Cannabis Culture in Canada
July 9, 2019

Smoking VS Vaporizing Medical Cannabis

Mel Perron
2 mins

Vaporizers are relatively new products that have been sold in North America for about a decade. Cannabis vaporization has grown rapidly in popularity among patients because they are easy, discreet, and healthier than traditional inhalation methods such as smoking. While both flower and concentrates can be vaporized using a wide range of devices, we will be focusing on flower at this time, as concentrates will not be legal until October 2019.  

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What are Vaporizers?

The process of vaping cannabis involves heating cannabis flower or concentrates to a temperature that turns your cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor. Vaporization is a healthier alternative to smoking as it occurs at temperatures that do not allow the flower to combust, a process which releases harmful tar and carcinogens.

Compared to smoking, vaping cannabis increases the amount of cannabis by-products that are activated, potentially bolstering health benefits for medical cannabis patients.

Vape pens that burn concentrates are not currently legal, or sold by licensed producers. We aren't going to cover concentrate vaporizers in this blog, but will cover them in the near future! A dry herb vaporizer is a device used to vape dry herb or dry flower which are also known as an herbal vaporizer. Dry herb vaporizers are usually small and convenient to carry everywhere. Dry herb vaporizer units are also very compact, thus making it easier for the user to change and maintain the parts such as the lithium ion battery and the cartridge tank system.  

What Are The Advantage of Cannabis Vaporizers?

There are many advantages to vaping instead of smoking. New patients, for example, tend to prefer vaporizing because the vapor can be inhaled in short puffs rather than deep breaths.  

For heavier-use patients, one of the best benefits is that vaporizing is a healthier alternative to smoking, as vapor doesn’t release the tar and carcinogens created during the burning process

When using a dry herbal vaporizer, the user gets all the advantages of herbal medication that could be offered in the form of pure and potent vapor. In general, you want to buy dry herbs that are properly cured and dried because there’s less chance of mold growth on properly cured herbs and you’ll get better flavor and smoother vapor.  

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What Are The Disadvantages of Vaping?

While vaporizing is great, there are some disadvantages. The preparation of the cannabis can is more time consuming. The cannabis first must be ground into a fine consistency and you must wait for the vaporizer to heat up. Afterwards, the vaporizer should be cleaned, and frequent cleaning is ideal to keep your vaporizer performing as desired.  

In addition to a slightly more cumbersome process, many vaporizers are expensive for new patients. However in the long run vaporizers can save you money as they use less cannabis.

There are many types of vaporizers available on the market. Which one is right for you depends on the quality of the vape device and what comes with it, as well as your budget. You can find a vape pen starter kit that couples the battery with various tools and a device charger.  

Canadians are legally allowed to buy vaping products for nicotine as an alternative to cigarette smoking but at the moment legalization doesn’t allow the recreational sale of vape products. The government’s official stance is it needs to do more research on cannabis-based vaporizers before it makes them legal to the public.  

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Portable Vs. Desktop Vaporizers

Portable vaporizers are small, discreet vaporizers that you can put into your pocket and can take with you on the go. Portable vaporizers include a chamber to hold the cannabis flower a heating mechanism and a battery. Most high-end portable vaporizers contain variable temperature control devices that are operated with the click of a button or turn of a small dial. This activates the battery, which heats the element and vaporizes the flower contained within the chamber, sending it into the mouthpiece for inhalation.

Unlike portable vaporizers, desktop vapes are much larger and more sophisticated. While they aren’t mobility, they come with a lot of added features that portable vaporizers don’t offer. Desktop have a strong, powerful stable power source, which usually makes for increased vapor production and more efficient usability. Desktop vaporizers generally incorporate larger chambers and a longer battery life, making it require fewer refills and recharges than a portable vaporizer. This makes them perfect for longer sessions and sharing amongst friends.


Cannabis research is still in its infancy because cannabis is still illegal in most countries. As cannabis legalization and acceptance continues to spread across the world, more scientific studies are being conducted and more is being understood about vaping and cannabis smoking in general. An increase in information about vaporization and better product availability is creating more appeal to cannabis users for medicinal use to help solve issues from insomnia, joint pain, and perhaps even cancer.  

Whether you ultimately decide to vape or smoke cannabis, is obviously a personal choice, with a little more knowledge on the pros and cons, you can make a more informed decision.  

If you want more information about vaporizers or any other cannabis product, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.  

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