18 Difference between Vaping Dry Herbs and Smoking

There is already a wide variety of ways to enjoy your dry herbs. This can be smoking a joint, or firing up that trusty pipe. Unfortunately what all of these methods have in common is that they require combusting or burning.


What is Vaping?

It's 2018 now and smoking is so 2010. While dry herb vaporizers first hit the market way back in the mid-2000s, it was only after the 1st decade of the new millennium when they started to become more affordable.

But the question still stands, what is vaping? To keep things simple, vaporizing is the process of slowly and carefully heating up your dry herbs, wax or oils. You need to heat it to a specific and low enough temperature where the main psychoactive ingredients of the herb is released. This needs to be done without actually burning the plant material. Instead of yielding smoke as a result of the plant's combustion, the gradual release of the active compounds are released as vapor. There is no combustion going on, therefore there's no smoke to inhale. Vaporizers are usually electrical devices but can be powered by butane sometimes.


Benefits of Vaping

Since it is not smoking, vaping your herbs has many benefits that smoking just doesn't.

  • Produces fewer toxins

Vaping your dry herb ensures that you are in no way burning or combusting the plant material. You get to avoid most of the harmful toxins that you would normally ingest when inhaling burnt up smoke.

Vaporizers are designed in a way where they're programmed to reach very specific temperature ranges. This is done to prevent actual burning or combustion. When you finish vaping, your herbs should not be charred but rather brown.

  • No fire hazard

Vaporizers work their magic through a gradual and careful heating up of herbs. Smoking a joint or pipe requires an open flame and combustion is a continuous process. This immediately removes the hazards of working with high temperatures that can potentially start a fire.

Vaporizers do not use an open flame such as a lighter or match to heat up the plant material. Instead, all modern vaporizers are battery powered and work via an electrical current supplied to a heating element. Herbal vape pens are also designed to switch off after the vaporization process is done. There's no risk of accidentally burning your house or car down by accidentally leaving a vaporizer unattended.


  • Better taste and flavor

When's the last time you actually enjoyed the flavor of a completely burnt steak or sandwich? That's right: Never. Smoking your herb results in a much poorer flavor due to the fact that you're inhaling burnt plant material.

Inhaling vaporized dry herbs, on the other hand, isn't much different from enjoying a properly roasted chicken that's been sitting in the oven for just the right amount of time and at just the right temperature. You get to actually taste the real flavor of the strain you're vaping which can be a mind-blowing experience for first-time vapers who've been smoking their bud ever since. The difference can be so great that you wouldnt even recognize that you're vapign the same bud that you used to be smoking.


  • Better on the throat and lungs

Inhaling smoke is bad for your lungs. Who would've thought? No smoke equals healthier and happier lungs. Add the fact that the vapor released from herbs is nowhere near the often scorching hot temperatures achieved by weed smoke, vaporizing is a lot easier on your throat as well. You'll never experience a coughing fit caused by taking too big a hit as inhaling vaporized bud is almost as easy as breathing air.

Pros of Vaping

  • More control of your dose

Smoking a joint is where the combustion or burning of your herb generally takes place within a really high temperature. Vaporizing your weed can be done in a variety of temperatures. What this lets you do is essentially control your doses by initially vaping a batch at much lower temperatures. This allows only a small portion of the active compounds become ingested.

This can be really helpful for those who use marijuana for medicinal reasons. Micro-dosing allows you to experience just the medicinal effects of such as pain relief and mild relaxation. This can help make sure it doesn't potentially get in the way of work and responsibilities.


  • Less waste

Think of the last time you smoked from paper or a pipe. Recall all that herb burning up in between puffs? That's basically wasted dry herbs right there. One big advantage of vaping your weed over smoking it is the only way that precious vapor is going to enter the atmosphere is through your lungs.

Vapor only leaves your vaporizer when you take a puff. Otherwise, it remains in your device. This is something you can't exactly replicate with a joint as it continues burning even when you aren't taking a hit


  • Discreet

Recreational and medicinal marijuana use has taken huge leaps and bounds in terms of acceptance. It still has some ways to go before it reaches the same level of acceptance as alcohol consumption.

Thanks to the overlap between electronic cigarettes containing nicotine and dry herb vaporizers in overall appearance, you won't have to worry about stashing away whenever you're stuck up mother in law visits. Just remember the smell can still linger a bit. The good thing is herbal vape pens look exactly like a writing pen so they often times can't be told apart. 

Vaping your bud also produces significantly less odor compared to smoking it. The heating process of a vaporizer is highly controlled unlike the continuous high-temperature combustion process of smoking. This means that you won't have to worry about bothering your sensitive neighbors when vaping in your apartment.


  • Herbs last longer

Vaping is a lot gentler on your bud compared to smoking it in the sense that slow gradually rising temperatures are used to coax the active ingredients out of the weed. This means that each bowl you fill will be good for a much larger amount of hits when vaping it.


  • Less costly over the long run

Vaping is a great method of intake, especially if you tend to be economic in its consumption. You get more hits out of each bowl meaning you burn through less herbs overall.  Not to mention that the leftover vaped marijuana can be used to make tinctures, tea, or pretty much anything that your typical hemp-based products are made of.

Cons of Vaping

  • Upfront cost

No doubt that even the cheapest vaporizer available on the market right now costs more than your average pipe. The larger upfront cost tends to scare away a lot of would-be vapers, especially when the current selection of quality pipes are very affordable in comparison. Look on the bright side, it's not as expensive as a wax pen. They also last longer. On the bright side, your glass water pipe can hit something and easily break. Your vape pen is much more durable and rugged.

  • Maintenance

Every unit no matter how cheap or expensive it cost or whatever features or materials it uses will definitely require a minimum amount of maintenance to keep it in proper running condition. Aside from the fact that the batteries need frequent if not daily recharging depending on your usage, it's important to keep the chamber and airflow holes as clean as possible for clean and efficient vaping.

Smoking your herb

Before you truly decide on making that switch from smoking to vaping. It's important to let you know of some of the potential up and downsides that you'll be giving up by making the switch. So here's a short list smoking pros and cons


  • Easy to use

It should go without saying that smoking your herb through a bong or pipe is definitely a lot easier than vaping it especially for those who’ve never vaped before. There is practically no learning curve you need to get over to smoke a pipe, while on the other hand, buying a new vaporizer will require you to get familiar with how the device operates and learn its dos and dont's.

  • Quick

Vaporizing your herb requires a certain amount of time to pre-heat the oven in order to get it to proper temperatures needed to vaporize the bud. Smoking it, in contrast, is pretty instant and doesn't require to you wait on your vape at all before it notifies you that your herb is ready to be vaped. It's pretty much fire up and forget which can be more ideal for the more impatient individuals amongst us.

  • No maintenance

Vaporizers at the very least require you to take a fine brush tool to meticulously clean out the innards of your vaporizers chamber. Sometimes even smaller improvised cleaning tools will be required to flush out any dirty airflow channels that might have gotten clogged up through use. Pipes and bongs, however, are just pretty much a good rinse or soak away from being squeaky clean so they're a lot easier and less time consuming to maintain.


  • Flavor

It doesn't matter what kind of fancy pipe or bong you use, at the end of the day, you're still smoking and burning that bud.  While those who've never touched a vaporizer before will have already gotten used to the flavor of burnt up marijuana smoke, it can be difficult for a long time vaper to try smoking his herb as the difference in flavor is just that large.


  • Burns your throat or lungs

While some might tell you otherwise, smoking your bud isn't much different from smoking a cigarette health-wise. Sure it might not have all the addictive properties that good old-fashioned nicotine has, but it can just be as harsh to your lungs as smoking a regular tobacco cigarette can be. You're inhaling smoke which is a result of burnt up plant material. This opens the possibility of introducing carcinogens into your lungs, something that can be avoided by vaporizing your herb instead.


  • Can be costly

While the cost of rolling papers or a pipe might not be much at the beginning, you're eventually going to be burning through a lot of herb just by smoking it. Burning the plant material at high temperatures doesn't give it enough time for it to decarb. This causes you to lose a lot of potential active ingredients in the process and wasting up a lot more herb.


  • Smell

While some may like the smell, many smokers and especially non-smokers of marijuana absolutely detest the stench of burnt up bud. It's not very discreet as well as the smell does have a tendency to stick to your clothes for short periods of time.

Vaping your bud produces a much more pleasant aroma and taste. The difference is practically night and day, similar to how different a piece of meat smells and tastes like when it's perfectly cooked against when it's been burnt to a crisp in the oven.