Scientists uncover the difference between smoking and vaping marijuana

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Vaping is more efficient, but has stronger side effects

Vaping has become a popular way to consume marijuana in lieu of smoking. In order to ascertain if both forms offered the same results, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conducted a study recently that produced some interesting results. They showed that, while vaping and smoking are generally similar, vaping can produce some potentially unwanted side effects not associated with smoking.

The study was led by Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., an assoicate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with Johns Hopkins, and was published in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network Open. Vandrey found that vaping marijuana can lead to a more intense sensation of paranoia, as well as drier mouths and eyes than what is seen by smokers. The main reason for this is that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not burned off through vaping as it is with smoking.

Previous studies have shown that there wasn’t much difference between vaping and smoking. However, Vandrey points out that his results come from leading a “meticulous” experiment. He asserts that researchers maintained an extremely consistent THC dosage and that the study participants were given either zero milligrams, 10 mg or 25 mg over six different trials, with each participant having the chance to vape and smoke in the tests.

For those who smoked, the blood THC levels topped out at 3.8 nanograms per milliliter (npm) of blood when they consumed 10 mg. By way of comparison, vapers saw their blood THC levels reach 7.5 npm. The same was seen at the higher dose, as well – vapers had 14.4 npm and smokers only had 10.2 npm.

The researchers concluded that vaping may be more efficient, but it also carries additional risks that must be considered. If someone is turning to marijuana for health issues, and wants to avoid getting high, the best option is still to smoke, instead of vape.

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