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6 Differences Between Vaping and Smoking Cannabis

Vaping marijuana versus smoking it is one of the great debates within the cannabis world. Heck, even South Park weighed in on it. Some claim one way is better and healthier, others say that’s preposterous. But what are the actual differences between vaping and smoking?

Here are six differences between smoking and vaping cannabis:

1. Combustion

The biggest difference between smoking cannabis and vaping is combustion. Vaping heats marijuana, but doesn’t combust it, meaning there’s no fire. Since there’s no combustion, you’re consuming less toxins or other dangerous compounds. Smoking marijuana produces less toxins than cigarettes, but there are always still compounds released whenever combustion is involved.

2. Better High

A 2014 study found that when people smoked marijuana versus vaping it, they preferred vaping because of the lack of smell and the better taste. They also said they felt more of an effect while vaping. This is probably not true, as other studies have shown that people have the same amount of THC in their blood whether they smoked or vaped, but if you perceive it’s a better high, doesn’t that make it reality?

3. Consistency

This is more on the production side, but vaping products tend to be more consistent than cannabis. That’s because with growing cannabis, any number of factors could alter the composition of the plant, so no two buds will be the same. But with vape products, manufacturers can ensure a degree of consistency that growing marijuana cannot.

4. Extra Chemicals

If extra chemicals are present in the vape oil or in the vaporizer itself, heating those chemicals could be hazardous to someone’s health. And the truth is, because there is a large illicit market of e-cigarettes and vape pens, so you can’t always trust what you read on labels.

5. Temperature

When you’re smoking marijuana, you simply take your joint, light and start using. But with a vape, temperatures need to be considered. Different vape products require different temperatures, and if you use the wrong temperature, you won’t feel the effects you expect. But with smoking marijuana, you’ll always get the effect you expect.

6. Health

It was previously though that vaping was undoubtedly healthier than smoking. There was years of evidence that the smoke and tar from smoking cigarettes increased a wide variety of cancers and ailments. Vape consumers inhale water vapor instead of traditional smoke and thought to be less taxing on your lungs. But the problem is we did not have a lot of research on vaping. We just had assumptions. The recent vape related lung illness epidemic has put this thinking to the test.

There’s no single culprit behind the new illness that has caused at least six deaths and affected over 380 vape and e-cigarette users. Some blame unregulated black market vape juice and concentrates, while others point to supplements like Vitamin E acetate. The truth is, we don’t have a lot of research to go on when it comes to the effects of vaping. Neither smoking nor vaping is considered “healthy.” And according to the CDC, you should avoid both until more is learned about vaping. And make sure you only purchase safe vape pens and e-cigarettes. Additionally, only purchase your vape pens from the safest dispensaries and outlets.

7. Smoothness

Most people tend to say that using a vape is smoother than smoking. That’s because you’re ingesting less smoke and can take tinier puffs. But if you’re an experienced smoker, you may feel like vaping is unnatural. But for new users, vaping will probably be more pleasurable.

Whichever method you prefer to consume, make sure you do as much research as possible and only use it in legal states.


Calvin Hughes

Calvin Hughes covers the quickly evolving intersection of e-cigarettes and lung health. Formerly he wrote about cannabis culture, business, wellness and politics for

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