Is Vaping Weed Better Than Smoking?
As vaping weed continues to rise in popularity among the cannabis community it brings with it a question to many users’ lips: Is vaping weed better than smoking?
The answer is not that straightforward because, in this instance, “Better” depends on what you see as best. The other factor to be understood is that they are both quite different and your preference will depend upon what you are seeking from your favorite strain.
Before we get into what vaporization is and the pros and cons of vaping weed over smoking it, one thing is for sure; whether vaping or smoking your weed, both will get you ripped!
What is Vaporization?
The process of heating weed to a specific temperature below the point of combustion in a vaporizer is known as vaporization. Once that temperature is reached it produces a stream of vapor for the user to inhale.
There are a variety of vaping products made specifically for weed smokers however it is possible to “hack” standard nicotine vapes to work with weed.
Those who vape do not need a flame to start the process. Instead, the heating methods are known as convection and conduction. These methods work by regulating temperature to ensure the weed a) does not burn, and b) does not produce smoke.
Many weed vapers find the experience gives a fuller flavor and is easier/smoother to inhale than if smoking a joint. That is because when smoking, combustion is caused through a flame that is directly applied to the weed. This action produces smoke and gives the smoker a harsher hit.
Is Vaping Weed Healthier Than Smoking it?
Due to the lack of extensive tests on how vaping weed affects a user’s health, the jury is still out on whether vaping weed is healthier than smoking it. However, it is recognized that vaping cuts out a lot of the harmful tar and other unwanted by-products that smoking brings.
It should also be said that many in the industry see vaporization as being the recommended way of administering medicinal cannabis.
But there are things that those who regularly vape weed need to be very aware of and a major factor here is the vaping device(s) used. These must be of high quality.
There are a lot of cheap vaping devices out there that really could harm your health and need to be avoided. When looking at vaping devices users should stick to reputable brands and trusted devices. This is one area where paying more really is a sensible route to take.
Do not go for vaporizers that are designed so that the vapor passes through materials such as plastic, glue, or rubber, and any that consists of soldering near the device’s heating elements.
Do go for vaporizers where the vapor only passes through materials such as ceramic, quartz, or stainless steel.
The Benefits of Weed Vaping Over Smoking it
Weed has been smoked in various forms for centuries. Vaping is a much more recent method for those looking to receive the desired effects. With that in mind here are some standout benefits of weed vaping over smoking it:
A more pronounced flavor
Vaping typically gives a more pronounced flavor than if weed is smoked. Using a good quality vaping device means you can identify (through taste) more of a distinction between cannabis strains.
When smoking weed it often obliterates taste as well as the subtle differences between strains. Having said this, those who vape should be aware that the flavor will greatly reduce as you come to the end of your hit.
The majority of quality weed vaporizers come with adjustable heat settings. While this gives you greater temperature control throughout your smoking session it does require trial and error to find the best vaping temperature.
Because there is still a lot of misunderstanding on what temperatures are right for vaping, this needs clearing up.
The majority of users vape flowers or concentrates at far too high a temperature. Many will have heard the term “Dabbing at 710” and relate this to meaning the temperature should be 710ºF. That is way too hot.
When using buds the temperature should be set between 325-430ºF. That is hot enough and will not compromise the high you receive or ruin the bud. The best way to find the temperature that suits you is to start at the low end (325ºF) and gradually increase the temperature.
As for concentrates, these have less plant material than straight buds. This means you can go for a higher temperature between 400-600ºF. However, many experienced weed vapers claim that you should not go over 500ºF as this will compromise the full flavor spectrum as well as the cannabinoids/terpenes balance.
Once you master the temperature and use of your vape device you will extract the cannabinoids contained in the dry herb more gradually and effectively. It will soon be the case that you achieve multiple hits from a single pack. Once these sessions are over you will also have AVB (Already Vaped Bud).
AVB can be used in a variety of ways such as for tea, making edibles, or even as an emergency smoke. That is not the case when smoking weed as the combustion of your bud simply turns it to ash.
Discreet and convenient
The convenience of vaping means no lighter or matches are required and as vaporizers do not require any external heat source you will not be left with a bag of weed and no lighter!
Far more importantly, when vaping weed it does not produce so much of an odor as when smoking a joint (particularly at lower vaping temperatures). This is very useful for those who want to smoke under the radar!
The Cons of Vaping Over Smoking it
It is only fair to give the potential downsides of weed vaping over smoking it. With that in mind, here are four potential cons that vapers need to be aware of:
The learning curve
Smoking weed is a very straightforward process. When vaping weed there is a substantial learning curve involved. Trial and error will be part of this process because you need to grind and pack it correctly to get the best effect, become efficient at adjusting the settings of the device, and then inhale it correctly.
Your vaping device requires maintenance
As opposed to smoking weed, your vaping device requires maintenance if you are to keep the vaporizer clean, in top condition, and achieve the best performance from it. This means that after every few vaping sessions you need to clean your vape device.
While you will not require a lighter when vaping you must regularly charge your device. If the device is not charged (or you do not have access to a power source) then you are out of luck.
On the plus side, once your quality portable vaping device is fully charged it allows for several sessions before the need to recharge it.
This is probably the major stumbling block for many traditional weed smokers. As mentioned if you do intend to vape then a quality vaping device should be brought. While there are a few fairly decent and relatively inexpensive vape devices out there, the majority of quality ones can run upwards of $100.
You then need to add to this the purchase of a good grinder. This is particularly the case if you are using a portable vape that runs on conduction heating (the vast majority do).
A grinder is necessary to achieve a medium to fine weed grind. Correct grinding will give consistency and ensure that your device functions most effectively. This is because the grinding process increases the surface area of your bud and then allows for more effective extraction of all cannabinoids and terpenes.
Getting used to a different kind of high
This can be seen as a con but it is fun to experiment and find out for yourself! Those who are regular weed smokers will find that the effects of vaporizing cannabis are quite different from what they are used to.
Make no mistake, vaping weed correctly will still get you seriously faded but when compared to smoking weed it is not as heavy.
Is Vaping Weed Better Than Smoking?
As mentioned at the beginning of the piece, ‘better’ is subjective. Died-in-the-wool weed smokers may well be reluctant to change their ways and to be truthful there is no real need for them to do that.
As for those who are into vaping weed, the use of a quality vape device, learning how to use it most effectively, and keeping it clean as well as charged will get them exactly where they want to be time and again.
For anyone who is currently sitting on the fence (either as a weed smoker or someone who vapes weed) here’s a suggestion; try them both! The reason for stating this is that in certain situations one can better fulfill your needs than the other.
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