People have been smoking bud for millennia. For a handful of years now, vaporizers have dominated the cannabis industry. Only recently are inhalers entering the scene. So, what’s the difference between these delivery systems? Aren’t they all just ways to inhale marijuana? Let’s take a closer look at this progression.
Humans have been smoking cannabis plants for as many as 7,000 years. Lighting dried plant leaves and breathing in the smoke does have it’s pure, unadulterated appeal. Unfortunately, as said humans discovered over the past fifty or so years, smoke plus the human body isn’t the best combo. When cannabis is heated by a lighter or match flame, which runs over 3000 degrees F, the plant can reach up to 2000 degrees as it undergoes combustion. The combustion process releases smoke, and smoke contains a lot of carcinogens. Depositing these into the lung tissue frequently over time, can lead to chronic lung conditions like bronchitis. It can also effect the lung’s defense against other infections, harming the lung cells that help clear out invaders.
Along come vaporizers. They used to be these coveted hair-dryer-looking devices that only the true connoisseurs had. We all remember the excitement and awe of our first run in with an early vaporizer, it was a real treat. Today they’re ubiquitous. A steady presence on any metropolitan street in a recreationally legalized city. And yes, this has represented some good advancements in the world of inhalation. The temperature to which the product needs to be heated in order to release its magic is much much lower. At averages of 260-450 degrees F, the vaporizer uses convection or conduction heating instead of actual combustion. Evidence shows that this is indeed much safer than smoking, but there are still many concerns with the heating process. There are usually stabilizing chemicals in oils and distillates. Heating and inhaling these can still cause damage to the lungs.
Sure, there’s tons of edibles out there that circumvent the precious lungs altogether. But what if you really like to inhale your weed? Enter the metered dose inhaler. Several companies have released this innovative solution to the problem that heat poses to safe inhalation. Metered dose inhalers are used commonly in the medical world to deliver albuterol or steroids to people with asthma or COPD. They don’t use heat at all. Instead, pressure turns liquid into tiny aerosol droplets, or mist. The distillate is rapidly compressed when you push down on the cannister and released into an uber-fine mist for you to inhale. Each puff is called an actuation. Another benefit is that the device is able to release the same amount of mist in each actuation. With this ability, dosing can be far more accurate. This form of inhalation has the same super quick onset as heat-related methods. But allows users to micro-dose or simply take additional hits if they’re heavy-hitters.
Even though we are in the infancy of the cannabis market, already we can choose from dozens of ways to get that beautiful little THC molecule into our bloodstream. For people who really love the feel and experience of breathing in their marijuana, now they can do so without fire and without heat altogether.