Not too long ago, it came to my attention that Health Canada has provided information on vaporizing cannabis for physicians in their “Information for Health Care Professionals” guidebook here.
I have to say that I am quite impressed with the findings, and I hope that many health professionals who prescribe medical marijuana suggest that their patients use a herbal vaporizer rather than smoke their medication.
The section on vaporizing cannabis states the following:
Vaporization of cannabis has been explored as an alternative to smoking. The advantages of vaporization apparently include the formation of a smaller quantity of toxic by-products such as carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and tar, as well as a more efficient extraction of THC from the cannabis material (47,48,49,43,50). The subjective effects and plasma concentrations of THC are comparable to those of smoked cannabis with absorption being somewhat faster with the vaporizer (43). The vaporizer is well-tolerated, with no reported adverse effects, and is generally preferred over smoking by most subjects (43). While vaporization is amenable to self-titration (49,43), the proper use of the vaporizer for optimal administration of medicinal cannabis has to be established in more detail (50). The amount and type of cannabis placed in the vaporizer, the vaporizing temperature and duration of vaporization, and the balloon volume are some of the parameters that can affect the delivery of THC (49). Bioequivalence of vaporization compared to smoking has not been established.
In summary, not only do vaporizers allow you to bypass the harmful effects of smoke, but they also provide much greater efficiency than what smoking does. Also, by being able to accurately control your vaporizer temperature, you achieve different theraputic effects of your cannabis.