Smoked Vs Vaped: Which Gets You Higher?
One thing that never ceases to amaze me when using a vaporizer is how such a small amount can achieve such heady highs.
Sometimes heavy joint smokers seem to have difficulty feeling high from vaping, which can understandably be frustrating. While an effective vaping technique does impact the amount of cannabinoids absorbed into the lungs, it's most likely that the lack of feeling is due to a tolerance for THC. If you're planning to make the switch from combusting to vaping, a 1-2 week tolerance break is an effective way of resetting your cannabinoid receptors and starting fresh from a baseline tolerance.
Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis
THC can be measured in the bloodstream, and effects on cognitive functions can be measured through tests. However, ultimately, the potency of the 'high' felt is subjective. A recent study sought to compare the acute effects of cannabis when smoked vs vaped.
Seventeen healthy adults who infrequently use cannabis were recruited to participate in a within-subject (meaning all participants were exposed to every treatment), double-blind (neither the participants nor the experimenters knew who was receiving which particular treatment) study to examine the effects of THC when smoked and vaped.
Cannabis containing 0 mg, 10 mg and 25 mg was vaporized and smoked by each participant. A range of items were then measured from baselines scores, including subjective drug effects, cognitive and psychomotor performance, vital signs, and blood THC concentration. During vaporized cannabis sessions, the Volcano Medic from Storz & Bickel was used, a medically approved device. For smoked sessions, a pipe was used.
Cannabis Effects When Smoked
The graph above shows the self-reported effects of cannabis when smoked, at 0 mg, 10 mg and 25 mg dosages. The higher that VAS score, the higher the perceived level of intoxication. As you would expect, the level of intoxication directly correlates with the dosage of THC. Effects peak in the first hour and dissipate over 6 hours.
Cannabis Effects When Vaporized
The next graph is structured in the same way but shows results from the participants vaping cannabis using an S&B Volcano Medic.
While the correlation between dosage and intensity of effect and the timescales remain consistent, there are some interesting differences when comparing the two graphs.
Intoxication Higher When Vaping
Firstly, the level of reported intoxication is higher when vaping, by a significant amount. This is consistent across all of the cognitive, psychomotor, and cardiovascular assessments. So it seems, vaping does get you higher!
When It Comes to Vaping: Less is More
The second interesting observation is the intensity of intoxication between the 10 mg and 25 mg doses. When smoked, the 25 mg provides a significantly more intense experience than the 10 mg dose.
When vaped, however, the 25 mg and 10 mg are within a 10% variance, making the subjective experiences very similar. Furthermore, the 10 mg dosage, when vaped, provided more of a subjective high than 25 mg when smoked.
The study, whilst small scale, suggests that vaping herb is a more efficient way of consuming, gram for gram. Most times, a small amount is going to get you where you need to go, leaving you with more money in your pocket, more bud in your jar and the same smile on your face!