phlegm. The smoke tends to be a bit harsher than a hit from a cannabis oil cartridge vape pen.

There are a lot of reasons for that. The first and most obvious reason is that when you smoking cannabis flowers, you are actually combusting and burning the herb. The vaping process is much different than that.

To provide you with a better visual understanding of the impact smoking vs vaping has on your lungs, watch this video that highlights how smoking vs vaping affects the lungs and overall consumers’ health. It is important to note that this video is comparing cigarette smoke with a nicotine vaporizer, but there is currently very minimal research on the impact of cannabis vaporizers.

But I believe you’ll get the idea of the difference between inhaling smoked cannabis compared to vaporized cannabis.

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Vaping vs Smoking Cost

The economics of smoking vs vaping are pretty similar. The ultimate differences will depend on a number of variables, perhaps most notably, the way in which you tend to partake.

For example, a gram of flower (avg price $7-$10) might last three bowls or ten hits from a one-hitter. So if you smoke one gram of bud every day for a week, the cost would add up to around $49-$70 a week.

That said, many people consider vaping to be more affordable for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is much easier to control a vape than the flames of a lighter. That means you are able to effortlessly dose yourself the way you prefer. Vaporized THC also tends to be more potent than smoke which means you can stretch a gram farther. One gram of a THC concentrate cartridge ranges from $40-$70. And if you use it wisely and medicinally, it should last well over a week.

However, if you always have the vape pen nearby and hit it constantly, you will blast through the concentrate. So determining the exact cost is something that is hard to do, but you know your lifestyle, which do you think would cost more in a week’s time?

Vaping Safety Facts & Tips

The year 2019 was an eye-opening year in regards to understanding the impact vaping has on our health and lungs. Vaping illnesses were hitting multiple demographics across the country left and right. It was getting so bad that the Center of Disease Control (CDC) even sent out a warning to the public to stop vaping entirely until the cause of the illness were found. Below, we’ve outlined the most common questions when it comes to vaping.

Is Vaping Bad for You?

Based on the current evidence, vaping is still considered less harmful than smoking.

However, the long answer is, more evidence still needs to be examined as vaping is still so new to the population. The modern vape devices didn’t start showing up on the market until 2003, but they became extremely popular in the mid-2010s.

With the rise of popularity in these devices, many black-market THC vapes were created which is what caused the industry to go into a tailspin. To learn more about these black market vapes, read on below.

Effects of Vaping on Lungs

There is enough evidence to know that smoking flowers with contaminates on it, like pathogens, spores, and mildew can injure smokes that have lowered immune systems. But with vape pens and cartridges, this cannot happen. This is because vape cartridges are created from an intense extraction process that leaves only pure cannabis oil behind. 

However, it’s important to note that vaping cannot be considered the safest way to consume cannabis… Yes, you’ll possibility of getting blazed out of your mind, but most or all of the vaping illnesses that were detected happen because of faulty, black market or dirty vaporizer cartridges that cut the pure oil with propylene glycol and vitamin E acetate. Studies show that when the acetate is burnt it has extremely harmful effects on your lungs.

Harmful Negative Effects of Vaping

The CDC has labeled this recent lung disease as EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury. As of January 9, 2020, a total of 2,602 hospitalized EVALI cases have been reported to CDC from all 50 states and U.S. territories and 57 deaths have been associated with this disease.

EVALI latest studies have revealed that vaping can be harmful to blood vessels, cause lung scarring, inflammation and fluid filling the lungs. Most of these cases were reported by young adults who admitted to recently inhaling THC vaping cartridges not purchased at a dispensary, but there were some cases that showed the patient had only smoked nicotine vaporizers.

Image Source: Medscape

Because new vaporizers and cartridges are coming on to the market every day, it’s very difficult to test all of these cartridges, and the FDA is not able to actively regulate all of these devices, especially the black market options found on the streets or online.

So, how do you keep yourself safe while vaping? First of all, make sure you’re buying from a licensed dispensary or producer, and from a reputable brand. Consider a temperature-controlled model, as higher temperatures can lead to an increase in more chemical reactions, which can lead to an increase in how much formaldehyde is released when you vape (yikes!). If you can control how hot your coil gets, you can reduce the number of possibly dangerous chemical reactions.

In conclusion, we can’t tell you what the best way for you to consume cannabis is… how you smoke or vape marijuana is completely up to your personal method of preference, what you enjoy and feel most comfortable with. All I can tell you is to be safe, be responsible, know your products, and know your dosage.

Popcorn Lung Injuries

What is Popcorn Lung?

Popcorn Lung is a term for a condition that is known as bronchiolitis obliterans, or scarring of tiny air sacs in the lungs causing the airways to thicken and narrow. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The condition is so named for the fact that it is associated with the breathing in of chemicals, diacetyl, which was found in microwavable popcorn until it was banned. 

A study conducted at Harvard found that 39 of 51 e-cig brands had diacetyl in their products. The same study also found two similarly harmful chemicals, 2, 3 pentanedione and acetoin, in 23 and 46 of the 51 e-cig flavors tested. The most astonishing fact is that 92 percent of the e-cigarettes had one of the three chemicals present.

Popcorn lung is associated with shortness of breath and an ongoing cough. Currently, popcorn lung is difficult to treat and irreversible with current therapy methods. However, there are medications available that can help alleviate the symptoms.

How to Use a Vape Pen

  1. Step 1. Select your Pen & Cartridge

    First things first, select your cartridge. For the sake of safety and your health, it is in your interest to only buy from trusted manufacturers.

  2. Step 2. Insert the Cartridge

    Fairly self-explanatory, but next you will want to insert the cartridge. Many slide in with minimal effort on your part, while others correspond with a specific type of threading. It is always best to understand the gear you have before trying to buy and insert a pod.

  3. Step 3. Activate the Vape

    Vapes typically activate in one of two different ways. Either you press a button that initiates the heating mechanism, or you simply inhale and enjoy the sweet flavonoids and terpenes. In either case, once you’ve selected and inserted your cartridge you will be free to enjoy it!

How do Vaporizer Pens Work?

When you inhale or press the button that activates the vape, what you are actually doing is triggering the atomizer. The atomizer heats up the bud or the oil which subsequently produces the vapor.

All that’s left is to inhale. Once the bud has been atomized it passes through the mouthpiece where it is inhaled by the user.

How Do Atomizers Work?

An atomizer is essentially just a heating element as well as a wick that draws liquids towards the coil where they can be turned into vapor.

Dry Herb Cartridges for Vape Pen

Dry herb cartridges are a good alternative to the liquid options that are so popular. But what exactly are they? Let’s read on and find out!

What is a dry herb cartridge?

A dry herb cartridge is used to allow you to directly vape unprocessed flower. It’s is a useful thing to have on hand because it is compatible with any flower.

How do dry herb cartridges work?

Dry herb vapes work the same way as any other vaporizer. The unit heats the herb chamber to the point that THC is vaporized, at which point the vapor is drawn into the mouthpiece and inhaled by the user.

Where can you buy dry herb cartridges?

Dry herb cartridges can be acquired easily enough online. Short of that, you may find luck at headshops, vape stores, or even your local dispensary.

10 Things You have to Know about Vaping

vaping-vs-smoking
  1. Always buy your vaporizers and cartridges from a licensed dealer and trusted reputable brands.
    Some popular reputable marijuana vaporizer brands are KingPen, GPens, Flav, Select, Stiizy, Moxie and many more. Selection is endless as almost every strain has been made into a vaping cartridge.
  2. Vaping gets you higher and is potency controlled.
    Although many vaporizer pens hit easily, be sure to be careful with your dosage, as concentrates can have THC content anywhere from 40% to 80%, which is up to 4 times higher than high-grade cannabis flower (which normally measures around 20% THC).
  3. You may get too high.
    Just as with consuming any cannabis product, it’s possible to get much too high if you consume too much, which isn’t dangerous, but it CAN be uncomfortable (trust me, we’ve all been there!). Be sure to not only limit your intake but to make sure you are hydrated, especially if you’re visiting another city or state (like Colorado) that has a much higher altitude than many locations.
  4. If you DO get too high, don’t freak out!
    Just lay back, put on a nature program, and ride the waves of David Attenborough’s soothing voice talking about the deep seas or the plains of Africa. Definitely do not google “help, I got too high”. Have a friend talk you through it, consume some CBD oil, take a shower (just watch your step!) and eat something sweet and sugary, as sugar actually helps counteract THC. Some people also say that taking a whiff of black pepper or even chewing on a peppercorn can help lessen the effects of a bad high time.
  5. Vaping is discreet and doesn’t smell like marijuana.
    Vaping is an experience that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere with little smell (just be aware of your surroundings). CannabisTours.com offers many options for vaporizer-friendly hotels and one option for combustible-friendly hotels, which removes all of the worries and stresses about where to consume your legal product! We also offer vaporizer-friendly airport transportation, and lots of classes, tours, and events (like the Original Cannabis Tour and Puff, Pass & Paint) that allow both vaping and smoking, so bring whatever you want to consume!
  6. There are rising cases of severe lung diseases caused by vaping.
    As of January 9th, nearly 2,602 people have been hospitalized by the EVALI illness related to vape use have been reported across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. New trendy way to consume cannabis.
    There are a variety of ways to consume cannabis, and smoking and vaporizing are two of the most popular methods. You can also ingest, medicate, and celebrate by eating, drinking, and dabbing your favorite plant, among many other options.
  8. Different types of vaporizers for difference vaping experiences.
    Vaporizers are available in thousands of different models and brands, with the option for dry herb vaporizers or oil cartridges. Oil must be heated to a much higher temperature to consume, which can mean they take longer to be ready.
  9. You can’t overdose! 🙂
    It is physically impossible to overdose on cannabis, as it would take around 800 joints in a single sitting to over-do it. There has never been a death recorded from cannabis in history so don’t worry about overdosing when vaping.
  10. Teenagers don’t smoke or vape more marijuana in states where cannabis is legal than in states where it is illegal.
    In fact, according to a recent article in the NY Post, “marijuana use has plummeted with young people in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use… The study — released Monday by the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics — found that recreational pot legalization was linked to an 8-percent drop in high school students who reported toking up in the last 30 days. Additionally, researchers said there was a significant dip among those who said they got high at least 10 times in the same period, falling 9 percent from when recreational pot wasn’t legal.”

Austa Anderson

Austa is a writer and editor based in the Denver and Southern California areas who specializes in the emerging Cannabis space. Austa specializes in hemp, cannabis, psychedelics, marijuana tourism and their impact on global marketplaces and culture.

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