Over the last few years, more and more people are vaping their weed instead of smoking it.
Despite vaping being more expensive, there are good reasons why people are choosing it.
The trend is notable most among medical patients and those looking for a healthier alternative to smoking.
It is also an approved method of consumption in most legal states.
Vaping is among the best ways to get the medical benefits of marijuana. It is fast acting, discreet, effective, and suitable for a long list of mild to severe medical conditions.
However, where oral methods of consumption, such as capsules and tinctures, have a centuries-long history, vaporizing is a modern form of administration and still a foreign concept for many cannabis consumers.
Vaporizers have their origins in a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” that Herbert Gilbert filed a patent for back in 1963.
The intention of the invention was to devise a safer form of smoking that uses heat and moisture to create a “steam” instead of burning paper and tobacco. Gilbert won a successful patent for it in 1965. However, his invention never bore him any fruit.
At the time, smoking was extremely popular, enduringly and stubbornly so. There was little interest in healthier alternatives.
Then, in 2003, in an effort to overcome his own smoking addiction, inventor and pharmacist Hon Lik patented the modern electronic cigarette, effectively building on Gilbert’s earlier invention and birthing an entirely new market at the same time.
Vaporizers work in two ways: Conducive and convection heating. Conducive heating involves placing marijuana or marijuana concentrates onto a heated surface.
Convection heating, on the other hand, involves heating the air that encounters the extract, using either an internal fan or through the process of inhalation. One company that makes a great convection vaporizer is Linx Vapor.
The Linx Gaia provides the flavor only a convection vaporizer can offer and it won’t break the bank, coming in at just $159.00.
Using these processes to heat the extract warms it just enough to release a cannabinoid- and terpene-rich vapor, but not enough to ignite it. In contrast, smoking causes the material to combust, which releases a number of potentially harmful carcinogens and toxins that the smoker inhales, as well.
Despite vaping growing in popularity, most using marijuana for the first may only know to smoke it.
The manager of Physician and Patient Outreach with PharmaCannis, Anna Poulin, explains it this way, “You do not have to smoke the cannabis. In New York, the approved routes of administration of cannabis are vaping, sublingual administration, or capsules for oral administration.
Smoking as a method of administration of medical cannabis is expressly forbidden in New York State.” Other states also ban it.
Despite popular culture embracing vaping more and more as an alternative to smoking, the technology is still very new.
For many patients, it is difficult to know whether vaping would be the best method of consumption for them.
They have to try it out and experiment first. There is no way of knowing otherwise, but we do know that vaping is a highly effective way to administer medical marijuana.
“The ideal candidates for vaping are folks who, if we are focusing on chronic pain, have sharp shooting pains that they need instant relief from.”
This is what Nelson Cuevas of PharmaCannis had to say. The Head Pharmacist and General Manager explained that this is because the effects of vaping come on extremely fast.
“It is a 90-second onset,” Cuevas said, but there are other benefits too.
Although smoking tobacco is more harmful than marijuana, the smoke that burning pot creates contains some of the same health-destroying toxins that cigarettes release.
In fact, setting cannabis on fire releases 100 different chemicals, many of which have very strong links to the onset of cancer.
Vaporizers heat the extract just enough to cause evaporation and prevent combustion.
Because of this, those who choose to vaporize their marijuana bypass exposure to the dangerous toxins that smoke creates. In support of this claim, Science Daily published a study in 2007.
Its findings concluded that vaporizing offers the same effects as smoking, but without inhaling any of the toxic chemicals produced by smoke.
As of yet, long-term studies do not exist on people who choose to vaporize. Therefore, it is impossible to say with any certainty what effect vaporizing may have on the lungs, or even if it is safe.
However, because of the way vaporizers operate, experts believe wholeheartedly that it is notably healthier for your lungs than smoking is.
A number of small studies suggest that vaporizing leads to fewer lung problems than smoking does.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, researchers conducting a study in 2010 found that just one month of vaporizing led to significant improvement in the lung performance and health of 20 study participants, all of which were daily marijuana smokers.
For the study, researchers specifically selected subjects with existing lung conditions.
This was to establish if and to what extent vaporizing could help.
When the month-long study ended, all participants showed notable improvement in lung function, and they all reported fewer breathing issues, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and excessive phlegm.
In conclusion, the study’s authors said that vaporizing “appears to have the potential to minimize respiratory complaints.”
In plain speak, this means that investing in a vaporizer and quitting smoking is not only good for your health, but it is also able to improve it significantly, as well. Furthermore, it just makes logical sense that the lungs would benefit from not inhaling toxic smoke.
Not all methods of consumption work the same way. Edibles, for example, are notoriously difficult to dose, despite many health conscious patients preferring them.
The stomach absorbs cannabinoids much slower than the lungs do, which is why it can take as long as an hour to feel the effects after eating it.
Additionally, the liver first metabolizes the cannabinoids before it ever enters the bloodstream.
When absorbed via the lungs, however, effects are evident within seconds.
It is a more direct route to the bloodstream, which is why relief is almost instant when you inhale the vapors. Moreover, vaporizers make dosing far more controllable, since one can easily stop when the effects are at the desired level.
This is why doctors advise vaporizing over edibles, especially for those needing immediate relief.
In another study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, medical marijuana patients ranked vaporizers highest in “side effect satisfaction.” Vaping was the method of administration that made them feel most functional.
Although the study did not analyze individual side effects, some did admit that the “high” from vaping is more clear-headed because of the absence of smoke.
Vaporizers do not require huge intakes of air to work. Short, shallow inhales are highly effective, whereas smoking pipes, bongs, and joints requires deeper breaths and potential bouts of uncomfortable coughing afterward, especially among first-time users.
Patients also listed vapes as the most efficient consumption method, with patients requiring smaller doses than other administrations, including joints, tea and snacks.
Because marijuana affects everybody differently, your reaction to vaporizers may not be the same as someone else’s. Vaping is not the preferred method for everybody, but it is for many.
Ultimately, discussing your options with a healthcare professional is wise, as is experimenting to identify which method of administration is ideal for you specifically.
John Levy is a blogger for Pot Valet, a leading online services for marijuana delivery in California. John is a cannabis supporter and supports its legalization for medicinal purposes. You can follow Pot Valet on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.