Is vaping weed less harmful than smoking it? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Is vaping weed less harmful than smoking it?

Whether vaping weed is less harmful than smoking is a topic that raises more questions than answers. That’s because vaping is a relatively new phenomenon compared to smoking. As such, there are no long-term, comprehensive studies on vaping so far. However, vaping continues to gain popularity among marijuana users.

The answer to the question of whether vaping marijuana is less harmful than smoking is also dependent on the person you ask. For instance, some experienced marijuana users prefer smoking it in deeper breaths than vaping it. But, is this healthier than vaping? Or is vaping a healthier alternative?

You have probably seen someone using weed vape pen to vaporize marijuana. These devices are becoming increasingly popular as people prefer heating weed over burning it. Vaping, as a cannabis delivery method, can have several benefits. These are used by some people to argue for vaping weed and against smoking it.

Vaping versus Smoking Mechanisms

Vaping weed entails heating it to release its active ingredients in a vapor form. Marijuana users that vaporize it inhale this vapor, which they also release into the surrounding air when exhaling. Unlike smoking, vaping marijuana does not create smoke because no burning or combustion is involved.

The functionality and size of vaping products vary. For instance, some pens are portable while some vaporizers are desktop devices.

Smoking marijuana, on the other hand, is simply burning the herb and inhaling the smoke. Thus, combustion is involved and weed is burned or destroyed completely when a person smokes marijuana.

So, Is Vaping Pot Less Harmful than Smoking It?

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, people have died of vaping-related lung diseases. Four deaths have been reported so far concerning cannabis and nicotine-containing vapes.

In one death, a man died after using a vape pen for weed that he had purchased from a dispensary. There was also another report of a vape-related hospitalization involving a 26-year old man in Wisconsin. The man had vaped THC excessively and had to be induced into a medical coma. THC is the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. The man’s brother said that he could not breathe without assistance for a day because he had a weak heart.

With more states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, more reports on its health effects are emerging. This is raising more questions about the associated health effects of marijuana legalization and different consumption methods.

For instance, how does vaping weed affects a person as compared to smoking it? Currently, there is limited research on the matter. However, there is anecdotal evidence and data that can paint a picture of possible health risks.

Smoking Weed Releases Carcinogens and Tar into the Body

This is a major reason why a vaper can invest in the best vape pen for weed. Smoking weed releases carcinogens. These substances are capable of causing cancer. Cannabis or weed is just like other plants. And when any plant is burnt or combusted, more carcinogens are created.

Additionally, smoking weed releases tar which a smoker inhales. Essentially, smoking weed or any other material derived from a plant irritates, inflames, and causes potentially irreversible damage to the respiratory system.

Various carcinogens, irritants, toxins, and tar are released when any plant is burnt. And when a person smokes marijuana, these harmful compounds are ingested. Compounds of any smoke are generally harmful to human health. Marijuana smokers are also exposed to more tar than traditional cigarette smokers. That’s because they tend to inhale longer.

However, it’s crucial to note that when people switch from smoking to vaping marijuana, they notice improvements in their lung health. They also experience relatively less bronchitis. It’s, therefore, not surprising that recent studies have shown that people that vape marijuana perceive it less harmful and safer than smoking.

But, though these studies have suggested that vaping reduces the respiratory issues associated with smoking marijuana, more research is required to determine the long-term effects of vaping weeds.

Safety Is Determined By Your Vape Choice

There is a major caveat about marijuana vaping benefits. It all comes down to whether the vaper uses a good weed pen or a traditional vaporizer. Smoking weed via a bong, pipe, or any other method can release marijuana-based toxins. However, some vaping devices can also introduce carcinogens into the body.

Some of the devices for vaping in the current market are different from traditional vaporizers. When using a good device, a marijuana user puts the dried herb into the chamber of the vape. This is heated as if it is placed in an oven. Thus, the person inhales the vapor from the heating oven and this is what gets them high.

However, some devices use liquid-filled cartridges. These cartridges are attached to pens from which users inhale. As such, users inhale the heated, concentrated liquids that may contain carcinogens and contaminants that get into their bloodstream directly.

These contaminants can be introduced when growing weed or when creating and packaging the extract. Fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals can touch the marijuana plant while growing. However, even a person smoking weed via a bong or pipe can be affected by these toxins. But, using some pens can expose a marijuana user to more concentrated toxins.

Additionally, special solvents that may not be safe for the human body can be used to turn marijuana into the extract that is vaporized using some devices. Hexane and butane are particularly not good for the human body yet they can remain in the vaporized extract.

Carrier agents like glycerin can also be added to cannabis extract to ensure that it burns and heats smoothly when vaporized. Unfortunately, these agents have carcinogens. When heated to a high temperature in a weed vape pen, these contaminants can become more harmful.

Vaping Brings about a More High

When smoking weed, you may get a general idea of the amount of marijuana you consume. A vape pen may signal you once you reach a specific dose. However, you may not see weed physically. Thus, you vape without realizing the amount you consume. Consequently, you might get higher than you would when smoking weed.

The Bottom Line

It’s not clear whether vaping weed is less harmful than smoking it. That’s because vaping is a relatively new phenomenon. However, most cannabis users perceive vaping as less harmful than smoking. What’s more, the negative effects of smoking materials from any plant are already known. Nevertheless, more experimental research on vaping should be continued to determine with certainty whether vaping weed is less harmful than smoking it.

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