Smoking vs Vaping: What’s the Difference?

vaping vs smoking

If you’re new to cannabis, or you’re returning after a long absence, you probably have a few questions about vaping vs smoking weed. Is one actually better than the other? Are there reasons you should avoid one? In today’s post, we’ll get to the bottom of this—pardon the pun—heated debate. By the end, you should have a strong grounding in the differences (and similarities) between these two important methods of administering cannabis.

vaping vs smoking

Vaping Weed vs Smoking It: The Concept of Vaporization

The vaporizers we sell may be sleek, high-tech pieces of technology, but the concept behind them actually dates back centuries. In ancient Egypt, various mixtures of herbs and oils were heated over hot stones to create aromatic vapors. And by the first few centuries AD, North Africans had developed the shisha, a pipe which draws tobacco or cannabis smoke through water to create an effect not unlike vaping.

Whether you use a vape pen or an elaborate tabletop unit, the idea is the same: Heating either cannabis flower or a concentrated extract to the point at which the volatile cannabinoids and terpenes—that is, the “active ingredients”—are released as a mist and then inhaled.

Even though the mist from a vape may resemble smoke, it’s different in at least one key regard: While the smoke from combusted cannabis flower is objectively far less harmful than tobacco, it can still irritate the airways, leading to increased risk of bronchitis and other health issues.

vaping vs smoking

By comparison, vaping tends to be far easier on your lungs. That’s because vaping doesn’t involve the burning of plant matter and its irritating byproducts. One study found that vaping vs smoking weed reduces potential harm to your airways, although researchers caution that this reduction may not be as large as that gained by quitting tobacco.

That said, many clinicians believe vaping cannabis is a better method. Marilyn Huestis—chief of chemistry and drug metabolism at the National Institute on Drug Abuse—has gone on record stating that people who vape generally have decreased respiratory symptoms, a finding in agreement with a large body of anecdotal evidence.

Vaping vs Smoking Weed: The High—Are There Subjective Differences?

One thing can be said of smoking cannabis: It’s fast-acting and powerful. So, how does vaping stack up? It’s fast-acting as well, but while smoking fans insist that burning flower produces heavier subjective effects, the science politely disagrees.

One study suggests that vaping cannabis is actually the more effective way of delivering the beneficial compounds in cannabis. What’s more, vaped flower tends to have a more nuanced, more “realistic” flavor than smoked cannabis. That’s likely because the delicate terpenes aren’t masked by the strident aroma of burning plant matter.

vaping vs smoking

There are dollars-and-cents arguments to be made as well. Whereas smoking requires little in the way of equipment, vaping demands at the very least the investment in a portable vape pen. If you decide on a more expensive pocket or tabletop unit, it will also require regular cleaning (as should any reusable device). That said, because it’s a more efficient delivery method, vaped cannabis—whether flower or concentrate—tends to last longer than smoked flower.

At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice whether you find vaping weed vs smoking it more effective or pleasurable. Either way, we’re excited to help you find the best cannabis products for your specific needs and goals. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help!