Previous Studies on Vaping, Smoking and Joints
While this study points to vast differences between smoking and dabbing, earlier studies found less pronounced results. A 2015 study by Dr. Jeffrey Raber found decent recovery rates for smoking, with a range of 27.5% to 46.3%. While this represents a more optimistic picture for cannabis smokers, it is still significantly lower than the reported 75.5% recovery rate for dabbing.
Dabbing is also different than “vaping”. Dabbers inhale extract that’s boiling off a heated piece of quartz, ceramic, or titanium.
Vapers might be toasting flower in a Pax, or a Volcano, or sipping vapor from the equivalent of an e-cigarette.
Research on vaporizers shows a wide range of recovery rates that vary greatly based on the vaporizer used. Most vaporizers averaged recovery rates in the mid-to-high 50’s. One study showed rates from 51.4% – 82.7%, depending on the vaporizer. Only one vaporizer studied came close to the recovery rates for dabbing.
Keep Those Temps Low
While dabbing seems to outperform the other methods at first glance, Dr. Raber argues that dabbing doesn’t always have such high recovery rates. His team performed experiments on dabbing and pipe smoking, along with his research on joints. They found much lower rates of recovery for dabbing—around 40%. His research suggests that dabbing is on par with smoking when it comes to recovery.
Still, he says, “It is certainly possible that you could see high efficiency in terms of recovery via a dab.”
So why would we see such large variation in these studies?
“It seems to primarily be based on temperature,” explains Dr. Raber.
Higher temperatures lead to more combustion, which may destroy or convert active cannabinoids into something else.
In Raber’s experiments, he analyzed not only the smoke and vapor that goes to the lungs, but also the