When it comes to a healthier way to consume marijuana, vaporizers seem to be the top choice for doctors and patients alike.
Smoking marijuana, although not as harmful as cigarettes, can sometimes lead to a condition called chronic bronchitis, causing increased coughing and phlegm production.
While research on vaporizing hasn’t been thorough, a few studies do provide scientific evidence of their benefits: ‘Vaporization as a smokeless cannabis delivery system: a pilot study.’ (Abrams et al., 2007)
A study published in 2007 by the University of California in San Francisco compared the effects of vaporizing to smoking a joint and found that vaporizers could provide the same levels of THC, while reducing the amount of carbon monoxide that enters the blood stream.
The study, which involved 18 participants, concluded that “a smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins.”: ‘Decreased respiratory symptoms in cannabis users who vaporize.’ (Earleywine and Barnwell, 2007)
A study published in 2007 by the University of New York at Albany and the University of Southern California linked marijuana vaporizers to a decrease in respiratory problems associated with marijuana and cigarette use.
Using data collected from an Internet survey, researchers found that, among cigarette and cannabis smokers, those who vaporized their cannabis reported fewer lung problems such as “cough, phlegm, and tightness in the chest” than those who didn’t.
They concluded: “Regular users of joints, blunts, pipes, and water pipes might decrease respiratory symptoms by switching to a vaporizer.”: ‘Pulmonary function in cannabis users: Support for a clinical trial of the vaporizer.’ (Earleywine and Van Dam, 2010)
A study published in 2010 by the University of New York at Albany took the 2007 findings a step further.
The scientists gave vaporizers to a sample of 20 regular cannabis smokers with existing lung symptoms and observed the effects of one month of daily use.
Following a month of vaporizing, the participants showed “meaningful improvements” in lung function which, according to the researchers, were comparable to those who quit tobacco.