Smoking v. Vaping – The Difference is in the Combustion

As the legalization of marijuana becomes increasingly widespread, it’s inevitable that the Cannabis industry will continue to innovate new and exciting ways to serve up the plant’s age-old benefits. As we continue to educate ourselves on the innumerable benefits of cannabis, everything from CBD granola bars to automatic dosing vape pens are hitting the market.

This is an incredibly exciting time, especially for the smoking averse. People who’ve stuck their noses up at “weed” in the past are regularly enjoying chocolate-dipped blueberry edibles. Habitual ibuprofen poppers are ditching the pills and relying on cannabis to alleviate their joint pain. Those of us who used to unwind with a glass of Pinot Noir are cutting back on alcohol intake in favor of a CBD gummy or two.

Enter Vaping…

Cannabis vaporizing — familiarly, vaping — describes inhalation by way of heat without combustion. The process of heating the plant converts it into a gas from its solid or liquid state. Rocket scientist-turned-writer Jacqueline Havelka reminds us that, “Although cannabis smoke is less toxic than cigarette smoke, inhalation of any combustion product is less than desirable. Any type of smoke still contains gases and particulates that can create lung irritation and respiratory problems. In fact, over 100 toxins and compounds are released when cannabis is burned.”

Vaporizers are specifically designed to allow inhalation without the toxins produced by smoke. However, this is not to say that vaping eliminates the inhalation of all harmful toxins and compounds — it simply reduces the risk of exposure to significantly more toxic chemicals. While research is still being conducted on the risks of vaping, analysis has shown that it produces fewer carcinogenic compounds than smoking due to the lack of combustion.

Vape pens are sold in many different styles and at many different price points. As a relatively new product, studies have not yet established if there’s a difference between the effects vaping and smoking provide.  But as popularity continues to rise, we can expect more research on the subject.

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