What smoke can do to your lungs and heart can be anywhere from mildly painful to lethal. It’s a legitimate concern for any regular or habitual smoker. With the widespread proliferation of vaporizers on the market in the past ten years, vaping has taken over a lot of the market. Many vaporizer companies tout this newer technology as significantly and unequivocally healthier than smoking. But is vaping actually healthier for you than smoking?
There are two short answers. One is that we kinda don’t know. The other answer is that both eliminating smoke and/or vapor is the healthiest route. Switching to tinctures, edibles, and salves is your best bet to minimize any lung, respiratory, or heart damage you’ve already done. Putting nothing in your lungs is better than smoke or vapor.
But for many, that’s not realistic or desired. Some users just don’t enjoy these alternatives to smoking or vaping. Many THC fans enjoy the inhaling part of the process but want to minimize its negative health impacts. And the vaping industry has been claiming for years that it’s significantly healthier, but can they be trusted?
Before going any further, I want to throw out the caveat that much of the research on smoke or vaping THC is in its infancy. It’s generally very inconclusive. So we don’t really have a strong consensus based on a ton of data and studies yet, despite click-bait headlines you might see making wild claims one way or the other.
Vaping Appears Better For Your Lungs, Uncertain About Its Effect On Your Heart
What we’ve found is that there’s a good chance vaping may hold an edge to smoking when it comes to your lungs. Any process which lights a plant on fire (smoking marijuana or tobacco) or is “combustible” emits respiratory irritants.
A vaporizer allows the consumer to avoid inhaling these potentially toxic by-products because vaporizing keeps the temperature much lower. So theoretically you’ll have less unwanted particles floating around your lungs. And you’ll inhale more of the active ingredient you came for.
A small study in 2007 said basically as much.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing potentially toxic when you inhale vapor; it just appears to be much less.
Yet a study released in 2016 strongly suggests that vaping tobacco is as bad for you as smoking tobacco.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that vaping THC is also as bad for your heart as smoking THC, but we can’t really say that vaping THC doesn’t negatively affect your heart or cardio system. The amount of research conducted on vaporizers is actually astonishingly low.
One problem for researchers is that there is so much variance in the type of THC consumed. Another is that any long-term studies require decades of research to really say with any real certainty what vaping THC does to your heart, lungs, or brain chemistry even.
There are other possible health concerns with vaping. There are many brands and manufacturers of portable vapes, and many of them are produced in China with little regulation. Some critics believe vaporizers can contain glue or other toxic materials that can be off-gassed and inhaled by the consumer. Make sure your vape uses ceramic or titanium heating parts over vapes that contain steel, glass, or fiber wick.
So, What’s The Verdict?
So if the health of your pulmonary and cardiovascular systems are important to you, we can’t say with any real degree of certainty that vaping THC products is overall “healthier than” smoking THC products, though a few studies suggest that vaping is better for your lungs.
At the end of the day, you’re in control of your own body (at least as of the publication of this article), so it’s your call. Just don’t assume that vaping can’t lead to adverse health effects and that it doesn’t come with its own baggage. Vaping may ultimately be significantly safer on many fronts, but there’s still so much that we don’t know about it.