Most people know that cannabis can be smoked, but another option is vaporizing.
Vaporizing reduces the potentially harmful effects associated with inhaling smoke. Instead, all the ingredients that the particular strain being consumed offers can be benefitted from without the combustion that takes place when cannabis is smoked.
How it works
Vaporizers gently heat marijuana until it releases its active compounds without creating any smoke. This happens as the temperature achieved is below the combustion point of the plant, but high enough to be above the boiling point of some of the cannabinoids within it, like THC.
Doctors who prescribe cannabis for medical conditions often request that their patients use a vaporizer because they believe that it is better for lung health.
Research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests that using a vaporizer can actually reverse the respiratory symptoms that people who have smoked cannabis may suffer.
Take away: Research suggests that vaporizers are healthier for lungs than smoking.
When cannabis is smoked, approximately 88 percent of what is inhaled contains non-cannabinoid elements. This indicates that the quality of the smoke that is inhaled is superior when a vaporizer is used, because the gases inhaled consist of around 95 percent cannabinoids—the psychoactive elements that calm the mind and body.
Take away: Vaporizing cannabis emits a vapor that is 95 percent smoke and carcinogen free.
Many users note that the physiological effects felt differ dependent on whether cannabis is smoked or a vaporizer is used. This is because the chemistry of delivery is different, so the effect felt may be changed somewhat also. Some people report to prefer smoking, others say that vaporizing is better; really it is a personal choice based on the unique experiences of trying both.
CBD has a higher boiling point than THC, so it is present when cannabis is smoked, but not always when the lower temperatures of a vaporizer are used. This is certainly something that will change the experience and the type of “high” felt. Most reports explain that the high felt with vaporizers is more concentrated in the head and the body effect is less than that of smoking. This means that the consumer is not as sleepy and relaxed as they might feel when they smoke.
The dry mouth associated with smoking is avoided when a vaporizer is used. Vape highs are shorter than smoke highs, this means that the consumer will sober up faster; another factor which might be good in some situations but not as desirable in others.
Take away: vaporizing does change the effect felt. Consumer preference is key.
A recent study by California NORML and MAPS published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics showed that when a vaporizer was used, up to 46 percent of the THC present in the plant was converted into the vapor, which was then delivered to the participant. Smoking on the other hand only rendered 25 percent of the THC available.
Take away: Vaporizers allow a higher percent of THC to be consumed.
While purchasing a vaporizer is more expensive than purchasing a pipe, there is evidence to suggest that this is actually a more efficient, and, therefore, more cost effective method of cannabis consumption. Another study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs has suggested that patients rated the effect of using a vaporizer as more efficient than that of smoking, tea or edibles because a lesser quantity of the plant can be used.
Take away: In the long run, vaporizing may be more cost effective.