With the recent shift in public opinion regarding cannabis in the past few years, I can’t help but feel that if vaporizers became the primary method to consume cannabis, it would go a long way in helping to boost the legitimacy of the (already legitimate in my opinion!) legalization movement.
Although the active constituents of cannabis itself (THC, CBD) are very unlikely to cause adverse health problems, the smoke itself can be troublesome and contribute to respiration problems. This fact can lead many opponents to falsely claim that marijuana itself (and not the smoke) is the cause of health problems. For medical marijuana patients who already suffer from respiratory issues, vaporizers can be a great delivery method for their medicine, much like an asthma inhaler for asthmatics. A recent study funded by NORML discovered that
It is possible to vaporize medically active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by heating marijuana to a temperature short of the point of combustion, thereby eliminating or substantially reducing potentially harmful smoke toxins that are normally present in marijuana smoke. Vaporizers may therefore substantially reduce what is widely regarded as the leading health concern associated with marijuana, namely respiratory harm due to smoking. In addition, many medical marijuana patients say they prefer vaporizers because they deliver smoother, less irritating medication.
Through the adoption of a superior alternative to combustion, both recreational and medical marijuana users stand to benefit health-wise, and anti-marijuana activists will have less material to attack the movement with. With smoke no longer being a health concern, enjoying cannabis in moderation can be as safe as having a cup of coffee.
Vaporizers also overcome the issue of smoking bans common in many jurisdictions. Without tar, ash, or secondhand smoke, they are a great option for use in designated public establishments. Vapor bars (such as this one) can be stocked with a wide range of vaporizers to use, providing consumers with a comfortable and smoke-free environment. Edibles are also a safe way to enjoy cannabis, but they can be very potent and too long lasting for some.
Furthermore, many people don’t realize that smoking cannabis is a very inefficient delivery method. Approximately 80% of cannabis smoke is non-THC, and a lot of this THC gets destroyed due to the high temperatures involved in combustion. The “rush” many people feel from smoking joints is not actually a stronger high, but really due to many of the byproducts found in the smoke (carbon monoxide can produce a lightheaded feeling). Using high quality bud in a vaporizer can produce strong, clear highs without all the extra chemicals found in smoke.