By now everybody involved with cannabis culture has seen vaporizers become a more common method for cannabis consumption, especially by medical marijuana patients. We believe everyone should vape when they can for a multitude of reasons, so hopefully this can help convince others to take up healthier cannabis habits. Just keep in mind that choosing to vaporize your cannabis doesn’t mean you can never smoke again. Although we tend to have a preference towards vaping, we still love our glass collection which is meant for smoking. The only reason we sell bongs and not vaporizers is because the only vaporizer company we can recommend is storz-bickel, and they don’t have any good affiliate programs, but nonetheless, we recommend anyone looking for a new vaporizer look seriously into Storz-Bickel, especially the Volcano, particularly the Volcano Digit. If you do choose to go with Storz-Bickel, we recommend only buying from www.storz-bickel.com due to the large number of low quality counterfeits in the online vaporizer market.
Vaping is healthier in the long term
Probably the most important and well-known reason to vaporize your cannabis instead of smoke it is for the health benefits. The butane lighters that are typically used for smoking cannabis can get up to 3600 F / 2000 C, whereas THC starts to vaporize at just 315 F / 160 C. When you vape at those temperatures, the vapor is made up of about 95% cannabinoids. The remaining 5% is mostly terpenes, and can consist of a very small amount of one known PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). PAHs are carcinogens found in smoke, primarily tobacco, but also cannabis smoke, that are known to cause cancer. On the other hand, if you smoke cannabis with a butane lighter, only 12% of the smoke is made up of cannabinoids. The remaining 88% of is made up of 100+ different components, including at least six known PAHs, far more than whats found in cannabis vapor. Additionally, if you vape instead of smoke, you won’t have to worry about inhaling butane, which is also known to cause cancer. There are ways around smoking with a butane lighter, but it’s definitely the most common way.
The only significantly dangerous factor in smoking cannabis is the actual smoke. By vaping instead of smoking, we can dramatically decrease the instances of lung cancer and other harmful effects from smoking, giving lawmakers even less reason to continue to criminalize cannabis use.
Vaping is healthier in the short term
This is less about quantitatively better health, but more about how you feel when you smoke vs vape. Many people feel awful after they smoke. The excess smoke can get on your skin, making you feel like you need to wash, and the harshness on the lungs can lead to pain in the lungs and throat as well as shortness of breath, which can be worrying if not just plain painful. Although cannabis vapor can also make you cough, it happens far less often and is less severe. Additionally, these ill-effects of smoking tend to linger for longer not only on your clothes and skin, but also in your throat and lungs.
Vaping is more efficient
Quite possibly the best argument for vaping for budget-conscious stoners is the fact that your cannabis will go much further when you vaporize it instead of smoke it. There are many estimations of the actual efficiency difference between smoking and vaping, but there are too many factors to quantify it exactly right, but it’s at least twice as efficient. The main reason vaping is more efficient is that the incredibly high temperatures produced by flames (3600+ F / 2000+ C) are high enough to completely destroy a large portion of cannabinoids before they even have the chance to be inhaled. Vaporizers on the other hand heat the cannabis hotter than THC’s boiling point, but lower than its combustion point. Another big factor that makes smoking horribly inefficient is the fact that the cannabis continues to burn once it starts even if you’re not smoking it, so a smoker may lose 10-20% of the product just because it doesn’t stop burning between hits.
It depends a bit on the vaporizer you use and personal experience, but with a Storz-Bickel Volcano, it’s hard to explain just how much more efficient the Volcano really is. Speaking from personal experience, when smoking with one other person, it’ll take a minimum of a ~0.25g bowl to get us barely high, and two of those bowls to get us high. If I instead pack 1 gram into the Volcano, that’ll give us with four strong bags and one or two medium strength bags. One of those strong bags is far stronger than sharing two bowls, and we get 4 of those, plus at least one more bag that is at least half as strong. If we underestimate it and say one strong bag is equivalent to 2 bowls (even though it’s much stronger), that means with just those 4 strong bags, we get the equivalent of 8 bowls from 1 gram of weed, which is twice as efficient. However, it’s probably closer to 3-4x more efficient. This means that you can not only make your cannabis last longer, you can also get higher if that’s what you desire.
Vaping is even more efficient
So if 2-4x greater efficiency isn’t enough for you to reconsider your smoking habits, consider this. Because vaporizers never get above the combustion temperature of cannabis, all they do is dehydrate it, and after you finish vaping it, you are left with dried out brown bud. However, if you look closely, you’ll see that there are still trichomes on it, and those trichomes contain THC and other cannabinoids. You could actually continue to vape it, but you’d get so little per hit that it’s just not worth the time. It may be hard to believe, but the image on the right is a picture of cannabis that has been thoroughly vaped with the Volcano, and you can clearly see trichomes still on the bud.
Not only can you continue to vape it if you’d like, you can actually smoke it, and yes, it will get you high. The problem with smoking it is that you end up getting all the negative health impacts that you were avoiding by vaping, but in terms of efficiency, you’ve made that same bud go many times further than if you just smoked it. More importantly however, you can use the vaped weed to make either cannabutter or hash. Either way, you retain the health benefits of vaping, and it’s about on par with trimmings in terms of potency, although it will vary slightly depending on your how thoroughly you vape your cannabis. We’ve made some seriously potent edibles with nothing but vaped weed, and we’ve also vaped hash made from vaped weed! It’s also worth considering that the high might be slightly different for edibles made from vaped weed because certain cannabinoids may be fully extracted, while other cannabinoids with higher boiling points may be more common. This could be good or bad depending on your outlook, but it definitely makes for a unique experience. If you’re hesitant to spend the money on a decent vaporizer, just think about how much money you’ll actually be saving on cannabis in the long run. I can say from personal experience that a Storz-Bickel Volcano pays for itself many times over.
Vaping provides a different high
This could be viewed as either a pro or a con depending on your preferences, but it’s definitely worth noting. If you consider yourself a cannabis connoisseur, you can’t say you’ve tried everything until you’ve experienced the high from vaporizers as well. Because you take a larger number of less potent hits, the high is a lot more gradual. If you often get anxious, panicked, or paranoid when you smoke, and especially when you dab, vaping can be a way to avoid these feelings. For a lot of the same reason, the high tends to be more uplifting rather than couch-locking, so if you’re an active stoner, you might find vaporizing your cannabis allows you to be more productive.
Vaping helps avoid contaminants
Vaporizers only operate in the ~325-450 F / 163-230 C range. Because of this, you can actually vaporize weed that has been contaminated with some contaminants, particularly insecticides and fungicides, because their boiling points are higher than 450 F. This definitely isn’t a fail-safe that works for all contaminants, and we don’t recommend vaping cannabis if you know it has contaminants, but it’s yet another reason why vaporizing your cannabis is healthier than smoking.
Vaping preserves terpene profiles
if you’ve read our strain guide you’ll understand the importance of terpenes. Terpenes are what determine the tastes, smells, type of high, and medicinal benefits certain strains of cannabis provide. Additionally, the terpenes themselves have medicinal benefits completely separate from the cannabinoids. Unfortunately terpenes are unstable compounds, so they usually get completely obliterated in the smoking process, whereas the gentler temperatures from vaporizing help preserve the smells, tastes, and medicinal benefits of those terpenes.
Vaping is more discrete
While you probably wont be discretely vaping with a Volcano Vaporizer which requires a wall plug, there are a wide variety of portable vaporizers, some of which resemble everyday objects, most often pens. If you need to stay medicated on a regular basis or just value portability, these portable vaporizers can be very handy. Most people will assume you’re just smoking e-cigs since the vaporizers used for nicotine e-liquid look and function the exact same. In fact you can usually use e-cig vaporizers with cannabis so long as you have an oil that will fit inside the atomizer. There is definitely still a cannabis odor, but its not as strong as smoke, doesn’t linger as long, and usually wont give you away unless you’re very obvious. We don’t advocate for anyone breaking the law, but there are places where cannabis is legal, but still stigmatized, which is what makes such a discrete vaporizer useful.