Smoking vs. Vaporizing Marijuana for Medical Purposes
As the health benefits of marijuana are becoming more apparent, more states are legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. This leaves patients with some chronic conditions left to choose how they will use their prescription: through vaping or through more conventional smoking.
There are pros and cons to both options, and the right choice may depend partly on what medical condition is being treated.
How Vaping and Smoking are Different
Smoking is the most common way to consume marijuana. It involves burning the flower itself so that it combusts, and the smoke is inhaled in order to absorb the drug compounds. It requires no special equipment, although pipes and other devices can be used if one chooses.
Vaping doesn’t burn the flower but heats it up using an element that is powered by a battery. This can be done using the whole flower, but it can also be performed using marijuana concentrates made from oils, waxes, and other ingredients. Since nothing is actually burned, no smoke enters the lungs.
Benefits of Smoking
Smoking may have some benefits when compared to vaping. Many users claim that smoking offers more immediate “high” and stronger effects. It’s almost more cost effective, as buying cannabis flowers is usually less expensive than buying marijuana concentrates, and no costly or specialized device is needed for smoking. Those on a budget may find the cost of vaporizers prohibitive, however, some forms of insurance may cover the cost.
Benefits of Vaping
While smoking may have its perks, there are benefits to using a vaporizer instead. The biggest reason one might use a vaporizer rather than smoking directly is that vaping is easier on the lungs and safer from a health perspective. Although smoking marijuana affords a lower risk of lung cancer than smoking cigarettes, the risk is still there. This is particularly true for those who smoke marijuana every day for health purposes.
Some also like the “lighter” or “cleaner” feel of vaporizing their medicinal marijuana, according to the Cannabist. Additionally, in some cities where medicinal marijuana is legal, smoking it is still against the law. Those who want to use cannabis for medicinal purposes in those areas legally may have no choice but to use a vaporizer.
Which is Better for Pain Management?
While no real studies have been performed, according to the Cannabist, users claim that smoking provides a better “high” and greater relaxation than vaping. However, most agree that vaporizing can offer the same benefits with a higher safety level. However, an individual may need to increase their dosage when it comes to vaping over smoking. For instance, one hit while smoking might be all someone needs, while with a vape pen, they may need 3. Most users are willing to deal with this fact, since vaping is healthier in many ways. This is especially true in areas where smoking is illegal even with a prescription.
While vaping used to be a complicated matter of having tabletop electronic vaporizers which tied one down, today’s vaporizer pens are fully portable and use rechargeable batteries. There are also vaporizers which use both whole flowers and concentrates.
To learn more about electronic cigarettes visit Electronic Cigarettes Guide.
For more motivation to quit smoking once and for all, visit The Real Cost of Smoking.
Read more about the effects cigarette smoke has on the human body at The Effects of Smoking.
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