Smoking Cannabis Vs. Vaporizing Cannabis

There are really only two basic ways to inhale cannabis: smoking, or vaping. While it might seem like vaping’s the obviously superior choice, it’s actually a bit more nuanced than that — which is why we’ve outlined the pros and cons of both methods, covering everything from flavor and potency, to health and convenience.

Vaporizing marijuana is a common technique for consuming marijuana, while at the same time negating many irritating respiratory toxins that exists within the grown marijuana flower and are released when smoked. Conversely, vaporizing cannabis allows one to get at all of the psychoactive ingredients available within that specific strain of marijuana , minus the combustion that ordinarily takes place during consumption. The basic design of the average marijuana vaporizer is to allow marijuana smokers to inhale the many active Cannabinoids, while at the same time avoiding any of the harmful elements that may exist on that specific flower… although invisible to the naked eye.


There is a vast difference in the quality of smoke that one receives when they are vaporizing marijuana vs smoking marijuana. When one smokes a joint, or hits their bong approximately 88% of the combusted smoke gases contain non-cannabinoid elements, most of which do not get you high and provide potential health risks. Conversely when one is vaporizing marijuana the gases that they are inhaling consists of approximately 95% cannabinoids, otherwise known as the psychoactive ingredients that both calm the mind and soothe the body. Vaporizers release approximately 46% of THC from the weed, while regular joints convert about 25%. Joints burn off the cannabinoids even if it’s not inhaled. Basically, 30% of the ganja disappears into thin air. Vaporizers, on the other hand, only emit what’s being inhaled, which saves on the cost of weed. Despite all the science in favor of vaporizers, it seems as if the effects don’t last quite as long, trailing off more quickly than the same amount of smoked cannabis — anecdotally, at least. Plus, while a well-calibrated vaporizer should theoretically get all of the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the plant material and down your gullet, there’s still room for error if the vape’s temperature isn’t set correctly.


Vaporization‘s the clear winner in the health department: while burning cannabis plant matter (just like tobacco and any other smoked product) creates a lot of tar and other carcinogens, a proper vaporization releases primarily just the essential oils of the plant because it stays below the point of combustion. These essential oils contain the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes which give cannabis its effects, so in essence, vaporization gives you all the good stuff and very little of the bad.


Perhaps the main reason that portable vapes have become so common is because they are much more discreet than smoking. Smoking a joint exudes a very distinguishable weed smell, which sticks to one’s clothes and fingers. Vaporized weed disappears much faster into the air, and it doesn’t have that “tar-like” quality to it. It’s much fresher.

Ease of use

Even though pushing a button on a USB-rechargeable vaporizer seems infinitely easier than loading a bowl or rolling a joint, these devices can come with their own unique hassles. Especially in the case of flower vaporizers, the process of loading the tiny chamber can be a headache, as can cleaning out the vaporized plant material when you’re done — something that seems to take only a couple puffs on many units. Also, a portable vaporizer will eventually run out of battery and have to be recharged, possibly leaving you not-so-high and dry if you forget to plug it in and don’t have a USB port available.

Sure, lighting things on fire can seem primitive at times, but it’s still a reliable and easy way to consume cannabis. If you have a small pipe or rolling papers and a lighter or matches, you can smoke in practically any condition. Plus, smoking basically gives you the same experience every time, whereas a vaporizer with a weak battery may give you a wispy, worthless hit that’ll just waste your weed.

Many users also complain about the aftertaste vaporizers can have if they’re not kept extremely clean, which brings us to the next point…


Vaporization has the aforementioned advantage of not actually burning the plant material, which gives a clean (if rather soft) flavor, free from the at-times harsh and woody finish you get with smoking. The taste of ganja is much clearer from vapes, one can really taste the delicious terpene profiles and the unique ganja genetics. The highs feel much more uplifting rather than heavy on the body. It’s like a refreshing psychedelic experience.

What about time?

Most vaporizers today can be ready in a few seconds to just a couple of minutes. Loading a vaporizer takes about the same amount of time as it does to load a conventional pipe or a bowl. Smoking a joint can take longer than taking a few pulls on a vape-pen device. However, the tradeoff is that it continues burning even when you’re not inhaling. This translates to a waste of marijuana.

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So, there you have it.

When it comes down to it, vaping weed may be healthier and contain fewer carcinogens, but it all comes down to how you feel. One high may last longer, but the other may provide more of the health benefits of the compounds found in cannabis.

In short, try both and see which one you prefer!

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