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Vaping Marijuana Gets You Way, Way Higher Than Smoking It, Study Finds

Scientists have proved that inhaling vaporized marijuana will get you, like, way higher than smoking the exact same amount of weed.

The new research, led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit in Baltimore, tested the effects of smoked versus vaped marijuana on 17 participants who had smoked marijuana before, though not in the 30 days before the study’s start (participants had smoked once in the last year, on average). Over the course of six 8.5-hour sessions, these participants got very, very high for science.

The study was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, though one of the study’s authors reported that he has previously received fees from, or consulted for, companies with ties to cannabis. [25 Odd Facts About Marijuana]

During each session, participants either smoked or vaped a dose of marijuana containing 0 milligrams, 10mg or 25mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the primary psychoactive component in cannabis. While each participant ended up both smoking and vaping all three possible doses over their six sessions, they were blind to how much THC they were consuming each time. The participants were kept in the dark in order to prevent bias while filling out a subsequent drug-impairment questionnaire — which, as every pot enthusiast knows, is the most fun thing you can do while super-high.

In addition to self-reporting how stoned they felt via questionnaire, participants were also subjected to a battery of physical and cognitive tests throughout the duration of each high. The stoners had their heart rates and blood pressures measured 10 times over 8 hours, and were asked to complete computerized tasks that involved replicating shapes on a screen, solving simple addition equations and responding to two different stimuli simultaneously with a mouse and a computer keyboard. Again: The apex of weed-enabled fun.

The results of these tests showed that, first of all, inhaling a 25mg dose of THC will get you really, really high, regardless of whether it was smoked or vaped. (After taking this dosage, two participants vomited, and another experienced hallucinations.) Likewise, for both smokers and vapers the majority of drug effects — including high heart rate, dry mouth, red eyes, paranoia and the munchies — peaked within the first hour after getting high, and sometimes did not return to baseline levels for more than 8 hours. (Often, these effects persisted for hours after the participants’ blood THC concentration returned to normal.)

Overall, the effects of vaping proved much more potent at every dosage.

“Vaporized cannabis produced significantly greater subjective drug effects, cognitive and psychomotor impairment, and higher blood THC concentrations than the same doses of smoked cannabis,” the researchers wrote in their study, published today (Nov. 30) in the journal JAMA Network Open.

At both the high and low doses, vaped weed resulted in significantly higher concentrations of THC in participants’ blood than smoked weed. And the vapers made roughly twice as many mistakes on the cognitive tests and felt greater negative drug effects, including dry mouth, itchy eyes and paranoia, than the smokers did.

Simply put: Vaporized weed got people higher. And, according to the researchers, their doses weren’t even that strong compared to what’s commercially available.

“Notably, the highest dose of cannabis administered in this study (25mg of THC: 0.19 g; 13.4 percent THC) is substantially smaller and has a lower THC concentration than what is typically contained in pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes available for purchase in cannabis dispensaries, which commonly contain roughly 1.0 g of cannabis with THC concentrations often exceeding 18 percent,” the study authors wrote.

With recreational weed now legal in nine American states and all throughout Canada, it’s important to remember that even moderate amounts of THC can have significant impairing effects on casual consumers, and that not all methods of consuming cannabis are created equal.

Originally published on Live Science.

In a new study, 17 willing participants got very, very high for science — and they found that vaping marijuana is way stronger than smoking the exact same amount.

The Ultimate Guide to Vaping vs Smoking Weed

Today you’ll learn the pros and cons of vaping your weed vs. smoking it.

You’ll also learn whether vaping marijuana is safe and how you can vape in the safest possible manner.

Of course, it all starts with getting a safe vaporizer.

Let’s begin. First up…

The Adverse Effects of Smoking Weed

Smoking, whether its marijuana, tobacco, or any other plant material:

  • Irritates;
  • Inflames, and;
  • Potentially causes irreversible damage to our delicate respiratory system.

Burning plants like marijuana causes the release of toxins, irritants, tar, and various carcinogens.

When you smoke, you ingest all these harmful compounds into your body. Decades-long research has proven that compounds found in marijuana smoke are extremely harmful to human health.

  • Tar is scientifically proven to damage lungs, airways, and mouth through the numerous toxic elements in it. Plus it covers the cilia in the lungs causing them to stop working and potentially die;
  • Marijuana smoke contains at least 50 known cancer-causing substances. The most well researched and documented is benzyprene, which alters gene P53, a tumor suppressor gene.

Cannabis smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke. And although no clear links have yet been found between smoking cannabis and cancer, smoking cannabis could increase your risk of lung cancer, exactly because it contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

While some studies emphasize this last point that cannabis smoke could increase cancer risk,В otherВ studiesВ conclude that there are no links between smoking marijuana and lung cancer.

The bottom line is that the effects of marijuana smoke on cancer risk are far from conclusive at this point in time.

But what we do know with certainty is that smoking cannabis has been shown to increase respiratory symptoms like:

  • the smoker’s cough;
  • wheeze;
  • sputum production;
  • general airway inflammation;
  • trouble exhaling.

So even though it remains unclear whether smoking cannabis increases your risk of lung cancer, it’s a fact that smoking cannabis will damage your respiratory system in other ways.

And don’t think these are only ‘light’ or relatively harmless conditions.

There have, in fact, been several studies that found cases of heavy cannabis smokers having cases of severe bullous lung disease and pneumothorax (both of which are conditions that can cause irreversible lung damage):

  • Beshay, M., Kaiser, H., Niedhart, D., Reymond, M. A., & Schmid, R. A. (2007). Emphysema and secondary pneumothorax in young adults smoking cannabis. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 32(6), 834–838. В https://doi.org/10.1016/j. ejcts.2007.07.039
  • Lee, M. H., & Hancox, R. J. (2011). Effects of smoking cannabis on lung function. Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, 5(4), 537–547. В https://doi.org/10.1586/ers. 11.40
  • Goodyear, K., Laws, D., & Turner, J. (2004). Bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax in a cannabis smoker. JRSM, 97(9), 435–436. В https://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm. 97.9.435
  • Fiorelli, A., Accardo, M., Vicidomini, G., Messina, G., Laperuta, P., & Santini, M. (2013). Does cannabis smoking predispose to lung bulla formation? Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 22(1), 65–71. В https://doi.org/10.1177/ 0218492313478954

The Alternative: Vaping Weed with Dry Herb Vaporizers

Vaping weed can be done in different ways. Some of the earliest adopters vaped weed with a light bulb, which is something I don’t recommend doing because it comes with its own set of health risks.

The most straightforward way to vape weed is with a dry herb vaporizer that’s specifically designed to vape weed.

A dry herb vaporizer works through the following 3-step process:

  1. It heats your marijuana to a temperature that’s below its combustion point;
  2. It converts the active ingredients in your marijuana (cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids) into smokeless & inhalable vapor;
  3. It delivers this vapor directly to your mouth, so you can inhale it.

The 5 Biggest Benefits of Vaping Weed vs Smoking It

There’s no doubt:

The biggest benefit of vaping your weed, instead of smoking it, is related to health.

1. Vaping Weed instead of Smoking It Reduces Your Exposure to Harmful Compounds

Studies have shown that marijuana vapor contains significantly lessВ tar, carcinogens, and other toxic by-productsВ than marijuana smoke.

Burning plant material creates a multitude of compounds that are harmful to human health. By vaping you reduce your exposure to these compounds significantly.

But this doesn’t mean that vaping marijuana is 100% safe. Vaping doesn’t reduce your exposure to harmful compounds completely. By vaping your marijuana you’ll still get exposed to a small fraction of the toxic by-products that you would’ve gotten exposed to if you smoked.

How much vaping exactly reduces your exposure to harmful compounds remains unclear, but research of Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, estimates thatВ e-cigarettes can be up to 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. While they didn’t specifically study marijuana vapor vs marijuana smoke, one study found that marijuana smoke contains over 111 toxic byproducts that were present in the vapor.

Although prevention is key in health-related matters, if you already have respiratory issues caused by smoking marijuana, getting a quality vaporizer could be the solution, and here is why:

Research suggests switching to a vaporizer can reverse respiratory symptoms caused by smoking cannabis.

It’s important to note that when you vape at a temperature above 392В°F(200В°C) you risk inhaling benzene and other toxic by-products. Less than with smoking, but still more than you would, staying below 392В°F(200В°C).

It’s also important to note that if you get a vaporizer from an unregulated market or unauthorized dealer, you risk getting clones or vaporizers with very low-quality and sometimes even dangerous materials, like lead solderings near the heating element. Inhaling lead is extremely toxic. When buying a vaporizer always make sure that you get it from an authorized dealer!

Also, read up on vaporizer safety before buying a vaporizer.

2. Vaping Weed is Cheaper than Smoking It

This might sound strange, but getting an ‘expensive’ vaporizer will actually save you large amounts of money in the long run. This holds especially true if you’re a heavy user.

The two biggest factors that make vaping weed cheaper than smoking it, are:

  • In cannabis vapor there’s up to an 80% more dense concentration of cannabinoids than in cannabis smoke (study);
  • By using a vaporizer, the vapor goes directly from the herb chamber into your mouth without having any chance to dissipate into the air. If you light up a joint, you will waste cannabinoids because of the smoke that simply dissipates into the air (and can never be retrieved) from the tip of the joint.

With a vaporizer, you will use less herb to get the same level of medication.

Over a period of a few years, this can add up to thousands of dollars (depending on how heavy of a user you are). Generally, it’s safe to say that you will use at least twice as little cannabis to achieve the same effects as smoking it

What’s more, vaporizing marijuana with the right temperature, leads to an even higher concentration of cannabinoids as found in this study.

A higher concentration of cannabinoids not only increases the protective qualities of your vapor but also gives you more value for your money.

3. Get a Cleaner Taste

Although smoking pure marijuana tastes well, with a vaporizer it’s much easier to taste all the subtle differences in flavor between different strains.

Because there are almost no toxic by-products, the taste is purer and cleaner.

Plus, you can really control your flavor with the temperature settings of your vaporizer, really fine-tuning your vaping experience.

Terpenes are the compounds that give different cannabis strains their unique taste and smell. Most terpenes have a low boiling point. If you keep the temperature setting of your vaporizer between 320°F(160°C) – 356°F(180°C), you will get a much stronger and cleaner flavor than smoking can ever possibly give you.

4. Your Clothes and Room Won’t be Stinking of Smoke

One thing that I absolutely hate about smoking is the smell it leaves you with.

Especially in a confined space like a living room, over a longer period of time, smoke can ruin furniture.

One benefit of vapor is that it dissipates 10 times faster into the air than smoke.

Smoke keeps lingering around for days in your clothes and furniture. Tar, which is a by-product of burnt plant material, sticks on surfaces and fabrics, and if not removed can stay there for years.

5. Stop Producing Second-Hand Smoke

Don’t you hate it when someone is puffing his cigarettes right next to your face?

Besides the fact that it’s annoying as hell, it’s extremely unhealthy as well.

As it turns out:

If you vape your weed, you won’t be poisoning anyone with second-hand smoke.

This is especially important if you smoke at home.

Because in a confined space like a house room, the effects of second-hand smoke are even more disastrous for your health, but more importantly the health of your loved ones.

The Downsides of Vaping vs. Smoking Marijuana

Vaping Gives You a Different high

It’s true that vaping doesn’t give you the exact same high as a joint or big hit from a bong.

Smoking has a stronger (not necessarily better though!) effect on the body and the mind, giving you the typical sludgy lethargic feeling.

It’s that well-known feeling of tiredness, that in some cases keeps you locked to the couch.

One possible explanation for this is that with smoking you absorb a lot of toxins that have a negative effect on your body and mental state but give you a ‘buzz’ that you might mistake for the ‘high’.

According to most users vaping weed gives you a much cleaner high, a high in which you are not numbed and glued toВ your couch.

Instead, you will experience a high where you feel more energetic, clean, and stimulated.

What’s more, when you choose the right vaporizer, the potency and density of your vapor will be so strong that you will get very strong effects, except in a much cleaner and clear-headed way.

Vaping Gives You aВ Different Taste

It’s also true that low-quality vaporizers, or more generally, vaporizers making use of low-quality materials suboptimal for vaporizing,В alter the taste of your weed in a negative way.

High-quality vaporizers on the other side will give your marijuana a much cleaner and flavorful taste than smoking.

High-quality vaporizers only use materials that are optimal for preserving the taste of your herb, or their materials are of such high quality that it won’t negatively affect the taste of your herb in a way that’s noticeable.

With a high-quality vaporizer,В you will taste all the delicate and subtle differences in flavor between strains, and you will be able to pick the strain which tastes the best.

Using/Cleaning Vaporizers Takes Time

How long it takes to use your vaporizer is highly dependent on the vaporizer you have.

Preparation time with any on-demand vaporizer is usually just 10-20 seconds. Session-vaporizers need a little bit longer, usually around 1 to 3 minutes.

Cleaning really depends on the brand and type of your vaporizer, with some vaporizers needing virtually no cleaning, and other vaporizers needing more extensive cleaning (glass parts, whip, bowl, screens, etc.).

But generally cleaning your dry herb vaporizer, won’t take longer than 10 minutes a week.

What’s Next?

If after reading this post, you want to try vaping marijuana instead of smoking it,В I suggest you read our dry herb vaporizer buyer’s guide:

Because vaporizersВ truly can be a technical jungle for any cannaseur new to vaping (in my opinion you can’t be a real cannaseur if you’re not vaping…but that’s a discussion for another time).

This guide is your machete, with which you’ll clear up the technical jungle and only the bare essentials will be left…so no vaporizer will have any secrets left for you.

If you want to keep smoking (which I don’t recommend), then at least get a bong to significantly filter toxins with water. For a list of the ones we currently recommend read the following article:

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From health to financial benefits, after reading these benefits you will have no doubt in your mind left as to why you should vape your marijuana.