Is Vaping Cannabis BAD for YOU?
Are you someone who consumes cannabis through joints? Perhaps you are smoking bongs or other water pipes? Have you ever put a torch to a dab rig to consume your concentrate? The cannabis community in Canada and the USA is growing daily. Some users are coming back after an extended break and others are starting from scratch for various recreational and medical reasons. All cannabis users alike at some point ask themselves :
- What is the best way to smoke weed?
- Should I stop rolling joints and start smoking bongs to save weed?
- Should I get a water pipe so I can smoke while I'm out of the house?
- What way of consuming cannabis will be the most potent?
- Is vaping cannabis better for my lungs?
Though we cannot determine the best way for you to smoke weed, we can definitely try to shed some light into the various ways cannabis users consume and share our opinion on the pro's and con's.
Check out this Wiki Guide on How to Smoke a Bong with Cannabis
From our experience in retail and online sales, we are finding the demand for bongs going down. Most people that are shopping for a bong want it to be relatively inexpensive. Their main goal is to reduce the amount of weed they smoke. They also want to be able to consume their cannabis immediately, most often at home. Smoking a bong is actually pretty deceptive.
Most users believe they are avoiding a lot of the bad elements of smoke by filtering it through water. The water will definitely help cool the smoke down, so it won't feel as harsh as a joint or a blunt would. However, smoking is still smoking. The goal of vaping is to reduce carcinogens and get better flavour. We would also like to take a moment to bust a myth.
Stop holding your breathe when you're inhaling smoke from joints, bongs or blunts. It doesn't get you more high! it just increases your exposure to toxins in smoke.
You should consider a vaporizer because it heats the marijuana below its combustion point, therefore, no smoke. Just tasty vapour. Vaporizing doesn't take away ALL the harmful elements of marijuana like tar and carcinogens, but it significantly reduces them. So if you smoke marijuana frequently, consider what the best way for you to consume is in the long run. Smoking bongs and water pipes will help you be portable and avoid using more weed then is necessary. However, consider this, if you are spending top dollar on your weed.... why not invest in a best way of consuming cannabis? We will publish an article later on how combustion actually misses so many of the amazing cannabinoids and terpenes.... stay tuned.
BUT.... I heard vaping isn't safe?
With all the bad press lately about vaping, we can understand how consumers could be concerned about getting into vaping dry herb. After-all, there are many big news stories circulating around the internet about people developing lung diseases that are related to vaping. Many patients said symptoms began with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain, and some progressed to include vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have cited over 149 cases of severe lung disease. The CDC goes on to say, “ In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products while speaking to healthcare personnel or in follow-up interviews by health department staff; however, no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses “ They have not identified or concluded what the exact cause is, but it’s clearly evident that “ vaping “ is the common thread amongst all the lung disease cases. This is definitely a cause for concern and investigation.
Why is THC involved in many of the vaping cases related to lung disease?
It’s important to understand that It’s likely that the processing of THC, rather than the compound itself, is the cause of recent lung issues. In order for a vape pen to produce liquid; the THC has to be suspended in an oil solution that often also includes chemicals to alter the flavor or consistency of the mixture. These chemicals that are being added by un-licensed and non-regulated black market suppliers, are at the root cause for all the lung diseases related to vaping THC. These external and non-regulated chemicals are most likely added in by the black market distributor to create more product or create the appearance of a more refined product. In an article by the Insider, they spoke to a 26 year old male who admitted to purchasing his vape pen from a black market vendor. As a result of buying vape pens from black market suppliers, there has been a large outbreak of these lung diseases stemming from “ vaping THC ”
Since THC is in dry herb, is it safe to vape weed?
Despite all the cases of lung diseases related to non-regulated THC vape pens, people are still skeptical about smoking or vaping marijuana. Like any plant that is combusted, marijuana releases carcinogens when combusted. However, a study in the Harm Reduction Journal found a decrease in respiratory symptoms in cannabis users who vaporize. The study goes on to say,
“ Although the use of a vaporizer has the potential to increase the safety of cannabis as far as respiratory symptoms are concerned, pulmonary problems are not the only potential negative consequences of the plant. Reviews suggest that 9–12% of cannabis users develop symptoms of dependence... Cannabis can lead to impaired driving skills… and heavy use in adolescence might create deviant brain structure... as well as decreases in intelligence. A vaporizer offers no protection against these negative consequences. Nevertheless, a vaporizer has considerable potential for increasing cannabis drug safety by minimizing pulmonary troubles.” More research on the long-term effects of weed vaporizers still must be done, though, to ascertain this claim. However, this is encouraging for mairjuana users who consume joints, pipes or bongs. Vaping vs combusting marijuana will release far less carcinogens into your system. However, please make sure you are purchasing your vaporizer from a regulated retailer or Health Canada Approved Producer.
What is the difference between using a non-regulated vape pen and using a vaporizer for dried cannabis?
To use a traditional vaporizer, a person puts dried marijuana flower into the vape's chamber and then heats it as if it were in a convection oven. The resulting vapor from the heated flower is what gets a person high. Cannabis vaporizers are specifically designed for inhalation without harmful smoke toxins. The folks over at Leafly do a great job addressing if vaporizing reduces ingestion of potentially harmful toxins like tar, ammonia, and carcinogens found in cannabis smoke. To summarize, while there is very little research on cannabis vaporizing, studies over the years have shown that vaporizing does produce fewer carcinogenic compounds than smoking marijuana because it is heated but not combusted.
When consumers purchase non-regulated vape pens and cartridges they risk their health. Though some of these vape pens might come from great ‘black market’ sources, this does not at all guarantee that you are safe. They do not follow nor abide to the strict regulatory process Health Canada has placed on it’s licensed producers and therefore do not carry the seal of safe consumption. It’s therefore very important for consumers to understand the similarities and differences between the two. Afterall, they are both portable, discreet and very easy to use.
5 Major Differences between wax pens and dry herb vaporizers
Let's take into consideration some of the major differences between a dry herb vape pen and a wax vape pen.
- Material that is being consumed – If you are looking to vape shatter, wax, or other wax concentrates, you can use a product like the KandyPen. This vape pen has a life-time warranty and can be used for regulated material that can be heated on the element directly or you can tighten on a cartridge from a regulated producer. A dry herb vaporizer is a vape pen that vaporizes dry cannabis. A dry herb vape pen especially contrasts e-cigarettes because it does not use liquid cartridges. There are vape pens designed to work with both herb and wax oils, but the best type of pens are ones designed with the intention to vape just one substance.
- Wax Coils vs. Herb Chambers – The wax vape coils and an herb chamber are significantly different from each other. The first major difference is that wax coils are usually built with quartz rods wrapped with nickel chromium alloy. These coils in the vape pen will instantly heat the material to produce vapor. Dry herb heating chambers are usually built like a convection oven to heat the herbs at a more optimal temperature. These convection or conduction ovens usually take anywhere from 15 secs to over 1 minute to heat-up.
- Battery Power and Portability – A dry herb vaporizer takes up more power to heat its chamber and therefore usually is not as tiny and compact as a wax vape pen. Dry Herb Vaporizers are designed to be portable and provide on-demand sessions for users that are on the go or at home. Wax vape pens are generally smaller and have a shorter battery life, but they do however, charge up relatively faster than a dry herb vaporizer.
- Chamber Loading Process – Dry Herb vaporizers are really easy to load. All you have to do is grind your material and place it into the oven. With wax vape pens, you have to cut the dab into the coil or tighten the cartridge into the 510 threading on the vape pen. Keep in mind, concentrate is sticky and can cause a mess.
- Vaping Temperature – Vaping in wax pens is generally done at a much higher temperature and is part of the reason that it can produce vapor almost instantly. With dry herb vaping, you are using conduction or convection to extract the active material from the ground up flower. This understandably takes some time but many vaporizers are working on shortening your waiting time. Please check out this amazing blog post by DaVinci Vaporizers to understand how temperature can affect your marijuana high.
Our Concluding Thoughts - Cannabis is SAFE to VAPE
While reading Patrick Cains' article on Why you should probably stop smoking weed and buy a vape device, it became very obvious to us that he is probably right. With so many new to experienced users out there, we really do have a lot of options on how to consume cannabis if we decide it’s safe for us. Vaping seems to be the best alternative to smoking and receiving immediate effect. It is also very easy to control how much you consume and therefore you don’t overcommit to a high you weren't ready for. Edibles, oils and topicals all take some time to take effect and the experience can significantly vary by the individual. Vaping cannabis allows you to choose how much you want to ingest and allows you to activate various cannabinoids and terpenes that you might altogether be missing out on if you are consuming in an alternative method.
Check out these Reddit communities that support cannabis!
What is the best app to track your cannabis consumption and effects?
Check out Strainprint