Vaporization Part III

Have you ever wondered if you were getting the most out of your vaporizer? Perhaps you’re curious about how long vapor can be stored without losing potency? Unfortunately these simple questions can be difficult to answer because vaporizer companies often don’t provide technical research on the subject; careful medical testing of cannabis vaporization devices is uncommon. Yet, as vaporizers grow in popularity and cannabis becomes more culturally mainstream, information is becoming increasingly available. One prominent figure in the medical cannabis research movement, Arno Hazekamp, from the University of Leiden in Holland, focuses on answering very practical questions with sophisticated, quantitative methods. His text, Extracting the Medicine, will be the basis of reviewing functionality of vaporizers in this article. Perhaps the most widespread, non-portable vaporizer design is the balloon-based model. This design catches vapor produced in a temperature-safe bag, referred to as a “balloon”. The balloon adds a significant functionality to any vaporization system. Most apparent, of course, is the ability to de-tether oneself from the source of heat or vaporization. However, the true benefit of the balloon is the ability to breathe at any rate or in any fashion comfortable for the patient. In addition, the vapor in a balloon is typically cooler in temperature than that of a whip or pen style, which many patients prefer. Quality of vapor is determined by both the amount of medicine present in the vapor, as well as the distribution of that medicine or how consistent the vapor is. The ideal vaporizer reaches…

To Vape or Not To Vape

Although cannabis itself is not harmful to health, method of administration can be detrimental to lung function. Pulmonary (lung and breathing) troubles are well-documented side effects, with daily smokers having decreased lung capacity, coughing, and sinus problems exacerbated by frequent smoke inhalation. This would be true of any combusting plant matter inhaled directly due to carbon monoxide, but cannabis plant material can also contain tars and produce other noxious substances when burned. Increasingly doctors are recommending vaporizer use to daily or frequent cannabis users to decrease harmful side-effects of smoking while maintaining potency and ease of dosing. This will be the first article in a series of articles about vaporizing, and will focus on the benefits and disadvantages of vaporizing. What is a vaporizer? A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis to temperatures that release cannabinoids into air (vaporization). This vapor is then inhaled, without any smoke or combusted plant matter. The first vaporizers were very crude, home-built devices that used heating elements like soldering irons to directly heat the cannabis matter. However, over time, as companies began to emerge to serve demand from users wanting a better vaporizing experience, more complex designs emerged. Although many designs still use direct heat conduction, the more expensive but more consistent vapor design relies on using convection heating. In this method, air is heated first and then driven through the cannabis matter, assuring a more even temperature distribution as well as preventing the matter from getting too hot and partially combusting on…