Cannabis consumption has evolved significantly over the years, offering users various methods to experience the plant’s benefits depending on preference and desired results. Two of the most commonly seen today are vaping and smoking. It’s important as a consumer to know the differences between puffing a vape pen or smoking a joint or glass pipe. Read on to learn more about the unique characteristics, potential impacts, and safety concerns.
Cannabis smoking, a time-honored and traditional method of consumption, involves inhaling the smoke produced by combusting dried cannabis flower. This approach allows individuals to experience the effects of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, in a relatively swift manner.
The process is straightforward: the cannabis flower is ground, rolled into a joint or packed into a pipe, and then lit with a lighter or similar. As the plant material combusts, it releases a flavorful array of compounds and terpenes that contribute to the unique and varied profiles of different cannabis strains. Inhaling the smoke from the combusted flower into your lungs allows the cannabinoids to quickly enter your bloodstream.
Smoking, appreciated by many for its ritualistic and social aspects, offers users a direct and immediate connection with the plant. It’s important to consider individual preferences and health factors when choosing this method, as it provides a distinct sensory experience that contributes to the rich tapestry of cannabis culture. A downside to consuming this way, is it actually wastes a portion of the terpenes and cannabinoids. However, 77% of cannabis patients still reported this as their favorite method of consumption in 2019.
Cannabis vaping has emerged as a modern and increasingly popular method of consumption, offering users a more controlled and nuanced experience. Unlike smoking, vaping doesn’t involve combustion; instead, it utilizes specialized devices to heat cannabis concentrates or flower to a temperature that releases the desired cannabinoids and terpenes without creating smoke. It instead turns into a cannabinoid and terpene rich vapor that can be inhaled.
This method provides a cleaner inhalation process, reducing exposure to harmful byproducts associated with combustion. Vaping allows users to savor the flavors and effects of different strains with precision, often featuring adjustable temperature settings for a personalized experience. This more controlled method of consumption helps contribute to a cleaner feeling high.
The discreet and portable nature of vape pens also adds to their appeal, making cannabis vaping a convenient and socially considerate choice for those seeking a modern approach to enjoying the therapeutic and recreational benefits of cannabis. Early studies suggest that the higher potency of cannabinoids produces stronger effects than smoking cannabis for infrequent users.
Whether one opts for smoking or vaping, we always recommend understanding the impact on one’s health. Smoking cannabis involves inhaling combusted plant material, which can introduce harmful byproducts into the respiratory system. Though the long-term health effects of smoking cannabis are still a subject of ongoing research, it’s advisable to be mindful of potential risks, particularly for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
While cannabis and tobacco smoke are not equally carcinogenic, studies indicate cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful carcinogens and chemicals as tobacco smoke. What you smoke cannabis flower with also impacts the effects, as a water pipe or bong may negate some of the issues that burning papers in joints presents.
On the other hand, vaping, when done responsibly with high-quality products (no harmful additives) and a properly designed device, is generally considered a safer alternative as it eliminates combustion-related byproducts. However, some vapes may contain additives and diluents (like PG/VG commonly used in nicotine products), and because cannabinoids vaporize at higher temperatures, this could produce vapor with harmful byproducts. Always avoid shopping illicit products, as they may contain dangerous acetates and can be fatal (vaping associated pulmonary injury).
Lower vape temperatures generally lean towards fewer things being inhaled beyond what is in the starting material. Vapor is also traditionally less hot and dense than smoke, meaning it is likely to be less irritating and physically damaging to your lungs (again, assuming you are consuming quality non additive products). Regardless of the chosen method, moderation, mindfulness, and adherence to safety guidelines contribute to a positive and health-conscious cannabis experience.
Don’t Ignore Expiration Dates
Being mindful of expiration dates is another great way to practice safe cannabis consumption. Just like any consumable product, cannabis and vape products have expiration dates for a reason. Using products beyond their expiration dates may not only compromise their potency and flavor but could also introduce potential health risks. It’s essential to check and adhere to these dates, especially with vape cartridges, to avoid inhaling degraded or potentially harmful substances.
As cannabis ages, its chemical composition can change. Exposure to air, light, and improper storage conditions can lead to the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes, impacting the flower’s overall efficacy. Additionally, the potential growth of mold or mildew becomes a concern with improperly stored cannabis, posing health risks when consumed. To ensure safety, consumers should store cannabis in a cool, dark, and airtight environment, regularly inspecting their supply for signs of aging or contamination.
By respecting expiration dates and choosing high-quality, regulated products, consumers contribute to a safer and more enjoyable cannabis experience, minimizing any potential risks associated with expired or compromised products. Education and awareness play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of responsible and health-conscious cannabis consumption.
As always, consulting with a medical professional is recommended. There is a lot to consider when starting cannabinoid therapy and a Realm of Caring care specialist is here to help with your questions. Contact us today by calling (719) 347-5400 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.