Vaping vs. Dabbing: What You Need to Know About Temperature and Your Health

By Michael Jacobs
Published: May 2, 2018 | Last updated: April 8, 2021 11:30:43
Key Takeaways

What is the difference between smoking dabs and vaping dabs? The main difference is in the way the two are heated. It’s all a matter of conductive versus convective heating.


If you’re a cannabis consumer, then no doubt you’ve heard about two of the biggest trends in the industry: dabbing and vaping. You might be curious about one or the other. Whether you’ve tried one and are curious about the other or are curious about both, we’ve got you covered. We’ll cover what you need to know about both dabbing and vaping – from temperatures to health concerns.


What is Dabbing?

First things first. You might have heard the term, but have no idea what it dabbing is. Well, dabs are a concentrated form of cannabis where the cannabinoids like THC and CBD are extracted from the plant buds using either butane or carbon dioxide.

The result is a sticky oil called several names like dabs, shatter, wax, butter, and BHO (butane hash oil). Keep in mind that while it is possible to extract CBD, THC makes up most of the compounds found in dabs. So, “dabbing” is the act of smoking this compound, usually using a specially made rig that resembles a water pipe.


Smoking vs. Vaping Dabs

So, what is the difference between smoking dabs and vaping dabs? The main difference is in the way the two are heated. It’s all a matter of conductive versus convective heating.

Vaporizers can heat the cannabis material on a hot plate directly to release the vapor or smoke so that it can be inhaled. When using a dab rig, the hot nail that you place against the wax or shatter to heat it is the hot plate. This is conductive heating.

However, when it comes to convective heating, the cannabis product is held in a chamber. The air around that chamber is then heated and when it reaches a certain temperature, a vapor is released. This vapor is then inhaled.


When it comes to which is healthier for your body, convective vaporization is often the safer bet. Convective vaporization avoids the charring present in conductive vaporization, thus resulting in purer cannabis and less carbonized materials entering your body.

The takeaway? Be familiar with which method that your vape pen or vape mod uses to heat the cannabis product. Try to go for a vape pen or mod that uses the convection method if you want the healthiest method.


Is Dabbing Healthy?

Are dabs healthy? There are legitimate medical benefits to consuming dabs. First, it is a concentrated form of cannabis. It can provide relief to a patient suffering from nausea that would be impossible for them if they tried to get relief from buds alone. However, leave the extraction to the experts. There are dangers, like making things go boom, in the extraction process.

Another thing to consider is benzene. If your dab nail or your vaporizer reaches really high temperatures, benzene is produced and can be inhaled. Benzene is a poison that is found in car exhaust, so vaping at really high temperatures is not recommended.

Why Temperature is Important

Finally, we come to something that we have been hinting about this whole time: Temperature and why it is important in vaping and dabbing. We mentioned that at certain temperatures, you cease vaporizing and begin combusting.

When you begin combusting – whether it is tobacco or a cannabis product – you begin releasing harmful carcinogens like the benzene mentioned above. What temperature is this? Science has the answer – above 365 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the end, is vaping or dabbing healthier than smoking rolled joints or out of a bowl? Yes – as long as you don’t reach temperatures where combustion and the release of carcinogens begins.

Your best bet? When shopping for your next vaping device – be it a vape pen or a rig – ask the salesperson which method the vaporizer uses: convective heat or conductive heat, and what temperatures the vaporizer reaches. Ensure that it stays below 365 degrees and you can avoid harmful carcinogens.


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Written by Michael Jacobs | Marketing and Creative Content Specialist

Profile Picture of Michael Jacobs

Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness, combined with a healthy lifestyle obsession, are his main talking points.

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