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Healthier marijuana smoking? A few words about vaporization
A few years ago, a new type of smoking called "cannavaping" was introduced, in which small amounts of cannabis are smoked using electric devices. Scientists agree that this is the healthiest way to smoke cannabis and is particularly promising when it comes to medical use. Studies conducted so far seem to only confirm this thesis, so maybe soon we will witness a revolution and everyone will give up classic "joints".
Why is vaporization healthier?
Smoking traditional joints can lead to the fact that in addition to inhaling the relatively dangerous active ingredients of marijuana, we are exposed to a large amount of toxins and pollutants that come with the smoking process. In contrast, cannavaping can provide a way to avoid inhaling high levels of these substances. Among these pollutants are carcinogenic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Vaping involves heating a liquid to boiling point and then inhaling the vapor, while the conventional way to smoke is to burn substances such as marijuana and then inhale the smoke. Leading author of the cannabis study Vincent Varlet, an analytical chemist at the University Center for Forensic Medicine in Lausanne, Switzerland, said in an interview with the Science program that there is a mass of scientific evidence supporting the fact that smoking marijuana with electric devices is safer, but on the other hand it is also less efficient.
In the study, researchers looked at the credibility of this claim and the effectiveness of cannavaping as an alternative to traditional smoking of the substance from a medical perspective. Experts found that taking the cannabinoids most relevant to patients is much more convenient with vaporizers because they are easier to concentrate in liquid. However, they found that in the first studies, the concentration of cannabinoids in the oil was not sufficient. It took as many as a hundred "inhalations" from an electric device to produce the same therapeutic effects as with intravenous administration of THC, one of marijuana's most potent compounds. So more research is needed on how to prepare and optimize such a liquid.
Vaporization better than a cookie?
However, we should not immediately delete vaping as an alternative method of cannabis consumption, as it undoubtedly has a whole range of advantages. One of them is that it is certainly more efficient than what we would achieve by eating various marijuana-infused products. The long process of breaking down the particles in the stomach and then transferring the most essential substances into the bloodstream often results in therapeutic ingredients that may be less or even completely inactive. This effect does not occur in cannavaping oils, whose inhalation bypasses the tedious metabolic processes and enters the bloodstream directly.
How to smoke.
Now that we know that vaporization is healthier, let's also find out how to use it. Not every vaporizer is suitable because the main task here is to get the right temperature, which will be able to release all the active ingredients from the cannabis, but on the other hand, will not burn and destroy them.
The ideal temperature is considered to be between 190 and 210°C. According to scientist Dr. Arno Hazekamp of the Netherlands, who specializes in medical marijuana research, it is these upper limits that represent the optimal conditions to maximize the benefits and get the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes when inhaling the vapor. Hazekamp also advises against using devices that allow you to get lower temperatures than 190°C, because then only terpenes can be vaporized with negligible amounts of other active ingredients.
Researchers from the Netherlands therefore tested how exactly cannabinoid concentrations vary with temperature. In one experiment, the Volcano vaporizer was set at 170°C and it was noted that only 24% of the cannabinoids were vaporized. However, the yield increased to 77% when it was set at 230°C. So it's worth keeping this in mind when buying a device, as it's up to our preference how strong of an effect we want to get. For some, the 24% will be quite enough. And one more thing - the steam produced by the high temperature is usually irritating and it reduces the comfort of inhaling. Moreover, exceeding 210°C also generates the same dangerous chemical compounds that occur with traditional smoking. So really, the whole point of cannavaping is lost.
Choose the right device
Getting the right temperature on the device is one thing, but there are a number of other things we need to keep in mind. Oils, liquids and the plant material itself play an important role in vaporization. Its moisture content determines how long it takes to burn or vaporize. Completely dried marijuana will behave differently, and a liquid cartridge will behave differently.
Another important factor is the type and even the particular model of vaporizer used. Convection vaporizers can be more efficient, they heat up quickly and the high temperature affects the material directly. However, this gives you the opportunity to overheat the cannabis and smoke it even when you are not inhaling the vapor. These cheaper e-cigarettes are often simply not suitable for inhaling marihunana - they are too unstable and have single areas of intense heat, which completely disrupts the idea of maintaining a constant temperature.
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