What is the Difference Between Smoking and Vaping Weed?

Inhalation is the process of ingesting weed into the body. But how people do it varies. Some smoke it while others prefer vaping. Smoking is simply combustion. Vaping, on the other hand, is vaporizing. The main difference is the temperature at which a person consumes weed.

When smoking weed, the herb is heated until combustion occurs. This combustion produces the smoke that a smoker inhales. But when vaping weed, it is heated to a lower temperature. Therefore, the herb produces vapor instead of smoke. Thus, vaping does not involve combustion or the burning of cannabis.

And, because no smoke is involved, vaping is believed to be a healthier alternative to smoking. However, there are no sufficient scientific studies to prove this.

How Smoking Works 

You’ve probably seen some people switch from smoking to using dab pens (https://vapingdaily.com/vape-tanks/dry-herb-atomizer-tanks/ more) to vaporize marijuana. Well, this is a trend that is taking over in many places. Smoking is all about combustion. This occurs at a temperature of about 446 degrees. However, this temperature can vary depending on composition, potency, consistency, and humidity.

Most smokers ignite their weed with fire to reach this temperature. They use a joint, blunt, bong, or a pipe. Combustion produces the smoke that the smoker inhales. It’s worth noting that this smoke contains cannabinoids, charred plant matter, carcinogenic byproducts, and some terpenes. The presence of these elements in the smoke is the major reason why some people are switching to vaping.

Research has shown that consistent smoking of marijuana can cause microscopic and visible injury to the lung airways. This injury is associated with the high likelihood of chronic bronchitis symptoms. However, this injury can subside when a person stops smoking.

Though most people use an open flame to smoke weed, some tools can be used for combustion purposes. Thus, this flame might not be necessary.

How Vaping Works 

A dab pen or any other vaping device produces heat that vaporizes weed instead of burning it. At normal atmospheric pressure, THC is converted to vapor at a temperature of between 250 and 400 degrees. This temperature is notably cooler than that of smoking or combustion.

Vaping devices work by optimizing cannabinoid content. They do this by generating heat that is sufficient to produce a cannabinoid-rich vapor. Most vaporizers have features that allow users to adjust heat or temperature. This allows them to control the terpene and cannabinoid content that is released and inhaled in the vapor.

Since vaping does not involve combustion, the medical effects and flavor profile of every inhalation are more potent and complex than what smoking produces. What’s more, vaping does not involve burning terpenes. Therefore, inhaled vapor has a subtler odor when compared to smoke.

The Major Differences between Smoking and Vaping 

There is no conclusive evidence to show that weed smoke causes respiratory illnesses like lung cancer. However, smoking can irritate the delicate tissues of the smoker’s throat, mouth, and lungs. This irritation is due to high temperatures, as well as, burning embers and tar that the smoker inhales directly into their body.

Using a wax pen or any quality vaping device might eliminate the irritation or harshness that is caused by high temperatures. It can also reduce the burning particles and embers that a smoker inhales. Here are the major differences between smoking and vaping weed.


Smoking uses high temperature to combust weed. Vaporization, on the other hand, uses heat to vaporize weed. Vaping entails the use of devices that produce heat that melts fatty marijuana oils and resins without burning the plant material. Once melted, oil and resins are converted to steam or vapor that the vaper inhales.


If you don’t like wasting your weed, you should vaporize it instead of smoking it. When smoking, almost 50% of cannabinoids are destroyed by combustion. That means you lose the medical compounds that you may be interested in. To ensure efficiency in the use of marijuana, vaporize it.


Carcinogens are potentially toxic elements or compounds. Research has shown that switching from smoking to vaping can eliminate the creation of potentially carcinogenic and toxic compounds that are present in cannabis smoke.

The correlation between cancer and cannabis is still contested. However, the smoking process may release carcinogens. Such carcinogens include benzene, toluene, and naphthalene.

Benzene is produced during processes like smoking which involve combustion. In high concentrations, this carcinogen can damage the reproductive system. Naphthalene can destroy the red blood cells that carry oxygen in high concentrations. If exposure to naphthalene continues, the carcinogen can damage body organs. Toluene is a derivative of benzene. Too much exposure to Toluene can affect the central nervous system negatively.

Among the major effects of exposure to these carcinogens include nausea, headache, sleepiness, and fatigue. Inhaling toluene can cause upper respiratory tract and eye irritation.


Vaping enables you to enjoy more dab flavors than smoking. Different weed flavors are enjoyed when the product is heated to different temperatures. Different strains of marijuana derive their unique aromas from terpenes. These are natural aromas found in the resins of the plant and they affect the taste of different cannabis varieties. The boiling points of different terpenes vary.

When cannabis is heated to a low temperature, some aromas and flavors are enjoyed more than when it is heated to very high temperatures.

Unlike smoking, vaping allows you to adjust the temperature at which you heat weed. This enables you to enjoy different fragrances and flavors from your herb.


Vaping gives you the freedom to customize your cannabis experience. You adjust the temperature at which you vaporize your weed, thereby determining the tastes and scents you enjoy. The temperature that you use also determines the psychoactive effect of weed. You can also enjoy weed more discreetly when you vape than when you smoke it. That’s because you can use a compact weed pen to vape without drawing the attention of the people near you,

The Bottom Line 

There is a significant difference between smoking and vaping. Whether you vape or smoke weed, the choice is yours. Nevertheless, vaping seems to have more advantages over smoking. These include customization of the cannabis experience, reduced carcinogens, more flavors, and efficiency.