Medical marijuana patient Teri Robnett, right, uses a vape pen to manage chronic fibromyalgia in December 2014. Her husband, Greg Duran, uses a grinder to prep marijuana to use in a larger vaporizer for Teri, who medicates throughout the day. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

Vaping vs. smoking pot: What’s safer, and does the high feel the same?

Of the many ways one could consume cannabis — smoke it, eat it, vape it, dab it — much debate swirls around the pros and cons of using a vaporizer for marijuana versus traditional smoking.

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There are many facets to the conversation, including the explosion of popularity of the discreet devices; pens vs. desktop models; the use of oil concentrate vs. dried herb; the physical effects (is the high really different than smoking?); and the growing use among the younger crowd.

Vape was even named the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2014.

While the amount of research studies on vaping marijuana is lagging behind the trend, people are quick to share their personal experience on vaping vs. smoking weed.

“It feels better on my lungs if I use a vape pen versus smoke a joint,” says Starbuds dispensary owner Brian Ruden on The Cannabist Show, talking with marijuana editor Ricardo Baca in the above video.

As far as the physical effects, Ruden says in his experience vaping is “more mild.” However, he’s quick to add that “if you take three or four hits off a vape pen, I mean, you get high.”

Here’s another view from Neos vape pen co-founder Guy Rocourt, on his company’s analogy: “We want to be more like ‘the wine,’ right? So if dabbing is spirits and whiskey, and smoking a joint is kind of like that, we want to be more like the wine or the beer — it doesn’t knock you down. But you can continue to vape it and eventually not be at a half-high.”

Cannabist Show host Ricardo Baca points out that dabs might compare better to grain alcohol when it comes to potency.

Watch the full episode of The Cannabist Show