Often patients will get the best benefit from medical cannabis treatment if the medicine is taken by inhalation. Inhalation is rapid onset, and shorter duration, and this works well for many acute or episodic problems. A migraine headache is a great example. Inhalation covers many different actual approaches, some of which are better or safer than others, which Boston medical marijuana doctor Jordan Tishler will briefly cover here. Occasionally, however, there are patients who actually prefer to smoke cannabis. Here’s the dirty little secret: not only is smoking less safe (duh) but it wastes a ton of money! So, if you won’t avoid smoking for health reasons, you should definitely think about all the money you’re losing! Keep reading for more information.
Types of Cannabis Inhalation: The Good, The Bad, and the Really Bad
Briefly, if your physician recommends inhalation for its therapeutic properties, there are three ways you can do this: smoking, oil-pens (often erroneously called vaporizers), and true flower vaporization. Only the last of these, flower vaporization, is safe and effective (this is often called dry herb or botanical cannabis vaporization).
Smoking cannabis is best known and interestingly appears to have less risk than smoking tobacco. However, since many of the horrible chemicals are common to both smoke, it’s not clear why cannabis smoke may not cause the same damage. Until this is better sorted out, it’s best to steer clear (at least for long-term treatment).
Oil-pens have caused a lot of damage and commotion in the past year. There are several problems with these devices. The obvious problem, that we saw crop up in summer 2019, is that harmful chemicals can be used in the manufacture of the oil cartridges. However, there is a more fundamental, technological problem that has yet to be effectively addressed. These devices are really crude – they’re just a heating element and a battery. As a result, they’re just burning that oil and exposing you to similar sort of nasty chemicals that you’d get from smoking. Even the oil itself is dangerous to inhale. There are some devices that let you set the temperature, but they’re not actually measuring the temperature, so it’s a false sense of security.
Flower vaporizers have the technology down. They actually contain a small microprocessor that measures the temperature at the heating element and controls it to maintain the set temperature. This allows us to correctly set that temperature to the ideal number at which we get our medicine, but not products of combustion. If you’ve read my other articles, you already know that that number is 350’F (180’C).
So, with all that said, why would anyone want to use the less safe methods? Some say they like the rituals around smoking. Others feel the pens are easier to use or more discreet. I would argue that all of those are trumped by the safety factor, and that flower vaporizers can be discreet and even ritualized too.
How Vaporizing Cannabis Can Save You Money
Here’s my pitch: if safety doesn’t move you, how about saving money? Lots of money! When you smoke cannabis fully 60% goes into the Universe while you’re not puffing. Of that remaining 40%, only about 30% gets converted by burning into the active medication, THC. The rest remains inactive. You’re really only getting about 12% of the available medication. Meaning for every $300 ounce you buy, you’re throwing away 7/8 of the ounce, or $275!
If you use a flower vaporizer on the other hand, you lose nothing to the Universe – they’re effectively not doing anything when you’re not taking a puff. The conversion of inactive to active THC is much more efficient, about 80%. So again of that $300 ounce, now you losing only $60. Or put another way, you won’t need to buy that whole ounce, you’d only really need around 1/8 ounce, or $50.
Sure you have to invest in a machine and they’re not an insignificant cost. At about $130 for a good but not fancy one, you can see that it pays for itself in the first month or two.
So do yourself a favor and save all that money! And, you may save your health as well.
Consult With a Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Specialist About Vaporizing
Those who are considering using cannabis medicine should consult with a Massachusetts medical marijuana physician who has years of experience helping patients use medical marijuana. Dr. Jordan Tishler has spent years assisting patients with a variety of conditions that can benefit from medical marijuana use cannabis safely and effectively, and can help you determine if medical marijuana is right for you. For more information, or to set up a consultation with the medical cannabis team at InhaleMD, call (617) 861-8519 today.