What’s The Difference Between Vaping Versus Smoking Marijuana?

Ask The Genie - The Dispensary Genie Answers Your Cannabis Questions

Prohibition of Marijuana is nearly over – now that 22 states have either decriminalized or legalized recreational cannabis. Innovative ways to consume the newly legal cash crop are emerging quicker than enthusiasts can sample them. Vaporizing marijuana and it’s concentrated oils is becoming a favored delivery system for lifetime users and first timers alike. This is because vaporizing marijuana is safer, more economical, and arguably better tasting. If you already use cannabis and are looking for a better way to consume it or you are considering trying marijuana and want to do so with minimal risk – vaporizing may be the best option for you.


The difference between smoking marijuana and vaping it is combustion. When cannabis is smoked, it is ignited and allows active cannabanoids like THC and CBD to be absorbed along with a slew of other chemicals including carbon monoxide. When cannabis is vaporized it is heated enough to release the active cannabanoids into a water vapor – allowing them to be inhaled. Marijuana Vapor contains more THC and other cannabis because they are not destroyed by too much heat. Because vapor is cooler than smoke and doesn’t contain hash chemicals like carbon monoxide, it has less negative effects on a user’s lungs.


Vaporizing marijuana is more economical than smoking it. A smoked joint only delivers about 10% of the THC to a user because of combustion and top/side smoke. Vaporization can allow a user to consume 70% – 90% of the THC in the same marijuana. With this in mind, seasoned users turn to vaporization as a method of economizing their use. Although the initial investment can be daunting (around $300 for a quality portable model like the PAX) enthusiasts will quickly pay for their device in saved product. Many who consider themselves aficionados prefer the taste of a vaporizer over smoked marijuana. For this reason connoisseurs and industry professionals use vaporizers to judge cannabis competitions like the Cannabis Cup.


Vapor pens are popular options for those who wish to consume cannabis as low profile as possible. These devices resemble e-cigarettes and are easier to use in public without raising eyebrows. One downside to vapor pens is that many utilize an glycerin based delivery system. THC is saturated into glycerin so it can be easily heated into vapor by the pens battery. Recent studies indicate that the solution can contain harmful levels of carbon monoxide. Vapor pens and other portable vaporizers are available that do not use liquid glycerin. These devices are called dry herb vaporizers and need no special cartridges or fluids. They simple need fine ground plant material (like that you would roll a cigarette with). Popular models for those who want to try to replace smoking marijuana with vaping are the Magic Flight Launch box (for around $120) and the Snoop Dogg’s Dry Herb G-pen (approximatively $90). These models both use plant material to produce vapor.


With all the advantages of vaporizing you may wonder “why are people still smoking it?” One answer is price. The cost of buying a decent vaporizer detracts interest from many casual users who use infrequently enough to disregard health benefits and economic advantages. Even those who can afford vaporizers and understand the positive aspects associated with them can be wary of regular maintenance required and making sure their device is charged. Also, in states that are slow to make progress in legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis – vaporizers are simply another piece of paraphernalia to potentially land you in jail. As marijuana becomes a regular part of American life, so too will the vaporizer.