The Differences Between Smoking and Vaping Medical Marijuana


Over the past few years, state after state has legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal use, with Ohio being the latest. As more and more users of cannabis products are allowed to come from out of the dark to treat a multitude of medical ailments, they will find that the act of smoking marijuana has evolved.

Coincidentally, the trend of vaping has taken off during the same time frame as medical marijuana legalization. Because the conventional method of smoking marijuana can spark certain concerns (especially for those who suffer from lung-related illnesses) marijuana vaping is now the latest movement towards safe cannabis use. Still, there are questions to be answered when the vaping vs. smoking debate begins. Let’s take a look to clarify a few of the misconceptions associated with vaping.

Will vaping marijuana cause lung damage?

When vaping began to attract attention from the mainstream media, the biggest perceived benefit of vaping was the relative safety when compared with smoking. As E-cigs and vaping grew in popularity, many municipalities started enacting draconian anti-vaping laws. These laws treated the vapor produced by E-cigs and vaping as if they were just as dangerous as second-hand smoke produced by cigarettes. Lawmakers continually cited faulty studies, citing “the dangers of formaldehyde produced by vaping” as a justification for their bans. The studies have been largely disproven. On an anecdotal basis, those who quit cigarettes for E-cigs or vaping almost universally note healthier lungs and generally feel healthier.

As the marijuana vaping vs. smoking debate picks up steam (no pun intended), the obvious correlations between the two debates can’t be ignored. Whether smoked through a device such as a pipe or from a joint, marijuana produces smoke. The smoke comes from the organic matter of the leaf and bud, just as cigarette smoke is caused by the tobacco burning. The vapor caused by vaping is just that, vapor. Cannabis is heated to the point just before combustion to produce this vapor which contains the desired agents of the plant. The ingestion of nicotine or THC, without smoke, causes no known damage to the lungs of those who consume it. With the studies that have been conducted thus far, it is concluded that vaping is generally a safer alternative to smoking in the traditional fashion.

Is the quality of vaped marijuana the same?

Studies are now beginning to show the benefits of vaping marijuana. The delivery system can make a difference in the quality of what is ingested, but there is evidence that vaping delivers more THC than smoking does.

An Australian study reported that 95% of the cannabinoids present in concentrated cannabis vaping reaches the bloodstream. On the other hand, the great majority of smoke from a joint, pipe or bong (88%), is made up of mostly non-cannabinoids agents. Again, vaping shows up as a preferable method of THC ingestion.

For the time being, the negative stigma of both smoking and vaping medical marijuana is still lingering among much of the American public. However, as more states begin to consider the solid evidence of the medical benefits of cannabis, future conversations are sure to consist of “What’s the most effective way of consuming medical marijuana?” rather than debating if we should.

Interested in more information and articles like this one on medical marijuana? Check out MedWell Health & Wellness Centers on Facebook!  

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