Over the past few years, many medical marijuana card users have switched from smoking to vaping their weed. The assumption is that vaping is healthier than smoking because it does not expose the patient to cancer-causing compounds, poisons and tar that come from ingesting smoke into the lungs.
Expert opinion points to vaping as being healthier for the lungs, heart and body while at the same time producing a stronger high that may come as a surprise to a first-time user.
A medical cannabis vape machine heats the weed to approximately 350 F to 400 F, releasing the THC. Vapor from a chamber below the weed-containing chamber rises up and gathers the THC in its misty embrace. This tasty weed-infused vapor is then inhaled. Nothing is burned, so no smoke is created. The substance inhaled is merely THC-laced vapor.
There are many types of vaporizers for cannabis card users to choose from, from basic, cheap models that look like a pen with cartridges containing cannabis oil to expensive, state-of-the-art balloon vaping machines. To ensure safety and quality, invest in a high-quality vape. Don’t waste your herb by using a crappy vaporizer!
It is widely understood and accepted that there are considerable health risks associated with smoking any substance, including medical marijuana. Smoke is very harmful to the lungs.
John Malouff of the University of New England in Australia has done research on the benefits of vaporizing marijuana.
“Aside from all the carcinogens in [smoke], you’re going to get soot in your lungs,” he says. “Because [smoking is] not filtered in any way, it’s really harsh to everything it touches.”
When you smoke, you inhale dangerous carcinogens. Smoking is a proven cause of bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease and cancer. Regular inhalation of smoke leaves a lethal residue of tar in the lungs.
A large body of research says that vaping medical marijuana comes with much fewer health risks than smoking medical cannabis. Studies have shown that when MMJ is vaporized, most of the dangerous components are substantially reduced or eliminated.
A study that appeared in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics in 2004 found that vaped cannabis contains little else apart from cannabinoids.
A 2010 study by Mitch Earleywine at the University of Albany found that medical cannabis users who suffered from respiratory irritations, such as asthma, shortness of breath and coughing, reported large improvements in their symptoms only a month after switching to a vape pen. Earleywine also measured objective improvements in the patient’s lung capacity.
In 2011, the Global Drug Survey polled 37,000 drug users about their substance use. Using the results of the survey and the best available current research, the group published a series of guidelines for safe and effective drug use called the High-Way Code. Its top recommendation for safe cannabis use was to use a vaporizer.
In 2014 the American Heart Association published a statement saying that electronic cigarettes (which use vapor) “present an opportunity for harm reduction if smokers use them as substitutes for cigarettes.”
A study released in 2015 by the U.K.’s Department of Health and published by Public Health England found that electronic cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular tobacco cigarettes.
To date, there are no studies that suggest that vaping has anything like the life-threatening potential consequences of smoking. Although in 2015, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed that if the temperature in a vape pen is very high, formaldehyde — a carcinogenic chemical — can be released. The study also concluded that when vaping is done at a moderately high temperature, no formaldehyde is released.
Another key difference between vaping and smoking is that the high created by vaping your MMJ is usually stronger. Vaping provides the patient with a higher concentration of the psychoactive ingredient THC than smoking does. The first time you vape, it is likely that you will get considerably higher than you usually do when you smoke.
This is definitely a plus, but it also necessitates caution. New research tentatively suggests that vaping medical cannabis may lead patients to more quickly develop a tolerance to the drug and may also lead to greater risk of suffering marijuana withdrawal. This suggests that the increased potency of vaping MMJ needs to be kept in mind, and care must be taken to regulate the dosing.
In conclusion, yes, vaping medical cannabis is indeed better for your health, and it also provides a more potent high. That’s a win-win if you ask me. So get your hands on a California medical marijuana card, and start vaping!