Is Vaping Weed Better Than Smoking? What We Know So Far

Cannabis joints with fresh nugs and grinder
Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock

Medical cannabis users who wonder whether vaping is better than smoking or vice-versa have a heavy load on their minds.

Unfortunately, much is unknown about the long-term health effects of vaping, so it can be challenging to make valid comparisons. But using available information, it is possible to compare them by analyzing their different short-term health effects.

Table of Contents

  1. What Does the Law Say About Smoking Weed?
  2. What Are the Differences Between Vaping and Smoking Marijuana?
  3. The Risks of Vaping vs. Smoking Weed
  4. The Pros and Cons of Using a Marijuana Vape
  5. The Pros and Cons of Smoking Weed
  6. How Does Weed Affect the Lungs?
  7. Which Is Cheaper: Smoking or Vaping?
  8. Alternatives to Smoking and Vaping
  9. Final Thoughts About Vaping vs. Smoking Weed

Table of Contents

  1. What Does the Law Say About Smoking Weed?
  2. What Are the Differences Between Vaping and Smoking Marijuana?
  3. The Risks of Vaping vs. Smoking Weed
  4. The Pros and Cons of Using a Marijuana Vape
  5. The Pros and Cons of Smoking Weed
  6. How Does Weed Affect the Lungs?
  7. Which Is Cheaper: Smoking or Vaping?
  8. Alternatives to Smoking and Vaping
  9. Final Thoughts About Vaping vs. Smoking Weed

Marijuana Laws in the United States

Medical cannabis users who wonder whether vaping is better than smoking or vice-versa have a heavy load on their minds.

Unfortunately, much is unknown about the long-term health effects of vaping, so it can be challenging to make valid comparisons. But using available information, it is possible to compare them by analyzing their different short-term health effects.

Medical cannabis users who wonder whether vaping is better than smoking or vice-versa have a heavy load on their minds.

Unfortunately, much is unknown about the long-term health effects of vaping, so it can be challenging to make valid comparisons. But using available information, it is possible to compare them by analyzing their different short-term health effects.

Under Federal law, cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC remains illegal. Cannabis plants raised for CBD are legal under Federal law. However, each state has its own laws governing the use, growth, sale, and distribution of cannabis in all forms.

Cannabis for recreational use is legal or has been decriminalized in most states. The states of the West Coast, the South West, and New England have mostly legalized cannabis for recreational use.

These states include California, Arizona, and New York. States that have decriminalized marijuana include North Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri. Even in states where cannabis has been decriminalized, it is inadvisable to use cannabis for recreational purposes.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in most states, but there are several exceptions:

  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina

In these states, possession or sale of marijuana could be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on various factors, such as the wording of the statutes, how much is on your person, and the policies of the state government.

Even though cannabis is being legalized and decriminalized in more and more states, users should still exercise caution.

Do not take cannabis products across state lines, and do not enter airports with them. Also, do not use them while driving, as this could be considered driving under the influence.

Before purchasing cannabis, make sure to look up the laws in your jurisdiction related to the sale, possession, and distribution of controlled substances.

Under Federal law, cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC remains illegal. Cannabis plants raised for CBD are legal under Federal law. However, each state has its own laws governing the use, growth, sale, and distribution of cannabis in all forms.

Cannabis for recreational use is legal or has been decriminalized in most states. The states of the West Coast, the South West, and New England have mostly legalized cannabis for recreational use.

These states include California, Arizona, and New York. States that have decriminalized marijuana include North Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri. Even in states where cannabis has been decriminalized, it is inadvisable to use cannabis for recreational purposes.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in most states, but there are several exceptions:

  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina

In these states, possession or sale of marijuana could be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on various factors, such as the wording of the statutes, how much is on your person, and the policies of the state government.

Even though cannabis is being legalized and decriminalized in more and more states, users should still exercise caution.

Do not take cannabis products across state lines, and do not enter airports with them. Also, do not use them while driving, as this could be considered driving under the influence.

Before purchasing cannabis, make sure to look up the laws in your jurisdiction related to the sale, possession, and distribution of controlled substances.

The Differences Between Vaping and Smoking Weed

Some people may not think there is any difference between these two methods of using medical cannabis, but there are plenty. Smoking involves combustion, whether using a joint or a water pipe. However, vaping does not involve combustion.

“Vaping” is a colloquial term for “vaporizing.” The materials used in vaping are heated to the point they start to emit vapor. The vapor is full of cannabinoids, just like the smoke coming out of a joint, except it does not have the acrid taste of marijuana smoke.

Vaping is the preferable choice for those who want to inhale cannabinoids without the foul taste of smoke.

Some people may not think there is any difference between these two methods of using medical cannabis, but there are plenty. Smoking involves combustion, whether using a joint or a water pipe. However, vaping does not involve combustion.

“Vaping” is a colloquial term for “vaporizing.” The materials used in vaping are heated to the point they start to emit vapor. The vapor is full of cannabinoids, just like the smoke coming out of a joint, except it does not have the acrid taste of marijuana smoke.

Vaping is the preferable choice for those who want to inhale cannabinoids without the foul taste of smoke.

The Medical Risks of Vaping and Smoking Marijuana

Inhaling any smoke is bad for the lungs, according to the American Lung Association. Several harmful effects come with smoking marijuana:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Increased risk of infection in people with HIV/AIDs
  • Increased risk of lower respiratory infection
  • Weakened immune system

Vaping weed comes with its own set of problems, even though a vaporizer does not produce smoke. For example, some THC oils contain Vitamin E acetate, an addictive chemical that is believed to be responsible for many highly publicized lung injuries.

Additionally, the long-term health effects of vaporizing marijuana are still unknown, and it will likely be a decade or more until they are fully understood.

Inhaling any smoke is bad for the lungs, according to the American Lung Association. Several harmful effects come with smoking marijuana:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Increased risk of infection in people with HIV/AIDs
  • Increased risk of lower respiratory infection
  • Weakened immune system

Vaping weed comes with its own set of problems, even though a vaporizer does not produce smoke. For example, some THC oils contain Vitamin E acetate, an addictive chemical that is believed to be responsible for many highly publicized lung injuries.

Additionally, the long-term health effects of vaporizing marijuana are still unknown, and it will likely be a decade or more until they are fully understood.

How to Use a Marijuana Vape

How to Use a Marijuana Vape
Mc_Cloud/Shutterstock

The materials used for vaping weed are either dry herbs or concentrates. Dry herbs are pieces of cannabis that can contain THC or CBD. They are put in the heating chamber of a dry herb vaporizer, which is then heated.

Many vaporizers are compatible with concentrate. The concentrate consists of various products like shatter, crumble, and budder, each containing high levels of cannabinoids. The material is put in the heating chamber, and the heat from the coil melts it and causes it to vaporize.

Concentrates can also be vaped using a bubbler and an e-nail. The e-nail heats the concentrate, and the vapor is drawn through a glass pipe with a water container at the bottom. The water cools the vapor and filters out some of the harsher elements.

There are also prefilled cartridges containing THC or CBD oil. They are screwed onto a marijuana vape pen with a 510 connection and then vaporized. These are the products most likely to have Vitamin E acetate. When buying, check the list of ingredients. Also, never buy from a distributor that does not list the ingredients nor provides lab tests.

Pros

  • No smoking involved
  • Cleaner and purer taste
  • Concentrates can be made at home

Cons

  • Vaporizers and bubblers can be expensive

How to Use a Marijuana Vape
Mc_Cloud/Shutterstock

The materials used for vaping weed are either dry herbs or concentrates. Dry herbs are pieces of cannabis that can contain THC or CBD. They are put in the heating chamber of a dry herb vaporizer, which is then heated.

Many vaporizers are compatible with concentrate. The concentrate consists of various products like shatter, crumble, and budder, each containing high levels of cannabinoids. The material is put in the heating chamber, and the heat from the coil melts it and causes it to vaporize.

Concentrates can also be vaped using a bubbler and an e-nail. The e-nail heats the concentrate, and the vapor is drawn through a glass pipe with a water container at the bottom. The water cools the vapor and filters out some of the harsher elements.

There are also prefilled cartridges containing THC or CBD oil. They are screwed onto a marijuana vape pen with a 510 connection and then vaporized. These are the products most likely to have Vitamin E acetate. When buying, check the list of ingredients. Also, never buy from a distributor that does not list the ingredients nor provides lab tests.

Pros

  • No smoking involved
  • Cleaner and purer taste
  • Concentrates can be made at home

Cons

  • Vaporizers and bubblers can be expensive

How to Smoke Weed

Smoking has been around a lot longer than vaping, so there are plenty of ways to smoke. The most common method involves rolling weed into a paper and smoking it. There are also pre-rolls available that come in a pack, like cigarettes.

There are also pipes and bongs. The advantage of using pipes and bongs is that the smoke that is cleaner and purer and does not have the taste of burnt paper. In glass pipes, only the weed combusts, while in bongs, a small tank of water filters and cools the smoke.

Pros

  • Lots of ways to smoke
  • Bongs offer cooler and cleaner smoke
  • Glass pipes do not have the taste of burnt paper

Cons

  • Pipes and bongs made of material other than glass are vulnerable to heat
  • Smoke has an acrid taste some people do not like

Smoking has been around a lot longer than vaping, so there are plenty of ways to smoke. The most common method involves rolling weed into a paper and smoking it. There are also pre-rolls available that come in a pack, like cigarettes.

There are also pipes and bongs. The advantage of using pipes and bongs is that the smoke that is cleaner and purer and does not have the taste of burnt paper. In glass pipes, only the weed combusts, while in bongs, a small tank of water filters and cools the smoke.

Pros

  • Lots of ways to smoke
  • Bongs offer cooler and cleaner smoke
  • Glass pipes do not have the taste of burnt paper

Cons

  • Pipes and bongs made of material other than glass are vulnerable to heat
  • Smoke has an acrid taste some people do not like

Vaping vs. Smoking Weed: Effects on the Lungs

Both forms of use no doubt affect the lungs. The smoke from marijuana scars and damages the lung tissue and blood vessels.

The smoke may also contain the toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. And, as stated earlier, smoking can lead to coughing, bronchitis, and various adverse health effects. These symptoms will only improve if the user stops smoking.

As already stated, little is known about the health effects of vaping weed on the lungs, but vaping has been associated with illness. 200 vapers developed lung diseases as of 2019. The symptoms were shortness of breath and chest pain.

These cases are rare, and researchers are unsure if the illnesses were caused by vaping weed or something else. However, as previously stated, Vitamin E acetate may cause these types of problems.

Both forms of use no doubt affect the lungs. The smoke from marijuana scars and damages the lung tissue and blood vessels.

The smoke may also contain the toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. And, as stated earlier, smoking can lead to coughing, bronchitis, and various adverse health effects. These symptoms will only improve if the user stops smoking.

As already stated, little is known about the health effects of vaping weed on the lungs, but vaping has been associated with illness. 200 vapers developed lung diseases as of 2019. The symptoms were shortness of breath and chest pain.

These cases are rare, and researchers are unsure if the illnesses were caused by vaping weed or something else. However, as previously stated, Vitamin E acetate may cause these types of problems.

Using a Vaporizer vs. Smoking Weed: The Costs

Vaping weed is much cheaper than smoking when one compares the yearly costs of purchasing concentrates and dry herbs for rolling joints. An average bowl is good for four tokes, while a vaporizer on medium temperature settings is good for eight.

Considering that marijuana costs seven to eight dollars per gram, smoking is twice as expensive as vaping weed.

Vaping weed is much cheaper than smoking when one compares the yearly costs of purchasing concentrates and dry herbs for rolling joints. An average bowl is good for four tokes, while a vaporizer on medium temperature settings is good for eight.

Considering that marijuana costs seven to eight dollars per gram, smoking is twice as expensive as vaping weed.

Other Ways to Consume Weed While Improving Health

There are other ways to consume marijuana. The problem vaporizing weed and smoking have in common is that some people do not like the feeling of inhaling anything. This is particularly true of asthmatics. People who do not like smoking or vaping weed, for whatever reason, have plenty of other options.

Edibles are a fun way to get into using medical cannabis for several reasons. The primary reason is that edibles come in many forms, like gummy candies, brownies, drinks, and more.

These products are ideal for people who are new to medical cannabis because of their low bioavailability. Also, they are tasty and inconspicuous.

Tinctures are also a good source of THC and CBD. They are drops of liquid placed under the tongue, allowing the cannabinoid to be absorbed through the mouth’s mucous membranes. This method allows for more cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream than is the case with edibles.

There are also oils, creams, and various other ways to use cannabis – even treats for dogs. Oils and creams using CBD are highly effective for delivering targeted pain relief to aching joints and muscles.

There are other ways to consume marijuana. The problem vaporizing weed and smoking have in common is that some people do not like the feeling of inhaling anything. This is particularly true of asthmatics. People who do not like smoking or vaping weed, for whatever reason, have plenty of other options.

Edibles are a fun way to get into using medical cannabis for several reasons. The primary reason is that edibles come in many forms, like gummy candies, brownies, drinks, and more.

These products are ideal for people who are new to medical cannabis because of their low bioavailability. Also, they are tasty and inconspicuous.

Tinctures are also a good source of THC and CBD. They are drops of liquid placed under the tongue, allowing the cannabinoid to be absorbed through the mouth’s mucous membranes. This method allows for more cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream than is the case with edibles.

There are also oils, creams, and various other ways to use cannabis – even treats for dogs. Oils and creams using CBD are highly effective for delivering targeted pain relief to aching joints and muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Smoking and Vaping Weed

Is Vaping Weed Safer Than Smoking It?

No one knows which method of cannabis consumption is better for your health. There is very little research available comparing the long-term health effects of smokers and vapers.

How Long Does Weed Take to Work?

Smokers and vapers should feel the first effects five to ten minutes after their first pull. After that, the effects wear off in six to eight hours. How long the effects last depends much on the person’s body chemistry. Also, marijuana can stay in the body for up to 90 days.

Is Vaping Weed Better for Anxiety?

Anyone who wants to use a marijuana vape to relieve anxiety should use CBD. Research has shown CBD to be an effective reliever for anxiety. One study involved asking people with social anxiety to give a speech. Those who took CBD were able to better present the speech than the control group.

Is Vaping Weed Safer Than Smoking It?

No one knows which method of cannabis consumption is better for your health. There is very little research available comparing the long-term health effects of smokers and vapers.

How Long Does Weed Take to Work?

Smokers and vapers should feel the first effects five to ten minutes after their first pull. After that, the effects wear off in six to eight hours. How long the effects last depends much on the person’s body chemistry. Also, marijuana can stay in the body for up to 90 days.

Is Vaping Weed Better for Anxiety?

Anyone who wants to use a marijuana vape to relieve anxiety should use CBD. Research has shown CBD to be an effective reliever for anxiety. One study involved asking people with social anxiety to give a speech. Those who took CBD were able to better present the speech than the control group.

Closing Thoughts About Vaping vs. Smoking Weed And Your Health

When it comes to deciding the best ways to consume weed, it is entirely up to the person using cannabis. Everyone has his or her own preferences. Some people like the cleaner taste of concentrates and vaping oils, but others prefer smoking for various reasons. As for which is healthier, there is no way to tell. Obviously, smoking cannabis comes with risks, but it is not known what the long term consequences are of vaporizing weed.

Feel free to leave a a few words if you have any thoughts you would like to share with us about smoking or vaping weed. You can even tell us your favorite THC weed pen. Comments from readers like you are always appreciated by our staff and fellow cannabis enthusiasts.

When it comes to deciding the best ways to consume weed, it is entirely up to the person using cannabis. Everyone has his or her own preferences. Some people like the cleaner taste of concentrates and vaping oils, but others prefer smoking for various reasons. As for which is healthier, there is no way to tell. Obviously, smoking cannabis comes with risks, but it is not known what the long term consequences are of vaporizing weed.

Feel free to leave a a few words if you have any thoughts you would like to share with us about smoking or vaping weed. You can even tell us your favorite THC weed pen. Comments from readers like you are always appreciated by our staff and fellow cannabis enthusiasts.

Published: August 15, 2021 Updated: August 15, 2021


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