Cannabis can be inhaled either through smoking, as with cigarettes, or by vaporization. While smoking cannabis is not useful for therapeutic purposes , vaporization is one of the main methods of administering Medicinal Cannabis systemically.
Compared to smoking, vaping cannabis offers numerous advantages , such as using smaller doses and a lower likelihood of generating potentially toxic compounds.
In this guide we will explain what science says on this topic (For those who want to know more about the other routes of administration, we recommend reading the article “ How to use therapeutic Cannabis ”).
Who is vaporization suitable for?
The oral administration of Cannabis results in a slower onset of effects, a longer stay in the circulation and a lower total cannabinoid concentration than by inhalation. This method is recommended for patients with chronic problems (eg chronic pain, inflammation, neurodegeneration).
Vaporizing – that is, the administration of Cannabis by inhalation – is a particularly advantageous method for problems of an acute nature , i.e. for patients seeking immediate relief from the symptoms of a disease, such as in the case of vomiting, muscle spasms or pain.
Vaporization: rapid onset of effects and reliable dosages
Like smoking, the effects of vaporization are practically instantaneous , as the constituents of cannabis are rapidly absorbed into the blood through the lungs , reaching maximum levels in the plasma in just a few minutes.
Compared to the oral administration of Cannabis (e.g. extracts or edible products), the titration or dosage of cannabinoids or other constituents is simpler.
Since the effect is almost immediate , the user can in fact stop as soon as he notices that the desired dose has been reached.
Vaporizing avoids the first pass effect of metabolism , or those metabolic reactions undergone by a drug taken orally. This is because the drugs, once absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, are from here carried by the blood directly into the liver, where they undergo an initial metabolization process by various enzymatic systems. This happens with all the medicines we ingest, including cannabis, and is associated with a slower onset of effects.
This metabolic shift can be dangerous for patients seeking relief from sharp pains, spasms or other symptoms that require quick intervention, with the risk of overdosing the therapy before it takes effect. With vaporization this step is bypassed.
Vaporization: improvement of lung function
Various studies on patients who are users of vaporizers have shown how this route of administration is effective in decreasing respiratory symptoms . The most evident improvements occur especially in asthma patients.
Many of them, after starting the inhalation of cannabis with a vaporizer, have seen a decrease in the need to use the inhalers that are usually prescribed. This confirms all the studies that have shown that Cannabis has important bronchodilator effects.
For example, data from US research on a large sample of people who inhaled cannabis indicate that the use of vaporizers has been shown to be effective in reducing cough, phlegm and tightness in the chest.
Also from the USA, a 2010 research showed that the use of vaporizers is able to positively affect the respiratory function values in an improved sense in less than a month.
However, a recent clinical trial conducted by McGill University in Canada found that in patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , vaping cannabis has neither negative nor positive effects on lung function.
In conclusion, vaping is a very effective method of taking medical cannabis and is definitely preferable to smoking. With vaporization, cannabis is taken systemically , that is, it enters the bloodstream directly, avoiding the first pass effect of the liver.
It is recommended for patients with acute problems , such as pain, vomiting or muscle spasms. This administration technique is carried out through the use of vaporizers, substances that do not burn the vegetable part but heat it so as to gradually evaporate its constituents.
There are various models of vaporizers on the market, with different characteristics. The choice between the various options depends on the orientation of the consumer and the needs of use.