May 18 , 2020
When you think about smoking marijuana, what comes to mind? A joint, a blunt, or maybe even a pipe? These are all common associations between weed and smoking. In fact, the most common way to consume cannabis is smoking a joint. However, this isn’t the safest way to smoke weed to avoid lung damage. Why is that? Well, when you put flame to plant matter, such as weed it produces a hot smoke, tar and ash. All of these things enter your lungs and can cause a burning sensation, irritation and can make you cough.
So, if your friend asks you, “does smoking weed hurt your lungs?” The answer is - possibly. Of course there are variables like the quality of weed you buy, the strain type and the form of consumption. Our goal in this article is to explain the healthiest ways for smoking cannabis and the types of products you can buy to support a healthy smoking lifestyle.
Different ways of smoking cannabis
Vaping, or vaporizing
So, let’s start by answering the most common question on this topic, “what is the healthiest way to smoke weed?” You guessed it, vaping! When you use a vaporizer or vape pen you don’t inhale any carcinogens and you don’t breathe in any smoke the way you do with a joint or blunt. Since the heat on a vaporizer is adjustable, you use just enough heat to activate the cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes (aroma and flavour) in the bud.
Let’s break down how a vaporizer works exactly. It heats up your flower into a vapor. Then that vapor rises through the chamber and gets inhaled through the vaporizer’s mouthpiece. Other vaporizers heat the air below the flower. The hot air goes into the weed and releases cannabinoids and terpenes into the air.
Although a vape pen can cut down on lung damage caused by heat, you may still feel slight irritation. So then, is vaping weed bad for your lungs? Well, vaping reduces the degree to which the plant is burned, which means there is considerably less damage to your lungs. Overall, vaping is one of the healthiest ways of soking marijuana compared to traditional joint smoking.
What to know before buying a vaporizerWhen looking at products to buy, opt for a vaporizer that allows you to customize the temperature setting. As a general rule of thumb, it’s beneficial to set the temperature of your vape pen between 330 to 370°F (165 to 187°C). This is a moderate temperature range that prevents the burning of plant embers, while you also get a strong high.
Temperature also comes into play when discussing terpenes. When the flower is heated at low temperatures, terpenes express their chemical properties more vibrantly. In essence, your experience will be much better and more enjoyable. You’ll also taste the flavour and smell the fragrance more fully.
Lastly, temperature control is an important feature because it impacts the degree of your high. The amount of heat determines the level of psychoactive effects you feel while smoking cannabis. When looking for a particular kind of high, use these temperature ranges as your guide:
- Mild: 290 to 330°F (143 to 166°C)
- Moderate: 330 to 370°F (166 to 187°C)
- Strong: 370 to 445°F (187 to 229°C)
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best vaporizers on the market.
Wulf Vape LX Vaporizer - $90
This product has a digital temperature setting that allows you to adjust the heat from 130°F to 430°F. The outer shell is made from fine ceramics and is durable enough to be taken with you anywhere. There is a mouthpiece that comes with your purchase of this product as well. And, to top it all off, you can get to vaping within 20 seconds flat! Some customers have referred to the LX as the Rolex of vape pens.
Why we love smoking cannabis from a Wulf!
- Controlled digital temperature settings from 130°F to 430°F
- The ceramic chamber helps extend your vape sessions without enduring a burnt taste
- Heats up in as little as 20 seconds
- Excellent price for the stellar quality
Vape Dynamics Hera 2 - $159
Whether you want to light up herb or concentrates, the Hera has you covered.
The Hera 2 by Vape Dynamics is a dual-use vaporizer that can be used with dry herb or concentrates. It’s made with stainless steel and has a touch screen that allows for easy temperature adjustments. With a simple press of a button, this vape pen turns on and lets you set the temperature anywhere from 350°F to 450°F.
What we love!
- Dual-use, meant for dry herb and concentrates
- Ceramic and stainless steel hybrid dual-chamber
- Compact discreet design with a touch screen
- 100 different temperature settings from 350°F to 450°F
- Replaceable battery with 90 minutes of battery life
Pax 2 Vaporizer - $149
The Pax 2 Vaporizer is one of the latest models from the Pax vaporizer line. It’s 25 percent smaller than the previous version, and 10 percent lighter with its sleek, ultra-slim design. This vaporizer is made with a premium aluminum shell, and has a 25 percent larger heating chamber. The extended chamber gives you the ability to have even longer pax smoking sessions. Customers like this product even better than the Pax 2 bong.
What we love!
- Four temperature levels that range from 356°F to 419°F
- Only takes 45 seconds to reach desired level of heat
- The vaporizing bowl is made from stainless steel
- Long battery life: you can vape for 90 minutes before recharging
- Designed for easy cleaning!
Bongs (aka water pipes)
The second healthiest way to smoke weed besides vaporizer is a water bong. When smoking from a bong, you’re lighting the cannabis plant on fire, which releases unpleasant plant properties into your lungs, such as tar and ash. So, if a friend asks you “what does weed do to your lungs,” you’ll know what to say.
In the process of putting a lighter to weed, it destroys some of the plant's cannabinoids. But, the good news is, the water inside the bong filters out a lot of the unwanted nastiness, especially when you use a glass pipe filter.
Just so you know, when someone talks about a pipe vs bong, they’re in fact, talking about the same thing. The names are interchangable. In fact, the bong, is also called a water pipe, pot pipe or bud pipes and many other names. The mechanism of a water bong cools smoke down when it passes through the water. As a result, you usually have a smoother toke. Furthermore, the water filters out any ash and prevents it from reaching your airway. Tar filtration is also taking place when smoking from a bong. That’s why the water turns a brown colour.
Some people may wonder, “are bongs healthier than smoking joints or smoking from a can.” And the short answer is yes. We talked about the effects smoking joints can have on your lungs, and smoking from a can isn’t much better. The aluminum and other chemicals used to make the can are bad for your health. And it’s even worse when it enters your body through your lungs.
But, to ensure smoking from a bong is a healthy option, you must keep it clean. It’s not uncommon for mold and bacteria to grow inside pipes and the chamber. And ensuring the bong's cleanliness means that you’ll get an unadulterated flavour from your cannabis.
Cheech & Chong™ Glass Framed Water Pipe - $159
The classic Cheech & Chong favourite is also a super healthy way to catch your high!
The Cheech and Chong™ water pipe is a well-crafted water pipe with a wider base that can hold a good amount of water. Having extra water storage means you can easily control the drag resistance when you inhale. So how high you get is in your hands, and it makes it one of the healthiest ways of smoking cannabis! Since this is a beaker-style water pipe, you don’t need to clean it or change the water as much as you would with other pipes. This product is one of the best bowls for weed, hands down.
The Cheech & Chong™ Glass Framed Water Pipe comes in four different colours: amber, teal, green and colour-changing shades. When you buy this product you also get:
- Cheech & Chong™ glass collectible rainbow tie-dye box
- Certificate of authenticity
- Cheech & Chong™ glass sticker
- Cheech & Chong™ glass mini catalog
What we love!
- 15.5 inches tall with a wide base
- Stable beaker-bottom bong
- Built-in inline showerhead perc
- Extra water storage means you control the intensity of your high
The Upline Taster Pipe by Grav Labs is compact and discreet, so you can put it in your pocket and take it on the go. When you take a hit, the smoke cools before passing through the Upline spines. This unique design made of durable glass is something you’ll have for a long time. The clever design of the mouthpiece catches ash, so you get a clean hit every time.
What we love about smoking marijuana from the Grav Upline Taster Pipe!
- 16 x 2.5mm durable glass construction
- Only three inches long
- Pinched mouthpiece that catches ash
- Compact, discreet design for easy mobility
Far from her first appearance on one of our favourite lists, this milky Grace Glass beaker bong is a fantastic option!
The Grace Glass Milky Beaker Bong is made from glass and designed with a spiral percolator to filter and cool down the smoke. The results - a nice, smooth, clean hit! The bong comes in two colours: milky white and black or all white. This beaker bong measures in at 34 centimeters (13 inches) tall, has a 18 millimeter bowl, a splash guard and ice notches, so it’s ready for use straight from the box.
What we love!
- Sturdy glass makes it difficult to break
- The milky colour scheme for a unique and sharp appearance
- Spiral percolator makes each hit smooth and cool
The third healthiest way to smoke week is dabbing. When you hear the term dab, that refers to concentrated doses of cannabis. They are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using butane or carbon dioxide. The end result is a sticky oil that’s often called wax, shatter, or budder. Because of the extraction process and method of delivery, dabbing can be the cleanest way to smoke weed. It can also produce the most powerful effects and biggest highs.
From a health perspective, dabbing with pure, clean cannabis extracts is easier on the lungs. When being compared to traditional weed smoking, the dab or wax eliminates most of this unwanted plant material, like resins, but still contains the essential cannabinoids. So, it’s a win win.
Oil rigs, also called dab rigs, are a customized version of a pipe that are specifically used for smoking dab. If you’re fairly new to smoking weed, this is not a recommended method of consumption as the high can be very strong. However, if you’re a seasoned toker, then an oil rig might be perfect for you.
DC Glass - 10mm Female Cacti Dab Rig - $260
Get your high from dabs off this beautiful cactus glass!
This 10mm Female Cacti Dab Rig from DC Glass is made with high-quality scientific glass. It features a fun and beautiful cactus shaped water chamber and has a fixed 3-hole diffused downstem with female joint.
What we love!
- Cactus shaped water chamber
- Slender mouthpiece
- Beaker base bottom has a diameter of three inches
- Rig joint size: 10mm female
- Perc: fixed 3-hole downstem
Purr Glass - Ceramic Beaker Bong with Ice Catcher - $189
Your high will never be as classy or as healthy as it will be when you light up this matte black beaker bong.
This ceramic beaker bong from Purr Glass is made from high-grade glassware. With a flared mouthpiece, ice catcher and showerhead perc it competes well against other oil rigs on the market today. Some unique characteristics of this bong include the ceramic aesthetic and its durability.
What we love!
- Joint size: 14/18mm female
- 10 inches tall with a 4 inch diameter base
- 14mm male bowl with a pinch handle included
- Flared mouthpiece, removable downstem, showerhead perc
- Large pinch handle to ensure a superior grip
Joints and blunts
Since the beginning of time people have been using papers to roll tobacco and weed. But, joints and blunts are the least of healthiest ways of smoking cannabis. By smoking this way you can cause lung irritation, coughing, and respiratory issues. To reduce the harshness of smoking a joint or blunt, you can add a filter. Secondly, smoking top-shelf, dank weed can result in fewer irritants, contaminants, molds or other chemicals and reduces the negative effects.
When comparing blunts vs joints health, it is better to smoke a joint because blunt papers contain tobacco. If you love joints and can’t give them up, then look for natural, organic rolling papers. Some good brands include Bambu and Zigzags.
Although this isn’t a smoking method, it’s a really healthy way to consume weed. Some even say it’s the best way to consume weed. Inhaling isn’t involved, and the timing of release is different. Smoking reaches your lungs immediately, so the effects can be felt instantaneously. However, with edibles it takes time for your body to digest the cannabis. Therefore, the effects are slower, but can last a lot longer than smoking. If it’s your first time taking an edible, start slow with 5 to 10mg. And then wait several hours before increasing the dose.
Here are some good single-dose edible options for you.
Calivolve CBD Mint Truffle - $30
As if chocolate wasn't relaxing enough, now try it with CBD!
Each CBD mint truffle is handcrafted and made with hemp, ashwagandha, maca, and peppermint oil. All the ingredients make for a relaxing, healing CBD experience. Bring relief to your mind and body with these dark chocolate mint truffles. There are four individual pieces, each with 20mg of CBD.
What we love!
- Besides full-spectrum hemp, these truffles include ashwagandha, an adaptogen herb that helps relieve stress and maca, for an energizing lift
- Made using a cold-pressed technique, providing the best quality
- Each truffle has 20 mg of CBD, for a package total of 80mg
Kiva 100 THC Chocolate Bars - $20
Did someone say chocolate? That can get you high?!
One of the best companies on the market selling edibles is Kiva Confections. Their chocolate bars come in eight different delicious flavors and have a slight taste of cannabis. So, the cannabis doesn’t overpower the yummy chocolatey flavour. Each bar contains 54 percent cacao, so you just might wind up in chocolate heaven.
What we love!
- The bar is equally divided into 20 pieces, with 5mg THC per dose
- Comes in eight different flavours: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, ginger dark chocolate, espresso dark chocolate, vanilla chai milk chocolate, blackberry dark chocolate, mint irish cream milk chocolate, and tangerine dark chocolate.
- Small list of ingredients, with all the good stuff and none of the bad
Whether you are new to smoking or have been smoking for years, knowing the healthiest ways to smoke is important. Not just for your lung and respiratory health, but also to get the most from your cannabis. Given all the options out there, vaping is by far the best way to smoke. With a vaporizer, you’re maximizing the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes in your flower. And unlike other methods of smoking you have the ability to control the temperature of the vaporizer. That is a major advantage! By controlling the heat temp, you can prevent lung pollution and irritation. The second best method is a water bong, or pipe. Water helps to filter ash and tar and cools down the bud before you inhale. Next is dabbing. And the least healthy way to smoke is with a joint or blunt. If you don’t love smoking, but still want to reap the medical benefits of cannabis, you can consume edibles. With individual dosing, it’s never been easier to control your high and enjoy the slow release and long lasting effects of cannabis.
Options are always good. And after reading this you might know which option is best for you. We hope you learned a lot, or at least something new and discovered some cool new products for your smoking pleasure! If you need a reminder at any time on the healthiest ways to smoke weed, check out this video.
Want to learn more about the healthiest ways to smoke your precious herb? Drop us a comment below and we'll answer any questions you may have!
Written by: Allie Murphy | Cover Photo by: Potent Media
Allie Murphy is a freelance writer who loves researching and writing about holistic health. As a native of California she was surrounded by the cannabis culture and fell in love with it. Besides her fascination with cannabis, she is an avid traveler, yoga enthusiast, beach bum, and book worm.