To puff or not to puff – smoking vs. vaping cannabis
With the rapid progress of the cannabis movement in recent years, best seen in its numerous victories in the battle for legalization across the US, it’s time to ask some important questions. It’s becoming clear that cannabis will soon be a part of everyday life in many countries, and this means that a lot more people will be dipping their foot in the smoke. With that in mind, let’s consider two of the most basic ways to consume your cannabis.
The most iconic – bongs are a close contender, but they’re more of a novelty – is the joint. However, there’s a relatively new method sweeping the cannabis community: vaping. A 2018 study found that 91% of people either tried or knew somebody who’d tried smoking cannabis, meaning it still reigns supreme as the preferred method; however, vaping rose to 31% in the same year, and continues to gain in popularity despite the bad press.
Puff Puff Pass
A joint, a spliff, a blunt. Each of these is rolled, sparked and consumed.
There are unsafe ways to smoke cannabis, and there are ways in which the associated risks can be avoided. All you have to do – really – is to be careful and know your facts.
A joint is the most common way to consume cannabis; it consists of rolling paper, a cardboard filter and the herb itself. This is by far the healthiest option, but you should take the extra measure of purchasing hemp rolling papers.
A spliff is a European thing, mainly; it contains all the same components as a joint, but the cannabis is ‘watered down’ with a little tobacco. The purposes of this are to reduce the potency of the joint and to make your supply last longer; spliffs are most frequently seen in countries where marijuana is still illegal, and more expensive.
Many in the cannabis community bear a semi-hatred for the spliff, because it’s contradictory to the purity of the movement. You have a whole load of activists preaching the benefits of cannabis, and behind them a troop of zombified smokers sucking on spliffs.
The blunt has been romanticized wildly – mostly in the rap community, and this is a shame because traditionally, they’re not the healthiest option.
With blunts, a cigar skin is used instead of a regular paper. Blunts are typically much bigger, and provide a longer, heavier smoke-session. However, it has been proven that cigar skins contain nicotine, something which most cannabis enthusiasts are firmly against. The research into blunt-smoking so far is inconclusive, but the general opinion and the minimal knowledge we have of the practice suggests that it isn’t a healthy option.
Inhaling smoke isn’t great for you. When it comes down to it, that’s the only danger to smoking cannabis which can’t really be avoided. And that said, cannabis smoke is a whole lot healthier for your lungs than cigarette smoke.
Sip n’ Blow
The earliest recorded instance of vaping comes from Egypt, all the way back in the 5th century; the ancient Scythians would heat hemp seeds on red-hot stones, and inhale the vapor. Modern day vaping is a far cry from these methods, and the associated technology is improving faster than ever before. Take for example the Ghost MV1 Vaporizer this is a huge leap forward using only medical grade materials and has much power as larger tabletop vaporizers, while remaining highly portable.
Many think that vaping started as a healthy way to give up smoking cigarettes, but some of the first vaporizers were actually intended for cannabis.
A vaporizer works by grinding down dry herb, load it into a chamber in the vaporizer, allowing it to heat up and inhaling. Many advocate vaping for its cleaner hit, and the convenience of not having any full ashtrays laying around, or running out of lighters.
In 2019, a curious case of illnesses opened up around the vaping industry, and most especially those vapes being used for THC. These illnesses resulted quite a heavy year for vaping to live down. As of January 2020, there were sixty deaths associated with vaping; that said, there are over ten million people vaping daily, and the death count has a long way to catch up with tobacco’s 8 million per year.
Even though the chances of suffering from this dark vape-fate appear to be low, it’s something to be considered when thinking about purchasing one.
While vaping has become a popular trend within the community, living up to the joint’s iconic legacy will be an incredibly difficult task. While both methods have certain advantages and disadvantages, it’s worth pointing out that we now have a lot of research to look at for the effects of smoking, and not so much about vaping. If you’re a first-time smoker, then it’s more advisable to smoke; this way you can control your dosage more easily, because you have a visual guide to how much you’re consuming. And it goes without saying: every cannabis user should experience a joint at least once.
All you can do, personally, is to make sure that you’re being as clean a smoker as possible. If you’re going to buy a vape pen, then make sure you look up the facts to avoid any potentially toxic chemicals. Always buy vape devices from reputable brands like Yocan. Check out the latest Yocan vaporizer selection right here. And if you’re going to light up, buy some hemp papers. Remember to cast a cautious eye on cigar-skins; if you really need a longer smoke, then look into buying some rips. With these special skins, you can have as long a joint as you’re capable of rolling. But take care to watch your tolerance, know your facts and consume cannabis responsibly.
Photo: Grav, Unsplash