Is vaping still considered to be a healthy alternative to smoking weed?

Published Oct 3, 2019 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / licsiren

Amidst the fresh turmoil and slew of questions following the latest vaping illness outbreak, there are a whole lot of concerned consumers who need answers and direction moving forward. Vaping has always been touted as a healthy alternative to smoking weed, so what’s changed, and how does that impact everyone?

The truth is that we are only beginning to uncover the truth that lies beneath the outbreak, and we won’t know for certain for some time yet, but there are some important details of both options that everyone should be aware of. Here you will find the truth behind the adverse effects of vaping vs smoking alongside some critical notes and research that shows the known impacts that vaping might not have changed as much as you might think.

The adverse effects of smoking weed

Smoking is and has always been the most preferred method of ingestion when it comes to cannabis, and for years researchers have been looking for a link or connection that might suggest that the act of inhaling smoke, might cause adverse impacts on health.

Burning cannabis flowers results in a thick cloud of just over 60 different chemicals, and while there is no research available to date to shows that smoking weed causes cancer, doctors report patients who smoke as having a higher risk of experiencing lung-related issues like breathing or coughing from phlegm build-up. Some even appeared to imply that smoking weed might lead to an increase in precancerous cells, likely due to the presence of known carcinogens like formaldehyde.

Is vaping bad for you?

Vaping was expected to become a multi-billion dollar industry long before marijuana legalization even came into effect, and so we are fortunate to have a relatively accessible database of clinical trials to refer to. The act of vaping itself is not the concern; however, what is cause for worry, is the additives that are often present in vape juices.

Vaping pure herb has similar side effects to smoking weed, without many of the resins that are believed to be responsible for phlegm build-up in the lungs. However, vape juice has been linked to a few adverse reactions, including mouth sores, popcorn lung, headaches, black tongue and breathing problems.

Vaping vs smoking

There are always, of course, the felt effects to consider, but the reality is that consumers want to know how safe smoking weed really is, and what is the healthiest way to consume it. One of the first differences between the two is that vaping does not require paper, which often adds an additional element to the mix, which can cause adverse impacts on the lungs.

Others point to the reduction of resin and ash entering the lungs, which is bound to cause less of an issue long term. Though neither vaping or smoking weed has been linked to cancer, vaping cannabis flower is currently believed to be the healthiest method of inhalation available.

So, why all the hype surrounding vaping?

Though the hundreds of people sick and dying from the vaping epidemic is a terrible plight, the problem causing it isn't necessarily the act of vaping. We still aren't entirely sure what is causing this mass rash of illness, but so far we do know that everyone who has fallen ill has admitted to using THC vape juice, and more specifically black market products.

So, it’s probably a good idea to avoid illegal vape pens or carts which might be tainted. It might be hard to believe that anyone might trick customers on purpose, many of these imitations are filled by unregulated private makers who are adding whatever they choose to the mixture which can be hazardous to your health. Vaping and e-cigarettes are still an excellent way to reduce the adverse effects that might occur from smoking weed or tobacco, so there is no reason to panic just yet.

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