Vaping vs. Smoking: Understanding the Pros and Cons

smoking vs vaping

Essentially, when it comes to inhaling marijuana, there are two basic ways to do it; smoking and vaping. Both of these approaches have sparked a lot of debate in the industry lately, with each side proclaiming that their preferred choice is healthier, more beneficial, and overall, a better option.

Vaping marijuana is the modern alternative to smoking it and has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. Vaporization is the process of heating the dry herb to specific temperatures that are below the point of combustion in a device called a vaporizer. A stream of vapor is produced that is then inhaled through a mouthpiece or bag.

So which method is right? Which of these is best for your health? While for the majority of experienced cannabis smokers, the obviously superior choice appears to be vaping at first glance. In reality, the answer is a lot more complex than that. ‘Is vaping weed better than smoking it’ is a subjective question. They are very different, so ultimately, it depends on what you want from the experience. In this article, we will cover the difference between vaping and smoking, as well as their various pros and cons.

Is Vaping Weed Healthier Than Smoking?

Smoking weed, or anything for that matter, produces tar, along with other harmful by-products. Whether it’s via a joint, pipe, bubbler, or huge bong, it still relies on combustion. Although not many studies have been done on the effects of vaporizing marijuana specifically, vaping nicotine is generally considered to be at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. Therefore, it’s not a huge leap to make the same assumption when it comes to pot. This is why vaping is the most-recommended method for administering medicinal marijuana.

However, there are some legitimate concerns about various vaping devices on the market. For instance, very cheap ones that are usually made in China. Many of these devices are made in locations where health issues aren’t a priority but rather, profit. There have been some complaints even claiming that certain devices contain heavy metals and/or potentially harmful glues, which at high temperatures could end up being inhaled by the user.

So again, the question pertaining to which is the healthier option is subjective.

Vaping Pros

Essentially, vaping is the heating of weed without burning. The heat releases active ingredients into vapor, which is released into the air in a clear mist that is created by a vaping device. Since combustion doesn’t occur, no smoke is created.

There are many debates when it comes to vaping vs smoking. While the most obvious reason to choose vaping over smoking is for your health, there are various other benefits. For starters, vape pens allows you to taste more of a distinction between strains, and it allows for control over temperature. It’s generally a more convenient and discreet option.

  • More pronounced flavor: Because the vaping process doesn’t induce combustion, it allows for a cleaner, softer, and more delicate flavor. It’s nearly 100% free of any “woodiness” and the intensity that smoking delivers. With vaping, you can taste the cannabinoid profiles and individual terpenes of each strain more distinctly.
  • Temperature regulation: You can’t set the temperature of a joint, so you just have to accept whatever temperature your weed burns at. But just about every vaporizer has some sort of temperature regulation, meaning that you can determine how intense you want the vapor to be. Lower temperatures allow for smoother and more flavorful vapor. Higher temperatures produce larger clouds and harsher smoking vapor.
  • Discreet and convenient: Smoking a joint attracts a lot of unwanted attention. Vape smoke, on the other hand, doesn’t produce as much of an odor and smells a lot less than smoke. Also, vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes, many of which are small enough to comfortably fit in the palm of your hand – so people won’t even notice that you’re using it.
  • You can recycle vaped herb: When a joint is done, it’s done. But, once you’re done vaping, you can still use the vaped herbs in various other ways. For instance, you can use it in all sort of edibles by following weed-infused recipes.
  • Efficiency: Vaping marijuana means that you can extract the cannabinoids from the dry herbs slowly and effectively. Often, you can get multiple session from a single pack.
  • Vaping is cleaner: Let’s be real, smoking weed can get pretty messy. Rolling loose buds and papers can cause a huge mess that you will need to clean up later, which isn’t ideal. From beginning to end, vaping produces a lot less disorder.

Vaping Cons

Some of the dangers of vaping include; learning how to use your device, making sure it’s always charged, and keeping it clean. Initially, you will also have to invest in a vaping device and grinder. So financially it’s more costly to start off with.

  • Typically requires a grinder: Most vaporizers won’t function properly without a medium to fine grind. This means that you will need a good grinder, especially if you use a portable vape pen which runs on conduction heating. Grinding helps to increase the surface area which allows all terpenes and cannabinoids to be extracted from the plant more efficiently.
  • Uncertainty when it comes to long-term health effects: Although an increasing number of studies are reporting that vaping doesn’t appear to have any long-term health effects, we can’t be 100% sure. Studies into the issue are still very much limited. Vaping health risks are definitely something to think about.
  • Must be charged or plugged in: While you don’t need a lighter, if your device isn’t charged and you’re not near to a wall socket to plug into, you aren’t going to be able to vape. On the plus side, when most devices are fully charged, they can provide several sessions before needing to be recharged.
  • Battery safety issues: Vapes do not explode. However, there is one part of every device that could malfunction, and that’s the battery. But, this is true of every battery. Through improper and careless use, the battery could blow up and damage the device, property, or possibly even you. This is why it’s very important to learn about battery safety. Also, you shouldn’t make your own coils if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Price: A solid vaping device isn’t cheap. While there are a few decent inexpensive vaporizers out there, they typically run upwards of $100. But, in the long run, they should save you money since vaping is a more efficient method.

vaping vs smoking weed

Smoking Pros

The main advantage of smoking vs vaping weed is that smoking usually produces more intense overall effects. Also, smoking doesn’t require as much of a financial investment. Smoking is also relatively low maintenance since it’s easy to roll a joint and pop it in your pocket.

  • No learning curve: Smoking is a simple process and doesn’t require a lot of practice. Anyone can light up a joint, and it’s easy to tell when the session is over. Vaping weed is a lot more complicated and requires some knowledge and experience.
  • More intense effects: Smoking creates intense and euphoric effects more quickly. The extreme temperatures help to immediately release all of the cannabinoids that are responsible for this more sedative effect.
  • Low maintenance: While there is some general maintenance involved with bowls and pipes, these typically don’t need as much effort as cleaning a vaporizer. Furthermore, joints are very low maintenance – the only thing you really have to do is roll them.
  • No investment required: Generally, smoking doesn’t require a big upfront investment, unless you are purchasing a big, fancy glass piece. It’s much cheaper just to buy some rolling paper, and this is what prevents many smokers from delving into vaping.


vaping vs smoking lungs

Smoking Cons

Naturally, the main disadvantage associated with smoking when compared to vaping is the health risks. Smoking also leaves a much stronger smell and isn’t thought to be as efficient as vaping.

  • Not as efficient: Smokers typically go through their stash a lot quicker than those who vape it. Once you smoke a joint, it’s gone. But when you vape, the herb is cooked a lot slower, and this gives users the opportunity to extract every last drop of THC.
  • Health risks: We have already discussed this issue in quite a bit of detail, but ultimately smoking does pose more a health risk than vaping. When any plant is combusted, it produces carcinogens, tar, and other by-products. This is an unavoidable consequence of smoking.
  • Less control: You can’t do much to control the effects of smoking. You can take smaller puffs, find a strain with less THC, or roll your joint a little tighter, but that’s about it. And as for temperature, you have absolutely no control. Vaping allows for a lot more control over the whole experience.
  • Less nuance flavor: It’s a lot harder to determine the differences between strains when you smoke marijuana. If you are a very experienced smoker, it’s possible, but vaping allows for much more distinct flavor profile. At the higher temperatures of smoking, most of the terpenes that give weed its unique smell are depleted.
  • Strong smoke smell: For most people, the smell of smoke is terrible. And smoke leaves everything stinking; from your hair and your clothes to your room or the area that you were smoking in. Especially in confined spaces, like a living ruin, smoke can ruin furniture over a period of time. The benefit of vapor is that it dissipates into the air ten times faster than smoke.

Final Thoughts on Vaping vs. Smoking

Vaping is becoming increasingly popular among marijuana users. A big reason for this has got to do with the health benefits when compared to smoking. But, at the end of the day there are pros and cons for both methods. It’s all up to personal preference. Listen to your body and decide what you are in the mood for. It’s all about understanding what you want from your marijuana experience.

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