Over the last decade, the public health campaigns about the perils of smoking have finally permeated into social consciousness. People don’t want to stop smoking, but they want to take better care of their health. It’s the 21st century —both cigarette smokers and cannabis smokers have transitioned into vaping.
As is often the case with new technologies, there is a lot of confusion about e-cigarettes and THC vapes. What’s the difference between e-liquid and THC e juice. More importantly, for you, do these differences even matter?
It turns out, the differences between an e-cigarette and a cannabis vape pen do matter. The vaping technology in both industries have evolved together, but the experience, ingredients, and health risks are not the same. The e-liquids contained in an e-cigarette are much different than those within a vape pen.
It’s time to break down the key differences between e-cigarettes and THC vapes, to keep you informed, and safe — whatever you choose to vape.
Smoking Cigarettes is Bad For You, But What About Smoking Weed?
The transition to vaping began after decades of warnings about smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes contain at least 600 ingredients, which produce a further 7000 chemicals as they burn. In the US alone, smoking tobacco leads to 480,00 preventable deaths a year. Even sitting next to a person is dangerous for your health. According to the American Lung Association, there are more than 40,000 deaths a year from secondhand smoke.
With these statistics in mind, the industry began moving away from smoking tobacco products to vaping them. Vaping avoids combustion and, theoretically, prevents many of the 7000 chemicals when you inhale cigarette smoke.
The cannabis industry has followed suit. Vaping weed is now almost as widespread smoking weed, with many people making the switch because they feel it’s better for their respiratory system. Is smoking weed as bad for your lungs as tobacco-based products? Interestingly, cannabis sits at the opposite end of the spectrum and has many proven therapeutic qualities.
Need proof? According to one of the most extensive reviews to date, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “The evidence suggests that smoking cannabis does not increase the risk for certain cancers (i.e., lung, head and neck) in adults.”
While the organization concluded that “Smoking cannabis on a regular basis is associated with chronic cough and phlegm production.” They also found that “Quitting cannabis smoking is likely to reduce chronic cough and phlegm production.” Smoking cannabis has few if any long term health effects, compared with smoking, which kills almost half a million Americans a year.
Is Vaping Safe?
Compared with smoking, there is much less research on vaping. But what we do know so far, both in the tobacco and cannabis categories, vaping seems much safer.
E-cigarettes are still the most controversial, but that hasn’t stopped millions from putting down their pack of smokes and picking up an e-cig. If you are going to indulge in nicotine-based products, it looks as if making the switch is likely a smart idea. However, the liquids may still contain unhealthy chemicals, including nicotine itself. New research suggests even vaping nicotine liquids doesn’t entirely avoid the health risks.
But what about THC vape pens? As per the authors of “No smoke, no fire: What the initial literature suggests regarding vapourized cannabis and respiratory risk,” published in 2015, “Vapourization of cannabis is likely less harmful than smoking.” Vaping cannabis is also a safer alternative, at the very least, because it reduces the inhalation of organic matter. There are no known serious risks to vaping cannabis, save for those created by unhealthy additives.
What Happens When You Vape?
Smoking is the inhalation of fine-particulate created after combustion. Cigarettes burn tobacco. Joints, blunts, pipes, and the like, burn cannabis flowers.
Vaping refers to the vaporization of a liquid into a vapor (or aerosol) with heat. Most portable vapes use a heating coil, called an atomizer. The heat must remain low enough to boil the liquid, but not combust it.
Most e-cig devices place the heating coil in direct contact with the e-juice. It heats the liquid to a boiling point, which evaporates into an aerosol. Cannabis vape pens often use this same technology: an atomizer in direct contact with the concentrate. Tabletop and handheld cannabis vaporizers that use flower (or solid concentrates) use a slightly different method.
Whether you are using an e-cigarette with juice, a THC vape pen with concentrate, or even an e-cigarette with THC e juice, all use similar non-combustion technology.
What’s Inside an e-Cigarette?
Now comes the critical difference between an e-cigarette and a THC vape. Nicotine e-liquids contain a long list of ingredients including water, flavoring, nicotine levels, propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), MCT Oil, vitamin E acetate, and more.
There can be substantial variation between e juice ingredients, and it’s some of these ingredients which led to the negative headlines in 2019. These include diacetyl, VG, vitamin-e acetate, and MCT-oil. These are all used to improve consistency and flavor but have not gone through proper safety trials.
Keep yourself safe by sticking with e-liquids that are free from these potentially dangerous ingredients.
What’s Inside a THC Vape?
Although loosely based on e-cigarettes, quality THC vapes don’t need all the problematic additives. So, if they don’t have the laundry list of ingredients common in the e-cig industry, what’s in a weed pen?
The first ingredient is cannabis concentrate: THC distillate, CBD isolate, live resin, liquid shatter, or CO2 Oil. Each type of concentrates naturally has a different consistency. Some concentrates, like distillates and CO2 oils, require no additional ingredients to improve consistency. They work perfectly in a vape pen, just the way they are.
Others may need PG or PEG400 to help improve their capability. All Foggy Forest vapes use a proprietary blend of ingredients, including lab/medical grade PG and PEG400. These are recognized as safe by the FDA.
Of course, in any industry, you’ll find problematic companies pumping out problematic products, so do your research and read the label. Avoid products with diacetyl, VG, vitamin-e acetate, and MCT-oil.
The Experience: A Final Important Difference
In a side by side comparison, THC e-juice and nicotine-based e-liquids deliver substantially different experiences. Nicotine is a stimulant, but it is technically non-intoxicating. THC vapes, on the other hand, are designed to deliver a smooth, relaxing, and mildly intoxicating adventure. Cannabis vapes may also be useful for medicinal applications, like mood disorders, pain, and sleep.
Vaping is a safe alternative to smoking, so long as you know what to look for and where to shop. Choose your THC e-juices and vape products wisely by reading the labels on researching additives. Stick with reputable companies, like The Foggy Forest. We care about our customers and the safety of the products we sell.