A rainbow array of vape carts

Vaping vs. Smoking Weed

High There

By High There

June 9, 2021

Vaping is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume THC concentrates. It is fast, easy, and much more inconspicuous than packing a bowl. Vaping works by heating up cannabis using a coil or atomizer, which then produces a vapor that can be inhaled and exhaled through a mouthpiece.

The question of whether smoking or vapng marijuana is better is a hot topic, with some people swearing by their joints and bongs, with others picking up vape pens as their new go-to method. To help you figure out your preference, we’ve put together this smoking/vaping rundown.

In this guide, you can find out which of the two options produces a better high, which is more discreet, which is a more expensive habit, and much more.

A woman loading her vape battery

Vaping vs Smoking Weed: Head to Head


Vaping tends to provide a more balanced and distinct flavor than smoking does, mainly because cannabis smoke destroys the subtleties and taste of each individual strain. With a vape, the user is able to pick up on the different terpenes and flavor profiles of the strain.

The high temperatures used while smoking depletes the terpenes that give weed its unique smell and taste. Having said that, more experienced smokers can still tell different strains apart and enjoy the flavors of their cannabis while lighting up a joint or bowl.

The High

Both vaping and smoking can produce amazing highs, albeit very different highs from each other. When vaping marijuana, the high is much cleaner and not as heavy as it is from smoking. Some users prefer this feeling as they can still be clear-headed to an extent while faded.

However, others prefer the potent high that comes from smoking dry herb. The effects come on much more quickly and are described as euphoric and intense. The reason for the more acute high is that the temperatures that come from using fire release all cannabinoids responsible for the feeling, such as THC, immediately.


In terms of efficiency, vaping comes out on top. You can extract the THC and other cannabinoids from your wax or dry herb slowly and carefully, and measure out the exact amount you want to consume using a dab tool. This is great for people who want to keep track of their cannabis usage.

Bud that has already been vaporized (also known as “ABV”) can be emptied out from your vape and reused in edibles, which is much more efficient than smoke residue. Combusting weed simply turns it to ash, which makes a mess and is not reusable.

Smoking weed through a bowl or a joint burns it much faster, meaning you will get through your stash quicker and end up having to buy more often.


Many people invest in vaping products because they are very discreet. If you are smoking marijuana in public, everybody in the vicinity will notice due to the distinctive look and smell. A vape, on the other hand, is very small and inconspicuous, with most of them looking identical to e-cigarettes.

Additionally, smoking and vaping produce different amounts of odor and clouds. If you take small hits, only a slightly scented and compact vapor puff will be released. Smoking tends to give off large plumes of weed smoke, which lingers much more than vapor does and smells much more strongly of cannabis.

There is really no competition here: vaping is a much more discreet alternative to smoking.


There isn’t a lot of difference in the cost of smoking vs vaping. How much you spend boils down to how much you consume per session, how often you consume, and if you tend to do so in social settings where you might be sharing your stash.

Smoking occasionally works out as cheaper than vaping because of one simple thing. When you own a vape, it comes with you everywhere thanks to how discreet and portable it is, which means you are more likely to use it more often, even for one or two small hits.

If you prefer to smoke cannabis flowers, you will know that packing a bowl or rolling a joint is not as fast or easy to do while out and about. As a result of this, you will not use or need to buy bud as frequently.

However, vaping works out as cheaper on average most of the time. Vaporized THC is more strong than smoke, meaning your cannabis will last longer per gram. As previously mentioned, vaping is efficient and it is easy to control how much you are vaping, which also helps to keep costs down.

Social Experience

Smoking a joint

Smoking has always been a social experience, whether this is marijuana or cigarette smoking. The ritual of grinding your bud, rolling or packing it, and smoking it with friends is undefeated by the solo act of vaping. Many cannabis users prefer to vape when in the privacy of their own homes or when on the go, because of the fact that it is less social, and then smoke with others when at a party or event.

This is not to say that you cannot vape in a social setting: because of how inconspicuous vapes are, you can use them in close proximity to non-smokers without irritating them! They do not produce strong smells or large plumes of smoke like joints or bowls do, so can be perfect depending on what kind of social experience you want.

Cleaning & Maintenence

The clean-up after vaping cannabis is considerate and does put some users off. There is very little maintenance required with smoking joints, or even bowls and pipes, whereas a vaporizer needs a lot of attention.

The only skills required with smoking are knowing how to roll a joint or pack a bowl, which can take a little bit of practice. With vapes, you need to know how to load up your dabs, inhale and use the device properly, and clean it without damaging any of the inner components.

Once you know how to do it, cleaning and maintaining a vaporizer is simple, but is more suited to experienced cannabis users.

Odor Production

Vaping is more discreet than smoking, partially because of the fact it does not produce such strong odors. Most of the vapor ends up in the device or in your mouth, meaning there is less to spread in the air. If you take small hits of the vape, then smaller vapor clouds will be produced, meaning there will be even less smell.

Oil vape pens, which are used to ingest CBD oil and others cannabis liquid by-products, have the lowest odor production, while wax and dry herb cannabis vaporizers emit slightly more of an aroma. With all of these pens, the scent only lasts half an hour at most and can be dissipated by opening a window and letting in some air.

Smoking, on the other hand, produces very intense and strong smells that are hard to get rid of. Marijuana and tobacco smoke are notorious for sticking to everything: the walls, carpet, furniture, clothes, breath, you name it. This is because smoke is being produced, rather than vapor. Although you can smoke outside or open windows to disperse the aroma, it lingers much more and will be noticeable for days afterward.

Health Impact

There is a very clear winner when it comes to comparing the long-term health effects of smoking and vaping. Many people believe that smoking cannabis is better than smoking tobacco for your health, but this is a misconception. When any plant is combusted during smoking, it produces carcinogens, tar, and other harmful by-products. Carcinogens are a cancer-causing substances that alter the metabolism of your cells and damage your DNA.

It is important to note that there are still risks associated with vaping, such as popcorn lung, otherwise known as

. Respiratory symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and sometimes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It occurs as a result of breathing in chemicals that are found in microwavable popcorn factories and e-cigarettes.

Although the long-term health effects of vaping are less severe than smoking marijuana, we still advise you to stay keep up to date with the latest health information. Many vape and e-cigarette cartridge oils were cut with chemicals like vitamin E acetate, which can cause lung injury.

Vaping cannabis is undoubtedly less harmful than smoking it is, but both can have negative side effects on lung health and general human health when you consider the risks of second-hand smoke and using an open flame.

In Short

Both vaping and smoking cannabis have their perks. Vaping is better than smoking when it comes to getting a purer high, being discreet, causing less harm to your body, efficiency, and saving on money. Conversely, marijuana smoking is more popular for recreational use due to its social element, and is favored by those who prefer powerful hits and little clean-up or maintenance.

Of course, what is ‘better’ is a matter of personal preference; some will want to stick with rolling a joint, while others swear by their vape pen. Ultimately, the winner is whichever you enjoy the most and feel most comfortable with, though with what we know about the health effects of smoking, vaping could be a more health-conscious decision.

Vaping: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Vaping Weed Have a Stronger High?

Research has shown that vaporized cannabis does provide a stronger high than smoking it. One study in particular tested whether a user became more high from smoking or vaping after having not ingested THC for 30 days. It found that those who vaped rather than smoked had much more intense and potent high. These people showed greater cognitive drug effects, blood THC concentrations and psychomotor impairment in comparison to those who smoked their cannabis.

The fact that vaping marijuana produces a stronger high is a bonus for many, but means that beginners should be careful. The effects of the THC will be felt quickly and acutely, so we advise those new to the vaping game to start out with a smaller dose than they would usually.

Is Vaping Safer than Smoking Cannabis?

An assortment of vape pen batteries

Both vaping and smoking come with their fair share of health effects, although the former is generally considered to be safer than the latter. Besides the aforementioned risks to your body and lungs, smoking carries the extra hazards of being near an open flame and of second-hand smoke.

When using a lighter or matches, you increase the chances of burning yourself and of putting yourself and others at an increased risk of fire. The effects of second-hand smoke are numerous: Studies show young people risking a higher chance of developing respiratory issues such as asthma and infections, and many of the same illnesses that smokers suffer, like cancer and heart disease.

Vaping can negatively impact your lung and general health, but the safety hazards are typically believed to be fewer and easier to control because you can limit your intake. What’s more, you put no one else around you at risk of inhaling your second-hand smoke.

Does Vaping Smell Less Than Smoking Cannabis?

Marijuana, when smoked and vaporized, will produce a smell. However, the scent is much weaker and dissipates faster when vaping instead of smoking. Because a THC vaporizer produces vapor, it does not cling onto anything and simply fades after between 10 and 30 minutes. Oil vape pens are the best option if you prioritize low odor production, with wax pens and dab rigs emitting a slightly stronger scent.

With a vape, the smell given off is more subtle. For example, many oil cartridges are infused with terpenes or essential oils, meaning the cannabis odor is mixed with floral or citrus scents to make it less obvious.

Smoking, whether for marijuana use or tobacco use, produces smoke which lingers on clothes, walls, furniture, and carpets. This means that the aroma can be very strong and become unpleasant the longer it sticks. Typically, cannabis and cigarette smoke odor lasts for anywhere between a day and 5 days, depending on if you smoke with windows open or use something to mask the smell, such as incense or a candle.

Can You Vape CBD?

Yes, you can vape CBD. If you are new to vaping, then you can buy vaporizers specifically for the use of CBD e-juice cartridges. If you currently use a vape for nicotine, then it may be possible to switch out the cartridge for one compatible for cannabis use.

Not all CBD oil can be vaped, so it is important to get professional advice and do your research before trying. The easiest way to vape CBD is to use a disposable vape or a pod, as these require very little set-up and are pre-measured. Refillable vapes are more complicated and should be worked up to after you figure out your dosage and how to use a CBD vape pen.

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