Scientific Inhalations - The Safest Way to Medicate
Posted by Catelyn Snow | 11130 views
By Catelyn Snow
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- Victor Gallicchio
A relatively untapped market exists within the medical marijuana industry, encompassing those of us who need to smoke, but also want to know that when we medicate we are not making our health even worse. There are a variety of toxins that may be in our medicine, depending on who grows it and what kind of products they use. Pesticide exposure (and especially inhalation) can cause anything from mild or moderate irritation to nervous system or reproductive problems, and many chemicals used in pesticides are known carcinogens.
We recently covered a chemical called Paclobutrazol (known by many as "Paclo") which is popping up around the growing community because of its ability to keep plants short and compact. Paclo, however, is an incredibly harmful substance that has no business in our lungs.
Many smokers swear by vaporizers as the healthiest way to medicate because they allegedly burn off only the active chemicals, allowing us to inhale just the stuff we want. However, many folks don't like the taste of vaporized cannabis, and others question whether vaporizing is truly the healthiest option that we can develop.
Enter Scientific Inhalations, a California company that focuses on making it as safe as possible for everyone to medicate or smoke tobacco without also inhaling anything that may have been used during the growing process. Their innovative multi-step filtration method, featuring organic cotton and virgin coconut carbon, may just be the most effective ever invented, and their signature product, the McFinn's Original Triple-Filtered Water Pipe, looks like something straight out of the future.
Victor Gallicchio, owner of Scientific Inhalations, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about their products, their industry-shaking filtration system, and pipe-making in America.
Big Buds: Your premier pipe, featuring the innovative filtration system, is called McFinn's Original. Who is McFinn?
Victor Gallicchio: McFinn is friend of ours who came into the shop a long time ago, and he had worked with cancer patients. He worked the hospice program for about 30 years. He also was stricken with a pretty good disease and was in a wheelchair, but he was always donating a lot of time to cancer patients. He came into the shop and said "I have this thing, and I want to work with patients and help them to get a better inhalation [while medicating]."
He had a kind of contraption, and we made a piece for him; it was to help someone who didn't have very good dexterity to bring medicine to himself a lot easier by putting a glass device on a plastic hose. That relationship developed into us trying to help him pioneer his new concept [for filtration], and we slowly took his idea of the organic coconut carbon, and the organic cotton, and put it together in a glass device. We debuted it about two years ago down in Las Vegas and then we started really developing it.
BB: You have an amazingly unique filtration system. Can you tell me more about it?
VG: We always knew it had a better inhalation, but we didn't know exactly why; so we decided to go to an independent consulting firm that was state of the art, and a couple doctors at Deep Green recommended a company down in LA, and they actually said, "you gotta show this to them and get this analyzed." We worked with the Werc Shop down in LA, and the first thing we went after was the carbon: what does the carbon do? We know it takes out some of the creosotes and the oils because the water is always cleaner when using [carbon filters in] a water device. And so they did a study of a smoking device with water, without water; with carbon filters and without carbon filters, and we published that. Then we said "okay, what is the cotton doing?" And they analyzed the cotton.
BB: What other kinds of things do your filters remove from smoke that other smoking devices do not?
VG: Well, you always have to say, "what is the government standard," when doing these kinds of tests, and there is no government approved standard for what constitutes mold. Then I thought, well, I know that growers need to make sure there's no bugs. You either have no bugs because there are none to begin with, or because you are using some kind of spray, like a pesticide. So Werc Shop went in and picked a bunch of chemicals off the shelf that anybody could buy -- I think there's 15 or 18 known chemicals -- and they had standards for those, and then they did a study with their mass spectrometer, and they found that we captured about 75 to 100 percent in that organic cotton.
Werc Shop is actually in the process of publishing their study in a medical journal, so they have to redo it a little bit to just double-verify it and word it in the way so that the medical society would want it done. That will hopefully be published by the end of the year. We are waiting for them to finish this study because everybody says that vaporizing is the way to go because we only burn off and inhale the THC. Well, maybe we should do some research and find out about those 18 chemicals that we could get right off the shelf, what temperature are they burning off at? Are they burning off too at a lower temperature than the plant material? I don't know if [advocates of vaporizing] have really even done a study to verify their stand. What else is burning off with the THC? (The initial results of these studies are available on the Scientific Inhalations website and they are quite persuasive).
BB: Can you tell me more about the materials you use for filtration, the organic coconut carbon and organic cotton?
VG: We wanted to use organic hemp but nobody would give us certification that it was not being processed with chemicals. The organic cotton we use is a very high grade organic cotton used in the cosmetic industry, and it is certified organic.
We get people on the blogs and the websites saying, "Why buy this when I can go down to the aquarium store and buy carbon?" Well, when you look at those products there is a little label that says that [aquarium-grade carbon] can be cancer causing. So McFinn did a bit of research and found the organic coconut carbon.
BB: So, what initially inspired you to start making smoke wear?
VG: When we started out we really just wanted to be just a different kind of glass company. Most of us have been doing scientific glassblowing for most of our lives and a lot of that has gone offshore to cheaper places, so when we got laid off and started out we were making pipes for one of the big five companies, and then we just wanted to create our own line of them and find a small niche. We realized that we had too much creativity to be just copying somebody else's design. Then, once McFinn came in, and we saw his passion to try to bring a cleaner inhalation to people who are concerned about their health, it really transformed the company to say "this is what we want to do." We quit building pipes for the other company and we put all of our effort into healthy inhalation.
A lot of medicinal smokers would rather not have to smoke anyway, so let's at least make sure that we inhale our medicine the healthiest way that we can. Harborside, one of the big dispensaries in the Oakland area, took on our product and they just adore this kind of scientific study. There are a lot of people who are in this for the real movement; for the medical side of cannabis.
BB: It seems like a lot of stores carry your products, but they are not available online. What kind of options are open for those of us who want to purchase some of your products?
VG: I always wanted to sell direct to the public, but you have to make a decision over whether to do retail or wholesale, and we chose to deal with the retailers. We try to support them by going to the shows, and we have about 400-500 stores in the U.S. and Canada that carry our product. We've even sold to stores in Japan and Australia. We sell products in a variety of price ranges, so we can reach the greatest range of customers, and we constantly hear back from our stores about prices so that we can adjust ours. But we are in America, I have American labor, American insurance. I have benefits. It's always hard to compete with what can be brought in from overseas.
For more information about Scientific Inhalations and their products, including a catalog and list of retailers where their products can be purchased, online at www.sipipes.com
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Monday, 10 December 2012
Article by Catelyn Snow, on Dec. 10th 2012