The SELF wants to remind our readers that while the acquisition and consumption of cannabis is required by law, it is governed only by state and federal laws.
At this point, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis (such as weeds or marijuana) and 10 and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use. So, if you're a fairly new and inexperienced cannabis consumer it's understandable that all options and information are a bit confusing. What you have probably heard or seen before is a weed vaporizer (often referred to as vape or vape pen). How do you know if an evaporator is right for you? We have you covered.
But before we start, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The fact that we can actually have this conversation is the result of the great steps in the legalization and normalization of cannabis that have been made in recent years. And it is important to know that some communities ̵
Having said all this, we know about the potential benefits of using Vape – and beyond that, how to find one that is right for you.
First of all, how risky is exposure to cannabis smoke?
Well, it's more complicated than you might think. Although we can estimate the risks of smoking cannabis relative to smoking cigarettes, for example, we could not really quantify the absolute risks associated with smoking cannabis alone, Mallory Loflin, Ph.D., researcher at the University of Washington California's San Diego, whose work focuses on the potential uses of medical cannabis among veterans, tells SELF. (To be clear, we're only talking about health risks here.)
However, we know a few things: As with virtually anything that burns, the combustion process produces compounds that can cause lung irritation, resulting in coughing or wheezing says Loflin. Some of the compounds made in this process are also associated with an increased risk of things like lung cancer. Whether exposure to these pyrolytic compounds (that is, they are produced by burning plant material) in the amount normal smokers of cannabis experience can cause long term problems is not entirely clear.
Long-term study, which examined long-term cannabis use was reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2006 as Jordan Tishler, MD, InhaleMD Medical Cannabis Expert published in Boston, tells SELF.
For this study, the researchers collected data from 1,210 people living in Los Angeles who had lung cancer or other upper aerodigestive carcinoma (such as oral or laryngeal carcinoma) and 1040 control subjects with no history of these cancers, but in the past matched to other participants based on age, gender and their neighborhood.
The researchers then conducted interviews with all participants on the use of cannabis, including the frequency, nature and duration of their use. They were also questioned about their use of other substances, including tobacco and alcohol, as well as other demographic information and their family history of cancer.
The results showed that there was no significant correlation after randomly adjusted tobacco consumption. Cannabis use and the likelihood of developing cancer – People who reported cannabis use were not significantly more or less likely to develop cancer. or control group. The authors of the study acknowledge that their findings may have been influenced by the bias of choices and the difficulty of requiring people to recall their own drug use. In addition, Loflin points out that the statistical unbundling of risks associated with smoking is not quite the same as using participants with only long-standing experience in smoking cannabis (which are understandably difficult to find).
But Overall The authors conclude that their findings suggest that "the association of these cancers with marijuana, even with prolonged or heavy use, is not strong and may be below practically detectable limits."
Although there are still many unanswered questions, problems with smoking cannabis seem to be limited mainly to the time you actually smoke. "My takeaway is: Do we avoid smoke if we can, why not?" Tishler. "That way, we're not confronted with things that we may be afraid of, even if they do not appear to cause a problem."
Loflin, who recently co-authored a review of previous studies Considering the effects of smoking versus vaping, it is said that evaporation may be beneficial to prevent these compounds and acute problems ( eg pulmonary irritation) – but only under certain circumstances.
If you remove the smoke associated with smoking cannabis, what other health risks should you consider? Under current laws, it is difficult and complicated to study, but we know that cannabis can temporarily increase your heart rate You may be drowsy or drowsy, may affect your short-term memory and may cause temporary disturbances anxiety. Of course, using an evaporator does not eliminate these risks.
Vaporizers are everywhere, but are they actually better than smoking?
Cannabis releases cannabinoids (compounds of high and potential use) at a lower temperature than the one it burns on. So the whole point of using a vaporizer is to heat the herb to a point where it releases the desired matter without burning, Dr. Tishler.
Although there was no well-controlled direct comparison With regard to the effects of smoking compared to vaping cannabis, the study suggests that the use of an evaporator reduces exposure to smoke-related compounds of concern. "We already know that smoked cannabis has far fewer pyrolytic compounds than smoked tobacco," says Loflin. "And if you compare smoked cannabis with vaporized cannabis (with a particular evaporator type), several studies have shown that you really do reduce the amount of pyrolytic carcinogenic compounds."
For example The study published in the 2004 Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics directly examined the compounds found in cannabis smoke compared to the compounds produced by evaporation. It turned out that cannabis vapor is, by and large, made up of the things you expect (and want): cannabinoids. Although there were some of the same pyrolytic compounds in the vapor that could be seen in the smoke, they appeared in much smaller quantities than steam.
And, looking at how it affects humans, research has been promising so far. "My laboratory data show that cannabis users who report symptoms of bronchitis or airway irritation show significant improvements in lung function and symptoms of bronchitis after being switched to the vaporizer for a month," said Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University of California University of Albany, SUNY, tells SELF.
In a study by Earleywine in 2010 International Journal of Drug Policy 20 participants who frequently and frequently consumed cannabis were reported. The reported symptoms of pulmonary irritation all changed to the use of an evaporator for one month , After this month, eight of the participants developed respiratory tract infection. But the 12 who did not report that their symptoms had improved significantly. Although this is a small preliminary study, this suggests that vapors actually cause less lung problems than smoking.
The quality of the vaporizer you use – and what you use it – can greatly change your experience.
"It turns out that not all evaporators do a particularly good job [of heating without combustion]." Tishler. "The big gap seems to be the vap pen and the flower vaporizer."
Nearly all studies on vaping were done using a type of flower vape, such as the Volcano or other table vaporizers, says Loflin. The Volcano is a classic (and expensive) extractor that uses both convection and conduction heating to create steam from plant material that is collected in a bag and then inflates like a balloon. Devices like these are effective but often unwieldy and tend to be difficult to dose.
However, as similar studies have not been done on every weed vaporizer on the market, we do not know if the results would generalize it to Earleywine
The vape pens work much like e-cigarettes which means they essentially a battery that is attached to a heating coil that holds a cartridge. The cartridge contains cannabis extracts suspended in a kind of liquid filler. This may be propylene or polyethylene glycol (common in e-cigs) or MCT oil or, more recently, liquid terpenes. We do not know much about the effects of inhaling these ingredients when heated at high temperatures in these quantities, but we know that they can also cause lung irritation in vapors. In general, Dr. Tishler his patients to stay with evaporators that work with plant material and not with oil cartridges.
But whatever you choose, the quality of the material you put into the vaporizer is just as important to the device itself, says Loflin. Both pesticide residues and mold were found on herbs, for example. And when it comes to vape pens (especially CBD varieties), they may not always do what they say . As always, it's worth buying your stuff from a trusted source.
If you use herbs (the actual plant material) you should decide if you want an evaporator that uses conductive heating. convective heating or a combination of the two. A vapor using a conductive heating method brings the plant material directly into contact with the heating element. This means there is a risk that it will burn if the temperature is not well controlled. When convective heating, however, the heating element does not come in direct contact with the herb, but warms the air in the area. (Vape pens work completely differently because they are fuel oil, not plant material.)
There are both pros and cons – Vapes that use conductive heating tend to be cheaper, while those that use convective heating may have less stable temperatures The air cools down when it is sucked in. That's why Dr. prefers Tishler fumes that combine the two.
The most important component, however, is that you have a method of monitoring steam temperature. This can be done directly on the device with a digital thermometer or color-changing lights or by using an app connected via Bluetooth.
With so many unknowns, be sure to discuss this with your doctor or a knowledgeable Budtender before you spend your money.
In addition to how your Vaps work and the quality of cannabis you use, your own physiology – including any conditions that may occur – may also play a role in influencing your experience. And if you decide after all that steaming is not suitable for you, that's perfectly fine.
Besides, as we have seen, questions about cannabis seldom have a simple answer. For example: "It certainly makes sense that evaporation is better than smoking, especially for people with asthma, but there are no data," says Earleywine. Strangely enough, there is even scattered evidence that in some cases cannabis can relieve asthma symptoms.
So if you have a chronic condition that could interfere with your cannabis use, and so many others If you want to consume cannabis (without smoking), you can work with a doctor to find out what makes the most sense for you ,
If you want to steam cannabis, we suggest you look at some options. Based on the recommendations of our experts, we looked for devices that could provide a method for monitoring heat levels (via a digital display, app or light color ), work with plant material (some also need concentrates), are relatively portable and come with great reviews. And all devices on this list meet at least some of these criteria.