Many cannabis users prefer vaporizers over other ingestion methods like joints or pipes, and a new study helps explain why.
Last month, Whoopi Goldberg made her preference for the vapor pen clear in a column for The Cannabist. “These pens are light, compact and portable,” the actress wrote. “With the vape pen, you have more control over how much THC you ingest.”
Like Goldberg, marijuana smokers around the world are steadily switching to vaporizers. Proponents tout the harm reduction and health benefits of inhaling cannabis as vapor instead of smoke.
Australian researcher John Malouff, PhD set out to measure the advantages and disadvantages of vaporizing, as identified by cannabis users. The study, called ‘Experiences of Marijuana-Vaporizer Users’, was published this month and followed 96 individuals who began using vaporizers on their own initiative.
Ultimately, participants in the study reported more positives than negatives about using vaporizers. In describing their experiences, study participants identified four consistent advantages to using a vaporizer over other modes of intake.
- Perceived health benefits, such as “felt easier on my lungs” and “no more coughing up dust and tar”
- Better or “clean” taste
- No smoke smell/more discreet
- More effect for the same amount of marijuana
- Inconvenience and difficulties in use, including maintenance and cleaning
- Delay caused by set-up
Dr. Malouff and his team also uncovered a rather unique benefit of using a vaporizer – mixing cannabis with tobacco was less common.
“We asked participants whether they combined tobacco with marijuana in the vaporizer. Only 2 of 96 indicated that they did,” he wrote. “15 [respondents] indicated that when they smoked marijuana they mixed tobacco with it. The difference was statistically significant.”
Overall, 84 of the 96 study participants reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their vaporizer experience, and 97.9% said that they intended to continue vaporizing cannabis.
This preference for vaporizing cannabis is reflected in its growing popularity with marijuana users. An expanding market strives to meet this need, offering everything from inexpensive disposable pens to high-end desktop models that run in the price range of $500-$700. And as legalization becomes a reality in many places around the globe, this demand will likely continue to grow.
“If vaporizers become more commonly used and competition among manufacturers increases, the vaporizer may become cheaper to buy and more convenient to use, leading to greater use,” the study concludes. “The results indicate that vaporizers are worthy of experimental research.”