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Smoking vs Vaping Cannabis – Which is Better?


Smoking and vaping are the two most popular methods of cannabis consumption. They work by heating marijuana to extract the cannabinoids, which are inhaled directly through the lungs and reach the bloodstream. Some consumers think that vaporization is safer than smoking. However, medical researchers don’t completely understand the long-term health effects of vaping. A 2018 survey reported that vaping is on the rise among teenagers.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss how exactly smoking and vaping work, their long-term effects, which is more potent, the easiest way to talk to a medical marijuana doctor for MMJ recs.

What is Smoking?

Smoking involves heating the substance to a high temperature. The objective is to collect the cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. The smoke containing the cannabinoids is then inhaled directly for immediate medicinal effects.

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There are many ways to smoke cannabis. The most preferred ones are—joints, blunts, and glass pipes. Water pipes are also popular for smoking marijuana. The water helps in cooling the smoke, thus allowing a smooth cannabis smoking experience.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is another method of inhaling cannabinoids through the lungs. But, it occurs at a much lower temperature than smoking. When you vape, active ingredients of marijuana are released in the form of vapors.

You can vape both marijuana flowers and concentrates. There’s a wide range of dry herb and vape pens in different styles and shapes available in the market. Vape pens are small devices with different parts—mouthpiece, cartridge, atomizer, and battery. Just switch on the device and inhale the vapors through the mouthpiece to receive therapeutic effects instantly.

To alleviate your symptoms completely, it’s important to select the strains with the right levels of THC and CBD. However, you can try different strains to see their effects on your body before making the final decision.

Smoking vs Vaping

The only difference between smoking and vaping is the method of release of cannabinoids. In vaping, cannabis is heated to a low temperature, thus it’s less likely to cause lung damage. So, the risks associated with inhaling cannabis are due to combustion.

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An epidemiologic review published in 2005 reported that marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as cigarette smoke. In other words, smoking can increase the risks of cancer.

A 2007 study by the University of California, San Francisco was focused on evaluating the rate of high associated with vaping and smoking. The participants said that there was no significant difference between the two. However, they preferred vaping because of limited health risks.

Taste and aroma also play a key role in the marijuana effects. In vaping, the low temperatures can help in preserving the terpenes—the important chemical compounds of cannabis. In other words, vaping retains the original taste of cannabis, thus providing better effects.

According to the CDC, the long-term effects of smoking cannabis are-

  • Increased risks of cataracts, stroke, and pregnancy loss
  • Blockage in veins and arteries
  • Asthma attacks
  • Reduced sperm counts
  • Impaired immune system function

There’s not much research available on vaping marijuana. However, long-term use of vaping can cause-

  • Damage to the lungs
  • Release certain chemicals, which result in cancer development
  • Weaken the immune system
  • Problems in brain development of children

Which is More Potent?

Some studies have reported that vaping is more efficient in delivering THC than smoking. So, you can receive potent effects with a few hits from a vape pen. Cannabis concentrates comprise 50-80 percent of THC, even some concentrates contain 90 percent of THC content. However, flowers have about 10-25 percent of THC.

A study published by the JAMA Open Network reported that vaping provided a higher amount of THC in the bloodstream as compared to smoking.

What about the effects of vaping flowers? Researchers used computerized tests and the Drug Effect Questionnaire to evaluate the effects of cannabis. Based on computer tests, researchers analyzed that vaping and smoking at 25 mg of THC delivered different effects. Vaping caused more adverse effects such as cognitive impairment. Moreover, participants who vaped cannabis experienced paranoia and anxiety. Similar results were noted with 10 mg of THC.

Which is Safer?

Since vaping doesn’t generate smoke containing harmful chemicals, it’s considered safer than smoking.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, vaping may deliver less harmful effects than smoking. They said that individuals who smoke take in around 7000 chemicals while chemicals inhaled through vaping are lower in number.

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that smoke whether it’s generated from burning wood, tobacco, or marijuana, comprises toxins and carcinogens. Marijuana smoke contains many toxins as tobacco smoke, thus it can damage the lungs. Additionally, secondhand cannabis smoke can also cause various health issues.

According to the AHA, vaping liquids don’t contain as many contaminants as cigarettes. However, they don’t recommend vaping because of various reasons. Vaping produces cancer-causing chemicals and other compounds, such as diacetyl, heavy metals, etc. Additionally, the vapors aren’t safe for children and adults no matter whether swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin or eyes.

Some medical experts say that vaping can damage blood vessels, thus causing lung inflammation and various other health issues. Moreover, a wide range of vaping cartridges (which aren’t tested) are available in the market. The FDA hasn’t approved any vaping devices or cannabis products.

So, to stay safe, you should buy high-quality vaping products from licensed dispensaries only. Prefer using vaporizers with a temperature control feature to have a customized vaping experience.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

An MMJ card is required to access state-licensed dispensaries for buying high-potency cannabis flowers and concentrates. In California, a medical cannabis card is valid for one year from the date it’s issued. If you still want to use marijuana as a treatment for your condition, you need to apply for MMJ card renewal.

Visiting a 420 doctor for MMJ recs takes a lot of time. You may have to wait for your turn in the clinic. However, you can see a doctor online, and get your medical marijuana card easily and conveniently. Here’s the complete process-

  • Sign up an account online providing your medical and personal details
  • See a licensed doctor through the HIPAA-compliant software
  • Receive MMJ recs in PDF via email instantly

Key Takeaways

Vaping is quite similar to smoking. It involves heating cannabis to release cannabinoids in the form of vapors, which reach the bloodstream directly. The main difference between the two is, the temperature is lower in the case of vaping. This helps in preserving the important compounds such as terpenes that are sensitive to heat. Terpenes are responsible for taste and aroma, and they can influence the marijuana effects on the body and mind.

Vaping delivers more potent effects than smoking. It’s estimated that when you vape cannabis, about 46 percent of THC is converted into vapors while it’s 25 percent in the case of a joint. So, you need to consume less to feel the same effects as smoking.

Some studies show that vaping is safer than smoking. This is because it produces fewer toxins and carcinogens, which are linked to lung problems and other severe health issues. It’s important to choose the right cannabis strains and dose to get relief and avoid negative effects.

Talk to a medical marijuana doctor online to apply for 420 evaluations from home.

In light of the COVID pandemic, we advise all our patients to see a doctor online instead of visiting the clinic. Help us flatten the curve by opting for an online 420 evaluation.