Both smoking and vaping carry risks, but all else being equal – vaping is a healthier choice. And while there are risks to both it should be remembered that the risks are far less than smoking tobacco in either case.
With medicinal and recreational cannabis now legal, a lot of folks are wondering what the healthiest way to enjoy cannabis is – the traditional route of smoking cannabis flower or going for the more modern vaping option.
On the one hand, smoking cannabis flower is pretty tried and true – but that doesn’t mean people aren’t concerned about what that smoke might do to their lungs as well as their short and long-term health prospects. This is especially true of medical patients with conditions that may preclude smoking.
On the other hand, vaping cannabis has been advertised as a healthier alternative, but people are understandably more than a little bit nervous about whether or not the additives in vaping cartridges are really as side effect free as they’ve been told they are.
In this quick guide we dig a little deeper into everything you need to know about the safety of smoking or vaping cannabis, giving you a complete picture of both options and helping you settle on the safest approach moving forward.
Let’s dig right in!
The Risk Factors of Vaping
A recent study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth University concluded that when asked the overwhelming majority of people that vape cannabis believe it to be significantly safer and less harmful to their health and well-being than smoking cannabis flower.
At the same time, researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have already identified more than 450 cases of vaping related long illnesses directly linked to cannabis and nicotine vape cartridges. However, this link to VAPI seems to be correlated with the use of additives in the contents of the vape, especially Vitamin E oil.
It’s true that vaping technology reduces the amount of potentially harmful toxins that can be found in cannabis smoke, carcinogens that are released (more than 100 of them, in fact) when cannabis is burned.
By gently heating cannabis concentrates rather than combusting cannabis flower that these toxins are eliminated almost entirely – though it’s impossible to know what each individual cannabis vape juice cartridge includes as far as additives are concerned. That’s why pure oil is a better choice for vape cartridges. However you can also vape concentrates such as shatter and BHO and distillate.
It is also imperative to vape at the correct temperatures. Benzene has a boiling point of 200C, so it would stand to reason that vaping below this temperature would be a safer option. You also get a different terpene profile at different temperatures. Therefore not only can sub 200 C temperatures reduce the risk of ingesting carcinogens such as benzene, it can also enhance the flavour due to he fact that your terpenes aren”t getting burned off. Stay tuned for our Vaping Temperature Guide in upcoming posts.
How to Minimize the Risks Associated with Vaping
- Vape unadulterated products
- Use high quality vaporizers
- Vape at the correct temperatures
Smoking Cannabis Risk Factors
Smoking cannabis will inevitably release some carcinogens into your body and your lungs (substances that may lead to cancer), simply because cannabis is just like any other plant that you combust when you are smoking it.
Researchers at UCLA working as part of the Cannabis Research Initiative found that combusting any plant produces more carcinogens than vaporizing the same plant material. If you are concerned about the dangers of smoking cannabis it may be prudent to give a “dry herb” vaporizer a try. However A recent study shows that there is no increased risk of cancers associated with cannabis use.
Which is the Safer Approach?
At the end of the day it certainly looks like vaporizing cannabis is a smarter and safer approach – provided you are only ever consuming unadulterated products.
In all the instances the CDC has found with individuals suffering from serious health risks because of vaporizing they found that the cartridges included chemicals that shouldn’t have been there, chemicals that weren’t disclosed to have been included, and chemicals that were undoubtably added to those cannabis formulas as “filler agents”. Fortunately, King Canna doesn’t stock such cartridges at all. Our vape cartridges are filled with pure THC distillate, that has not been adulterated with Propylene Glycol (PG) or any other additives.
So, smoking cannabis flower is probably better than vaping adulterated “juice” products, but it releases more known carcinogens into your body than vaping the same flower.
All in all, both options have their benefits and their drawbacks. Because vaping is still so new we simply can’t know what the long-term side effects might be, but the science on the carcinogens smoking cannabis is pretty clear at this point in time.
Only you are going to be able to determine the kind of risk factors that you are willing to contend with. Vaping certainly looks like it could be the healthier alternative, and the odds are pretty good that it’ll only get healthier and healthier as time goes on and the cannabis industry becomes more mature and technology advances..