To Smoke Cannabis or to Vape it – which one is healthier?
A recent study published by Matthew Springer, a professor at the University of San Francisco, CA suggests that ‘cannabis smoke’ might be three times as dangerous as tobacco smoke [or at least that’s what the study claims].
The way they went about checking this was to place sedated rats in a plexi-box where they would expose the rodents to smoke from tobacco and from cannabis. What they found was that where the main arteries took 3 times longer to recover after the rats inhaled the second hand smoke from cannabis, as opposed to tobacco. In essence, tobacco recovery was within the first 30 minutes of it and cannabis took about 90 minutes to start behaving normally.
Now I know some of you will want to fight this tooth and nail, however, it’s a study that warrants an objective analysis and still needs to be replicated by others to really gain validity within the realm of science.
Is Cannabis Smoke More Dangerous?
I’m not a scientist and while I have looked at the studies, there is a difference between smoking cannabis and smoking tobacco. People don’t die from smoking cannabis whereas nearly a half a million die from tobacco.
Commercial tobacco contains a lot of additives, pesticides and even a few radioactive substances [found in those pesticides]. My personal belief on this issue is that the radioactive particles in tobacco smoke is probably the main reason why people develop lung cancer and the likes.
Commercial cannabis, while still using pesticides, tend to be more scrutinized in terms of quality. People like the ‘most organic’ smoke available, with the least amount of pesticides to be considered “good”.
Furthermore, with more potent strains coming out, people are smoking less cannabis than before. The quality and purity is infinitely better than it was, even ten years ago.
However, if the second-hand smoke does cause more stress on the body than tobacco smoke, it’s important to analyze this issue.
Yet despite these findings, the occurrences of cancer due to cannabis smoke is non-existent. At least I haven’t found cases that point to that.
So why, [if the study is true] do more people get cancer from smoking tobacco vs cannabis?
The Tobacco Smoker’s Habit
Commercial cigarettes are about as addictive as cocaine. I have been smoking tobacco for over twenty years and I can attest to this. It’s the only drug that has ever “hooked me” and is incredibly difficult to quit.
Compared to my cannabis consumption, I smoke about 20x more cigarettes than I do cannabis. I might have one toke at the end of the day, but by that same time I would have almost demolished a pack of smokes.
This means that the frequency of most tobacco smokers are much higher than cannabis smokers. Whereas I might smoke a half a joint at the end of the day, I would have smoked 20x that in cigarettes, so the exposure is much greater.
Furthermore, as mentioned, there are actually radioactive materials within commercial cigarettes – namely, Lead-210 and Polonium-210.
We all know that exposure to radiation over time can form cancerous cells. Thus, it’s not a big jump from the radioactive materials you are ingesting and the presence of lung cancer. Couple this with the frequency of smokers and you’ve got yourself a recipe for cancer.
Cannabis doesn’t contain these radioactive elements and while your arteries might take a bit longer to recover, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “worse” for you. We have to always consider the chemical makeup of the substances we ingest.
Furthermore, cannabis also has a lot of anti-cancerous elements within it which could also play a major role into why chronic cannabis smokers don’t develop lung cancer.
So should I vape instead?
While vaping is fairly new within the commercial market, it is a safer alternative to smoking seeing that no combustion of plant material occurs within the process.
There are some issues of concern with vaping;
- If you’re vaping extracts, if it’s not purged well you could be ingesting solvents with your cannabis
- No one really knows the effects of vaping on the lungs [yet]
Nonetheless, the primary analysis of vaping versus smoking is that vaping is a safer alternative. This is especially true within the medical cannabis sector. People find it better to vape, less demanding on the system because you’re not “smoking anything”. We’re water based organisms, meaning that smoke is something that goes against the way our system works.
Thus, vaping is simply a smarter choice. Even though there might be some secondary effects of vaping, it would still be a safer alternative to smoking it.
Another point worth mentioning is that vaping cannabis makes your stash last longer. Whereas a bowl of weed could last you 3-4 hits, a vaped bowl can produce between 15-20 tokes for the same amount of cannabis.
Thus, in the sense of health reasons and economy…vaping is by far the superior choice.