The Difference Between Smoking and Vaping Medical Marijuana

What’s the difference between smoking and vaping medical marijuana? First, under current Florida law, smoking marijuana, even medicinal marijuana, is illegal. This is being challenged in the court system. Yet, even in states where smoking is legal, vaping is still a popular delivery method.

What is vaping?

vape cloudVaping is the process that heats a substance into an aerosol or cloud. The user inhales and then exhales the cloud. Some vapor is clear, other vapor is cloudy. It can be very reminiscent of smoke, but it’s more like fog.

Vaping can involve oils or dry herb. The oil or herb is put into a heated chamber which operates below the combustion temperature. The cannabinoids and terpenes are released into the vapor. The vapor is then inhaled into the lungs. The onset of the MM may take longer, but it often lasts longer than smoking.

Different types of vaporizers

Vaporizers come can be small compact pens or large tabletop units. Many dispensaries have their own vaping brands and supplies.

volcano_digital_boxTabletop units plug into a wall outlet. They come with either a bag that expands with the vapor or a hose. Both have a mouthpiece which allows you to inhale as little or as much of the vapor as you would like with each dose. They have excellent precision, allowing for optimal temperature control. This allows you to customize the exact heat based on the product you are using. High end tabletop units can cost a couple of hundred bucks. Tabletop units are not very portable.

Oil vape pens are very portable and discrete. They are small and operate on battery power. But, the vape pens do need frequent charging. Some pens have chambers that you can fill yourself while others rely on a cartridge. The pens themselves can be inexpensive, starting at around $20-$25. Inquire about the different pens available at your dispensary.

Dry herb vaporizers also exist. Most dry herb vaporizers are designed to be refilled by the consumer. Under current Florida law, the dry flower is not available. The way around that law is to offer dry herb cartridges and cups. Two Florida dispensaries offer a dried flower option. Curaleaf offers a dry herb vape pen. Trulieve offers dry flower cups for tabletop vaporizers. Check with your local dispensary for dry herb vaporizer information.

Is Vaping safer than smoking?

The jury is still out on this one. The state of Florida would like you to believe so. Their stance on smoking medical marijuana has been firm, despite what the votes think. Vaping is new. There are many concerns about additives and their side effects. Each product is different. Speak to the dispensary about any additives in their products.

What’s the Difference between Smoking and Vaping Medical Marijuana?

Vaping, or vaporizing, heats the product to just below the combustion level so it doesn’t catch fire. Smoking heats the product until it catches fire and releases smoke.  Marijuana smoke has a distinctive odor and is hard to mask. Vaping, depending on the product, is relatively odorless. This means that vaping can be done anywhere that vaping is allowed without people knowing that you are inhaling a medical marijuana product. Discretion is a big plus for many people who vape, but the most important difference right now is legality. Until the smoking debate is settled, smoking medical marijuana is illegal in Florida. Vaping still takes longer, usually not by much, to feel effects than smoking. Yet, the effects of vaping can often last longer than smoking.

Have you tried vaping? Do you have a vape product that you love? Drop us a comment down below. We’d love to hear about it.


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20 thoughts on “The Difference Between Smoking and Vaping Medical Marijuana”

  1. I have never tried vaping and I do not know much about this until now
    Here is New Zealand a lot of people who are trying to give up smoking using vaping and I guess they use marijuana as well- I enjoyed this post and it is really informative and also the US is a lot more liberal in some places compared to us

    1. I’ve known two people who successfully gave up smoking using a vape. I didn’t really understand it until I was researching this article. Thanks for your comments.

    1. Discretion is such a big plus. There is still so much stigma left regarding marijuana that many legal users don’t talk to others about their use. But as many people find relief from ailments and symptoms, the get bolder with it so that will change over time. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hello there.
    This article is very informative. So far I haven’t heard of vaping medicinal marijuana as one of the options. As a Nurse in Denmark, I have heard many people using medicinal marijuana, especially with palliative patients.
    Great article.

    1. Medical Marijuana is very new to us in Florida and since the actual plant, including the bud, is not allowed by law, vaping has gained a lot of interest. Thank you for your comment.

    1. Thanks Gillian. I know people who vaped, but I didn’t really understand it. When I started to research the article, it was very eye opening.

  3. Interesting post.
    The difference between Vaping and Smoking are clear through your expertise.
    I would say that probably smoking is more nocive, in the sense that smoke is a burning chemical reaction and it carries more dangerous agents.
    Great informative article.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, many people who smoke don’t stop to consider the type of lighter that the use either, which adds even more chemicals into the smoke.

  4. Interesting article regarding the difference between smoking and vaping medical marijuana. I think the future of drugs and the underground dealings is going to undergo a dramatic shift through vaping technology and the development of vape juices that are able to substitute the likes of marijuana.
    I switched to vaping a year ago, the UK government made smoking unaffordable for my concerns. After 30 years of smoking, sticking a blue plaster on my skin simply doesn’t kick the habit. Vaping’s been a great substitute. I have never smoked marijuana, so I can’t comment on how these new vapes perform. I use a menthol vape juice containing 6 mg of nicotine.
    All the best,

    1. I know several people who have kicked the habit through vaping. One gradually stepped down her nicotine until it was non-existence and then gave up the vape altogether. I think it took about a year. The other still vapes. We met some lovely British snowbirds last winter that stuck up a conversation about smoking and cigarette prices in London. Needless to say we were shocked by how expensive it was compared to the US, and it’s not exactly cheap here! Good luck to you.

    1. The trick is the product that you vape so ask a lot of questions at the time of purchase. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Great article!

    I have been an avid weed smoker for many years, as it helps with the constant back issues. It is legal here in Oregon which is a plus. I have thought about vaping but I just have no idea where to start.

    Is this a cheaper route than going in to the dispensary and purchasing a few grams here and there in the long run?

    1. Starting to vape can definitely be intimidating. There are so many different vapes with so many options. Here in Florida, the dried flower is way more expensive that the oils, but I think that has to do with our restrictive laws. IF you have a favorite strain that gives you pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, you would just have to cost it out. I know that several of the people I spoke with on the issue say the dried bud units are easier to switch between strains, which is helpful if you use different products for day than for night. As for picking a vape unit, Vapornation has a great tool on their main page where you select the style of vape and then the type of product- herbs or concentrates. The list given makes it very easy to sort out the different units and ratings. Good luck!

  6. Where I’m from, smoking marijuana is legal and there’s marijuana “dispensaries” all over the city. Regardless about vaping marijuana or other products, I was under the impression that most people don’t know how to use a vaporizer (the hand-held units) as they have the temperatures turned up way too high, based on the huge clouds of smoke when they puff away (mostly young guys in their car). Just a casual observation.

    1. I think it’s a very accurate observation of some of the younger crowd that vapes the e-juice from their neighborhood Vape store. I think it’s like car stereos. Crank it as loud as you can to draw attention to yourself. But it does allow the medical marijuana user that is feeling conspicuous feel some ease. Who’s gonna notice you outside a restaurant when you are standing near THAT guy!

  7. Hey! Since I live in the Netherlands where I can thankfully smoke weed the way I want to I never thought about vaping to be honest I didn’t even do research to it, so it’s nice to now know more about why some people prefer vaping.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I never considered vaping until the state of Florida put a ban on smoking medical marijuana. I honestly cannot imagine a single voter who helped pass the law thinking that they would make it legal for a medical condition but that the patient wouldn’t be able to smoke it. After some research, I can definitely see why some would choose to vape.

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