Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of ways these days. If you aren’t the smoking sort, you have options – sublinguals, edibles, topicals, even capsules. Hey, it’s an amazing new world! But if you do enjoy combustion, it’s important to be aware of the health risks that come with smoking your stash. That’s why so many people wonder whether vaping is better for you than smoking. Here’s what you should know.
Vaping cannabis involves the use of a vape pen. This sleek little device heats cannabis at a lower temperature than the one needed for combustion. In this temperature range – somewhere between 285 and 338 degrees, the active ingredients in the plant convert into a gas or a vapor. That’s what you inhale.
From a quality perspective, cannabis that’s been turned into a vapor is superior to the stuff you light on fire. More than three quarters of the smoke from burned cannabis has non-cannabinoid elements, with little to no medicinal or recreational benefit. Kind of defeats the purpose, right?
Think about that from a health standpoint. Smoking cannabis means exposing your lungs and entire respiratory system to a lot of toxicity – all those non-productive by-products created by the act of combustion. That means you’re actively introducing stuff like tar and known carcinogens into sensitive tissues, which opens the doors to all kinds of health hazards.
The science is very clear – cannabis smoke has the same seriously bad cancer-causing chemicals as cigarette smoke. And while smoking cannabis hasn’t been directly linked to the same increased risk of cancer as smoking, it does enough damage that other heath issues – like chronic bronchitis – are likely.
In other words, if the biggest risk of smoking cannabis is the actual smoke, vaping becomes an even more appealing alternative. Anecdotal evidence also points to vaped cannabis as better tasting, more satisfying, and more effective. And it’s the last benefit that may actually be a disadvantage for some.
A study at John Hopkins University in Maryland concluded that vaping does indeed create a markedly stronger effect. If you’re new to cannabis and opting for vaping over smoking in a bid to spare your lungs, you may be unprepared for that level of intoxication. Fortunately, there’s an easy workaround.
On a puff-for-puff or gram-for-gram basis, it’s true that vaping is more intoxicating when you’re dealing with strain high in THC. But a vape pen is a highly efficient little tool, so follow the golden rule of cannabis – start low and go slow. Take a puff or two, and give your body time to start feeling the effects before you go back for more.
Another drawback to vaping cannabis is usually mechanical. The vape pen itself may need a minute or two to heat up, and it’s a best practice to be fastidious about keeping them clean. They’ll also cost you more than a pre-roll. But then again – what’s your health worth?