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Why more marijuana users are vaporizing their medicine

Today, medical marijuana is spreading fast across the world like a billowy smoke haze unlikely to be dissipated anytime soon. What every patient must consider, though, is how to ingest a medicine often known as a smokable product. Smoking your medicine is unprecedented, which is why many doctors are fearful of recommending marijuana if a patient is concerned about smoke inhalation.

That’s where vaporizers come in. Vaporization refers to gadgets designed to vaporize the active ingredients in plant material. The extracted vapor may be contained in a jar or inflatable bag, or inhaled directly through a hose or pipe. Vaporizers often give off very little or no smoke.

Vaporizing offers two heating methods: conduction and convection. Conduction is the transfer of heat through direct contact while convection relates to heat transfer via air particles. Conduction heating is found often in portable vaporizers than desktop units.

As long as seven years ago, a ground-breaking study reported vaporizing marijuana delivered to users the same levels of THC, the active therapeutic chemical, “with the same biological effects as smoking cannabis without the harmful toxins created by burning cannabis.”

Later research has shown that “emissions from vaporizing are 95 percent smoke- and carcinogen-free, while combusted smoke gases consist of 88 percent non-cannabinoids, including numerous known polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), carcinogenic toxins common in tobacco smoke,” according to this report.

Thanks to the research inspiring many medical marijuana patients to look beyond joints, vaporizers have rocketed into public attention. They are getting sleeker and more advanced, such as the Da Vinci Ascent, which resembles a portable shaver. Some “would look right at home on Batman’s utility,” as this Slate writer points out. Others are for desktop use only, and could cost as much as $1,200. It’s as if Apple’s influence on smartphones have inspired vaporizer manufacturers to create stylish devices barely tinged by the stoner stereotype.

Medical marijuana firms are warming up to the idea of vaporizing your medical marijuana. “I absolutely recommend [vaporization] over smoking,” said Anton Mattadeen, chief strategy officer at MediJean, a Canadian bio-pharma medical cannabis company. “It doesn’t create any issues with tars. There are no combustibles. With vaporization, you’re simply heating up the substance until it releases the natural oils. It doesn’t have any negative effect on your lungs, as opposed to when people smoke… it creates real potential health issues.”

The vaporizer business has matured to such a level some companies are teasing out future concepts: one company is planning to outfit their vaporizer with a fingerprint scanner that can unlock the device for single or multiple users.

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