Medical cannabis is emerging as a huge industry, and with many states moving toward legalizing recreational cannabis, the market for consumption methods has opened up quite a bit. In the past, smoking cannabis was typically accomplished with a bong or pipe, but vaporizers are starting to make an impact on the market.
There are dozens of ways to get cannabis into your system. The plant can be rolled into a joint similar to a tobacco cigarette, or it can be used with a glass pipe or bong. Cannabis can also be infused into foods since cannabinoids are fat-soluble, which has led to an impressive edibles market. Other methods of ingesting cannabis involve tinctures or topical skin treatments that work similar to a nicotine patch.
However, there is a growing movement in the medical community that suggests vaporizers are the absolute best method of taking in cannabis. In Canada, where marijuana is a legal prescription substance, some medical-grade vaporizer pens already exist. These devices are not only safer than smoking, but they seem to make the entire experience of inhaling cannabis much more enjoyable.
There are a number of specific reasons why vaporizers have found such a surge in popularity within the medical community. The devices are known to reduce the presence of harmful toxins that would otherwise be present in large quantities if the cannabis was combusted instead of vaporized. It is fairly well known that smoking marijuana isn’t as harmful as smoking tobacco, but that doesn’t mean smoking marijuana is completely healthy. Combusting marijuana creates many of the same negative substances found in cigarette smoke.
A vaporizer, on the other hand, does not burn or combust the cannabis. Instead, it merely heats the plant to the point where the oil-based active ingredients within the plant are evaporated. This leaves the plant material behind and allows the user to only inhale the valuable active substances found in the cannabis. Several studies have been published that show how vaporizers offer the same sensation as smoking without any additional carcinogens.
Another reason why vaporizers are thought to be better is that they seem to offer direct benefits to the lungs. While there have not yet been any long-term studies on the effects of vaporizing, scientists believe the functionality of the devices is enough to prove their benefits. Some small studies have shown that switching to a vaporizer can reduce lung issues and improve the general feeling within the chest.
One study that focused on existing cannabis smokers saw dramatically improved lung function after only 30 days of using a vaporizer. Participants reported that they experienced less breathing irregularities and less phlegm production when only using a vape device.
It is undeniable that inhaling cannabis is the best method for instant relief. Some patients simply can’t handle the inhalation, which is why edibles are so popular, but the efficiency of the lungs at moving the active substances into the body is much higher than through the stomach. When a patient inhales cannabis vapor, the active compounds within the vapor instantly enter the bloodstream through the thin lining of the lungs. However, edibles must be metabolized by the liver before the compounds enter the bloodstream, and that metabolization can reduce the overall amount of active compounds released into the body.
Not only does the edible path take longer, but it is harder to determine the appropriate dosage. Since a good portion of the active compounds will be lost during the digestion and metabolization process, the final dosage will be much less than the actual volume of active compounds in the edible. This is why doctors often recommend vaporizers as the preferred method of consumption.
One study of patients using medical cannabis pens showed that patients preferred vaporizers for their side effects, or lack thereof. Most patients felt normally functional after vaping cannabis as opposed to smoking it or taking it through an edible. The lack of included smoke is said to help create a clearer head high, and the dosing rate of vaporizers is much more controllable than other methods.
Patients also noted that they felt the effects of vaping cannabis to be stronger than any other ingestion method. That means the patients were able to take smaller doses and feel the same effects as higher doses from other sources. It’s important to remember that each patient is different, and a vaporizer might not be the best idea for one person while it might be optimal for someone else. Ask your doctor what is right for you.