Vaping has become a popular way to consume cannabis and there are a variety of ways you can vape cannabis to get the results you’re looking for. The differences between vaping dry flower and vaping oils (also called concentrates) have long been debated. Both types of cannabis consumption are valid and both have different effects and uses.
Cannabis consumers tend to be very loyal to their preferences between vaping dry flower or vaping oils. It’s hard to know what will work for you since each person is going to react differently and have different goals when using cannabis while vaping. Neither option is wrong, it’s just about what works for you.
In a survey report from TVape, a whopping 86% of the 700 respondents agreed to the statement that they “felt generally better after vaporizing as opposed to smoking”. One thing for sure, people do seem to prefer vaporizing to smoking.
If you aren’t sure about the differences vaporizing cannabis or vaping oils yet, that’s ok. There’s a lot of research out there and it’s hard to narrow it all down. You probably even have friends telling you one way is better than the other. With that in mind, here are some concrete differences between vaping dry flower and vaping concentrates.
What Is Cannabis Concentrate?
A cannabis concentrate is a product stripped of the excess plant material and impurities leaving behind only the most desirable parts of the cannabis. When compared ounce to ounce with natural cannabis flower, concentrates have a greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Concentrates come in many forms, like wax, creams, lotions, and oils. It gets so complicated that UCLA came up with a whole page on cannabis concentrate terminology. They all have their own particular uses but vaping with oil is what you’re looking for information on at this point.
Understanding the composition of oil will help you understand the differences between vaping flower and vaping oil.
What Are The Benefits Of Vaping Cannabis Oil?
Concentrates like oil have a higher percentage of THC when compared to dried flower cannabis. This gives the oil a more potent punch when vaped. For patients using cannabis as a treatment for symptoms like anxiety or pain, this is a good thing. It acts more quickly and is a more powerful dose of medication to really attack the symptoms and calm them more efficiently at times.
Vaping oil recreationally also has similar effects. Many recreational users will find they reach their preferred level of high while vaping oil. Again, this has a lot to do with the higher concentration of THC in the oil.
When it comes to cannabis oil there’s definitely a less is more factor. A small amount of oil may not look helpful but it’s definitely extremely powerful.
Oils are also easier to use on the go since they come in easily carried forms. Pre-filled cartridges are almost impossible to mess up, and they’re so portable you don’t have to worry about not having your cannabis with you when you need it. If you get hit by a sudden wave of panic you have something fast-acting on hand that you can use right away.
[Related: Vessel Vape Pen Review]
Is Processed Cannabis Safe in Oil Form?
Harvard’s Peter Grinspoon can’t answer his own question in this post on the safety of CBD, let alone THC. He asks the questions and then dodges it, so it will be hard to get a definitive answer.
Remember how concentrates are made? They’re stripped of all parts of the plant, which includes the terpenes. Since terpenes in marijuana are part of what gives medicinal benefits that can be an issue if you’re vaping to treat a medical condition.
Terpenes are often added back in with artificial flavorings but it’s not quite the same. It’s sort of like drinking apple juice and thinking you’re getting the same nutrition as an actual apple. This doesn’t mean oil has zero benefits, in fact, you’ve already read about the many benefits oil vaping does have. It’s just something to be aware of.
There’s also something to be said about removing the ritual involved in preparing the dry flower version. Some cannabis consumers prefer the ritual and find it to be part of their calming encounter with marijuana consumption. Again, that comes down to personal preference but a pre-filled cartridge isn’t going to give you that option.
What Are The Benefits Of Vaporizing Dry Flower?
Dry flower (or dry herbs) have all the parts of the plant included. That means you’re getting all the natural terpenes and cannabinoids straight from the plant itself.
Vaping cannabis flower gives you the full aroma and taste of the plant as well. Some cannabis consumers claim that vaping the dry herb is a fuller, richer experience that can’t be mimicked by vaping cannabis oil.
The psychoactive effects are different as well. You’re already aware of the THC difference but vaping dry flower creates a different effect overall. The high from vaping dried flower is going to be more like the high from smoking a joint or bowl. If that’s the effect you are seeking, then vaping dry flower is a great option for you.
What Are The Negatives Of Vaping Dry Cannabis?
Because it’s a plant that isn’t regulated yet (as it’s not federally legal yet) there’s no way to certify it as organic. While specific growers may use organic practices, overall there’s no industry standard on what pesticides are or are not ok to use. It’s possible you could be exposed to pesticides passed on through vaping dry herb.
Research also waivers on the effects of vaping dry flower on your lungs. Nothing is concrete on either side of the debate, but there is some question as to the long term effects of vaping dry flower. These same discussions are not being had when it comes to vaping cannabis in oil form.
It’s nothing that is conclusive enough to discourage you from vaping dry herb but it’s something you should still be aware of. If you have lung issues currently you should speak with your doctor to see what they think is best regarding your own personal health issues and what types of cannabis you choose to consume.
You’re the only one who can make the best choice about which way you want to consume your cannabis. It’s okay if you try vaping both dry flower and cannabis oil before deciding which you like best, but before you decide, remember that not even Harvard’s PhDs have an easy time answering these questions yet.
You can also consult your doctor, a dispensary employee, or cannabis expert to help you make a more informed decision. Whichever option is best for you, you’re bound to enjoy the great benefits of vaping cannabis. Find what works for you and stick with that. You’ll be more than thrilled when you do.
finally a post with proper academic and survey data. Anybody have an idea on how many carcinogens are in vape as opposed to smoke?
Mike D. I’m not sure there have been any studies about carcinogens in whole flower smoke as opposed to vaped whole flower. It’s an interesting question though. As for extracted oils, there are be so many varieties of methods for extraction and so many different chemicals used, it would have to go on a manufacturer by manufacturer analysis. Thus far, there have not been many, if any, studies about this aspect of smoking cannabis. As for whole flower, there’s been little evidence of any carcinogens, per se, in cannabis flower. I would, by extension, think that if there are no carcinogens in whole flower, that vaped flower would also have no carcinogens.
Steve- the cutting/thinning agents they use in the oil can be harmful. It’s a shame that they wont know the extent of this as “medicine” for decades, until they do a whole lot of studies on it all. PG and PEG used to thin oils is very controversial, and they change daily it seems. Both of the chemicals are found in automotive anti freeze.
I have oil, and vape, and I just bought a Quant dry vape but have not gotten it yet. Im thinking smoking the plant may be best. Who knows? I buy only legal weed at a dispensary, if that matters at all. Again… Who knows?