Weed is a great plant, and that's why the benefits of medical marijuana are finally being recognized throughout the country. With more states legalizing weed than ever before, people are allowed to explore the benefits of Mary Jane for themselves with less worry than ever before.
As people become more and more educated about marijuana consumption, news of risks involving smoking weed are starting to surface—and people are fighting back using the newfound technology known as vaping.
But, is vaping weed really that much safer than lighting up a joint? We decided to take a look at the truth behind the talk.
First, why are people saying that smoking weed has risks?
We need to set the record straight, here: smoking is bad, period. Smoking anything ignites the entire herb, which causes a harsh inhale. Because the entire herb is incinerated at such a high heat, you'll end up inhaling ash, which turns into tar. Tar is carcinogenic.
Inhaling smoke also means that you're exposing yourself to carbon dioxide released during the combustion process. Inhaling that stuff isn't good for you either.
All of this is true regardless of what herb you're smoking. There's a "baseline of bad" that comes with smoking.
That being said, smoking weed is not as bad as smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes contain nicotine and chemical additives that have been long linked to lung, mouth, and throat cancer. Smoking weed means you don't get nicotine and other additives.
So, smoking weed is kinda bad, but what about vaping? Isn't that the same?
A common misconception weed newbies have is that smoking and vaping are the same thing. Both involve inhaling from a pipe (or pen) and then exhaling some sort of vapor or smoke. To the untrained eye, they could look very similar.
But, they're not. The reason why vaping cannabis is better than smoking weed deals with the way that weed's goods are being administered.
Let's talk about why we need heat to enjoy weed, shall we?
To fully understand the differences between smoking weed and vaping weed, you're going to need to understand how people get high from the herb. THC and other compounds need to be released through heat in order to be enjoyed.
When you light up a joint, you're starting a chemical combustion process. In other words, you're lighting something on fire. The heat from the fire is what unlocks the THC, terpenes, and cannabidiol that you enjoy inhaling. Stoners know this as decarboxylation.
Heat is what causes weed to be "activated." Smoking weed is the earliest way people knew how to gain access to the THC inside. All you need to enjoy it is light it on fire and inhale the smoke as the THC is released. It's simple!
Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, smoke is bad.
All the benefits you get from weed are received through the release of THC, cannabidiol, and terpenes in heat.
The reason why people love weed is because of the compounds that are locked in it. However, if you think about it, you might have noticed that people never eat raw cannabis to get high. Rather, they'll enjoy Burnie Brownies, smoke it, and vape it.
Without having the compounds unlocked, cannabis acts pretty similarly to any other plant. You need heat to access those compounds!
The cool thing about decarboxylation is that you don't need to burn weed in order to have the compounds get released.
Fire is thousands of degrees in temperature, but the funny thing is that weed doesn't need that high a temperature to get "activated." In fact, studies have shown that temperatures as low as 313 degrees can let THC sublimate into a vapor that's inhalable.
The actual plant itself needs an even higher temperature to burn. People who enjoy vaping weed are using a device that allows the THC and other compounds to sublimate into an inhalable vapor while keeping the leaf intact.
When you're vaping weed, it's important to remember that the stuff you're inhaling isn't actually smoke.
Though vaping looks a lot like smoking in terms of inhaling and exhaling puffs of stuff, there's a huge distinction here. Vaping doesn't produce smoke; it produces vapor.
Vaping cannabis means that you're vaporizing the compounds by getting them to reach a temperature higher than their boiling point while keeping the herb intact. The cannabis itself is not being burned to a crisp, so there's no tar.
With smoke, you aren't just inhaling the chemical compounds that are vaporized in the weed; you're also inhaling solid micro-particles from burned plant in the form of tar.
This is why vape pen smoke tends to be a lighter color than joint smoke, too.
Since vaping weed doesn't produce smoke, it avoids a lot of the pitfalls of smoking weed.
Inhaling tar and ash isn't a good look, even if it comes from Mary Jane. Since vaping reduces the amount of actual burning going on, it's pretty safe to say that vape pens are safer than regular blunt rolls on this end.
All things considered, it's not surprising that people are buying vape pens as a way to look out for their health while they get high.
However, vaping weed doesn't just reduce the amount of tar that you inhale.
If you smoke using a joint, then weed isn't the only thing that's being lit on fire. The blunt wraps that you're using to roll the joint also are going to be added into the smoke.
Though that doesn't seem like a bad thing, when you consider some of the additives wraps can have, it definitely leaves food for thought. Bleach to keep the wraps white? Metal in the form of gold? Dyes? You never know what's in the wraps you're using and how that could affect your health.
When you vape, you're not inhaling anything but the weed. That's a lot of peace of mind.
Then, there's the irritation issue that smoking has...
Inhaling anything at a very high temperature, such as gas that's recently been exposed to fire, is a major lung irritant. One of the other major perks of vaping cannabis is the lower temperature of the vapor that you're inhaling.
Inhaling lower temperature gas has been linked to less irritated lungs, making vaping a much better option for people who have sensitive lungs. Overall, choosing to vape cannabis will lead to fewer side effects.
The end result is that vaping weed is definitely healthier than smoking.
Every vice we have will have its perks and pitfalls, right? When it comes to the battle of vaping versus smoking, it's pretty clear that smoking is an inferior choice. Vaping, plain and simple, is better for you.