If you’re new to using cannabis or CBD, you may be wondering the best way to consume it. Depending on the legality in your state, you may have a wide range of options or just a few.

Smoking and vaporizing have long been popular methods of cannabis consumption. But is inhaling cannabis safe? Is it the healthiest option? If you do choose to smoke or vape, how can you protect yourself as a consumer?

These are great questions to be asking yourself, so we’ve done our best to answer them for you below.

Dried herbs with the vaporization tools vape pen, pipe, joint, and essential oil diffuser

Is it safe to smoke/vaporize cannabis?

It boils down to the product you’re using. With recent reports of vape pens causing lung illness, we can’t stress enough the importance of choosing a safe product from a business you trust. Many cases of vaping illness involved products that were bought from unlicensed retailers.

While we still need conclusive research to determine which ingredients in e-cigarettes and vape pens are causing illness, we do know of a few red flag ingredients you should look out for. We’re grateful for fellow cannabis educator Emma Chasen for sharing this information.

Look out for these red flags when shopping for vape pens

  • Propylene glycol

  • Vitamin E

  • Synthetic terpenes or synthetic cannabis

  • Pesticides

Listen to Emma’s interview about the vaping crisis with Periodic Effects Podcast here: Part 1, Part 2

Is it healthier to smoke or vaporize?

When smoking any substance — tobacco, cigarettes, cannabis, or herbs — there is the potential for damage to our lungs. When you light plant matter, a combustion takes place that produces tar and other toxic chemicals, which are harmful to the body.

A 2003 study by CA NORML & MAPS showed that when cannabis was smoked, 88% of the smoke had non-beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes — meaning only 12% of what was inhaled had helpful compounds.

When the cannabis was vaporized instead, 95% of the vapor contained beneficial compounds.

Vaporizing warms plant material enough to release its beneficial compounds, without creating a harmful combustion. This applies to herbs outside of cannabis as well, such as mullein, rose, lavender, and more. Learn more about other herbs you can inhale here.

Vaping may be a safer alternative, but not all vaping is created equal. You can vape flower (the whole cannabis plant) to experience the entourage effect, or you can vape a concentrate or oil, which may contain red flag ingredients if the product isn’t coming from a reputable source.

PAX Vaporizer with fresh flowers and herbs such as lavender and lemon

How can I choose a safe product?

Do some research on the company. See if you can learn about who founded it, what their mission is, and how they ensure safety for their customers. Read reviews. Ask to see lab reports. If a company is committed to consumer safety and education, they’ll be happy to share their lab reports with you.

Hempsley has created our own set of standards with our Certified Seal. Learn what we look for in lab reports and the companies we partner with.

Make sure any vaporizers you buy…

  • only contain safe and nontoxic ingredients

  • are made of a safe material (such as stainless steel)

  • will not heat up to an unsafe temperature, causing harmful combustion

Why smoke or vaporize?

Inhalation may have some potential risks, but it will likely still be a popular choice of cannabis consumption. It has one of the fastest onset times of any form of consumption, with effects being felt in 1-5 minutes. So if you’re looking for quick relief from acute and ongoing problems, inhalation may be one possible solution. Just make sure to do your own research, read labels, and ask for lab reports when shopping for smoke or vape products. Look for trusted sources who provide real education and have your best interest at heart. For more research, click here to visit maps.org.

Our mission is always to empower you to feel better, shop smarter, and have all the tools you need to make informed decisions.

Sound off in the comments — have you done your own research before buying vaporizers? What was the shopping experience like for you? Are there any companies you love who are transparent about what goes into their products?

Did you learn something new? Please remember to share it with someone you care about!
  1. Garrison, B. (2019, August 27). How To Tell If Your Vape Pen May Be Harmful. Retrieved from https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/how-to-tell-if-your-vape-pen-may-be-harmful/.

  2. Melamede, R. (2005, October 18). Cannabis and tobacco smoke are not equally carcinogenic. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1277837/.

This article was written by Kira Gresoski and published on September 27, 2019. Copyright ©2019 Hempsley®, All Rights Reserved

Tags: cannabis