It’s 2019 and over 11 million adults, almost one in 20, in the United States are currently using e-cigarettes. That number is from a study primarily focused on adults using electronic cigarettes as alternatives to traditional combustible tobacco products. 11 million…that’s a big number, until you realize that nearly 55 million American adults currently use one or more cannabis products.
While there isn’t currently any exact data on how many of those 55 million adults are smoking marijuana, vaping marijuana, consuming edible marijuana, or consuming other marijuana products, you can take a look at the percentage of flower sales vs. other mediums.
Vaping has been a hot topic in the news recently as the rate of tobacco consumption in the U.S. has fallen dramatically and electronic cigarettes, like the JUUL, have taken its place. However, people aren’t using e-cigs just to get nicotine. Vapes containing THC and CBD, both derived from the cannabis plant, have seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason behind this trend, but here are a few possible explanations for this meteoric rise in popularity:
- Vapes are easy to use and easy to conceal.
- Vapes don’t release the typical pungent smell associated with smoking cannabis.
- Vapes are pioneering the technological aspect of cannabis consumption and allowing the user more control over their experience.
With all this rapid popularity, there is bound to be a plethora of questions, concerns, and confusion. The most common question we get asked is: “Is vaping bad for you?” We want you to know what you’re putting in your body so that you can make an informed decision about which options are best for you.
Is Vaping Safe?
According to a 2016 study from researchers at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, adults who vape cannabis perceive it to have health benefits and feel that it is safer and less harmful than smoking cannabis. So, what does the research say? Various studies over the years have shown that vaporizing cannabis produces less carcinogenic compounds than smoking. Even though smoking cannabis is less harmful than smoking tobacco, any inhalation of combusted matter isn’t great for your body. Smoke contains particulates and chemicals that can create serious respiratory problems over time. A study from 2007 that compared smoking to vaping reported fewer respiratory issues when the subject vaped instead of smoked. It even stated that: “Regular users of joints, blunts, pipes, and water pipes might decrease respiratory symptoms by switching to a vaporizer.” Over the course of the next few years, there will be a lot more information available to the public detailing the side-effects, if any, of using a vaporizer.
The biggest determinant of the safety of vaping is the quality of the cannabis inside your vape. Not all vapes are created equal, and there are far too many varieties on the market to list, so it’s best that you do some of your own research to find out which companies prioritize quality.
Benefits of Vaping Cannabis
Vaping cannabis produces a different result than smoking cannabis. There are several reasons for this, in addition to those mentioned above, with enhanced flavor being one of them. Flavor is an extremely crucial aspect of cannabis consumption and many people who are accustomed to smoking cannabis simply haven’t experienced the nuances of the marijuana they’ve consumed. The terpenes found in the cannabis plant provide unique combinations of flavors that you won’t find anywhere else, and those flavors are much better when using a vaporizer.
Pro Tip: Use a vaporizer with a temperature or voltage control function for even more customization.
In addition to flavor, temperature adjustments can help to ensure you’re heating your cannabis to the ideal temperature for maximum THC efficacy, typically between 356 and 392°F.
Then, there’s the smell. While some users enjoy the smell of cannabis smoke, it’s difficult to hide and can have long-lasting effects on your surroundings (like making your couch smell like weed for the next week). Vapes produce little to no noticeable smell which makes them far more discreet and easier to use on the go.
Dosing plays a big role in our decision as well. A typical joint, blunt or bowl will typically not contain an exactly measured amount of cannabis and therefore your doses may vary without you even knowing. Vape cartridges will soon have an exactly pre-measured amount of cannabis concentrate inside them, and apps that enable you to more accurately track and control your usage.
The Bottom Line
Whenever you light something on fire and then inhale the product of that burning material, it will damage your lungs and can lead to serious health issues over time. The conversation and research around smoking side-effects have historically been centered around traditional tobacco cigarettes and it has led a lot of people to believe that smoking of any kind is terrible. Research shows that cannabis smoke does not contain nearly as many carcinogenic compounds as tobacco smoke. This does not make it safe. When you read through some of the studies we shared above, you’ll begin to realize that the consensus from both researchers and the subjects of said research is that vaping cannabis is less harmful than smoking cannabis. Research is ongoing and we hope that science will continue to provide us with more useful information in the coming years so that we can settle this debate once and for all.
disclaimer: All studies, sources, links, etc. are the words of their respective authors. We are not endorsing any information contained within these resources and we encourage you to do your own research before forming an option.