Vaping vs Smoking Cannabis
For many years, smoking cannabis has been the traditional way to enjoy the plant’s effects and take advantage of its therapeutic value. There are actual texts dating back thousands of years that mention using cannabis by smoking it. However, the last few decades brought about a new way of using cannabis: vaporizing it and inhaling the vapors.
Due to the convenience factor, using a cannabis vape pen or pre-filled cartridge (cart) has grown increasingly popular. The question is, in quest of vaping vs smoking cannabis which one is actually better? Take a closer look at everything you need to know about vaping cannabis compared to taking the traditional route of smoking cannabis below.
What is vaping cannabis?
Vaping cannabis is heating cannabis or cannabis extract to a certain temperature and then inhaling the vapors produced when the plant matter or extract breaks down. Vaping devices are electric-powered and come in many forms. Some devices vaporize the actual plant matter, while others are designed to be used with highly potent cannabis extracts and oils. Vaping cannabis usually involves pushing the cannabinoids to between 325° and 430° Fahrenheit. The terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis reach boiling points at different temperatures.
Tools Used in Vaping Cannabis
There are a number of different methods of vaping cannabis, and each one involves its own unique set of tools. When electric cannabis vaporizers were initially developed in the late 90s, people used a tabletop machine that vaporized the cannabis. While the idea was intriguing, the devices were extremely expensive. Vaping has grown much more mainstream, which means the devices and tools used for the process have grown more portable and accessible over the years.
Today, people may use a preloaded vape pen that has a battery and heating element. The vape pen is pre-filled with cannabis extract. Or, some people simply purchase pre-filled vape carts that are filled with cannabis extracts and are designed to be attached to a standard vape battery.
What is smoking cannabis?
Smoking cannabis is simply igniting the cured plant matter and inhaling the smoke to experience the terpenes and cannabinoids. When you smoke cannabis, the flower combusts at a temperature of about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which produces cannabinoid-rich smoke for inhaling. Smoking cannabis is still the most popular method of consuming cannabis. While the popularity of vaping has risen, only about 13 percent of people who do vape cannabis solely vape their cannabis.
Tools Used in Smoking Cannabis
Cannabis is smoked in two primary ways: either rolled into a joint using a rolling paper or with some type of pipe. Glass pipes are the most common type of pipes used for smoking cannabis, even though cannabis can be smoked with even traditional pipes used for tobacco. Additionally, glass pipes come in a long list of different forms, such as water pipes (bongs, bubblers, etc.) or hand pipes (chillums, spoons, etc.).
The Downfalls of Vaping vs Smoking
A lot of people jumped on board to try vaping cannabis because when the idea first came about, some proclaimed that vaping was a healthier way to take in cannabinoids. However, what was once touted as a “safer” way to use cannabis has brought about new threats to the cannabis-consumer community, some extremely worrisome. While both smoking and vaping anything can naturally come along with certain risks to the respiratory system, vaping may pose even bigger threats to the lungs.
Side Effects of Vaping Cannabis
The side effects of vaping have been discussed extensively over the last few years due in part to the popularity of vaping tobacco. However, many of the same side effects apply even when people vape cannabis. In a study conducted in 2020, researchers found that young adults who vaped cannabis at any point had a greater risk of symptoms of bronchitis distress, such as being short of breath. Other noted side effects include:
- Congestion or phlegm accumulation
Simply vaping cannabis on three occasions within 30 days increased the chances of certain side effects, such as wheezing. Side effects associated with vaping can also vary drastically depending on the ingredients in the vape product itself. Some vaping oils contain additives that are more concerning than others, and there has not been a lot of research to determine just how vaping something like pure cannabis oil could affect the lungs.
EVALI: Potentially Fatal Lung Injury
E-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) is a major risk associated with vaping cannabis. What looks like a totally harmless vape pen and a convenient route of using cannabinoids may carry a significant risk of fatal lung damage. EVALI is thought to be associated with certain ingredients commonly used in vape products.
In 2019, one major outbreak of fatal lung disease was associated with vape products made using vitamin E acetate as a primary ingredient. In just a few months, over 2,500 people were hospitalized with EVALI, many of which lost their lives. At least 82 percent of these people had used a vape product that contained THC.
In 2020, researchers dug deeper to better understand EVALI and why it occurred. Using a basic vaping device without nicotine or THC additives resulted in major changes in vascular function.
Beyond Health Risks: Other Downfalls of Vaping Cannabis vs Smoking with a Pipe
As if the health concerns were not a big enough reason to stick with simply smoking your cannabis with a good glass pipe, there are other downfalls to consider as well.
For one, vape pens may be convenient, but they are far from green-friendly or sustainable. The disposable cannabis vapes are made out of plastic, are rarely recycled or recyclable, and come with an onboard battery. Batteries require rare earth metals like lithium and nickel just to produce. Not to mention, most of this goes into the landfill where it can contaminate natural habitats when they’re tossed. By contrast, when you buy a good glass pipe, you can use it for many years with the proper care. There is no waste involved unless you accidentally break your pipe and have to replace it.
Most vape pens and vaping devices are also made in China or other countries where production is not closely regulated either. So, each time you purchase a pre-filled vape pen, you could be buying an internationally-made product that is neither good quality nor trustworthy. With glass pipes, most are created by domestic manufacturers and artists, especially when you purchase from a reputable company like Chameleon Glass.
Lastly, when it comes down to it, vaping cannabis is not as convenient or enjoyable as it appears on the surface. Your device has to be charged, which takes time. If you have a glass pipe, all you need is a lighter—no wait time involved. Further, vapes commonly get clogged with residue, which kills the entire experience in terms of the quality of the taste and the experience.
Smoking vs Vaping Cannabis: Smoking Cannabis Is the Clear Winner
All things considered, smoking cannabis is still the tried, true, and trusted way to enjoy your herb. As advanced as vaping cannabis may seem, doing so comes with too many pitfalls to really be a logical option. By the way, do you need a new glass pipe to enjoy clean cannabis? Be sure to check out the full collection of high-quality glass pipes at Chameleon Glass.
Some people believe vaping to be superior, while others think smoking is better. In this ongoing debate between vaping v/s smoking cannabis, this blog will provide a clear picture about which one is a better option.