One of the most important distinctions for a new cannabis smoker to understand about modern marijuana use is knowing the difference of smoking vs vaping cannabis flower (vaping concentrates is a whole different topic).
Here is a quick guide to help you sort out the differences and make an informed choice that is best for you.
Cannabis’ Chemical Profile
Let’s start with the basics.
Cannabis contains hundreds of active compounds. Most research focuses in on a type of compound called cannabinoids. There are over 100 cannabinoids including THC, the chemical most associated with the high from cannabis.
Cannabinoids vaporize at relatively low temperatures.
Right at 338° F, to be precise. At this point, the active compounds get hot enough to become a gas and be inhaled.
There are many, many other compounds contained within cannabis that are not cannabinoids and each have their own biochemical effects, positive and negative, and their own vaporization temperatures.
Basically, the higher the temperature, the more compounds released.
Vaping the Flower
Vaporizing cannabis is the process of heating up the flower without combustion, without lighting the plant on fire. This process uses a vaporizer, a device with a heating coil to heat the flower and selectively release the aromatic terpenes – including the cannabinoids – into the air.
The biggest difference with vaping is how clean it feels. Without all the extra smoke, you don’t inhale all the extra carcinogens and tar that come with combustion. You just get the aromatic cannabinoids – the flavor and the effect. This is especially relevant for medical consumers and others who smoke daily.
One study found that vaporizing cannabis just below the combustion temperature resulted in virtually no exposure to toxic chemicals created by conventional combustion with no decrease in the reported high.
Other self-reporting smokers, however, claim the “high” from vaping tends to be somewhat more subtle and shorter-lived, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective.
Combustion: Smoking Green
Smoking the flower is a time-honored tradition stretching back into humanity’s prehistory. It is an incredibly rich and flavorful experience, and the high can be much more long-lived and intense.
The wisps of pungent, heavy smoke evoke nostalgia across generations that simply cannot be transmitted by some electronic device with blinking lights and brand logos.
Smoking is generally more portable and certainly reliable, with several thousand years of tried-and-true use behind it. Vaping requires electricity, devices that have parts that may eventually break, and all sorts of other encumbrances that may get in the way of the moment.
Style and convenience aside, the temperature of a burning joint is around 1000° F. Because of this high burning temperature, the smoke from a joint contains a much larger array of compounds, which is not necessarily good, and produces as much tar as a cigarette.
This certainly does not bode well for your respiratory system, and the data shows that the most harmful effect of smoking marijuana is its effect on the lungs.
It’s Your Choice
Now with a clearer understanding of your options, you can now make an informed decision about smoking vs vaping weed. Ultimately, how you enjoy cannabis is about how it suits your own lifestyle and taste.
Browse through our various strains of cannabis flower – sativas, indicas, and hybrids – all cultivated by our trusted local growers. Or peruse through our curated selection of top-quality vape cartridge products.