Difference Between Smoking and Vaping

Smoking uses dried plant parts or concentrates

There are several ways to smoke marijuana:

  • One way is to roll dried parts of the flower into a joint using cigarette paper.
  • Some people mix their marijuana with tobacco, so it’s a bit less potent (this is called a spliff).
  • Some people use bongs or pipes to smoke.
  • Sometimes people smoke more potent forms of marijuana than the flower, called concentrates. These include hash and kief.

Vaping uses concentrated extracts or ground dry herb

When people vape, they consume concentrated marijuana. It seems to be a much more potent delivery system than smoking. In other words, you’ll get more high from vaping than from smoking.

Vaping can be more intense

Researchers have determined that the effects of vaping marijuana are much stronger than smoking.

In one study, researchers found that first-time and infrequent marijuana users were more likely to experience adverse reactions from the enhanced delivery of THC caused by vaping when compared to smoking.

Both take effect fast

Both smoking and vaping have an almost immediate effect on the body. Their effects peak within 10 to 15 minutes.

Most experts recommend starting vaping or smoking very slowly, taking in a small amount at first and waiting 20 to 30 minutes before having more.

A note about marijuana strains

There are many strains of marijuana, each having slightly different effects on the body. Sativa strains are thought to be more stimulating. Others, called indica, are more relaxing. It’s worth noting marijuana strains can affect people quite differently. Just because a certain strain has purported properties doesn’t mean you’ll get those exact effects.

Another way to use marijuana

Because the harmful effects of smoking are well known and the health effects of vaping are unknown (and possibly very serious), it’s understandable that you might want to seek an alternative way to use marijuana.

If you’re looking to consume marijuana in the least risky way, ingesting it might be the way to go.


Edible marijuana products, or edibles, can be any food or beverage. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • brownies
  • candies
  • gummies
  • cookies
  • teas
  • coffee creamer

Effects take more time

Keep in mind that ingesting marijuana doesn’t have an immediate effect. Having too much can lead to adverse physical and mental reactions, such as:

  • paranoia
  • panic attack
  • elevated heart rate

But when eaten in moderation, edibles seem to have no apparent harmful health effects.

Marijuana needs to be heated

Eating “raw” marijuana won’t have the same effects on the body as consuming marijuana-based products prepared correctly. Marijuana has to be heated in order for its chemical compounds to be activated. Cooking it can do that.

Start small and keep waiting

It can take up to 2 hours for the effects of ingested marijuana to hit and around 3 hours for them to peak. Effects are often long lasting — anywhere from 6 to 8 hours.

For this reason, it’s important to start slowly. Consume a very small amount if you’re ingesting marijuana for the first time. For example, a common dose for edibles is 10 milligrams of THC. If you’re just starting out, opt for 2 to 5 milligrams of THC.

Focus on CBD instead

If you seek the purported beneficial health effects of marijuana without the high, you may want to seek out CBD oil and products that contain it. Note: the CDC does not recommend vaping any liquid, including CBD oil.

Note, however, that CBD products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug . If you do buy them, it’s important to do so from a reputable distributor.

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