Vaporizers may be more expensive than your traditional pipe or bong, but there are many reasons why people are starting to switch.
When it comes to consuming marijuana, the options are vast. Besides rolling a joint, there are a range of pipes and water bongs available on the market. Of course, cannabis can be used to make various foods and drinks, known as edibles. Topicals and tinctures are popular among medical users as well.
Yet many doctors believe vaporizers offer a better way of consuming marijuana. Certain models have even been approved as medical devices in countries, like Canada, where marijuana is prescribed. On top of the health benefits, patients also seem to prefer vaporizing their medicine.
Here are 4 reasons why vaporizers have become popular among both doctors and patients.
1. Eliminates harmful toxins
While smoking marijuana is less harmful than tobacco, the smoke created by burning marijuana contains many of the same toxins. In fact, burning marijuana has been shown to create over 100 different toxins, many of which are linked to cancer.
Vaporizers work by heating marijuana to a temperature that is hot enough to evaporate the active ingredients, but cool enough to avoid combustion (burning). As a result, people who vaporize are not exposed to the toxins that are found in smoke.
Likewise, a study published in 2007 concluded that vaporizers give patients the same effects as smoking “but without inhalation of the toxic products in smoke.”
2. Healthier for your lungs
There are no long-term studies on people who vaporize, which means it’s impossible to say for sure whether vaporizers are safe for your lungs.
However, based on how the devices work, many experts believe that vaporizing is at least better for your lungs than smoking. Likewise, smaller studies have shown that using a vaporizer can lead to fewer lung issues.
In a 2010 study, researchers found that using a vaporizer for just one month led to “meaningful improvements” in the lung health of 20 daily cannabis smokers.
The researchers only chose people with existing lung symptoms in order to determine if vaporizing could help. By the end of the month, subjects showed better lung function and reported less breathing symptoms like coughing up phlegm and shortness of breath.
The researchers concluded that using a vaporizer “appears to have the potential to minimize respiratory complaints.” In other words, switching to a vaporizer might be good for your health.
3. Faster relief
While consuming marijuana in edible form is preferred by some patients, many struggle when it comes to dosing.
This is because marijuana is absorbed much slower by the stomach than the lungs, which causes the effect to be delayed by up to an hour. Absorption by the stomach also tends to be uneven, since cannabinoids are first metabolized by the liver before entering the blood stream.
On the other hand, the lungs absorb cannabinoids in a matter of seconds, providing almost instant relief when cannabis vapor is inhaled. Vaporizers also give patients better control over dosing, since it is easy to stop inhaling once the desired effect is achieved.
For these reasons, doctors often recommend using a vaporizer over oral preparations of cannabis.
4. Fewer side effects
In a large study of medical marijuana users, vaporizers ranked highest in side effect satisfaction, meaning that patients felt most functional after vaporizing cannabis.
While the study did not investigate specific side effects, some said vaporizers produced a more clear-headed “high” due to the lack of smoke inhaled. Cannabis vapor can be inhaled in short and shallow puffs, whereas other smoking devices may require taking deeper and larger breaths, which can be uncomfortable for novice marijuana users.
Interestingly, patients also ranked vaporizing as the most efficient method of marijuana intake. On average, patients said smaller doses of cannabis were required while vaporizing compared to other common methods, including edibles, tea and joints.
Of course, how one reacts to marijuana differs widely from person to person, so vaporizers may not be ideal for everyone. Ultimately, consulting with a healthcare professional and careful experimentation is the best way to figure out what method of intake is best for you.