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Smoking vs. vaping weed: Are they really all that different?

Electronic vaporization of cannabis was supposed to be the safer alternative to smoking. After all, users still get all the benefits of the cannabinoids and terpenes without inhaling combusted products like carbon monoxide, plant matter particulates, or the over 100 toxins that are released when flower is burned.

However, a few years ago, an outbreak lung illness, most of which were tied to the vaporization of illegal THC-containing oils, challenged this illusion of safety. Vitamin E acetate, a cheap thickening additive for diluting oils was deemed the culprit and quickly removed from products, yet its prevalence may persist in illicit oils and vape pens.

Even though the rates of these electronic vaporization associated lung illnesses (EVALIs) have been falling drastically since their peak in September 2019, safety concerns around cannabis vaporization are still present in peer reviewed scientific reports and in popular media sources. While much has been written about the pros and cons of vaping compared to smoking cannabis, it’s important to re-address the topic in the post-vitamin E acetate era to draw comparisons.

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