Cannabis vaping: experiences, advantages and practicalities as voiced in internet forums

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Aims: The novel consumption of cannabis using e-cigarettes is currently poorly characterised and understood. Using online written posts from ‘cannabis vapers’ in drug-related public internet forums, the current study explored the nature of these behaviours and experiences.

Methods: Data collection was from a number of online drug forums, using an unobtrusive, passive observational approach.  65 discussion threads were identified which related specifically to discussion about the use of cannabis in e-cigarettes only; written in English and dated between 2009 and 2016.  Thematic analysis was conducted on forum threads to identify both surface level (i.e. semantic) themes and interpretative (i.e. latent) themes.

Results:  Three primary themes were identified. The first related to the qualitative experience of an e-cigarette high, with two subthemes: the ‘body buzz’, and the potency of different cannabis strains.  The second theme described the advantages of consuming cannabis via an e-cigarette, with three subthemes: cannabis vaping is ‘discrete’, cannabis vaping is ‘portable’ and cannabis vaping has ‘reduced odour’. The final theme related to issues that users face when attempting to vape ‘c-liquid’ in their e-cigarettes.

Conclusions:  Psychoactive effects of vaping cannabis are of clear importance to many users. The perceived benefits of this method of use suggest that vaping cannabis is attractive in a number of ways which could theoretically increase use. Nevertheless, a number of issues were also experienced which may suggest that the feared increase in vaping cannabis in e-cigarettes may be over-estimated and of more limited concern.


Mr Richard Greenhill, University of East London Dr Lynne Dawkins, London Southbank University Dr John Turner, University of East London

Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest


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Dr Kirstie Soar