Smoking, Dry Heating, and Vaping Cannabis: What’s the Difference?

Medical cannabis comes in a variety of form factors and delivery methods. What you can legally use depends on the laws in your state. In Utah, for example, you can vape and dry heat. You cannot smoke. Oklahoma allows all three options. And yes, there are differences.

Pure Utah is a medical cannabis pharmacy in Payson, Utah. They sell both raw flower and vape cartridges. They say the differences between smoking, dry heating, and vaping are mostly mechanical. All three delivery methods offer the same speedy activation afforded by direct inhalation.

If you are new to medical cannabis, you might want to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best delivery method for you. Vaping and dry heating are among the most popular options. Smoking is popular in states that allow it, but it has its obvious drawbacks.

1. Smoking Medical Cannabis

Smoking medical cannabis is no different than smoking tobacco. You grind up the flower and either roll it in a combustible paper or use it in a pipe. Burning the flower releases the active ingredients in the smoke it produces. You inhale them with every draw of your joint or pipe.

The main advantage of smoking is a speed. It takes very little time to get set up. And once you take that first hit, you feel the effects of the plant within seconds. Smoking is a popular option for patients who never quite know when their symptoms are going to flare.

Smoking has a major downside in that it produces toxic chemicals you inhale along with the plant’s active ingredients. It is never good for your lungs. Smoking is not so good for your heart and respiratory system either.

2. Dry Heating Medical Cannabis

If you like the speed of inhaled medicine but do not want to smoke, you can dry heat your flower. Some people consider dry heating the same as vaping, but this post will draw a distinction which you will understand in just a minute.

Dry heating is the process of using electricity to slowly heat the plant until it releases the desired chemicals in a fine vapor. The plant never gets hot enough to burn. As such, it doesn’t produce any smoke. And where there is no smoke, you also don’t have the thousands of toxic chemicals normally produced by combustion.

3. Vaping Medical Cannabis

Vaping was originally introduced as an alternative to tobacco smoking. It existed before dry heating was invented. What makes it so different? Your delivery method is a cannabis-infused liquid rather than raw flower.

Vaporizers contain an electrical coil that heats the liquid to a temperature high enough to cause it to evaporate. It is just like heating water on your stove. Once the water reaches boiling point, it begins to evaporate. You see the vapor coming off the pot or kettle.

Cannabis vaping works the same way. Fortunately, vaping liquids do not have to boil in order to vaporize. They vaporize at much cooler temperatures. At any rate, the vapor you inhale includes the valuable cannabinoids you need to feel better.

Vaping is the ideal choice for people who appreciate inhaling their medicine without the toxic chemicals of smoke and the extra time it takes to dry heat. Vaping is extremely convenient and easy. However, it can also be messy if you don’t know what you’re doing. Vaping can take time to get used to.

Now you know the differences between smoking, dry heating, and vaping cannabis. If you are a medical cannabis patient, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about all three delivery methods.


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