Vape High vs Smoke High: Is There a Difference?

In 2020, 27% of Canadians claimed to have used cannabis at some point during the year.

Despite what some might claim, it hasn’t been a fringe drug for a long time. It’s popular, and its popularity only keeps on growing.

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But what’s the best way to consume it?

After all, there are a lot of ways to get high. If you were in a roomful of cannabis consumers and asked them the best way to consume it, you’d end up with half a dozen different answers.

The vape high vs smoke high debate has been around for a while. We’re here to set the record straight.

Vape High vs Smoke High: Does It Matter?

Let’s jump right in: It does make a difference.

As you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to compare a hit from a bong with a hit from a joint, how you consume cannabis makes a big difference to how high you get.

But it’s not as simple as that, is it?

We’re all aware that different breeds of cannabis produce different highs. But the fact is that consuming the same breeds by different methods – namely, smoking or vaping – will produce very different highs.

Vaping vs Smoking

Vaporizers work by heating oil or a dry herb hot enough to produce vapor, but not smoke, while smoked cannabis is burned.

There are crucial differences between the two in terms of the effect on your health (below) and the sensation.

Both are hot, but smoke from a cigarette or joint typically feels dry and scratchy. Many smokers prefer cigarettes for the burning feeling as they inhale. Vapor won’t scratch your throat but can take some getting used to.

Because it’s often mixed with tobacco, smoked cannabis offers a nicotine rush at the same time it’s inhaled – while vaporized cannabis doesn’t. Moreover, vaped cannabis tends to preserve more of the flavor of the drug.

And there’s one definite win for vape enthusiasts when compared with smoking: Vaporized cannabis is more efficient.

Sativa and Indica

What’s your preference when talking Sativa vs hybrid vs Indica?

In the bygone days of prohibition, cannabis users – and their suppliers – would often make uninformed claims as to the purity and type of their marijuana.

In truth, though, most forms of illicitly-obtained cannabis were often some kind of hybrid. Supply on a forbidden market is never reliable, after all.

Thankfully, those days are well behind us. And with cannabis supplied by regulated industry, the matter of a sativa vs a hybrid high is more clear-cut.

So, what’s the difference in a nutshell? Sativa and Indica are the opposite ends of a spectrum:

  • Sativa creates the creative and extroverted high
  • Indica induces the couch-locked and introverted high
  • Hybrid variants are somewhere on a spectrum between the two

And because it’s a spectrum, you’ll find that there are hybrid strains that fall all across it – check out some cannabis reviews by to get a feel for different breeds.

The High Itself

Naturally, the best way to understand the highs is to experience them.

Vape Highs vs Smoke Highs

Vape highs differ from smoke highs in three important ways:

  • Vape highs are more intense, but take longer to kick in
  • Vape highs have no nicotine
  • Vape highs are clearer

That last one is contentious. It’s a matter of subjective experience, yes, but it’s also dependent on temperature. Up to around 200°, vape highs are clearer – but beyond that, they tend to cause the same cognitive impairment as smoking.

The reason is in the toxins.

Once you start heating your cannabis to more than 200 degrees with a vape, the vapor will contain trace amounts of benzene and other substances. These will influence your high and make it fuzzier.

And what about the strength of the high?

Overall, vaping weed will result in a higher concentration of THC in the blood than smoking it. It’s stronger. Now, before you conjure vaping is always “better” than smoking, there’s more to consider.

For starters, vape highs take longer to kick in than smoke highs. It’s not uncommon for habitual smokers to consume over their threshold without realizing it when reaching for a vape.

Moreover, it’s more difficult to gauge how much you’ve consumed. If a joint is passing around the room, you can see its size. But unless you crack the vaporizer open and look inside, you won’t know how much you’ve had.

Smoke highs from joints are, obviously, the opposite of the above. They’re hazier, have a nicotine boost (if you use tobacco), and are noticeable soon after smoking.

From a Health Perspective

Let’s be real for a moment: Neither smoking nor vaping are good for the body. You’re inhaling hot substances that contain toxins.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t choose the healthier option.

Which is Healthier?

Much to the ire of the joint rollers, vaping is healthier overall – but with a catch.

Vaporizers allow you to set the temperature. And lower temperatures are invariably better for your lungs. However, bear in mind that lower heat will mean the hazier highs are out of reach.

Plus, vaporizers are the new kid on the block. And if recent news has shown us anything, it’s that they’re nowhere near as healthy as vapers like to think.

But it’s not just about your lungs.

Smoking is worse for your skin, teeth, and nails than vaporizing is. If you forgo the tobacco and smoke only pure joints, you’re missing the worst of it.

Even so, burnt cannabis produces a similar sticky tar as tobacco with some of the same nasty effects.

It’s a Matter of Choice

The debate around vape high vs smoke high has raged and will continue to be a hot topic for a long time. But the data is (reasonably) clear: Vape highs are more intense.

Ultimately, though, it’s not all about the high. The experience of smoking is equally as important for many, and you can’t knock it unless you’ve tried it.

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