Is Vaping Actually Healthier Than Smoking?
There has never been a better time to be a vaping enthusiast. With a wide array of available models to choose from and accessories for tweaking their performance, those who have taken up vaping really have a myriad of possibilities when it comes to enjoying their hobby. You can vape at home or on the go, all the while saving money and getting a richer palette of effects. But how does this new craze compare to the traditional method of smoking herb health-wise? Is using a dry herb vaporizer healthier than smoking a joint?
To answer this we first need to understand what vaping is. Dry herb vaporizers heat the material just enough to aerosolize the active ingredients without starting a combustion reaction. By keeping the temperature at around 360°F – 410°F, they create a vapor with minimal smoke, allowing for fast effects and avoiding lung irritation that comes with smoke inhalation. It also lets you experience the full spectrum of active ingredients, whereas in smoking the high temperatures and combustion kill off the effect of many active substances and diminish your experience. The dry herb vaporizer leaves a residue called AVB (already vaporized bud), which can have powerful effects when eaten or otherwise ingested. And if the quality of the hit is not enough to convince you, the quantitative efficiency of vaping will definitely have you thinking twice about smoking your herb. As little as 0.1 grams is enough for a fulfilling session (or even multiple, if you’re a light user)!
In spite of all this, there’s ambiguity surrounding the vape industry. Since vaping is a relatively new trend, little research has been done to discover the effects of long-term usage. Suspicions arise regarding the possible dangers of prolonged vaping and the effects of active substances inhaled this way. This causes a lot of hesitance and aversion towards dry herb vaporizers. However, the research so far strongly suggests that vaping is healthier than smoking for various reasons.
The most obvious (and easily noticeable) benefit of vaping vs. smoking is the temperature of the substance you’re inhaling and how hard it is on the throat and lungs. When smoking herb, you need a temperature of over 440°F to start combustion, whereas vaporizers operate at a temperature between 360°F – 410°F, with the added benefit of vapor cooling quicker once it enters the body. Users who have switched from smoking to vaping noticed that the vapor has a much nicer flow in comparison to smoke. Some vape users do report symptoms such as a dry mouth or a sore throat, so if you want to counter these side-effects make sure to have a sip of water every now and again during your sessions.
A study conducted in 2015 found that combustion of cannabis releases more than a hundred compounds, five of which were known for toxic and carcinogenic effects. When vaporized, on the other hand, not only was there a higher percentage of cannabinoids present in the vapor, but there were hardly any other byproducts. The study concluded that “vaporization reduces the delivery of toxic byproducts associated with the use of smoked cannabis”. The same study references a trial which followed the impact of vapor on the lungs. When regular users, who had at least two symptoms of bronchitis, switched to a dry herb vaporizer for a month, they reported an improvement by over 70% in their symptoms. In short, not only does vaping allow for a more wholesome hit, it bypasses the negative side-effects that come with smoking the herb.
Another study researched the effect of electronic cigarettes on people who have never smoked. They followed health outcomes measured by lung function, respiratory symptoms, etc. during a period of three and a half years. They reported no significant changes in any of the subjects, even when compared to control subjects who hadn’t vaped during that period. They state that “Even the heaviest EC users failed to exhibit any evidence of emerging lung injury as reflected in these physiologic, clinical or inflammatory measures”. They also reference an online survey which followed over 19,000 smokers who switched to vaping, reporting substantial improvement in respiratory symptoms. While these studies were focused on e-cigarettes, their findings are applicable to dry herb vaporizers when it comes to the comparison between vapor and smoke and their effect on the body.
All research leads to the conclusion that vaping is far superior to smoking when health is concerned. Not only does it do less damage to your respiratory tract, but the active substances in the vapor are purer and don’t contain carcinogens that combustion entails. While these studies are relatively short-term, there are no signs pointing towards more serious issues developing further down the road. However, more long-term research is needed if we are to have definite answers regarding these health concerns. And by the looks of it, with the vaping market growing rapidly, there’s good reason to commit more time to study this alternative to smoking. In the meantime, you can rest assured that you’re better off hitting your dry herb vaporizer than a traditional joint.