top of page
  • Eli Hunt

Which is Better: Vaping Medical Marijuana or Smoking Whole Flower Cannabis?

Whole Flower vs. Vaping

Recent news out of Virginia was pretty big for fans of medical marijuana— whole flower products would now be available for purchase by those with medical marijuana cards at Virginia dispensaries. Why was this news so significant for many in the Commonwealth, and what exactly is ‘whole flower’ anyway? How does it vary from vaping, one of the most popular ways to consume medical marijuana? Understanding the difference between these two popular options can help medical marijuana users make the best choices for themselves.

What is Whole Flower Marijuana?

To start, let’s review exactly what whole flower medical marijuana is. First, many often confuse whole flower and whole plant. Whole flower refers to the bud of the plant, one of the most familiar forms of cannabis for many. A whole plant product, on the other hand, refers to a product made with cannabis that has been extracted or processed to maintain the entire spectrum of compounds found in cannabis, including CBD, CBG, THC, terpenes, etc.

With whole flower products, the natural plant itself is dried and then consumed by the medical marijuana user in a variety of ways, including via a pipe, rolled, or vaporizer. It provides an alternative to extracted cannabis products, such as oils.

Many of today’s modern medical marijuana products are created by isolating cannabis compounds such as CBD or THC and then inserting those compounds into synthetic concentrates. Typically, when one vapes medical marijuana concentrates, you are ingesting an oil that has been synthesized from compounds extracted from the natural plant. Many vape oils also contain synthetic or botanical compounds that enhance flavor and consistency.

Why Do Some Patients Prefer Whole Flower Medical Marijuana?

Why is it that some prefer whole flower products? It is believed, for one, that the therapeutic potency of medical marijuana is stronger when in the natural plant form. This, it is believed, is because users benefit from the full, native spectrum of the botanical compounds within the plant including terpenes and cannabinoids.

Additionally, the individual compounds in this full spectrum work together to create a more balanced experience for users, according to some experts, via a process known as the ‘entourage effect.’

Pain Relief and Whole Flower

A recent study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that whole flower cannabis provided greater pain relief to users than other medical marijuana products. In the study, participants were asked to use an app to log their pain levels in five different categories. The participants using whole flower not only experienced a significant reduction in pain, but they also experienced relief across a range of conditions and types of pain.

Across the board, studies have shown that whole flower, as a THC-rich substance, may well be more medically effective for a range of conditions than products that isolate cannabinoids and compounds. There is also evidence in the medical literature that, at least for some patients, isolated cannabinoids may not be the most effective form of treatment.

To Vape, or Not To Vape

Vaping has increased in popularity due in large part to its convenience. For many medical marijuana users, it offers one of the easiest and more discreet ways to consume cannabis. Patients who experience nausea or who are not fond of smoking can also benefit from vaping. Finally, some Virginians may prefer oil for the higher THC concentration and the more powerful relief that can provide.

The Downside of Vaping

A downside for some comes in the additives in many vaping oils. Additives used in vaping oils, for example, can include thinning agents that make the oil perform better in a vape, but can potentially produce harmful compounds. The good news is that medical marijuana products do not contain these additives that have been proven to be harmful! They are always tested for purity and potency— yet another important reason to have a medical marijuana card.

There are many ways to use a vaporizer to consume whole flower products, bringing together the health benefits of whole flower with the convenience of vaping. Products such as the Pax3 dual-use vaporizer give medical marijuana users an easy way to consume both loose leaf flower and oils, for example.

Ways to Consume Medical Marijuana Without Inhaling

For those who want to avoid inhalation altogether, whole plant extracts are available in a number of ingestible formats, including tinctures and edibles. The intrepid Virginian can even make their own cannabutter at home with some easy recipes.

Virginia Protects Employees With a Medical Marijuana Card

For Viriginians considering THC levels vis a vis employment, take note: when drafting the medical marijuana legislation, Governor Northam made sure to include protections for workers in the Commonwealth who consume medical marijuana. Medical marijuana users can rest assured that, no matter how they consume cannabis, they will be protected from adverse actions at their place of employment. Exceptions, however, apply to those who work in jobs related to safety or transportation, or to those who work for the federal government as contractors.

Get a Virginia Marijuana Card to Get Access to a Variety of Cannabis Formats to Meet Your Needs!

There are a lot of options out there now for the informed medical marijuana consumer. Both vaping and whole

flower have their advantages, ranging from the quotidien to the medical. Whether you decide to go with whole flower or another cannabis product, consulting with one of our medical professionals can give you the information you need to make the best choice for yourself and your needs. To learn how you can get your own medical marijuana card and find the right product for you, schedule an appointment to talk to a cannabis healthcare expert today.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!

575 views0 comments


bottom of page