In the world of recreational cannabis there has been much debate about smoking versus vaping and the impact of mixing botanical cannabis with tobacco products. Medicinal cannabis prescribers do not recommend the smoking of cannabis especially if it is mixed with tobacco. In 2003 Chemic Laboratories analysed samples of vaporised vapor and found it contained 89.1% THC and 9.5% smoke toxins. In contrast the same batch of cannabis smoked from a pipe contained 10.8% THC and 87% smoke toxins.
But the story does not end here, not all vaporisers are created equal. Christian Lanz and his team tested four electric and one gas vaporising device to measure the efficiency of the devices to consistently release the cannabinoids into the vapor to guarantee uniformity of the dosage each time it is used.
Vaping involves heating floss or botanical bud to a controlled temperature just below the point of combustion to release the medicinal properties in a vaporised form.
Devices allowing precise temperature control provided efficient and almost complete decarboxylation. Those devices producing a cold vapour, although releasing a smaller percentage of cannabinoids in the vapor, were mild and caused less airway irritation on inhalation. The gas driven device lacked a cooling tube producing a hot vapor which tends to be less well tolerated by patients and delivered unreliable decarboxylated cannabinoids in its vapor.
Medicinal grade floss or botanical bud is being imported into Australia through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme, however, there are no registered vaping devices listed with the TGA.
A wide array of vaping devices can be found online, however, it is worth asking around to identify the one most suited to your needs.
The benefits of inhalation of medicinal cannabis is the rapid onset of action reaching a peak within 30 mins, lasting between 1-4 hours.
The long-term effects of vaping are still not fully understood, and more research needs to be done to determine this.
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