Despite the misconceptions people have towards marijuana, the medicinal effects of cannabis are becoming more and more obvious. Many patients are turning to cannabis in a hope to get a relief they crave in a more natural way, to have an alternative to opioids that they gradually become addicted to.
Options abound when it comes to ways of getting medical cannabis into your system. There’s always the traditional method – smoking it either in a joint or a bowl or a bong. There are also other ways like edibles, tinctures, and sublinguals, each with their advantages and disadvantages Medical cannabis patients are more likely to vaporize and use edibles than recreational users, according to a RAND Drug Policy Research Center Study that was published in the Addiction journal. According to the study, which surveyed 1,994 people in four western states in 2013, only 3% of recreational users vaporized compared to 18% of medical users. This difference may be due to medical users being exposed to new delivery methods through the dispensaries they frequent.
However, vaporization has quickly become the preferred method of consuming medical marijuana. The question is, why are patients, specifically cancer patients, turning to vaporization as their preferred delivery method?
There are many answers to that question. For starters, cannavaping is a more efficient means of delivering the medicinal part of cannabis. It’s also much easier to customize a dose and it’s easy to take a small hit from a vape pen as needed. And because medical cannabis products can be carried in the device itself, patients can take a dose when needed. Also, it doesn’t feel as ‘taboo’ as other methods like smoking a joint or a bong. Finally, for a cancer patient combating nausea, it might be the only way they can ingest the medicine.
Eliminates Harmful Toxins
Vaporizing cannabis is reportedly healthier than smoking it. There have been no long-term studies on vape pens since it is a new phenomenon, making it impossible to say what effects it may have on the lungs. That said, many experts agree that vaporizing is at the very least, better than smoking. In addition, a few smaller studies have shown that vaporizing can lead to fewer lung issues when compared with smoking.
One study found that burning cannabis creates 100 different toxins. Many of these toxins have been linked to cancer. A 2007 study that was published concluded that patients who vaporize receive the same benefits as those who smoke, yet without these harmful toxins. This can be especially beneficial to those suffering from cancer, whose immune systems are already compromised and shouldn’t be further burdened with processing toxic chemicals.
In another study, which only included smokers suffering from lung ailments, using a vaporizer for just one month led to “significant improvements” in the lung health of 20 cannabis smokers. Another study reports that vaporization may be a gentler method of consuming cannabis, something that may be a draw for many cancer patients.
What’s important, cannavaping can give you a temperature control, an option that allows to get the most cannabinoids without burning it. There are specific temperature settings for vaping the dry herb and vaping the concentrates, meaning CBD oils. The dry cannabis herb starts to combust around 200C degrees, depending on the plant’s humidity level, the maximum temperature the cannabis plant can endure without burning is 230C. As for the CBD, the optimal temperature range for releasing the cannabinoid is 16-180C. When going higher, up to 185C, you’ll be releasing the CBN, which is associated with having sedative effects.
Most vaporizers come with temperature control settings, those are called vape mods and are for more experienced vapers, most of the vape pens don’t allow temperature control but they are already set for the right temperature. You just have to hit the start button and enjoy the relief from cannabis.
Just know which cannabinoid has your doctor prescribed and make sure your vape device is compatible with dry herbs and/or concentrates .
When compared to edibles, which take longer to work their way through the digestive system, vaporization provides faster relief from symptoms. This can be an important factor for those choosing to cannavape to relieve both pain and nausea. In addition to providing faster relief, cannavaping may provide patients with better control over dosing. This is because they can simply stop inhaling once the desired relief has been achieved. For this reason, some doctors are advocating for the use of vaporizers to their medical marijuana patients.
Fewer Side Effects
In a large study that involved medical marijuana users, vaporizers ranked highest in side-effect satisfaction. Patients reported that they felt more functional after vaporizing cannabis versus smoking it. In cancer patients already experiencing the side-effects of chemotherapy and other medications, fewer side-effects is definitely a plus. Patients also reported feeling more clear-headed due to the lack of smoke. They reported that smaller doses of cannabis were required versus other methods including edibles, drinkables such as tea, and joints.
Many medical marijuana users, as well as those recreational users who have switched to cannavaping, do so because it is more discreet. Smoking cannabis produces that tell-tale odor that screams “someone’s smoking pot.” With vaporizers, this odor is significantly, though not completely, reduced. Another reason is that a joint or a bowl is fairly obvious and not easily hidden.
Some medical marijuana users report that cannavaping feels less taboo than other methods, and this is especially helpful in places where marijuana has yet to be legalized medically or recreationally.
While there are a multitude of reasons medical marijuana users prefer to cannavape, these are a few of the major explanations. While more research needs to be conducted regarding it being safer and more effective, it is a method that is growing in popularity.